Tuesday, May 23rd

Tips for Including Fonts & Graphics on a PCB

Tips for Including Fonts & Graphics on a PCB

As PCB aesthetics continue to grow in importance, we’re manufacturing more designs with specific fonts and graphics as a part of the PCB’s silkscreen layer. But if you’re not following the process we’re about to describe, don’t be surprised if things don’t turn out quite the way you expect!

Are You Providing Your PCB Manufacturer With the Correct Files?

Are You Providing Your PCB Manufacturer With the Correct Files?

You’ve completed a PCB design and are ready to send the design to be manufactured. But the file export process isn’t always straightforward, and, depending on the PCB manufacturer, specific requirements may vary. Here are some helpful design file guidelines that will make the Bay Area Circuits ordering & manufacturing process go smoothly.

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.

Announcing the Availability of PCB Creator v3

Announcing the Availability of PCB Creator v3

We’re excited to announce the availability of PCB Creator version 3, an update to our popular, free PCB Layout and Schematic capture software! Here’s a quick Q&A that includes more details on this new release.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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