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Timing on PCB

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by CeeRox, Jun 9, 2006.

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  1. CeeRox

    CeeRox Guest


    Does anyone have experience in how to calculate the necessary trace
    lenght on a PCB for datasignals to a memory?
    for example, a databus from a DSP to a SDRAM?
    I've used application notes so far but all IC manufacturers does not
    provide this..

  2. Guest

    There is no necessary trace length for data signals to memory. Signal
    transmission speeds are around 2/3 of the speed of light ( 1 foot per
    nanaosecond) on printed circuit board, which is rarely significant on
    all but the largest printed circuit boards, and then only with very
    fast logic.

    You can slow down the propagation speed by loading the trace with a
    small capacitance at regular intervals - as on a bus - but this also
    messes up the edge speed, so it hardly ever comes into consideration.
    Microstrip transmission lines

    on the surface of a printed circuit board are dispersive, so you don't
    want to make them too long. Buried stripline transmission lines - with
    ground planes above and below the signal trace - aren't dispersive

    If you do need trace lengths, up-market printed circuit layout programs
    will calculate it for you - on the one occasion when I went to the
    trouble (on a board using ECLinPS logic) I had to add up segent lengths
    with my calculator. Very tedious, but Ultiboard 4.84 was cheap.
  3. CeeRox

    CeeRox Guest

    Don't I even have to consider timing on the curcuit board with SDRAM
    running on 150 MHz..? Don't I have to consider trace capacitance
    slowing down the signals different due to different trace lenghts?

    Aren't the simuation programs mainly for signal "integrety" issues and
    not for timing..?

  4. David

    David Guest

    You can figure this one out with a bit of maths. At 150 MHz, your clock
    periods are about 6 ns. In this time, the signal can travel 6*(2/3)*30
    = 120 cm (about 4 ft in old money). Thus one inch of trace is about 2%
    of your clock period. How significant that might be will depend on how
    close your timing is to start with. But as long as your memory is
    placed fairly close to your DSP, you should have no problems. If your
    memory is placed far away, then you will have to take some care - it is
    generally more important to match signal path lengths, rather than to
    get the minimal length.
  5. Guest

    If you really are running at 150MHz - as opposed to pipe-lining stuff
    around a system on a 150Mz clock - you will certainly need to keep a
    close eye on propagation delays.

    Having said that, I got a lot of my fast logic experience on a system
    using 5nsec ECL SRAM with an 800MHz master clock, originally intended
    to run with a 50MHz read-recompute-write cycle, which ended up with a
    25MHz cycle because one extremely smart engineer wasn't willing to
    invest serious attention in getting to 50MHz - he (correctly) forecast
    that the system would never get to production, though we did have a
    working prototype running pretty much to specification for six months
    before the project was canned.

    In that system, track lengths really didn't give us any trouble.
    Mis-routed tracks with lots of via's did, and a couple has to be
    replaced by sub-minature coax links.
    Anything that will do signal integrity should do propagation delay as
    well. In general, track propagation delays are smaller than production
    variation on propagtion delay, but a meticulous designer will check
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