Layer Stack Up

One of the most important information working with PCBs is the one concerning its composition. PCB-Investigator accomodates this by presenting the essential layer stack up information clearly visible in its own fully customisable layer panel on the left edge of the screen.

The Layer Panel

The layer panel contains a structured overview over all layers with their respective names, materials, and types (e.g. silk screen, solder paste, signal layer, etc.). Additionally, each layer is assigned a specific colour making it easier to spot layers of the same type on first glance (e.g. orange for copper, green for solder mask).

Fig 1. - PCB-Investigator Layer panel.

If possible, this layer overview gets generated automatically, but it should be noted that not all data formats provide the same degree of information, some - especially Gerber as the most "basic" format - lack necessary information like the layer material and being only a single file also the layer structure which should be complemented manually.

The Layer Matrix menu

Fig 2. - Layer Matrix Menu

To change e.g. the order of layers, you have to open the "Layer Matrix" menu, which can either be directly accessed through right-clicking in the layer panel and selecting "Open Matrix" or selecting "Fabrication » Matrix" in the main menu. There you are able to i.a. add new layers, load predefined standard stack ups, and even print a report of your stack up or export it as CSV.

In addition to the order of the individual layers every other information like default stackup, layer type, hights, layer attributes, material, colour, etc. can also be adjusted to fully fit your needs. Once every configuration is in order the printed curcuit board can thoroughly be inspected by selecting one or more layers (by simply clicking on them) for visual representation. By default, each layer is assigned a specific colour so that it can quickly be identified which parts and layers are belonging together. Related colours and layers can be found between the checkbox and the layer name. Should the colours not meet your preferences, they can also be adjusted either seperately through right-clicking on the concerning layer and selecting "Set Color of Layer" or globally through "Start » Setup Colours".

For example, you can choose a standard stackup for your pcb. To do so, right-click on "File" in the upper left corner of the menu. There, you have the option to choose one of the default stackups.

Example: Definition of Epsilon

You can define this value using the "Open Matrix" button. Click on the change button (marked with a pencil symbol) at the corresponding layer. The following window will open. Here you can add attributes at the bottom left side of the window. Select ".dielectric_constant" to enter the corresponding value for εr and press "Add". To confirm the value click on "Accept".