Changing pads to vias (is it necessary?)

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jmuise
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Joined: 22 May 2019, 23:58

Changing pads to vias (is it necessary?)

#1 Post by jmuise » 23 May 2019, 00:09

Good day all,

Firstly I want to say that this forum has definitely helped me greatly so I never needed to ask anything until now! (im a newbie at PCB design).

I have a two layer PCB, the bottom layer is dedicated to a ground plane. Majority of my components have been downloaded/created from components databases (such as componentsearchengine.com), so these components are using pads and not vias. All my pads are touching both layers so the copper goes through the top layer and the bottom layer just like a via. For the purposes of "connecting" the top layer and the bottom layer for ground plane (so solder is not needed), I have been reading that vias are the way to go since you do not need to expose the copper on the surface like a pad would.

My bottom layer is poured copper (solid) and with a "direct" thermals (no spokes) since I am not soldering anything. My question is, how do I change these pads to vias without going to the component and changing it manually? Is it even necessary to change it to vias, since both the pads and vias are pretty much identical (other than the copper being exposed to the surface).

Thank you in advance!

rick.curl
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Posts: 137
Joined: 14 Jun 2010, 16:46

Re: Changing pads to vias (is it necessary?)

#2 Post by rick.curl » 23 May 2019, 13:31

Hi Jmuise-
I think you're saying that your components are through hole. If that's the case, there probably no need to do anything since the pads will be "plated through" so they connect both sides of the PCB.
If the components are surface mounted, then you can place a via close to a pad that needs to be connected to the ground plane, and then add the via to the ground plane net.
I usually place ground planes on both sides of a PCB. After most of the traces are in place I look at the ground planes and if I discover an area that is only connected by a small amount of copper I add a few extra vias to "stitch" the two ground planes together in several places. Ground plane is essentially free, since the board starts out completely covered in copper. In my case I like as much ground plane as possible because the boards I design have to work in an electrically noisy environment and the ground planes help shield sensitive circuitry.

-Rick

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