PCB (Printed Circuit Board) Design

PCB Design Using Eagle

A circuit board will hold all of your electronics and will connect them all together like you did with the dev boards, but in a smaller, neater package. To become more familiar with what a circuit board is and how they are designed, follow these tutorials:

Eagle is a free program for designing circuit boards. Learning new software like this can be overwhelming, but it will begin to feel natural to you.

Designing a circuit board is challenging, but holding it in your hand is so gratifying. Your circuit board will connect your processor, radio, and battery using copper traces and supporting electrical components.

Starting Schematic

To get you started, we provide the PDF of some of the basic components that need to be a part of your schematic. This can be found in the Spacecraft Club Public Files: here

You will notice that there are still several parts missing. You will have to fill in the gaps and figure out how to attach your sensor to the design properly. The best resource for figuring this out is the data sheet for the various components. 


Schematic Design

A schematic is the basic building block of all PCBs. It shows all of the electrical connections that will have to take place in the circuit. The following tutorials will help you learn how to design your PCB schematic:

We have also compiled a library of all of recommended and standard parts you will need in your femtosat. You can download the library (femtosat.lbr) from the Spacecraft Club Public Files: here

If you provide any other sensors or custom parts you will have to create the parts yourself. Feel free to ask a mentor for help if you need it. 

After your team has designed your femtosat schematic your design will  be reviewed by a mentor to make sure it meets all of the requirements and is set up correctly. 


Board Design

The second step in designing a PCB is doing the board layout. This is where you decide where all of the components should go on the board and connect them together. Please read the following tutorial to learn about doing the board design in Eagle:

Using Eagle: Board Layout

Make sure to follow OSH Park’s design rules and use their DRC to validate your design. You can find this on the OSH Park website or on the Spacecraft Club Public Files (femtosat.dru): here

Review the femtosat design specification in the requirements section. Your femtosat must match the spec to fly in the rocket. 

Once you finish the board design there will be another design review to ensure that your board passes requirements. It is also an opportunity for a mentor to help you fix any mistakes that there might be in your design. 


Ordering PCBs

After you pass your design review, you’re ready to order materials for your femtosat. Order your circuit board through OSH Park. They’ll walk you through the process.

A stencil makes it possible to apply solder paste to your boards with precision. Order a stencil for your board through OSH Stencils.

Order the electrical components you need to build your femtosat. All of the recommended components, as well as basics, such as resistors and LEDs, can be purchased from the Electrical Engineering Shop in room 416 of the Clyde Building. 

 If you use components that aren’t available in the shop, you are responsible to order them in time to build your femtosat. Digikey is the largest supplier of electrical components. If you’re lucky, you can order all your remaining components on Digikey and only pay for shipping once.