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Remote Flying Fish Project Part 6: PCB Design (preparatory)

Now, it is time to get into the world of printed circuit boards (PCBs) Before you start reading the upcoming three chapters, I would like to notify you that this is going to be the longest part of the whole journey, because, you are about to create your own PCB!

Chapter 6-8 focuses on the use of DesignSpark PCB,
hence is only designed for Windows users.

Preparatory work:

  1. Download and install DesignSpark PCB


  2. Prepare a list of your desired components to be used
  3. Download all the corresponding datasheets by simply googling
  4. Get a mouse if you are using notebook


Here is the flowchart showing the overall workflow of PCB manufacturing. The BLUE BOXES denote the procedures that take place in DesignSpark PCB.



  1. Design outline is about how you want to connect each of the components in the circuit so that they all work together. You might want to consider, for example, power flow over the circuit.
  2. Design re-validation is to check again if everything placed into the schematic is connected correctly, and see if there is anything missing. For example, you might want to have an LED indicating the power-on status but missed it out of the schematic.
  3. Mechanical design outline is in regard to the 3D structure of the whole PCB you are creating, in which you need to consider the width, length, and height of the final product.


  • PCB fabrication is simply to send the Gerber file to a PCB producer for fabrication. So after some days, your PCB will be delivered to you.
  • Soldering is the process of 'gluing' the ICs (integrated circuits) as well as other components onto the PCB, in the case of soldering, the 'glue' is usually made of tin!
  • Testing, well, you know what this means.


In the following section, I would like to give you a preview of the work done in the coming chapters.

Schematic diagram:


PCB layout:


List of components being used in my design (free feel to change as required):

  • Lithium polymer battery (3.7V, 750mah, 25C)
  • Electrolytic capacitors
  • Ceramic capacitors
  • Tantalum capacitors
  • Sheild inductor
  • Schottky diode
  • SMD (surface mount device) resistors
  • DC-DC converter IC PAM2421
  • Motor driver IC DRV8833PWP
  • HM-10 BLE module
  • Arduino Nano 3.0
  • PCB jumpers (female)
  • PCB pin headers
  • PCB socket

So, although you don't see much in terms of the specification here, don't worry, I will share in the following two chapters.

Do spend some time to digest this chapter and try thinking about your own design!

 Parts in this series


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