View Full Version : PCB assembly

01-23-2009, 08:03 AM
I have prototyped a new propeller design
I am trying to find a US PCB assembler who can do a reliable turnkey job at the 25 to 50 pieces qty level
I can find several companies using Google, but after a couple of disasters, I now only want to deal with companies who are recommended by an actual user.

Anyone can recomend any good vendors?

Erik Friesen
01-23-2009, 08:07 AM
Detail your disasters.

Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)
01-23-2009, 08:20 AM
Yes, please tell us whom to avoid and why.


Brian Carpenter
01-23-2009, 08:31 AM
PM me
I have a Pick and Place machine. my prices are reasonable. I currently assemble for Bean (on this forum) the AttoPilot. www.AttoPilot.com and the Air-Commander. www.air-commander.com


It's Only A Stupid Question If You Have Not Googled It First!!

Ken Gracey
01-23-2009, 10:39 AM
There's also a commercial Propeller product that Brian builds, so I have first-hand experience with his abilities. . . of course I also know the P&P he's using to do this work :). If we had extra work I would consider sending it his way.

Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.

01-23-2009, 10:52 AM
I seen from http://www.pcb123.com/ live in USA

Parallax Propeller P8X32 Education Board (http://www.micro4you.com/store/parallax-propeller-p8x32/prod_40.html)

Timothy D. Swieter
01-23-2009, 06:03 PM
Yes, please tell us about the sour experiences so we can learn from them.

For small runs I have done my own work though at some point I may have to source some of it out so I would like to learn from other's experiences.

Timothy D. Swieter, E.I.
www.brilldea.com (http://www.brilldea.com) - Prop Blade, LED Painter, RGB LEDs, uOLED-IOC, eProto for SunSPOT, BitScope
www.tdswieter.com (http://www.tdswieter.com)

01-27-2009, 01:26 AM
I am not comfortable releasing names of our problem vendors, however this much I have learned:
(Bear in mind, we are ONLY interested in turnkey sources.)
1) Ensure that vendor takes responsibility for PCB fab
2) Visit the facility, make sure its not a bucket shop
3) Vendor must use a PP machine for your job
4) Preferably, choose a vendor for whom small volume customers are important.

Problems we have had with manual assembly
1) IC's soldered in THE WRONG WAY ROUND
2) Capacitors, resistors soldered on to adjacent pads, 90 degrees out
3) Capacitors, resistors wrong value, sometimes by a factor of 10
4) Substituted connectors which were not mechanically compatible
in a complex board, it can take a day to find these problems

Our current vendor Optimum Design Associates, http://www.optimumdesign.com/
does a first class job, but at a first class price.

01-27-2009, 02:01 AM
having worked in a plant where this is most all we did, i will say this much, even with the series 7 fuji's there will be the occasional flipped chip, placement errors and things of the like. The vision on these machines is not allways foolproof. Not to mention that the operator that loads the parts onto the machine has to make sure that they are loading the correct reel of parts, trays, and so on... QFP's and BGA's are some of the hardest to do vision checks on cause most of them are symetrical/90 deg.

sounds like whomever you choose to do your fab should have some sort of ICT (in circuit testing), which means that the board will need pin accessable test pads if they use a bed of nails type fixture to do the testing with. we used hp3070's, and once up and running, they worked fine, but setting them up and building the test fixtures took some time, and might not be the best choice for small production runs. (we ran 200-500 pcb's per shift, 24 hours a day, for months on end)

just some thoughts.

01-27-2009, 03:15 AM
I had really good luck getting boards built by a company called "Screaming circuits" www.screamingcircuits.com.

After hand assembling the prototypes and verifying the functionality of my design, these people did a really nice assembly job and were easy to work with. HOWEVER! you have to be ready to have absolutely EVERYTHING documented and every little detail about placement, part numbers etc. ready to go.

They work well with shipments direct from Digikey. as well as ExpressPCB. you DO need to have a solder mask made ( they can help you with the process )

It's been about a year since I worked with them, but no complaints at all.

Ken Bash

" Anything worth doing... is worth overdoing. "

иииииииииииииииииииииииииииииииииииииииииииииии ( R.A.H. )

01-27-2009, 03:26 AM
I also use Screaming Circuits.и A 2" x 4" board with around 80 components on it (yes, that includes a prop chip) cost me $40 each for 40 boards.



Timothy D. Swieter
01-28-2009, 04:43 PM
Tom, does that US$40 include all the parts, board and labor, or just the labor?

Timothy D. Swieter, E.I.
www.brilldea.com (http://www.brilldea.com) - Prop Blade, LED Painter, RGB LEDs, uOLED-IOC, eProto for SunSPOT, BitScope
www.tdswieter.com (http://www.tdswieter.com)

01-28-2009, 06:55 PM

Labor only.