Never Take Pin Numbering for Granted

Our all-things-about-electronics manufacturing standards body, the IPC, specifies the proper numbering order for most components. That’s a pretty nice thing that they do there, but it’s not always enough to prevent layout mishaps. Case in point a line of small PCB mount switches.

IPC calls out pin numbering for dual inline components, with pin one on the upper left (at zero degrees rotation), counting down, then over to the bottom right, and counting back up, as in the illustration below.

Given, that, it would be logical to assume that all dual inline components follow the same pattern. Logical, yes. Accurate, no. Multi-color LEDs, connectors and switches are some of the more common offenders.

In this particular switch, it’s not just a case of the numbering not following convention, it’s also different from one variant to another. I understand why. The switch isn’t changed between through-hole, top mount surface mount and side mount surface mount, but the leads have to be accessible from different parts of the package.

The following two footprints are from the same switch. One mounts on its side, and the other, standing up.

The pin one numbering doesn’t follow convention, nor does the numbering of pins 4 – 6. And, you may have also noticed that the two are top-to-bottom mirror images of each other. Ugh.

This is why my mantra is: Always check the datasheet. Always.

Duane Benson
Don’t take it for granite either, because granite is too heavy.

Laminate Libraries?

I was chatting today with Manny Marcano, the relentless force behind EMA Design Automation. He mentioned the company’s webinar tomorrow on library creation and management has several hundred designers registered.

“It is amazing to me that library creation and management is still a big challenge for CAD guys,” he noted. Given the advancements in software, he should be right, but the new parts keep coming even faster.

It did get me thinking, however: when will we see CAD tools begin to incorporate laminate data in the way they currently have the parts libraries? There are so many flavors of laminate these days, it’s nearly impossible to keep up. Yet the material choice plays a huge role in the manufacturability and performance of the finished product.