In this tutorial we show the steps to do electronics projects with Proteus electronics design software. The project will illustrate the LED blinking using the 555 Timer. This is a small project which is excellent for you to practice.

We start by showing the circuit schematic of the electronics circuit we want to build and show you simulation, PCB design, 3D visualization before fabrication, how to make PCB at home(DIY PCB board), checking the circuit and finally testing the circuit.

The following figure shows the circuit schematic of the 555 timer along with all the required components that we will build and test.


The first step is to to draw this circuit and simulate it in Proteus. The simulation of this circuit was shown in previous post where you can also watch video of the simulation. Visit the following link for this-

Illustration of Astable Mode of operation of 555 Timer

After you have completed the circuit design step, the next step is to transfer the circuit layout to pcb layout editor to make the PCB. This is easy with Proteus (as opposed with other available PCB software like Altium designer). In proteus you just have to click the PCB Layout icon in the toolbar as shown in the following figure.



Initially, your PCB layout will be blank and you have to make the PCB starting by sketching the board, placing the components, specify the design rules(trace width, distance between traces, mechanical holes etc, also single layer).

Once you have done so you should get a similar PCB layout like the following.


This is a single sided PCB board. Notice that the trace width for both the power and signal are the same. Usually the power trace lines have higher trace width than signal width but here they are kept the same. In this tutorial all the traces have T30 width which means 30 mils.

Then you could visualize the design in 3D in order to see how your final design will look like. If you are not satisfied or your customer is not satisfied then you could then change your layout. To get the 3D view you have to click the 3D Visualizer button in the toolbar.



The following shows the 3D picture of the designed system.


The bottom shows the copper traces.


Once you are satisfied with your component placement and look the next step is to print the PCB layout. There are many different ways to make a PCB board. In this tutorial we will use the Toner Transfer method using heat which is generally used by DIY people for home made PCB. In this method you need to use laser printer(not ink dot matrix printer).

The print setting and printer is available under the Output tab in the toolbar. You can adjust your printer and printing position etc there. Once you have set all those, print the layout onto Glossy Paper(people also use magazine paper).

If you don't have Laser Printer you can just save the layout in PDF format and print it where you have access to laser printer. Such layout saved as PDF is shown below.



After you have printed out the layout cut the required layout from the rest of the paper.

The next step is to cut the copper board in the same size of the layout. Once you have cut the board, clean the board with dish cleaning liquids and scrubbing materials. In this process you can also use the acetone or nail polisher. Remember that the copper board must be very clean for this toner transfer method PCB design.

Once you have so place the glossy paper printed and cut layout onto the top of the clean copper board. The printed layout should face or touch the copper board. After rightly positioning, use very hot cloth iron and press gently at first to make the paper stick to the copper board. Then iron over and over the paper so that the toner gets transferred to the copper.


Do this for about 10 to 30 minutes(depends on the paper, iron etc).


After ironing, wait for 5 to 10 minutes and let the board+paper cool down.

Then put the board+paper into a bowl of warm water.


After a while start peeling of the paper. You should similar result like the following.


At this point we have transferred the tone of to the copper clad board.

The next step is the etching process. The following picture shows the board to be etched.


Now we have to etch the unprotected copper using Ferric Chloride solution. Basically you just put the board into the Ferric Chloride solution(Put Ferric Chloride into water making the concentration of FeCl3 high). Also be cautious of using Ferric Chloride. Do not place the solution in a metal material bowl and do not touch the solution. It is warned here that Ferric Chloride is reactive.

Also you can put the solution onto a warm/hot water bath as shown below.



After a while the copper will dissolve and you should have only the copper trances underneath the toner on the board. You should check once in a while depending upon your Ferric Chloride solution.

After etching, the next step is use acetone(nail polisher can also be used) to remove the toner remaining on the board.

You should then get PCB board like the following.


Then Drill the board to make holes at the appropriate places.

Once done start placing the components and soldering them to the copper pads. Following figure shows these.


Backside-


After soldering is complete the design looks like this-


At this point you should check with your multimeter whether there are any broken traces or pad connections.

Once you have done this you are ready to test the circuit. .Here we use 9V battery, connect and test the circuit as shown.


The LED should blink at some rate. In this way you can make your own electronics circuit using Proteus and home made PCB board.

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