Saturday, December 07th

Author Archives: Peter Brissette

About Peter Brissette

I write about technology, especially Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing.
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UC Davis Formula Racing Team – Powered by BAC

UC Davis Formula Racing Team – Powered by BAC

This past summer, Bay Area Circuits had the privilege of sponsoring all of the bare printed circuits boards for the UC Davis Formula Racing team. The boards were used for a variety of sensors and controls in the vehicle.  There were sensors for wheel speed, throttle position, steering angle, tire temperature, and other functions.  The system would then dynamically allocate power to individual motors on the rear wheels. The team… Read More

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Standard Gerber Declared Obsolete

Standard Gerber Declared Obsolete

A couple months ago, Ucamco, the company that maintains Gerber specifications, released an “Open Letter to the Gerber User Community” and stated “Standard Gerber is now technologically obsolete.” Here is why. There have been a number of important updates to the Standard Gerber format in recent months.  Ucamco has made changes to improve the format and has renamed the new standards as Gerber X2, or, Extended Gerber. For many years now there have been challenges when… Read More

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The Basics – Solder Paste Stencils

The Basics – Solder Paste Stencils

Solder paste stencils in the world of manufacturing electronics and printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) are not so different from the stencils we were all made familiar with in grade school. . They are designed for the exact same purpose: to ease the process of applying a medium only to specific areas for your intended project while protecting the unexposed areas.   Solder Paste Stencils What is a laser cut… Read More

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The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things

Technology is always advancing at an ever increasing rate.  One of the segments of that growth is called “The Internet of Things” or IoT.  Wikipedia defines it as “the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing like devices within the existing internet infrastructure.” Sounds great, but what does that really mean, and is there any impact on manufacturers? The basic idea of IoT is to find a way to “embed” an… Read More

Introduction to Drilling and Vias

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 hole.  This process was repeated over and over again until all the holes were drilled. Today, it’s not uncommon for a PCB to have more than 10,000 drill hits of… Read More

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Introduction to InstantDFM; Reduce PCB Prototype Failures

Introduction to InstantDFM; Reduce PCB Prototype Failures

Has this ever happened to you? You have spent hours designing a new circuit board. You have checked and double checked every net, component and trace on the board and you’re confident your design is solid. Off to a PCB manufacturer to order a few prototypes. You receive the boards, load components, add power and…something starts to smoke. Ugggghh! What went wrong? There could be many reasons but more often… Read More

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ENEPIG Plating – A Guide to the Evolution of PCB Finishes

ENEPIG Plating – A Guide to the Evolution of PCB Finishes

The evolution of technology manufacturing is always moving towards a higher level of complexity.   Newer designs have to be lighter, faster and smaller with every iteration of the next device. Not only do we continue to move towards more complex technology as a printed circuit board manufacturer, but we strive to do so in an environmentally friendly way, working to eliminate potentially harmful chemicals for our processes. To that end… Read More

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Cost Determining Factors When Quoting PCBs – Part II

Cost Determining Factors When Quoting PCBs – Part II

Our last post covered many of the cost factors used by a fabricator to calculate cost of a printed circuit board.  For those with industry experience many of these factors may be obvious but there are other factors that contribute to cost that may be less obvious and we’ll cover several of these today. Having an understanding of these cost factors will not only empower buyers to ask the right… Read More

Cost Determining Factors When Quoting PCBs – Part I

Cost Determining Factors When Quoting PCBs – Part I

Customers and/or buyers who are relatively new to the printed circuit board (PCB) industry may sometimes be confused as to how a particular project is priced by the fabricator.  Today we’ll begin to demystify the factors used by fabricators to calculate price, empowering you to better plan and price your next PCB project. PCB Pricing is a result of many different elements.  Every PCB manufacturer will have some similar needs… Read More

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Learn from a Fabricator; Time and Money Saving Design Rules

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 there’s been a movement towards designing smaller and faster electronics but smaller and faster can also mean more difficult to fabricate resulting in higher costs. While some may put more… Read More

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Measuring ESD Stress on a PCB

Measuring ESD Stress on a PCB

ESD Stress Figure 1. Measured Current Through a Protection Device on a PCB (Vertical Scale = 50 mA/div, Horizontal Scale = 20 ns/div) Abstract: (ESD Stress) Measuring voltage stress on components on a PCB under ESD stress conditions can be difficult as the ESD noise can inject error in the measurement. Often this error is larger than the voltage of the stress to be measured. A method of measuring voltage stress… Read More

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PCB Chassis Ground Connections

PCB Chassis Ground Connections

We hope you enjoy another guest blog post from electrical engineer Doug Smith. PCB Chassis Ground Connections       Figure 1. PCB Chassis Ground Connection Abstract: PCB chassis ground connections are often needed in electronic equipment, but if care is not taken, the PCB and the chassis ground structure can become a hi-Q resonant circuit that may cause problems. Background information is given and techniques to avoid problems in designs are… Read More

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Pcb Array’s Definition of Terms

Pcb Array’s Definition of Terms

PCB Array – What is it? Also take a look at our new PCB Array Calculator 1.01. What do you think of when you hear the word “array”? Perhaps you think of an antenna array, or possibly some type of mathematical array or maybe even Video Graphics Array (VGA like the adapter connection from your PC to your Monitor). It is definitely one of those words in the English language… Read More

An Expert’s Guide to PCB Finishes

An Expert’s Guide to PCB Finishes

Applying the surface finish is one of the last steps of manufacturing a printed circuit board. The surface PCB finish is designed to prevent oxidation of the remaining exposed copper, while the soldermask covers the majority of the circuitry. This is important because oxidized copper cannot be soldered. In rare instances, when a printed circuit board requires “body gold,” the finish is applied to the copper prior to the soldermask… Read More

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Can Ferrite Cores Increase Emissions

Can Ferrite Cores Increase Emissions

This post is a guest post from Doug Smith.  Doug is an electrical engineer who trains other electrical engineers in EMC Design.  His website emcesd.com is a wealth of information.  We appreciate his contribution to our site. If you have any comments or questions please post them below and we will have Doug answer them for you. Ferrite cores are often installed on cables to insert a common mode impedance.… Read More

Outer Layer Image and Soldermask

Outer Layer Image and Soldermask

Alright let us do a quick re-cap of what we have covered so far. We have given an overview of some basic materials and the initial process for developing imaging for inner layers. We have covered the lamination and drill process. Now we are coming down the home stretch. Now that the panels are drilled we need to do the outer layer image and copper plating process. That begins with… Read More

Lamination and Drill of Printed Circuit Boards

Lamination and Drill of Printed Circuit Boards

We learned how the inner core of a 4 layer PCB is processed prior to adding the outside layers in our last post. In this post we will take about the next part of our “sandwich” construction – but first, let’s start with a brief introduction of foil lamination. Foil Lamination There are a variety of ways that foil lamination is used as well as a variety of materials that… Read More

Pizza, Pop and PCBs at Bay Area Circuits

Pizza, Pop and PCBs at Bay Area Circuits

I just wanted to thank Angela Alexander from Iconnect007.com for attending our workshop and doing this write up.  Angela also took the pictures you see here as well.   Recently I was invited to Bay Area Circuits for an evening of Pizza, Pop, and PCBs. The event was organized by Peter Brissette, Marketing Manager at Bay Area Circuits in Redwood City, CA. The seminar has long been a dream of… Read More