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Low quantity pcb manufacturers 
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LQFP144 - On Top Of The Game

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2008 2:58 pm
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Location: South Wales, UK
If you get PCB's made in china you must ensure that the price includes point to point continuity tests (Genrad ATE Style) or flying probe tested on 100% of the PCB's.

The Chinese method of manufacture works on the basis that they will statistically get failures so they over produce to compensate this doesn't help the end user that has a populated PCB with a combination of opens and shorts on it! By this time significant time and effort has been invested in a pink elephant.

The old adage you get what you pay for reigns supreme here, one of the low quantity, high quality specialists in the UK or US would be the best bet until the design is stable and proven, then you move it to the far east to reduce your cost base.
But you still have 100% test coverage that is an absolute necessity with china built PCB's.

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Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:55 pm
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Heh, if they'll do testing that's awesome.

We just got a batch of boards from a VERY respected assembly house... and they are CRAP. I spent half of yesterday with boards under a microscope instead of posting on here as is my duty... And found many of the vias were not connected to their pads! Now we have $40,000 in boards already built we might just have to toss, after paying for two reworks.

Kinda makes me wish I went to china. My guess is the higher priced china places are cheaper than the cheapest american places, and it might be a good compromise. Also: this place (claimed?) full ISO, etc, I'd say it's worth reading reviews or something.

As an aside: My friend works for a company that makes PCB inspection equipment. They sell half their stuff to china, so they opened a factory there, save shipping the parts back and forth. So, they built their first three machines, took them a year to get trained and tooled. You know what happened? The Chinese customers said they demand the American built units, the Chinese only make crap! Ha!

I don't read too much into it, I think you have to figure it out company by company. I went to a "really good" place for my head work and got shafted.

Oh and:

Quote:
To ease your mind : http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff26 ... CN1147.jpg ;-)

OMG! I can't believe you're going to eat all those people! That's messed up.


Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:41 pm
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QFP80 - Contributor

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 7:42 am
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Sounds terrible.

Can you post some pics, as it would be really interesting to see some manufacturing faults on PCB's, as we will all learn some thing first hand, as a picture, or two is worth a thousand words.

On a more commercial note, if you need a good PCB supplier would be very interested in quoting for supply.

Can do up to ten layer, as never been asked for more and happy with Ball Grid Array, but you will need to agree to X-Ray, and 100 percent testing ect, which we can do all in house. You should also supply a test rig, or information for us to build.

We have a foot in both camps, and can supply from our own UK Operation, or from China. NB All testing carried out in the UK..

Please feel free to PM for more details..

PS Would also give you a free appraisal and technical audit of you current situation


Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:41 pm
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More opinions lifted from the web on board houses:

Incidentally these boards are the first ones I had done at Gold Phoenix. The quality is good and they are hard to beat price-wise. I paid less than $150 for all the boards above (4 large, 12 small of the center display, 8 of the left/right) I've used a number of vendors (Olimex, PCBFabExpress, Advanced Circuits, etc.) and GP is higher quality than Olimex and much cheaper than the other two if you have more than one design.


Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:57 pm
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Wideband Wizard

Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:53 am
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Location: Toronto Canada
I find that GP quality to be about average, but I do not have much experience to draw upon for my opinion though.

In my opinion PCBfabexpress offers probably the best quality I have seen.

Myropcb quality is between GP and PCBfabexpress.

My only basis on the quality of the pcb is how well the traces put up with repeated solder and desolder attempts. I am not sure if that is a valid litmus test for pcb quality.

GP offers incredible value if you can make use of all the area they provide for their specials. Outside of the GP special, I find that myropcb offers the best value for prototyping, once you start doing large quantity myropcb offers the best rates I have seen. Myros specs are very good for the money you pay, 6 mil trace, 12mil hole. I think GP only offers 8 mil trace and 15 mil hole. No biggie for TH designs, but for SMT stuff it makes a pretty big difference IMHO.

I just recently got a few boards made by batchpcb. I think they use GP for the fab, so the quality is decent. I have to say that the process of submitting the design and getting approved was amazing, everything is automated, slick, and quick, an absolute awesome experience. The specs are not very good, but they are so damn cheap for 1 or 2 protos. With each prototype costing me ~$25 in total, it lowers my inhibition to try out new designs and variations.

I just got a CNC machine, and I plan on doing most of my prototypes at home. I find that the 2 week wait for PCBs to get to me, breaks my momentum and flow.

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Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:30 am
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Thanks for the feedback Alan, I appreciate your input very much :-)

Fred.

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Wed Jan 14, 2009 6:50 am
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TO220 - Visibile

Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:32 am
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Hey all - I don't post up here to much, but reading this thread made me think of this link that I think you guys will find very useful:

PCB Design Javascript cost calculator: http://www.ladyada.net/library/pcb/costcalc.html

You plug in your board area and quantity, and it compares the cost of all the major board houses.


Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:23 pm
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Thanks George! :-)

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Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:38 pm
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I went to that page, and plugged in some numbers. Looks like many fab houses charge about the same for one and two as they do for 10. I like that page, it's a nice page.


Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:26 pm
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Wideband Wizard

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Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:46 am
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