High-Speed Backplane Designs and PCB Layout Tips

When you are working with multiple printed circuit boards (PCBs) for your electronic applications, it is more than likely you will rely on a backplane to provide interconnections between all of the boards as a means of creating a larger system. A backplane is an advanced type of advanced board that combines elements of high speed design, mechanical design, high voltage/high current design, and even RF design. As they are complex mechanisms used for mission-critical defense systems and other highly important applications, backplanes must meet additional standards beyond the average reliability requirements in IPC. This being said, the concepts involved in layout and routing are familiar to many users who have worked with PCBs before. As such, this blog will offer some tips and tricks for users looking to optimize their PCB and backplane designs for ease-of-use.

With their vast array of connectors and nets, systems that make use of backplanes and PCBs can be overwhelming to approach, but keeping a few rules of thumb in mind while building your layout can make this task slightly less daunting. With routing, layout, and design at the forefront of concepts to consider, a good place to start is to determine which connectors will function best for your layout, and then build the rest of your design from there.

Before acquiring any parts for your backplane, one should consider five basic tasks that your system will perform so as to have a more informed approach to which components will provide the optimal functions. First, one should identify the pinouts, those of which are the points on each PCB where connectors can conjoin circuits. Some general guidelines one should adhere to in order to make for clear signals include largely horizontal routing and as little wire layering as possible. Furthermore, row-by-row setups keep things organized.

Once your pinouts are lined up, you can move forward with determining the layout of your backplane. One good rule of thumb is to minimize via transitions on high speed signals because vias add insertion loss to the interconnects and wastes electricity. Backdrilling your vias is beneficial as drilling into your via minimizes stub discontinuities on long transmission lines. Additionally, it can be helpful to take advantage of ground pour, as it can prevent impedance and does not occupy too much space on the board. Lastly, it is wise to make all unused signal layers into plane layers to keep your board cool.

Regardless of your applications, you can find all you need for your high-speed backplanes and printed circuit boards at Paragon Purchasing. As an ASAP Semiconductor owned and operated purchasing platform for high-caliber aviation, NSN, and electronic components, customers can rely on us time and time again to provide only premium products and services. With quality at the cornerstone of our operations, we are proudly an  AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accredited enterprise and we adhere to a strict No China sourcing pledge. Therefore, you can rest assured that all orders will arrive at your door with all applicable manufacturer and trace documentation, and the quality of our inventory is never compromised. Once you have taken the time to explore our ever-expanding inventory of new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items, kick-off the procurement process by submitting a completed Request for Quote form with as much detail as possible. Our around-the-clock professionals leverage their purchasing power and market expertise to provide quotations for your comparisons in 15 minutes or less with rapid lead times and cost savings. To learn more, contact us at any time via phone or email!


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