Understanding the Importance of Quality Circuit Board Design

circuit board design

Most people are well aware that electronic devices have circuit boards in them.  And while circuit board failures happen all the time within computers, many people don't realize just how disruptive it can be when a circuit board is defective in a major appliance or gadget.  In fact, it wasn't that long ago (June, 2015) that TTC subways were shut down during the morning rush hours due to a defective circuit board.  This led to millions of people being unable to make it to work on time and other destinations.  

​​pcb manufacturer

The primary problem that the defective circuit board led to was the inability to communicate with each train.  Because of this, the safety critical system was last, meaning there was no communication via the radio system.  The circuit board that was believed to be defective was in one of the transfer switches, and so at 6:30 AM the trains were halted.  

All together, the trains were shut down for a full 90 minutes.  Not only did this anger commuters, but it caused residual delays.  And while riders would have enjoyed having shuttle buses as an alternate form of transportation, none were called because the TTC CEO knew the outrage and competition for getting on the buses would only lead to chaos.  

printed circuit boards

In addition to shutting down TTC, various communication methods were affected, including emails and phones.  Because of this, this led to TTC's e-blast system, which informs customers of the delays, to be interrupted, too.  Some people may think that shutting down the train system was overreacting, but as the Mayor stated, the best decision was made because the trains simply shouldn't operate if there is no communication with them, and there wasn't.  

​​pcb prototype

Many people are wondering how one defective circuit board could halt train service for so long.  Truth is, though, almost all circuits run together.  And while backup systems are in place to overcome defective issues, these systems for some reason did not activate.  

The Takeaway

The importance of quality circuit board design and manufacturing cannot be undervalued.  After all, with one defective circuit board comes the ability to shut down an entire subway and train system.