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PCB's - Horizontal or Vertical
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author PCB's - Horizontal or Vertical
dKRelease
Im trying to get an idea of what the preferred method is when it comes to mounting PCB's inside an enclosure. Im planning to build a stereo effects unit which will be housed inside a 2U case, with each channel occupying 1U. To avoid having to do any wiring, there are 2 ways it can be done as far as i can see.

1. One large PCB mounted parallel to the front panel, which all the pots and everything else will be mounted to vertically, for both channels. Then a second PCB the same size mounted behind this and fixed to it with standoffs, which would contain the circuitry for both channels (assuming all the circuitry will fit on a board no bigger than 2U in height). This method is probably easiest as any stereo interlinking can be done on the board, and it negates the need for any fixing to the enclosure other than via the pots. I'm wondering though whether this would suffice? I know this is a common method with the smaller Euro stuff but is it acceptable to have the main PCB mounted in this fashion given that it will be 19" and 2U?

2. Mount the boards horizontally, with 1 board per channel which will contain both the pots and the circuits for that channel. Im guessing this is the preferred method. I know the bottom board could be fixed to the bottom of the case (would prefer not to if possible) but i haven't managed to find a solution to fixing the upper board given that it'll be 1.75" away from the lower one. No standoffs that I have found are this long, which tells me it isn't the done thing, and I'm not sure joining them together is sensible either. I saw a picture of the inside of a similar unit a while back and i couldn't even see any fixings, meaning the PCB (maybe 16" x 4") was only fixed via the pots.

Im interested to hear ideas others may have as I'm sure there are plenty. Thanks in advance.

Dan
ersatzplanet
The parallel to front panel is my preferred method because it is a much sturdier end result - vibrations don't transmit themselves to the pot, switch, and jack solder connections as much as they do on a board hanging from them out a distance.

Parallel to the front panel PCBs allow the panel layout to be anything you want where the right angle version forces the controls and switches into one plane unless you want a lot of hand wiring (look at many Doepfer modules).

Parallel to the front panel PCBs mean you have to match parts more to get pots and jacks and switches with the same heights, or use pots with bushings but not bolt them to the front panel (the bushings will prevent shaft wobble). Right angle PCBs allow parts to be placed on the edge of the PCB so they will all be mountable to the front panel but they will most likely not be the same height from the PCB so will not align that way.

Parallel to the front panel PCBs also allow different know/switch/jack/feature sets using the same motherboard if that is desired. You can also stack motherboards and offer a stereo and mono versions with just a change of the front panel parts PCB.
EATyourGUITAR
you can hand wire things 1 inch. you can also split the design up into the front panel pcb and the main pcb. you can have removable pin headers. there are no rules. it all comes down to money and production scale. PEM standoffs are better than nylon standoffs. easy to work on sometimes will cost you in other areas such as noise floor, budget, reliability.
tobb
as its a stereo system maybe method 1 is the best to calibrate/trim the channels together.

method two needs horizontal trimmers at the back of the pcb,will make trimming more complex and prior assembling in the case,or you have to trim first the bottom channel then installing top channel and then trim that one.

You can also of course offset the trimmers on the pcb and provide holes on the top pcb but this means two different pcb setup costs when manufacturing..
EATyourGUITAR
tobb wrote:
as its a stereo system maybe method 1 is the best to calibrate/trim the channels together.

method two needs horizontal trimmers at the back of the pcb,will make trimming more complex and prior assembling in the case,or you have to trim first the bottom channel then installing top channel and then trim that one.

You can also of course offset the trimmers on the pcb and provide holes on the top pcb but this means two different pcb setup costs when manufacturing..

nope. you can be clever in how you design the PCB so that you populate the same components in different locations so that the trimmer lines up with the hole in the pcb. you need to be careful with what trimmer you use since the pads can not be directly under the trimmer where the drill hole is.
Synthiq
dKRelease wrote:

2. Mount the boards horizontally, with 1 board per channel which will contain both the pots and the circuits for that channel. Im guessing this is the preferred method. I know the bottom board could be fixed to the bottom of the case (would prefer not to if possible) but i haven't managed to find a solution to fixing the upper board given that it'll be 1.75" away from the lower one. No standoffs that I have found are this long, which tells me it isn't the done thing, and I'm not sure joining them together is sensible either. I saw a picture of the inside of a similar unit a while back and i couldn't even see any fixings, meaning the PCB (maybe 16" x 4") was only fixed via the pots.

Did you check Mouser for 1.75" standoffs? I found 17 there so maybe one of them would fit.
mskala
I wouldn't hesitate to thread two standoffs together to make up a desired length, if that turned out to be the easiest way to get the length I wanted. Standoffs are sturdy, usually with plenty of strength to spare beyond what this kind of job requires, and weakening the assembly a little by joining them isn't going to be a problem. That said, I'd be a little concerned about watching the overall depth of a module with a board that projects back from the panel. People always want things shallower as well as narrower, to fit in "skiffs" and above bus boards that consume case depth, and that tends to favour the board-parallel-to-panel approach.
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