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rntsai
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« on: October 11, 2014, 05:11:58 17:11 »

I hope this is the right place to ask a question like this.

I have an idea for a hardware project and I'd like to put together schematics, do layout and fab a prototype.
The project has an fpga and some analog/rf parts. I can take care of the schematics and what's inside the fpga
but for the layout and fab I'm stuck...I know the steps but that's not my area and I need someone
good who can handle high speed digital and rf layout. Any suggestions? I'm open to collaborations or any
suggestions of (cheap but solid) companies....

Thanks,
r.n.
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TucoRamirez
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2014, 05:20:59 17:20 »

what's your capture-> pcb routing platteform?   what are the constraint list to fill (Signal integrity and RF - EM )?
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Sideshow Bob
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2014, 08:13:21 20:13 »

All FPGA vendors provide guidelines for this, like recommended approach and placement for decoupling components.
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optikon
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2014, 10:05:15 22:05 »

I hope this is the right place to ask a question like this.

I have an idea for a hardware project and I'd like to put together schematics, do layout and fab a prototype.
The project has an fpga and some analog/rf parts. I can take care of the schematics and what's inside the fpga
but for the layout and fab I'm stuck...I know the steps but that's not my area and I need someone
good who can handle high speed digital and rf layout. Any suggestions? I'm open to collaborations or any
suggestions of (cheap but solid) companies....

Thanks,
r.n.


Max clock speed of FPGA that will be on pcb?
Max operating frequency of the analog/RF ?

What is the nature of the analog/RF design?
Noise / performance requirements?


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joebazoka
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2014, 12:52:03 00:52 »

Is a complex question. The pcb layout require some technics that depends of frequency, components nature, type of pcb. There are specialized books about this like "High Speed Digital Design: A Handbook of Black Magic". Regards.
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rntsai
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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2014, 01:50:27 01:50 »

@TucoRamirez and @Optikon
Altium Designer because I have access to it. I don't have specific constraints other than they should follow good layout practice (differential lines have to be matched, RF traces and stackup done carefully...) The highest speed digital lines are probably ~1GHz LVDS signals. The RF isn't too complex and there aren't too many
lines. In fact the company (analog devices) provides schematics and layout data :
http://wiki.analog.com/resources/eval/user-guides/ad-fmcomms3-ebz/hardware
so I would be looking to heavily borrow from this (I don't want to spend $750 for the board and more money for an FPGA board...)

PS. I don't want to do the layout myself (not my area)...what I'm really looking for is external help...

 
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vern
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2014, 04:19:30 16:19 »

Quote
(I don't want to spend $750 for the board and more money for an FPGA board...)
I think the $750 would be money well spent, because the AD9361 alone costs about $200, +Layout, PCB and manufacturing...
That is hard to beat. And you can be sure it works.
I would concentrate on the FPGA and the interface.
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bigtoy
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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2014, 12:33:56 00:33 »

You could ask your local ADI rep if you can have a free board. If you can tell a good story about what're planning on using it for, and how it could help them (eg promoting their part, being a good demo, etc) they do often give those boards away. That will then simplify the FPGA board because now you don't need the RF stuff on it. Then... if you can get an FPGA board free the same way, your custom PCB now just becomes an adapter board between them.
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rntsai
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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2014, 04:15:37 04:15 »

@vern and @bigtoy
Good points...for the prototype. I still would like to know what are my options for layout if I need to do a small build of these (~20 boards)
I'm sure combining the RF and FPGA (and getting rid of the big FMC connector) will be necessary for a usable product
« Last Edit: October 14, 2014, 04:20:16 04:20 by rntsai » Logged
vern
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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2014, 10:26:59 10:26 »

it all depends on the complexity of the circuit and the country you live in and the money you are willing to spend.
If what you are planning is very complex you could end up in thousands of dollars.
I would have to see a schematic to recommend someone or give some hints.
Having a layout made by someone who has no experience with high speed layouts or RF could be very costly and time consuming.
You have to know what you are doing, because once you have a board and it doesn't work it is very hard to debug it, you need some very expensive equipment for this kind of bug-hunt. I know it because I do layouts with RF and high speed and made some mistakes myself. (but I don't have time right now, even for interesting projects)
You have to draw the schematic anyway, so why not do this first?

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optikon
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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2014, 02:53:23 14:53 »


PS. I don't want to do the layout myself (not my area)...what I'm really looking for is external help...

 

Then what you are after is a PCB design service, if you are not going to do the work yourself. If you do it yourself and need help from others, a forum like this one is good but thats not what you are after.
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fpgaguy
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2014, 09:26:27 21:26 »

For work,  - Most of the pcb design services will give you a free quote if you upload the details
I sometimes farm my boards out and it can be from from 50$USD to >50K depending on how many pins, space, density, and constraints you have
They will also consider how fast you want it, as most modern places will allow "follow the sun" type of work with 3 shifts
For Home - I'll do it myself I have no money to spend on that - and if you can modify the eval card by adding another "simple" card on - you can save all this work and expense. Generally the eval / demo cards are priced way below what you could make one for





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rntsai
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« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2014, 06:15:33 06:15 »

it all depends on the complexity of the circuit and the country you live in and the money you are willing to spend.
If what you are planning is very complex you could end up in thousands of dollars.
I would have to see a schematic to recommend someone or give some hints.
Having a layout made by someone who has no experience with high speed layouts or RF could be very costly and time consuming.
You have to know what you are doing, because once you have a board and it doesn't work it is very hard to debug it, you need some very expensive equipment for this kind of bug-hunt. I know it because I do layouts with RF and high speed and made some mistakes myself. (but I don't have time right now, even for interesting projects)
You have to draw the schematic anyway, so why not do this first?



The RF schematics (and layout) would be a stripped down version of what's given by the manufacturer
http://wiki.analog.com/resources/eval/user-guides/ad-fmcomms3-ebz/hardware
(the FMC connector would be taken out). I also have schematics from Xilinx for one
of their cheaper development boards. I would strip it down to the bare minimum.
I've done projects like this before where I did the schematics and contracted out the layout and fab
and I know these can be expensive. I wasn't paying out of my pocket for these, but this project I will be.
I figured I'd ask here to see if there are other ways to push this through. If I have a firm idea of the cost I'm
even thinking of putting the project on Kickstarter to see if there's enough demand to fund it;
but I need to know the total cost and people committed to doing it for that cost so I know what to ask for..
Anyway at this point it doesn't look like there are too many options
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Gallymimu
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« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2014, 04:53:49 04:53 »

You could easily spend a few thousand on a design like this.  AND it might not even be right the first time...

You should definitely check with engineering design services companies in your area.
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mexpcb
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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2014, 12:17:32 00:17 »

i can help with the layout and for the fab you can get some quotes until you have the board or you can make some tricks adding some dummy components, vias , board size etc in order to get an idea of the price, of course you need to know what would be your requirements or the board type in order to add it on to the "test Board for quotes", i can also help you with that if i have time....
at the frequencies you will work there is no much to worry, even you can use FR4, and depending of the complexity of the board we can work on it to possible doing double layer instead a double layer, its hard to tell up to know but if you can provide more information i can help you more....


regards
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