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In PCB assembly, the final steps are usually the easiest to do. However, the challenge remains in selecting the suitable components when setting it all up. For builders, plugging and enabling the connectors which includes insertion of screws take very less time than in selecting the components for the gear.
It only takes a short time to assemble a PCB and familiarize oneself with the process using a few simple hand tools. The difficulty, however, lies in the troubleshooting stage where a lot of time is spent just in figuring out what went wrong. Here are a few steps to consider when building your PCB and some guidelines to eliminate mistakes when doing this.
Always be mindful of the critical components during the build. Consider major concerns that can impact your work such as electrostatic discharge. An electrostatic discharge or ESD contributes to damage hardware. Considering your workspace and what it needs can help solve these such as using an antistatic mat placed under the chair to also discharge your body. A humidifier is also recommended to use in extremely dry working environments.
Occasionally touching the ground or a metal case in a plugged-in system also helps. When these are to be used outside the production environment, grounded wrist straps are also used for extra protection. Taking these most basic precautions eliminates any damage to the sensitive parts of the build.
Another important thing to consider is dropping occurrences. Broken components can result out of this. Be cautious in handling parts such as hard disk drives especially during the installation process. Set aside components that may easily fall in order to reduce damage. Place these in a safe location until you’re ready to install them.
Minding the critical moments in the installation part spells a huge difference. Most of the time, dropping processors in their interfaces becomes unavoidable. Changes in the ways manufacturers have processed these interfaces may pose some issues that could result in dropping. Slight damages can affect your PCB assembly and can lead to insufficient contact pressure. That’s why it is important to be mindful of these processes when you do the build.
Installing a processor is easy since it doesn’t need tools to get it in place. However, a few things may go wrong and significant problems may arise. As a precautionary measure, it’s vital to keep the sockets clean and free from dirt. Thoroughly inspect them to make sure there are no interferences that can affect how the processor will work.
System builders often make most common mistakes when installing the CPU coolers and heat stinks. It can be that too much interface material is used, the cooler is placed improperly and the point of the fan may be directed in the wrong direction. Prior to installing, you need to ensure that the heat spreader and the base of the cooler are clean as well.
A thermal material made of high quality needs to be applied during PCB assembly. Heat transfer is affected when there is too little or too much interface material used. It’s important to apply enough to protect and cover the heat spreader using a paper thin layer. A dab smaller than a pea is enough to serve as the thermal interface material.
Make sure that pressure and contact of the cooler is seated properly with the CPU. A slight alteration can damage the processor and overheat it. Consider also the position in mounting the cooler and make sure that this is seated properly to avoid damage. Make sure to follow these guidelines when doing PCB assembly to save time and effort.