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Seminar: The Billion Dollar Mistake – EMC & PCB Design

Headshot of Daniel Beeker

Daniel Beeker

Technical Director
NXP Semiconductors

Date and time:

January 16th and 17th, 2024

From 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Pacific time

Location: Online via Zoom

Price: $495



The Billion Dollar Mistake by Daniel Beeker is back!

The Billion Dollar Mistake by Daniel Beeker is coming back on January 16th and 17th, 2024.

We all are involved with developing products that generate, control, and consume ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD ENERGY. This is not what we are taught. Circuit theory suggests that electrical energy comprises electrons moving in the conductors. Switches add conductors, and the current instantly starts to move in the loop. The wires carry the energy, and the load instantly responds to the energy flow. WRONG!! Switches add new spaces, and the moving field carries the energy. It takes time for the field energy to move into that space. The moving field energy has no idea what it is at the end of the new space. Field energy moving through a space is the current flow. The magic here is the displacement current flowing through the dielectric at the wavefront, completing the circuit. Fields do all the work. “Current flow” is a measure of field energy moving through a space. “Current flow” occurs in the space between the conductors that bound the dielectric. Some of the fields interact with the molecules in the outer surfaces of the conductors. This interaction consumes some of the field energy, hence a resulting voltage drop caused by this “resistance.” The consumption of field energy results in increased movement of the molecules, hence is converted to “heat”! The dielectric also consumes energy the same way, unless it is a vacuum. Electromagnetic energy moves slower through a physical dielectric than through space. Field energy can only travel in space, not through matter. It takes TIME for the energy to go around the molecules it encounters. The higher the molecular density, the longer the path; hence, it takes the field longer to go from one place to another. Once created, EM field energy can only move from one space into another as we intend, be converted into kinetic energy, or radiate into the surrounding spaces.

The billion dollar mistake: Changing the status quo

Engineering teams worldwide face increasingly difficult challenges in designing electronic products and achieving good signal integrity and compliance. However, the status quo had become to expect the design to fail EMC testing, not just once, but three, four, or as many as five times. Each time the design is sent to be retested, there is little confidence in success. This cycle is expensive in both the time it takes to redesign the product and the cost of expediting fabricating the new PCB and assembly. Add this to the cost of retesting the product, and the numbers add up very quickly. This expense and delay in product certification are not in the budget or the schedule. The expense directly affects the bottom line of the electronic supply company, but also affects the customers waiting for the product. Instead of designing the next big thing, teams are trying to fix the current one. As a result, billions of dollars are lost each year designing products that are expected to fail.

Electromagnetic fields for normal folks: Show me the pictures and hold the equations, please!

The material presented will be focused on the physics of electromagnetic energy basic principles, presented in easy-to-understand language with plenty of diagrams. Attendees will discover how understanding EM field behavior can help design PCBs that will be more robust and have better EMC performance. This is not rocket science but an easy-to-understand application of PCB geometry.

Effective PCB design: Techniques to improve performance

As IC geometries continue to shrink and switching speeds increase, designing electromagnetic systems and printed circuit boards to meet the required signal integrity and EMC specifications has become even more challenging. A new design methodology is required. Specifically, the utilization of an electromagnetic physics-based design methodology to control the field energy in your design will be discussed. This training module will review the development process and provide guidelines for building successful, cost-effective printed circuit boards.

After introducing EM field behavior, this course will describe several effective methods for designing the spaces used to direct EM fields on a PCB. Simple rules for managing these fields will be described, based on one fundamental behavior. How fast does the switch change states? This defines the requirements for the power distribution and the geometry of the space between the output of the switch and the receiver. Several real-world examples of the use of these principles, both for designing compliant boards and for analyzing EMC failures are presented.

Novel power distribution system design

This presentation will present a simple EM physics and geometry-based approach to designing power distribution networks on PCBs. The simple rules discussed can be used to reduce power supply noise and improve EMC from the input power connection to the IC die. New research will be presented on the impact of discrete components on radiated and conducted emissions, with an emphasis on cost analysis.

Feeding the beast: Consumption-based PCB design

This session is a step-by-step guideline for determining the PCB design requirements based on device energy consumption requirements. Wave cycle times and transmission line capacity form the basis of this philosophy. The session will begin with a review of EM field behavior and transmission line design, then outline a process for analyzing the real power delivery challenge posed by a high-performance microprocessor. Starting with the DC current specification, we will use the device package pinout to determine the necessary PCB networks required to support the delivery of power to the device. The course will center on the LS1043 Network processor, with a focus on the core power supply requirements (7 A/uS). The package pinout and clock frequency will be used to determine the real “coulombs per wave cycle” that the PDN must support. This will then be used to design both local storage requirements and connecting structures. A spreadsheet will be presented, which can be used to do a quantitative analysis of the transmission line capability based on the impedance and length, so the number of wave cycles needed to deliver the required charge. This perspective can be used in the initial design phase or to evaluate existing designs. EMC test results from a production design, MPC-LS-VNP-MOD, using this approach, will be presented.

Stacking the deck: Maximizing the PCB layer design for signal integrity and EMC performance

This session will focus on the importance of understanding the role of the PCB layers in directing the signal and power supply energy between the board layers. The focus is on knowing which dielectric you are using, and how to move that energy between dielectric layers in the PCB.

HDI via design: Planning the energy pipelines

This session will focus on the importance of understanding the advantages and limitations of high density via usage. The key is understanding how to connect the signals and grounds through the board stackup. It is also essential to understand what is needed to provide the proper thermal connections between the ICs and ground planes.

PCB design techniques to improve ESD robustness

This presentation will give some simple definitions for ESD/EOS, and describe the important differences in the energy involved and the type of damage that can result. PCB design techniques for improving system robustness will be presented.

See the Billion Dollar Mistake by Daniel Beeker class details below.


About Daniel Beeker

With more than 42 years of experience in electronic system design and EMC, Daniel Beeker provides application support for NXP Automotive customers worldwide. Daniel also supports NXP customers globally with special function development tools and instrumentation. Daniel specializes in EMC and signal integrity design techniques for systems and PCBs, especially in low-layer count designs. In support of this, Daniel has completed more than 250 PCB design evaluations for customers and internal NXP products. Daniel teaches field-based design techniques at NXP and industry conferences worldwide, with more than 150 sessions with more than 6000 attendees since 2010. Daniel is also involved with NXP IC package design and IC development tool teams to support improved EMC performance, working on more than 25 IC designs.

Daniel’s unique approach to EMC is the result of many years of collaboration with one of the fathers of our industry, Ralph Morrison, whose foundation textbook, “Grounding and Shielding Techniques,” was published in 1967. Ralph’s science-based approach to design has formed the basis for Daniel’s design philosophy, which has resulted in consistent success in both his designs and those of his students. Daniel also attributes his success to his association with another industry leader, Rick Hartley. The influence of these two extremely knowledgeable mentors can be seen in Daniel’s material and his passion for sharing this perspective with the engineering community.

Daniel was the first recipient of UBM Publishing’s 2017 Annual Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Award as the Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Speaker of the Year and was a Keynote speaker at Altium Live 2017 in San Diego and Altium Live 2019 in Munich. Dan is a regular presenter at both PCB East/West and DesignCon/Embedded Systems conferences, IEEE EMC Society and NXP training events, as well as special events hosted by Sierra Circuits. Daniel is also a major contributor to PCB Africa, which is a project to increase the expertise in the central Africa electrical engineering community.


If you have questions about the Billion Dollar Mistake by Daniel Beeker class, email Lucy.

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