Thursday, April 19th
Things that Scare Electrical Engineers

Things that Scare Electrical Engineers

We all have fears. This Halloween, there are probably a few extra that come to mind. The most common fears we share have not changed much over the years. The top five most common fears are: 1. Fear of flying 2. Fear of public speaking 3. Fear of heights 4. Fear of the dark 5. Fear of Intimacy Any of those in your top five?   However, when you are Read More..

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..

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..

The Basics – SMT Laser Cut Stencils

The Basics – SMT Laser Cut 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..

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..

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..

Reshoring of Printed Circuit Board Manufacturing

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 initiatives that strengthen the US manufacturing base*. Their wishes are finally being granted. The Reshoring Trend Reshoring is the return of manufacturing jobs to the US from countries such as Read More..

Evolution of Printed Circuit Board Finishes – ENEPIG

Evolution of Printed Circuit Board Finishes – ENEPIG

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..

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..

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..

PCB Design Guide Basics

PCB Design Guide Basics

Circuit Board Components A PCB is a Printed Circuit Board and 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 the board.  The copper tracks which take the place of traditional wires are more effective and more resistant to damage.  They link all the Read More..

5 Electronics Design Tips

5 Electronics Design Tips

Electronics Design Tips for anyone. 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 able to be read and understood by others in the electronic engineering field. If you are good with your schematic, the reader of your design should be able to Read More..

Ardulab Open Sourcing Space

Ardulab Open Sourcing Space

With space travel moving from NASA to private enterprises like SpaceX many new opportunities are beginning to open up.  One of those opportunities is from a group called Infinity Aerospace and their Ardulab project. Bay Area Circuits is a sponsor of the project started by students from Stanford University.  Here is what they had to say about it in their announcement. Infinity Aerospace is pleased to announce Bay Area Circuits Read More..

PCB Creator Interview on Real Time with IPC

PCB Creator Interview on Real Time with IPC

At this years IPC-APEX show in San Diego we were interviewed by Kelly Dack with PCB007. We were able to talk about PCB Creator, our new PCB Design software. If you have not had a chance to give it a try be sure to check it out in action by Clicking Here. Below is the video as well as the transcript. Hi! Thanks for being with us I’m Kelly Dack for Real Read More..

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..

The Digispark Arduino Enabled USB Board

The Digispark Arduino Enabled USB Board

Digispark Digispark: I wanted to share with you a cool new product for the hobbyist and test engineers out there. Bay Area Circuits has had the privilege to be building the bare PCBs in this project. Many are familiar with the Arduino test chips used to make all kinds of little electronics projects. Erik Kettenburg over at Digispark thought there would be a better way to make use of these Read More..

PCB Chassis Ground Connections

PCB Chassis Ground Connections

We hope you enjoy another guest blog post from electrical engineer Dough 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..

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..