PCB as-built

Ocassionally i need to make a schematic of a PCB from a device I'm
troubleshooting or modifying. Usually these are simple boards but I still
find it maddening to be flipping it over and back to try and follow the
traces and the connected components. Are there some tricks that make this
easier. Mirror or digital camera then flip the picture?
Reply to
JensenC
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I used to just stick them on the scanner and print out a b&w enlarged picture of the component side. Then, as I include components on my circuit diagram, I dotted them on the picture. The enlarged bit helps as I can then read the chip labels or the board notation. B&W is not good for reading resistor/capacitor colour coding!
But recently I have been doing the opposite - copy the track side on the printer and work from the printed copy whilst looking at the component side. I then "colour in" the tracks that I have accounted for.
Both have their pros and cons. Possibly the former is better with high component density and the latter better where an enlarged track is easier to follow.
Reply to
Palindr☻me
Thanks Sue for that idea. The scanner is sitting right here and I didn't think of it. Much easier than either a mirror or fussing with a digital camera.
Chuck
Reply to
JensenC
: Ocassionally i need to make a schematic of a PCB from a device I'm : troubleshooting or modifying. Usually these are simple boards but I still : find it maddening to be flipping it over and back to try and follow the : traces and the connected components. Are there some tricks that make this : easier. Mirror or digital camera then flip the picture? : : When I had to do it with components in place, I used to get a bright light behind the board, esp if it was just a phenolic type. If the board has a legend, you could clip off all the components and scan both sides, color the traces of each side different, then print them on clear mylar, the type used for overhead presentations, overlay the two and go to work. A third or more layers and you're sorta screwed though . A light table helps with that too.
I feel fer ya!
Pop
Reply to
Pop
Scan both sides and combine the images with an alpha value. If you digitally tint one side a different color, you should be able to tell what's on bottom and what's on top.
Reply to
cbm5
Thanks - light tables are a handy thing. Used to use them alot in land surveying to compare maps to each other.
Reply to
JensenC
Cool, I was sorta wondering about that. It'll be fun to try.
Reply to
JensenC
Get some transparent material (e.g. mylar) and cut it to size and secure it to the solder side of the PCB. Then use a marker (permanent or possibly dry erase) to copy the copper traces. To get the view of the solder side from the component side, simply turn over the transparency. The same can be done for the component side. Also, inkjet printers will print on mylar (not sure about laser jet), so this process could be combined with the digital photo method, just make sure you work on a 1:1 scale.
Mr. M
Reply to
spinning
: : Get some transparent material (e.g. mylar) and cut it to size and : secure it to the solder side of the PCB. Then use a marker (permanent : or possibly dry erase) to copy the copper traces. To get the view of : the solder side from the component side, simply turn over the : transparency. The same can be done for the component side. Also, : inkjet printers will print on mylar (not sure about laser jet), so this : process could be combined with the digital photo method, just make sure : you work on a 1:1 scale. : : Mr. M :
Most lasers will work well on mylar; especially transparencies.
Pop
Reply to
Pop

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