Tag Archives: PCB

The Factors That Determine PCB Assembly Pricing

This is a sponsored post discussing about PCB assembly costs factors on Bittele Electronics.

Bittele Electronics has developed its pricing schedule based on various factors that determine PCB assembly costs. Some of our customers call us to better understand the factors involved assembly pricing. In general, the factors that cause pricing differences include PCB dimensions, part types and quantities, soldering methodology, type of inspections, etc.

Pricing changes often depend upon the quantity of parts to be assembled on a PCB as well as the type of parts. Component types and the technology selected by the customer also determine our final pricing. Other things that impact pricing include, through-hole components, SMDs, and fine pitch, leadless or BGA devices.

There are substantial price increases if you specify double-sided assembly. This is because the assembly process will need to be repeated to place parts on both sides of the board. The double-sided assembly process also includes extra solder stencil production, SMT equipment programming, etc., which can add costs to the average assembly charge. Nonetheless, Bittele attempts to charge reasonable prices along with lead-free assembly by considering all these factors in our prices.

Bittele offers lead-free assembly based upon the customer’s specifications. We possess two additional production lines dedicated to lead-free assembly. We employ RoHS-compliant, state-of-the-art soldering methods. Lead-free assembly may result in prices changes, however. You can obtain the actual costs by contacting one of our sales representatives.

The type and size of parts that you select will also determine the final PCB assembly cost. Charges may also change if you specify lead-less parts, such as BGA, QFN, etc. In addition, costs may vary with package sizes (e.g., 0201, 1206, etc.) as well as the inspection methods you specify.

Bittele has a variety of inspection methods, including in-circuit and functional tests, available to ensure high quality PCBs. We are capable of the following tests: visual inspection for basic quality verifications, x-ray testing for lead-less devices and blank PCBs, AOI inspections to test solder paste applications, missing components, and polarity. Our inspections are completed without additional charges.

PCBite 2.0 – Hands-free & steady solution for your measurements

SensePeek launched a kickstarter campaign about their PCBite 2.0, a hands free assistance for your electronic measurements. The campaign has 17 days to go, with pledges starting from 30 USD.

 Last year we created the flexible and rock solid PCB holder – the end to wobbly circuit boards on your workbench. TODAY we proudly present the perfection of a measurement tool.  A steady but yet flexible precision probe made for instant measurements or total hands-free operations. PCBite precision probe has a flexible metal arm and a powerful magnet in the base .The measuring tip comes with a thread interface for several mounting options.

PCBite 2.0 – Hands-free & steady solution for your measurements – [Link]

REFLO – Compact, open, and smart PCB reflow oven

REFLO is a stylish, portable reflow oven for creators and makers to easily, quickly, and professionally prototype their IoT device, wearable, small robot, etc.

REFLO’s features:

  • Portable at only 6” x 6” x 2” – it’s the worlds smallest reflow oven
  • Efficient as it requires only 300 W
  • Operable from a mobile device
  • Open source hardware & software
  • Compatible with the Arduino IDE
  • Low cost

REFLO – Compact, open, and smart PCB reflow oven – [Link]

PcbDraw – KiCAD board into a nice looking 2D drawing

Convert your KiCAD boards into nice looking 2D drawings suitable for pinout diagrams. Never draw them manually again! [via]

Jan Mrázek created a Python script that takes a KiCAD board (.kicad_pcb file) and produces a 2D nice looking drawing of the board as an SVG file.

This small Python script takes a KiCAD board (.kicad_pcb file) and produces a 2D nice looking drawing of the board as an SVG file. This allows you to quickly and automatically create awesome pinout diagrams for your project. These diagrams are much easier to read than a labeled photo of a physical board or an actual KiCAD design.

PcbDraw – KiCAD board into a nice looking 2D drawing – [Link]

SnapEDA launches InstaBuild, helping PCB designers build free parts in minutes

SAN FRANCISCO  – September 28, 2017 – Today, SnapEDA – the Internet’s first parts library for circuit board design – is launching InstaBuild, the first free automated part builder.

InstaBuild uses powerful computer vision technology to enable PCB designers to make schematic symbols in mere minutes.

Using a datasheet as the input, it automatically extracts symbol pinouts, understands whether a pin is an input, output or power pin, and auto-arranges the symbols based on SnapEDA’s published symbol standards.

“InstaBuild is based on the underlying technology we use internally at SnapEDA to create parts quickly,” said Natasha Baker, CEO & Founder of SnapEDA.  “We’re opening up access so that hardware designers around the world can benefit from this technology.”

The symbols are automatically mapped to verified IPC-compliant footprints. The designer can then download the ready-to-use symbol and footprint for their desired PCB design software.

Supported formats include Altium, Autodesk Eagle, Mentor PADS & DXDesigner, Cadence OrCad and Allegro, KiCad, and PCB123. For most parts, the process takes less than 5 minutes.

If a part is already available in SnapEDA’s vast component library, then the part can simply be downloaded free from the SnapEDA website instantly, or from within Altium, Eagle, or PCB123 using one of the SnapEDA plugins.

InstaBuild is free, and can be accessed from supported part pages on SnapEDA. To learn more visit www.snapeda.com/instabuild.

PCB Prototyping Is Much Easier Than Before With This PCB Printer

3D printers and other prototyping tools are making it easier and simpler to build prototypes and test ideas. Building circuit boards is fun but difficult. While you could do it at home with  some etchant and some clear plastic, PCB printer hopes to make the entire process much faster and easier.  The success of these tools make them necessary through the different domains of manufacturing.

A desktop PCB printer?

Voltera V-One is a desktop PCB printer that can make two layer circuit boards. It can print onto the standard FR4 boards, and also place small components on the board.

In fact, the Voltera V-One uses a gantry system, similar to a 3D printer or CNC mill, to move accurately in the X, Y, and Z dimensions. The base of the V-One also heats up like a skillet to bake the conductive ink into place and to reflow SMD parts.

V-One has three tool heads that attach magnetically:

  1. a probe to measure the blank PCB and feature locations
  2. a conductive ink dispenser that draws the circuit traces and part pads
  3. a solder paste dispenser that applies solder to pads for surface-mount devices (SMD)

This video shows a brief about how Voltera works, it produced a printed circuit board of a prototype GPS module in about  half an hour.

Voltera V-One is available for $3,500. You can get more information about V-One and its specifications by visiting the official website.

New parts library for Mentor PADS & DX Designer accelerates PCB design

Designers can build circuit boards faster with millions of symbols & footprints on SnapEDA.

July 18, 2017 –  SAN FRANCISCO –  Mentor, a Siemens business, and SnapEDA, the Internet’s first parts library for circuit board design, are announcing new support for Mentor PADS® and DX Designer on SnapEDA.

Whether building satellites or medical devices, hardware designers spend days creating digital models for each component on their circuit boards, a painful and time-consuming process that hinders product development.

With today’s launch, Mentor PADS & DX Designer customers will gain access to SnapEDA’s extensive component library containing millions of symbols, footprints, and 3D models, further enhancing the vast resources available for Mentor PCB design software.

All parts are auto-verified with SnapEDA’s proprietary verification technology, helping to reduce risk and unneeded, costly prototype iterations. This technology answers common questions designers have about libraries, such as “what standards does this footprint conform to?”

As the world becomes more connected, electronic devices are proliferating and diversifying, and time-to-market is more crucial than ever for companies to stay competitive.

How to Route Differential Pairs

Sam Sattel @ autodesk.com discuss about the benefits of differential signals and how to route them in Eagle.

If you’re designing a high speed PCB, then chances are you’re working with the latest and most powerful technologies, like HDMI, USB3.0, Ethernet, or DDR. But with great power comes great responsibility! As a result, you’ll likely be dealing with issues like electromagnetic interference (EMI) and noise.

So what do you do about these problems? When you’ve got a bunch of noisy signals on your board and you need a way to protect the transmission of your data then you need to be using differential pairs. In this blog we’ll be looking at all of the great benefits for using differential pairs in your high speed design project, and how to route them in Autodesk EAGLE.

How to Route Differential Pairs – [Link]

EAGLE Autorouter, When & How To Use

Designing a PCB layout is a work of engineering art, includes placing components and routing them through different layers. So when you assign the same job for different engineers, each one would make it in his own way. But sometimes when working on a complex design some help may be necessary to finish the work. Autodesk EAGLE provides an autorouter feature which may assist you in many cases.

The autorouter is a useful tool that creates many routing variations for the current component placement. However, it is not a completely replacement of manually routing method. It can help you in specific situations to augment your abilities, not replace them.

When to use the autorouter?

There are three main uses of the autorouter:

  • Optimizing Placement
    While there is no rule for placing the components of the circuits, you need to evaluate your placement to ensure that you can route all parts. Autorouter completion result could be used as an indicator of your parts placement, if it was 85% or greater this means you did a good job. If not, consider pushing your parts around.
  • Discovering Bottlenecks
    You can also use the autorouter to identify bottlenecks and other critical connection points that you might have missed when placing your components. Maybe you packed a couple of ICs too close together. Your autorouter can show you where you might need to leave more space between components.
  • Getting Inspired
    When you are stuck on a section and don’t know how to route your parts, then you can call the autorouter to see how it takes care of the job, then try routing that same spot yourself with your new perspective. You might just find a strategy for your traces that you didn’t see before your autorouter gave it a try.

Using EAGLE Autorouter

Now when you find yourself stuck on some area or you feel that you need to optimize your placement or discover the bottlenecks, it is time to launch the autorouter. Follow these steps to know how it works:

  1. Open your PCB layout (.brd) file from your Autodesk EAGLE Control Panel.
  2. Select the Autorouter tool on the left-hand side of your interface to open the Autorouter Main Setup dialog.
  3. There’s quite few settings here that you can adjust:
    You’re in complete control of the autorouter setup with settings for effort, CPU threads, and routing directions.
    • Preferred direction: if you need a specific direction of the route, like vertical or horizontal, select it for each layer or you can set it to Auto. N/A means that the autorouter will not use this layer.
    • Effort: this option defines how the autorouter will work, higher effort will take more time and will provide more more routing variances.
    • Number of threads: how many threads of the CPU you want the autorouter to use? This surely will affect the time it takes to finish.
      After selecting your settings, press the Continue button.
  4. Within the Routing Variants dialog, you’ll see a list of all the routing variations the autorouter will attempt. Select the Start button to begin the autorouting process.

    Eagle Autorouting with five potential routing variations
    Autorouting on a low effort mode produced five potential routing variations that the autorouter will attempt.
  5. Once the routing is complete, select the Evaluate button, and you’ll see your completion percentage in the bottom-left corner of the interface.

If you want to unroute your board you can use the Undo (Ctrl + Z), or use the RIPUP command. Just type RIPUP ; in the command line and all of your routed traces will convert back to airwires.

To learn more about routing and autorouting you can read this tutorial, it is a part of series about Autodesk EAGLE features and how to use it. You can also view the previous tutorial about placing components.

PCB Droid – First Mobile PCB Designer App

The applications available nowadays serve our everyday life well. Would it be the need of our entertainment, business life or lifestyle. However, there is one special field where we could face a serious shortcoming and it is the engineering field. I’ve come across a demand through forums specialized in electronics for a mobile application, designing printed circuits on your mobile device.

The goal was to create an application, which can be used as a designer tool for printed circuits and exporting those into different formats in an Android and Windows 10 environment. The consumption of these mobile devices is a fraction of their desktop sidekicks and an app such makes designing easier, even in your daily commute. This realization gave birth to PCB Droid application. As an electronic hobbyist as far as I’m concerned others engaged in DIY electronics usually don’t utilize the possibilities and professionalism of these programs. In practice, PC printed circuits designers are using circuit diagrams as an input. Hobbyists pretend to prefer designer programs where they can draw the marginal strips themselves and adjust them on the printed circuits. PCB Droid doesn’t require any kind of previously made circuits diagrams. The parts can be drawn onto the printed circuit by the user starting from the basic elements to the most complex components.

PCB Droid – First Mobile PCB Designer App – [Link]