Sunday, February 26th

ITAR Compliance and the Manufacture of Printed Circuit Boards

ITAR Compliance and the Manufacture of Printed Circuit Boards

The U.S. Government requires all manufacturers, exporters, and brokers of defense articles, defense services or related technical data to be ITAR compliant. An increasing number of companies are requiring their supply chain to be ITAR compliant based on the use of the end product even though they may not be engaged in the “export” of the product or its technical information.

Our Top 10 Most Viewed Content in 2016

Our Top 10 Most Viewed Content in 2016

In 2016, we’ve worked tirelessly (ok, that’s an exaggeration) to create educational articles for PCB design enthusiasts that provide the keys to the knowledge held by PCB manufacturers such as ourselves. We hope you’ve enjoyed these, and are here to say that we’ve got more great content headed your way in 2017!

Secrets of a Fabrication Drawing

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.

Common Problems with Gerber Files and How to Avoid Them – Part 3 of 3

Common Problems with Gerber Files and How to Avoid Them – Part 3 of 3

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.

Common Problems with Gerber Files and How to Avoid Them – Part 2 of 3

Common Problems with Gerber Files and How to Avoid Them – Part 2 of 3

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.

Common Problems with Gerber Files and How to Avoid Them – Part 1 of 3

Common Problems with Gerber Files and How to Avoid Them – Part 1 of 3

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.

An Inside Look at Manufacturing Circuit Classics PCBs

An Inside Look at Manufacturing Circuit Classics PCBs

There’s no doubt that we, at Bay Area Circuits, get to work with some very talented individuals working on some pretty incredible projects. Star Simpson is one of those individuals and Circuit Classics is one of those projects! Star is bringing to life classic circuit drawings from Forrest Mims’ “Getting Started in Electronics” and recently made the designs available via Crowd Supply.

Circuit Board Design Tips for Hard or Soft 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.

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.

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

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

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