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Common Problems with Gerber Files and How to Avoid Them

The PCB manufacturing process is complex. The precision of the manufactured PCBs hinges on many things, but none more important than accurate and complete manufacturing or design data, most often Gerber files. A wide variety of PCB design software applications are used to produce manufacturing data, and the complexity of each design can vary significantly.
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pcb-gold

Circuit Board Design Tips for Hard or Soft Gold

Due to the specialized nature of hard gold and soft gold surface finishes, many designers never encounter the particular challenges associated with these surface finishes. As a result, the first build for a hard or soft gold PCB can often be cumbersome and even surprising.
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Rogers Material: Right For Your Next RF Project?

With the increase in mobile communications from cellular phones, IoT devices and more, the demand for special materials in circuit board manufacturing has increased as well. To help you understand your options, we put together a Q&A with Rogers Corporation, a leading manufacturer of engineered materials.
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Don’t Be Surprised By Markings on a PCB

In the days of the old Model T Ford, you could get any color you wanted – as long as it was black.  Not that long ago it was the same way for printed circuit boards, of course, the only …
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V-Scoring for Printed Circuit Boards

Bay Area Circuits recently installed a new Accu-Score AS-100-MAX V-scoring machine in our Silicon Valley facility. This new scoring machine will not only improve the quality of the printed circuit boards scoring process, but also shortens manufacturing process time.  Both big wins for our customers.  …
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UC Berkeley CalSTAR Rocketry Team

Our PCBs for Education program enables us to help future engineers by actively partnering with students in support of their classroom engineering projects and team competitions. This month we'd like to highlight the CalSTAR Rocketry Team from UC Berkeley, which designs and builds high-powered rockets for multiple national and international competitions.
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Design Considerations with Heavy Copper

Minimum line width is one of the first questions asked of a PCB manufacturer’s capabilities, but the answer rarely includes “depending on copper weight.” To simplify your design process and avoid problems at the time of manufacturing, we will demonstrate …
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Printed Circuit Board Laminate Material Trends

Recently, we at Bay Area Circuits, have seen an increase in demand for Ventec’s laminate materials in part because of the proliferation of LED lighting and IoT (Internet of Things) products which often have greater than normal requirements for thermal …
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Cross Section Analysis: Inside a PCB

Cross-Section Analysis How can the internal quality of a printed circuit board be inspected and verified using cross section analysis? We previously published an article that talked about IPC Inspection guidelines that provides an overview of the standards used in …
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Introduction to IPC Inspection Guidelines

Acceptable Quality Level Before discussing IPC Inspection Guidelines, it’s important to understand the meaning of the term Acceptable Quality Level (AQL), also referred to as Acceptance Quality Limit. It is an inspection standard that prescribes the range of the number …
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What is Controlled Impedance and How Is It Measured?

One of the most common examples of controlled impedance is the cable that connects the antenna to your television. That cable may be a coaxial cable consisting of a round, inner conductor, separated from the outer cylindrical conductor commonly called …
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Bare Printed Circuit Board Electrical Test

Visual inspections are performed following the manufacturing process of a printed circuit board to identify any potential problems. While that may work fine for a two-layer PCB, for multi-layer PCBs, it is almost impossible to visually inspect the internal layers …
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Solder Paste Stencil Basics

Solder Paste Stencils In the printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) and manufacturing electronics world, solder paste stencils are not so different from the common stencils used to paint letters/numbers or draw shapes. Solder paste stencils are designed for a similar …
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Introduction to Drilling and Vias

It wasn’t that long ago a printed circuit board was drilled using a simple drill press.  The operator had to manually move the panel to the correct x and y coordinate and then pull the lever to drill an individual …
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Advantages of the Gerber X2 Format

In 2014, a new Gerber format was released call Gerber X2 (or version 2) by Ucamco, owners of the Gerber standard. If this is news to you, Ucamco has put together an excellent 5 minute intro video which can be …
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Reshoring of Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing

For many people, the words “Made in the USA” have become a rallying cry. In fact, a survey done in 2012 found that 83% of US citizens disapprove of companies that manufacture their goods overseas and they are interested in …
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Learn from a Fabricator; Time and Money Saving Design Rules

As a PCB fabricator we’re frequently asked, “What are your basic design rules?” Typically what designers are looking for are some guidelines to follow when designing a PCB layout, though this could mean a variety of things. Over the years …
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Bay Area Circuits Celebrates Manufacturing Day

Bay Area Circuits, hosted a Manufacturing Day event on Friday, October 6th for the fourth consecutive year. The company opened its doors to give college engineering students a tour of its printed circuit board manufacturing operations and a look at the latest equipment upgrades and technological advancements in the industry.
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