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I'm a hobbyist who has developed a product which uses ~20 PTH components. The device is essentially an Arduino UNO with some extra driver ICs and LEDs. I have had quite a lot of positive feedback on the product and am considering re-designing it so that I can put it into production.

I was wondering what technology was best for automated/volume production? I've noticed that several companies use both surface mount and PTH components on their boards, Arduino being an example. How do the board designers make a decision on what technology to use? Size isn't really an issue for this product, the existing board using PTH components is a quarter of the size of it's container.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What do you mean by "volume"? How many of them will be produced? \$\endgroup\$ – abdullah kahraman May 12 '13 at 12:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's difficult to say, for the purposes of this question shall we say hundreds rather than thousands. \$\endgroup\$ – edcs May 12 '13 at 12:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ First off, identify your fabrication house, then see what it'd cost for them to populate and solder your boards, with either TH, SMT or a mix. In general, I have found that a mix costs the most. Also, for places with low manual labor cost, TH can be massively cheaper than SMT for production orders of a handful of panels (say a few hundred boards, depending on how many you can put in a panel). From personal experience: In India, the cost for small 2-layer boards with full population plus soldering and testing is about 1:15 favoring TH. This includes component cost, excluding exotic/rare parts. \$\endgroup\$ – Anindo Ghosh May 12 '13 at 13:08
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I'd recommend you check out the excellent EEVblog tutorial videos part one and part two covering PCB design for manufacturing. You'll not only find the answers to your component selection questions above, you'll get a ton of suggestions and advice about a half-dozen other critical issues you might not have thought of yet.

They're a long stream at about an hour apiece, but totally worth it!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for sharing - I'll take a look at those videos tonight. Hopefully they'll give me some insight! \$\endgroup\$ – edcs May 13 '13 at 16:07

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