Right the First Time



By Lee W. Ritchey
John Zasio and Edited by Kella Knack


“Right the First Time, A Practical Handbook on High Speed PCB and System Design, Volume 1,” is the premier publication of Speeding Edge. It was written by Speeding Edge founder and president, Lee W. Ritchey, co-authored by John Zasio, an recognized industry expert in high-speed design, and edited by Kella J. Knack, former editor of Printed Circuit Design and ASIC&EDA magazines. Published in the summer of 2003, the book is a thorough, comprehensive technical publication that addresses all aspects of high-speed PCB and system design and also includes several chapters on power subsystem design.

The book describes all of the principles involved in high-speed design such as transmission line management, signal integrity, power subsystem design, PCB materials and EMI control. Each technical term is defined in terms of its physics and how it applies to high-speed design. In addition, PCB material and fabricator selection, cost issues and design trade-off decisions are discussed in detail to provide the complete picture of all the factors involved in designing and implementing high-speed systems.

While geared towards engineering professionals, the book is also of significant value to anyone involved in making business decisions relative to designing and implementing high-speed systems. It presents a complete picture of what goes into developing a high-speed system including PCB material and fabricator selection; cost issues and design trade-off decisions. It also contains an exhaustive glossary of technical terms, their definitions and their use relative to high-speed design.  Click here for an Errata Sheet.

NEW! Open the Expanded Index for “Right the First Time”.


Designers’ Guide Homes In On Printed-Circuit Boards

John Blyler
November/December 2003

An overwhelming amount of information can be covered in the area of high-speed printed-circuit-board (PCB) design and manufacturing. To approach this topic, for example, one recent book merges 10 years of course instruction, 30 years of experience, and countless interactions with engineers. Right The First Time: A Practical Handbook On High-Speed PCB And System Design focuses on fundamental concepts as well as system-level topics. Examples of these topics include crosstalk control, transmission-line management, and power-subsystem design.  Engineering professionals will find the practical nature of this book especially useful. Like Coombs classic tome on PCB design, Lee W. Ritchey’s book provides basic definitions and terminology in concise, richly illustrated blocks. In addition, it includes information on the more practical matters of design. A great number of illustrations have been taken directly from oscilloscope and logic-analyzer screens. Right The First Time touches on many of the topics that are crucial to the development of today’s high-speed boards. They range from PCB material, fabricator selection, and cost issues to design-tradeoff decisions. More specifically, it covers basic issues like right-angle bends and via as potential sources of reflection. The book also addresses critical concerns, such as signal integrity and power-plane calculations. The volume contains a plentiful glossary and extensive bibliography as well. The appendix even contains an anatomy of a plated through hole along with a detailed template for PCB-supplier selection. Among the interesting topics that are detailed are basic transmission theory; termination strategies; managing overshoot, undershoot, and ground bounce; and noise management. The book also covers power systems, coupling, differential pair control, instruments and tools, and IC package properties. The broad, complex, and ever-changing topic of high-speed PCB design is challenging. Obviously, it cannot be fully covered in one book. In this volume, for example, one would have liked to see more mention of the various data formats. Undoubtedly, they will be covered in the second volume, which is due out in 2004. Recognizing the constantly changing nature of the PCB industry, the author did note that his book will be updated on a regular basis. Right The First Time: A Practical Handbook On High-Speed PCB And System Design by Lee W. Ritchey is available from Speeding Edge (www.speedingedge.com) as an eBook download for $25.00. The ISBN number is 2003109272.

Wireless Systems Design Magazine, November-December 2003. Reprinted with permission.

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” It’s dense. There is real insight and information on every page, either in the form of data or concepts. My manager was impressed with your detailed explanation of measuring ground bounce.”

“It marries theory with practice, and gives historical perspective. The stories behind the ´no-right-angle-bends´ rule and behind the calculation of characteristic impedance of PCB traces are both good examples of this. Theory, myth, experiment, history and insight. “

“It’s written for engineers, not layout designers or academics (although they would benefit). “

Stewart Walton, AIO EE

Networking industry professionals have long regarded Lee Ritchey as a ranking expert in the difficult world of high-speed design. He has worked with many leading companies including 3Com and Procket Networks. And I´m sure I’m not the only one who has said to Lee, “You ought to write a book!” In fact, I think he knows more about the subject than any human being ought to know. Well, Lee has taken someone´s advice (probably not mine) and written “Right the First Time, a Practical Handbook on High-Speed PCB and System Design, Volume 1.” Those who have worked with Lee or have taken his short courses (through UC Berkeley Extension or at various conferences) know that he may have 27 more volumes to go! Anyway, this one covers signal integrity issues, noise management, power subsystem design, coupling and crosstalk, test equipment, and packaging, surely enough for one book. The publisher is Speeding Edge (Lee´s own company), the price is $125, and you may order the book from the company website (www.speedingedge.com) or by telephone at (707) 568-3983. If you work on high-speed design and have faced any of the above- -mentioned problems, I think you´ll want this book on your shelf. The issues Lee discusses will only become more critical and more perplexing as operating speeds increase, voltage differentials decrease, and power budgets tighten.

Lance A. Leventhal
Network Systems Design Conference Newsletter, December 2003

EDN – “Book provides practical tips on high-speed pc-board design” by Gabe Moretti



By Lee W. Ritchey
John Zasio and Edited by Kella Knack



Volume 2 has been designed to provide engineering as well as business decision makers a thorough treatment on the process of fabricating complex PCBs including a detailed description of the PCB fabrication process; PCB material selection; EMI and EMC; Gigabit and higher signaling issues; the PCB design process; power delivery details; testing, simulation and simulators and IC package design. As with Volume 1, Volume 2 also contains an extensive glossary of terms, their definitions and their use relative to high-speed design.

Topic Highlights Include:

  • Simulation methodologies and toolsets
  • PCB design process
  • Additional power delivery topics
  • Blind and buried vias
  • A complete description of various PCB structures and their influence on signal integrity
  • The build-up fabrication process
  • Bare and assembled board testing
  • Glass styles and their impact on board impedance
  • Split planes and return currents
  • Understanding and controlling EMI
  • Differential signaling management in Gigabit and higher designs
  • IC package design for high-speed circuits
  • The virtual prototyping process and the tools used in the process
  • A detailed PCB fabrication specification
  • Power system tests
  • Comprehensive laminate data for high-speed applications