84 votes

Do dead weight 'components' exist?

Power your board from a 12V 7AH Sealed Lead Acid Battery. Then hot melt glue your board to the side of the battery. Similar to the ideas shown by @DaveTweed I have mounted prototype parts to a piece ...
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72 votes

Do dead weight 'components' exist?

When prototyping, I often run into the same issue. What I usually do is find a sheet of suitable material that's larger than my board. It can be anything — wood, plexiglass, scrap PCB material, ...
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  • 165k
59 votes

What is Copper Thieving and why use it?

Unfortunately the other 3 answers to the question are incorrect, but helps keeping a common misunderstanding alive :-) Thieving is added to the outer layers in order to help a more balanced chemical ...
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56 votes
Accepted

What did the manufacturer mean by asking if an angle should be made for the fingers?

When they say 30° degree, I think they mean to chamfer the end of the edge connector for easy insertion into the C64 cartridge slot. When they do that, you will probably lose the last mm of copper ...
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  • 3,757
49 votes
Accepted

Different PCB color (is it a different material?)

The green areas have been coated in solder-mask. The yellowish area is simply the base color of the PCB material, which has not been coated. It's the same base material throughout. You would ...
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  • 13.3k
45 votes
Accepted

Have I placed too much on this PCB layout?

I assume that you are using the autorouter because you think it will save your time. But I have some bad news: it is said that PCB layout is 80% component placement, 20% routing. You can't just slap ...
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  • 12.1k
33 votes
Accepted

Anything bad to place a via on a pad?

The industry term for this is via in pad. It's not a problem when you hand-solder components. It can cause problems during automated SMT assembly. Solder, which was applied to the pad as a solder ...
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32 votes

What did the manufacturer mean by asking if an angle should be made for the fingers?

It is my understanding that they are asking if you want them to bevel the PCB where the connector is located. Here is an illustration from Eurocircuits demonstrating the end result: If you look at ...
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  • 12.7k
30 votes

Is there a way to make a drill hole only up to half depth of the PCB in Eagle?

There is no way to directly do this in Eagle. You would have to simply annotate the design on some reference layer (most manufacturing data for production PCBs has some form of reference information). ...
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30 votes
Accepted

Fiducial marks: Do they need to be a pad or is it okay if I use the top silk layer?

You need to use a copper pad, with a corresponding clearance in the soldermask and ground planes. The reason for not using the silk layer, is the tolerances of aligning the silk are typically ...
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29 votes
Accepted

Why order a laser stencil?

why have a laser stencil? what advantages do you get from having one? That's probably the wrong name. It's a solder-paste stencil that has been laser cut. Figure 1. Application of surface-mount ...
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  • 160k
28 votes

My PCB manufacturer only requires eagle board file, and not a gerber file is it fine to go about getting the board fabricated with him?

My manufacturer only requires eagle board file, and not a Gerber file Run away! The competency of these people is highly suspect. This is not a real board house. Any minimally competent board ...
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26 votes
Accepted

PCB opaque coating for anti reverse engineering?

There is no such thing. If someone really wants to reverse engineer your circuit board, they will be able to do it. The only question is how much trouble, and therefore expense and time, it will ...
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26 votes

Looking for circuit board material that can be dissolved

Researchers from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in London, in cooperation with partners In2Teck Ltd and Gwent Electronic Materials Ltd, have developed a 3D printable circuit board that ...
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  • 63.7k
25 votes
Accepted

How to chose via diameter and drill size based on trace width

The goal is to create a via with at least as much conductive area within the hole as the trace connecting to it (generally speaking, of course). My personal rule is to make the drill size diameter the ...
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  • 20.3k
24 votes
Accepted

Mounting hole on a PCB

The mounting holes that have the large copper pads around the hole are fabricated that way because it is desired to have that connected circuit be conductive to the mounting screw. In most cases it is ...
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24 votes

What is the silver strip behind crystal in the PCB?

Here's a picture to help you understand better. The crystal's case can be soldered onto boards to secure them.
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  • 1,700
24 votes

Why do some PCBs have the courtyard in the silkscreen layer?

Picture the workflow for initial prototypes on a long string of resistors like on that board. If not for the outline, you'd be forced to start at one end and proceed to the other, or risk getting off ...
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24 votes

Why has the auto-router put my PCB traces on two different layers?

It appears that your autorouter is using one layer for north-south traces (red) and another for east-west traces (blue). Figure 1. This side of the board is almost all north-south routing. The east-...
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  • 160k
24 votes
Accepted

Environmentally sustainable electronics

You may want to look at recommendations from the circular economy ... perhaps starting at the Ellen Macarthur Foundation The underlying idea is design with a view to repair, recycle and re-use. ...
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  • 65.9k
23 votes
Accepted

How safe is using non-RoHS parts?

It's good practice to avoid eating electronic components. It's also good practice to wash your hands after handling electronic components, or anything for that matter, before handling food that you, ...
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  • 142k
23 votes
Accepted

How can I deal with crossing wires when designing a PCB?

You can use vias to move a trace from top to bottom and back again. That's like your "jump the trace from top to bottom solution." That's the usual way of handling crossings - make one ...
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  • 58.2k
22 votes
Accepted

PCB fabrication vs PCB assembly

In PCB world, "fabrication" refers to making the printed circuit board and nothing more. "Assembly" means soldering on all the parts. So, in your example, $100 will get you 29 pieces of copper-clad ...
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22 votes

Have I placed too much on this PCB layout?

Unlike what others have said, using the auto-router isn't the problem. They are right in that you can't just throw a whole design at the auto-router and expect it to solve everything for you. But, ...
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22 votes

Different PCB color (is it a different material?)

The yellowish PCB laminate has better electrical insulation than some solder masks, so sometimes air gaps and solder mask free areas are used to separate the high voltage and low voltage side. I work ...
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  • 320
21 votes
Accepted

Is it better to route a pad to a trace, or a trace through a pad?

Electrically, there is no differences. Well, in fact there are some... But only when considering very high frequency signals. If the passive element is a decoupling capacitor, your solution 1 will ...
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  • 5,743
20 votes

Have I placed too much on this PCB layout?

The auto-router isn't magic. And shouldn't be used to do full boards. You first need to route the important bits yourself. Like power, high speed and bypass caps. Then you can let the auto-route do ...
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  • 20.6k
20 votes
Accepted

Should I cool off in water the desoldered components?

Worse, if you look at the component packaging there is a thermal profile that is to be followed to ensure that the component does not experience thermal shock from expansion and contraction. Thermal ...
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  • 63.7k
20 votes
Accepted

My PCBs etch all bad! (sodium persulfate)

Your main problem is coverage with the permanent marker. They do work as an etch stop, but it is hard to get uniform coverage - you end up with more ink in the middle, and less at the edges (it flows)....
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20 votes

Different PCB color (is it a different material?)

The yellowish line in the middle of the board is the true PCB colour. The green areas either side are solder resist.
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  • 142k

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