Design Check Lists

In our current project we had a number of bugs in designs (schematic and PCB layout) and I wonder whether we or our partners could have found them during review if we had used a "better" design checklist.

I assume that some companies handle checklists as company treasure, as it demonstrates their past design errors but also could differentiate their design efficiency and quality from competitors. I have found some open check lists:

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I am not sure whether these lists would have saved us a revision of a PCB. Some errors where wrong dimensions of footprints of packages of new devices. Others were missed pull-up/pull-down where sometimes only a foot note gave a hint that it was required.

What are the experiences, does everyone use his personal checklist, or a company-maintained checklist? Do companies have "checklist maintainers"?


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I always do a point to point pcb to schmatic check, and verify the footprints. Also do a BOM footprint check. It's easier to check than to respin a board. Pullups, are part of the design. Just verify the design.

It just takes extra time and a second set of eye's.


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Martin Riddle

With many modern PCB Tools many of these things can be part of your Rules Check (and should be). I hope you have also incorporated your PCB producers rules also. keep your rules under very stringent review so that you can be sure they are well set into your tools.

I would also recommend you look at Michael Fagan's Inspection Method. It not only works well for software but will also work for any hardware element as well (see for more info).

Inspections, Reviews and Walkthroughs are vital at every step of the development process and will have a beneficial impact on productivity, quality and system robustness if you implement them properly in your process.

Checklists can be helpful at times, but you have to make sure they are used appropriately.

Paul E. Bennett IEng MIET..... 
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Paul E Bennett

The Brat has a roughly 50-item checklist that she uses for PCB layout. But she doesn't/can't check for electronic design correctness. We do that at engineering design reviews, and we have a shorter checklist, maybe because design is a fuzzier process than PCB layout.

We don't hint about things like terminations or pulldowns; engineering is responsible for them being on the schematic. We do leave some things to Bratinella, like picking FPGA pins, gate swapping, resistor pack options, like that, but engineering re-checks the schematic before Gerber Day. Most boards work the first time, and most errors are design errors, rarely layout.

I'll see if I can post either list.

John Larkin         Highland Technology, Inc 
picosecond timing   laser drivers and controllers 
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John Larkin

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