I always prefer to maintain a logical flow of signals and functionality in my PCB layouts. I think that this approach results in an easier design process and a better board. The AWG layout progresses from left to right: from power input and communication input/output, to the power supply circuitry, to the processor, to the DAC (which is controlled by the processor and constitutes the board’s transition from digital to analog), to the analog signal-conditioning circuitry, and finally to the output connector. Parts that don’t have a specific position in the functional flow—such as the oscillator (U4), the DAC’s passives (C16, R5, etc.), and the voltage reference (U3)—are arranged near the components that they support.
Panelization is the arranging of arrays of multiple PCBs onto a single substrate that fits in the standard processing machine. A panel may hold multiple boards with similar or different sizes and shapes. This method is faster and less costly compared to the fixtures, which require a custom carrier for every new PCB design.
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