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Produce functional PCBs the first time around.

DRC Checks

Begin here.

  • Run a DRC. Does it report anything?
  • Are there any errors aside from overlapping stabilizer/switch pads?

Physical Checks

These errors are easy to miss, since some are not scanned by DRC.

  • Is the PCB the correct size?
  • Is USB connector placed at its proper location?
  • Are there any components so large that they will interfere with the chassis?
  • Are the keys placed in correct layout?
  • Are there overlapping parts?

Trace Checks

Correct routing is important.

  • Do any traces overlap each other?
  • Do any traces go through holes and/or pads?
  • Do any traces fall off the PCB edge?
  • Are there any pointless disconnected traces?
  • Do any traces go so close to pads that they enter their no-mask zone?
    • This can result in shorted circuits after soldering, even if they pass an unsoldered electrical check.

Component Checks

Will the parts function?

  • Is the pinout of the components correct?
    • Specifically, is the crystal, MCU, and USB connector pinouts correct?
      • Often, on a 4-pad crystal, the crystal pads and gnd pads are placed diagonally from each other.
      • If you have two adjacent same nets or an unconnected pad on crystal, you may have incorrect pinout!
    • Even identical footprint components sometimes have differing pinout.
    • Check the documentation for the parts for their correct pinout.
  • Are you using the correct parts for the task?
  • Are you using the correct footprints?
  • Will the placement of parts cause nearby parts to fail?
    • Heat, EMI, etc.
  • Are decoupling capacitors placed at their correct positions?
    • Near VCC/GND MCU pairs, close to crystal, close to RGB LED, etc.


More eyes is better.

  • Load the gerber in a gerber viewer. Does it render as expected?
  • Let peers error-check your project. Do they find anything suspicious?
  • Does the PCB avoid pitfalls described in this wiki?

Aesthetic Checks

For beauty-oriented PCBs.

  • Are there any component label silkscreen components that overlap pads or holes?
  • Do any labels overlap other labels?
  • Do silkscreen decorations or branding cover up critical component labels?