Just about any PCB or system design produced today fits the criteria of "high speed," but that doesn't make them any less scary. Transmission-line theory, impedance calculation and control, termination strategies, and managing signal integrity are all topics that can cause sleepless nights for even seasoned PCB and system designers. All these topics, and many more, are covered in Lee Ritchey'sRight The First Time, a book born of Ritchey's long hands-on experience with PCB design.
Pictured on the cover ofRight The First Timeis the Golden Gate Bridge. Inside, the bridge is pictured next to a Boeing 777. What do these two items have in common, the author asks? It's that both were produced with no prototypes. They were "right the first time." Thus, the book is intended to help designers of systems with PCBs in them to achieve the difficult objective of designing correctly from the start while considering a myriad of engineering and cost issues.
The book is packed with charts, tables, waveform pictures, and other illustrative material that brings theory to life. One of the book's most useful attributes is its consideration of the "rules of thumb" that engineers often use to guide early design decisions. When are "rules of thumb" truly appropriate? How are they best applied, and when are they best ignored in favor of real detailed analysis of a problem? The author states that "high-speed design is the management of the non-ideal," a sentiment that is carried throughout the book's 48 short chapters. Within its 288 pages,Right The First Timepresents a ton of good, common-sense, practical engineering information that can be applied to any PCB design project.