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Secrets of a Fabrication Drawing

Essential to the success of any printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing project are the detailed notes included in the fabrication drawing. While the design files (typically Gerber or ODB++) contain the most basic structure and outline of the board design, it is the fabrication drawing that tells the manufacturer the specific details about a board that make it unique.
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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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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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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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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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Basic PCB Design Tips & Tricks

Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are made from fiberglass reinforced plastic with the copper wiring in trace form. All the circuit board components are held in position by soldering the components into place after drilling holes in the demarcated areas on …
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5 Electronics Design Tips for Beginners

The topic of Electronics Design can cover a vast array of technical options.  This article will focus on some of the basics. A schematic drawing is only one part of creating a design in electronic engineering. Your schematic should be …
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An Introduction to PCB Arrays

What is a PCB Array? 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 …
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Countersinks and Counterbores for Printed Circuit Boards

In this post, we’ll introduce the concept of Countersinks and Counterbores and how these are used in Printed Circuit Boards (of course, countersinks and counterbores are not anything unique to printed circuit boards and are used in a variety of …
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