Tuesday, February 20th
Maker Faire 2016: Why We Love & Support It

Maker Faire 2016: Why We Love & Support It

Maker Faire Bay Area 2016 concluded this past weekend and I was grateful for taking the time to attend. Self-described as “part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new”, the Maker Faire brings together tech enthusiasts, hobbyists, engineers, educators, students and many more, to show what they have made and to share what they have learned.

Rogers Material: Right For Your Next RF Project?

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.

Congressman Mike Honda Visits Bay Area Circuits’ Manufacturing Plant in California

Congressman Mike Honda Visits Bay Area Circuits’ Manufacturing Plant in California

Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA-17) met with executives and employees of Bay Area Circuits at their manufacturing facility in Fremont, California. Coordinated by IPC, the world’s leading association for electronics manufacturing companies, this visit is part of a nationwide effort to educate policymakers about legislative and regulatory issues that affect…

Don’t Be Surprised By Markings on a PCB

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 color available was green. Today, there are many color options for both solder mask and silkscreen.  Green, blue, red and every color combination in between. Some designers, in fact, go Read More..

10 Tools & Articles Every PCB Designer Should Have In Their Toolbox

10 Tools & Articles Every PCB Designer Should Have In Their Toolbox

By now, 2015 may be a distant memory. But for us at Bay Area Circuits, 2015 was a year full of interesting articles and updates to our most frequently used engineering tools. We’ve got a lot of useful new content coming your way in 2016, but in the meantime, here is a compilation of the top ten most viewed tools, guides, and blog posts from the Bay Area Circuits website for Read More..

V-Scoring for Printed Circuit Boards

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.  In this post we’ll share a little more information about V-Scoring to help you understand exactly what it is and when to use it. Let’s answer these basic questions: What Read More..

The Gerber Format; an Interview with Ucamco

The Gerber Format; an Interview with Ucamco

For engineers new to PCB design, the term ‘Gerber files’ will quickly become a part of their everyday vernacular. And as such, it’s a topic we’ve covered frequently and will cover again today by going straight to the source via interviews with our friends from Ucamco, the Belgium-based company who owns and maintains the Gerber standard. But before we get to that let’s start with a quick introduction. Containing data Read More..

Design Considerations with Heavy Copper

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 how and why line width depends on copper weight. This brief overview gives some near-universal rules for trace width versus copper weight, along with other important considerations when using heavy Read More..

Printed Circuit Board Laminate Material Trends

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 management. In this special guest post from Ventec USA President, Jack Pattie, Jack shares his views on the latest laminate trends in the US: As always at Ventec, we are working hard Read More..

Technical Tip for a Successfully Manufactured PCB – The Netlist

Technical Tip for a Successfully Manufactured PCB – The Netlist

Designing a printed circuit board poses many challenges. It can be exhilarating to complete a design and send it off to manufacturing but later deflating to receive boards and identify a failure that could have been prevented. Was a mistake made in the design or did the manufacturer make an error? Providing the manufacturer with a ‘netlist’ in addition to your design files and fabrication notes is one way to Read More..

Manufacturing Day Celebrates & Inspires Modern Manufacturing

Manufacturing Day Celebrates & Inspires Modern Manufacturing

In a post last year, we discussed the trend of reshoring (or onshoring) the manufacturing of Printed Circuit Boards. Organizations like the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) are supporting reshoring efforts and track key statistics related to trends in manufacturing. Looking at the facts related to manufacturing jobs in California, it’s easy to question whether progress is being made. But we believe the outlook for California manufacturing and specifically Silicon Read More..

Cross Section Analysis: Inside a PCB

Cross Section Analysis: Inside a PCB

How can the internal quality of a printed circuit board be inspected and verified using cross section analysis? Recently we published an article that talked about IPC Inspection guidelines that provides an overview of the standards used in the inspection process of printed circuits boards. One of the many inspection processes that measure the quality of the circuit board is called a Cross Section Analysis or Micro-section. To complete the analysis Read More..

Advantages of the Gerber X2 Format

Advantages of the Gerber X2 Format

Last year, 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 found Gerber X2 Introduction. We thought it would be helpful for designers to hear from a manufacturer regarding what we see as the significant improvements; after all, the X2 format Read More..

Introduction to IPC Inspection Guidelines

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 of defective components that is considered acceptable when random sampling those components during an inspection. The Acceptance Quality Level determines the maximum number of defective units, beyond which a batch is Read More..

What is Controlled Impedance and How Is It Measured?

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 the shield by an insulator. The dimensions of the conductors and insulator, and the electrical characteristics of the insulator are carefully controlled in order to determine the shape, strength and Read More..

Surface Finish Characteristics & Applications for Printed Circuit Boards

Surface Finish Characteristics & Applications for Printed Circuit Boards

The PCB Surface Finish you select may be the most important material decision you make for your electronic assembly. The Surface Finish you select will influence the cost, manufacturability, quality, and reliability of the final product. Just a few years ago, nearly three fourths of all the electronics were produced with SnPb or Hot Air Solder Level (HASL) as the finish. Today, other surface finishes have emerged, including: ENIG, ENEPIG, Read More..

Functional 3D Inkjet Printing of Solder Mask

Functional 3D Inkjet Printing of Solder Mask

The traditional solder mask process is in danger.  Digital inkjet processing has reached the point where it has become a viable option in the PCB manufacturing industry. Equipment for such an application has been around for a number of years with emphasis placed on printing legend or nomenclature on panels. However, the application of solder mask with the same type of equipment has shown real promise recently. New equipment such Read More..

An Overview of LPI Soldermask and the PCB Manufacturing Process

An Overview of LPI Soldermask and the PCB Manufacturing Process

For many years the only color you would see on a printed circuit board was green.  Maybe a military influence?  The color of the printed circuit board is only a small part of the consideration for the circuit’s design today. Liquid PhotoImagible soldermask, commonly called LPI or LPISM is a two component liquid ink that is mixed just prior to application to preserve its shelf life and is a relatively Read More..

Our Top 10 Most Viewed Content in 2014

Our Top 10 Most Viewed Content in 2014

Who doesn’t like a good Top 10 list? We added more new content to our website in 2014 than in any year previously and thought it would be interesting to share what was most popular.  So, enjoy our compilation of the top 10 most viewed tools, guides and blog posts on the Bay Area Circuits website for 2014 – and, Happy New Year! #10 Countersinks and Counterbores for Printed Circuit Read More..

Bare Printed Circuit Board Electrical Test

Bare Printed Circuit Board Electrical Test

We can perform a visual inspection following the manufacturing process of a printed circuit board to find 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 once the board has been completed.  Therefore, visual tests are done on inner layers prior to lamination to find any problems and correct them.  However, the only way Read More..