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The PCB prototype fabrication process

The PCB prototype fabrication process
The PCB prototype fabrication process


Summary :
Follow this 4 step process to build your next PCB prototype. If you have PCB layout requirements to assemble, call Electronic Interconnect today

The PCB prototype fabrication process

When electrical engineers are tasked with solving a customer’s problem, they begin to formulate solutions involving a prototype Printed Circuit Board, (PCB). Experienced design engineers understand the new PCB prototype must not only work correctly, it must also be capable of being manufactured at a reasonable cost.


Assembling PCB prototypes arrives at solutions faster


When inspiration strikes, we can sometimes get lost in analysis paralysis. Yes, it’s vital to get stakeholder approval to investigate your new idea, but be careful not to get bogged down in needing to know every detail right from the start. Instead begin working on a new PCB prototype.

Thomas Edison, the father of rapid prototypes

According to , Thomas Edison, used the value of rapidly iterating his light bulbs to find the solution customers needed at a faster rate as opposed to getting his design specifications perfect first. In developing a commercially viable light bulb, Edison actually went through over ten thousand prototypes before gettingthe light bulb to work the way he wanted. “I have not failed 10,000 times.” Edison wrote. “I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work.”


If you have PCB layout requirements that you would like to assemble, call Electronic Interconnect today. We are a full service circuit board manufacturer, (ISO 9001-2000 certified) specializing in high quality PCB prototype and production with quick turnaround. Contact a sales representative directly at Electronic Interconnect at 800-364-4844 between Monday – Friday 7am-5pm (C.S.T.).

Follow this 4 step process to build your next prototype PCB.

1) Drawing a PCB schematic

Using a PCB design software program such as CAD, layout a PCB on your computer screen. Carefully plot the locations of the components and add wiring diagrams. Here’s where your ideas begin to take physical form. Your main goal at this stage is to determine if the PCB looks viable. You may learn your PCB prototype won’t work, and you need to take a different approach. However, if the prototype drawing looks good, it’s time to assemble the actual board.


2) Assembling the PCB prototype

Using the schematic from step 1, solder the components, add the wiring and electrical connections to create the prototype PCB. Space is always an important consideration when designing your prototype. Creating the PCB is a big milestone, but it’s still not time to celebrate yet. Next, it’s on to testing the PCB to determine if itcan work as designed, or if it requires modifications.

3) Testing the new PCB

According to Assembly Magazine http://www.assemblymag.com/publications/3 “Finding defects in electronics assemblies is a never-ending search. Driven by the need to improve the assembly process and product quality, and reduce manufacturing costs, software engineers have unearthed a wide range of test andinspection strategies.”


PCB Testing Strategies

There are several PCB test strategies to choose from including:

  • 1) functional
  • 2) in-circuit
  • 3) boundary-scan
  • 4) manufacturing defects analyzers

In-circuit testing has been a consistently popular way of testing your board, however, as PCB’s become increasingly complex with multi-sided boards, other types of testing strategies are gaining favor.”

4) Trial and Error


If the PCB prototype does not make it successfully through the testing phase, then electrical engineers need to address the problems. Fixing these problems may involve going back to the drawing board and building a new PCB from scratch. If the new board works, plans for its production can begin.

Hopefully, you can avoid 10,000 iterations assembling your next PCB prototype by using the brief 4 step process outlined here. If you have PCB layout requirements that you would like to assemble, call Electronic Interconnect today. We are a full service circuit board manufacturer, (ISO 9001-2000 certified) specializing in high quality PCB prototype and production with quick turnaround. Click here for a receive a quote on your next PCB development project click here: http://www.eiconnect.com/pcbdesign.aspx
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