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Sponsored Review

There are a few large and well known PCB manufacturer on the market every PCB maker is using.

But beside the big ones there is a large number of smaller PCB manufacturing companies. One of them is WellPCB, an Australia registered company that belongs to Uniwell Circuits Co., Ltd. WellPCB is located in Shenzhen, China and is focused on Printed Circuit Board Fabrication and PCB Assembly.

WellPCB contacted me and offered me some free PCB in order to test and review their PCB service. I agreed and started with ordering the test boards.

Online Quote
As most of the PCB suppliers WellPCB provides an online platform in order to request an offer and order Printed Circuit Boards. With click on the link Online Quote the user will guided to the PCB Online quote page.

By entering the PCB dimensions in mm, an order quantity and the number of layers the WellPCB website can calculate a price.

Test Projects
I chose 2 of my current PCB projects - a round PCB for my IR Blaster and a rectangle board of my wireless Sensor Board Mini, Version 3. Both PCB projects are designed with Eagle CAD.

PCB Upload and Order
After registering and login to the website I was able to enter the PCB specifications.

With another click the full specification for the current project is available.

For a standard project you only need to choose the Solder Mask Color and the Surface Finish.

On the right side you will immediately see the price of the project including the shipping method. I chose DHL for the delivery to Switzerland.

After upload the order item the cart shows the content of the shopping cart.

This is only the product you entered but without the board data. With the link "Upload File" you need to upload the PCB data. As a test I uploaded the board data in Eagle CAD format.

Since I did not receive any error messages WellPCB can handle board data in Eagle format. The shopping cart shows both PCB projects.

Finally I payed with Paypal and the order is on the way.

A few hours later I received an email with the ordered boards converted to Gerber Format. I checked the files and confirmed that the data is correct.

After the weekend, I ordered the PCBs on a friday, the order status shows the following. The first project has a production status at 20 percent, the second project is at 40 percent.

PCB arrived
14 days after sending the order the package arrived at my home address.

WellPCB sent the two small PCB project in a quite large and well packed box. The box also included test reports for both PCBs and a micro section of the boards.

Building the PCB
Both boards are clean and easy to solder by hand or with the Hot Air Station. The silkscreen mask on the boards is clear, even and easy to read. The solder mask colors are nice and powerful colors. Especially the red Sensor Board PCB 🙂

My projects worked immediately after soldering - no errors in the PCB design and no production errors.

Conclusion
The PCB supplier WellPCB is an other option for your PCB manufacturing. The boards are in a good quality. The ordering process could be improved by adding a Online Tool for the Gerber Review.

Sponsored Review

PCBWay is a large PCB manufacturing company from China. PCBWay offered me to test their PCB prototype service.

The PCB prototype service is an online service for electronics developers, makers and hobbyists. The service offers fast production within 24h for small orders and high quality of PCB prototypes.

On the front page of the PCBWay you will find a function Instant Quote to calculate the cost of your PCB project. After entering the PCB dimensions, quantity, layer number and the thickness of the board the system calculates the PCB price including shipping.

Test Projects
For my PCB service review I choose 2 of my current PCB projects - a bargraph display board with the size of 24x50mm and a round PCB project for an IR booster.

Both PCB projects are designed with Eagle CAD.

Order process
Before you order your PCBs you need to sign up and login into the system. Now you can add the PCB items into the shopping cart by entering the online quote and saving to cart.
The shopping cart shows your saved project without the project data.

Each order item needs the corresponding project data in gerber format or other CAD format. Fortunately PCBWay offers the file upload of Eagle CAD files in brd-format.

With click on Add File you can upload the project data with file upload or drag&drop.

If you upload the file in Eagle format the system needs to convert the project file to gerber format.

After the conversion run the system shows the project as a preview in order to verify the uploaded project.

On the top of the page there is a download link for the gerber file download.

The project in gerber format is now ready to upload into the shopping card. After uploading the project data the shopping cart shows the items with the corresponding project files.

The system tells you that a review of the project data is done in 1 hour or less than 10 minutes.

The final order steps can proceed after the review. I received an email with the succesful review by PCBWay after 51 minutes.

I found a coupon code in my account in order to pay the PCB project.

The day after the order the status of the production was at 20%. A couple hours later the boards have been produced and are on the way to me.

PCB Project Boards
5 days after leaving the PCB factory the boards arrived at my home. PCBWay used DHL for fast shipping.

The PCBs are packed in a small box and wrapped up in bubble wrap.

I ordered the test boards in green with white silkscreen and HASL with lead as surface finish. This was the default setting on the order page.

One of my project boards is a round PCB. The board looks great and the round form is clean with no notches. The silkscreen is clear and even. The solder pads are also clean and the hand soldering of the components worked without problems.

Both PCB projects worked as expected after soldering.

Conclusion
Ordering of PCBs at PCBWay is easy and PCBWay offers many options in the PCB Selection Section of the order form. To test all options a few more orders are necessary 😉

With the DHL as the shipping option the boards arrived in less a week. The PCB is produced in less than 24 hours as PCBWay offers on the website.

If you need help during or after the PCB order the support agent will help you by email or online. Before I sent my test order to PCBWay I uploaded a test project to the system. A short time after the upload PCBWay contacted me and ask for the status of my project. I usually upload different PCB projects and collect them in the shopping cart until sending the whole order to the supplier. PCBWay was the first that contacted me before an order has been released.

PCBWay is a good choice if you need small or larger quantities of PCBs for a fair price. I will definitely add PCBway to my supplier list.

Sponsored Review

Most PCB manufacturing companies which provide prototype PCB (Printed Circuits Boards) and small batches for makers calculate their board prize based on the PCB size.

The chinese PCB manufacturer JLCPCB calculates the board prize based on a standard board with a size of 100x100 mm. That means that an order of 10 boards with a PCB size of 30x30mm costs the same prize as a board with the dimensions of 60x60mm.

By multiplying the PCB design on a panel you will get more boards for the prize. This technic is called panelization. If you choose the panel option the total prize of the order will be a board fee plus engineering fee.

JLCPCB kindly sent me a coupon in order to test and review their PCB panel features.

My test project is a board for my ATtiny sensor node project with a board size of 30x50mm.  The image below shows the first PCB prototypes from OSHPark.

For my test project 3x2 PCB will fit within the dimensions of 100x100mm without having higher costs.

On the X direction I can place 3 boards with additional edges of 5mm.

Create the panel at JLCPCB

After upload of the Gerber data of your PCB project the final PCB will apear on the order page.

The default order quantity for a PCB order is 5 PCBs. You will see the order prize immediately after the file upload. I changed the quantiy to 10 pieces. The prize for this small order will be 5 USD without shipping costs.

In order to use the panel feature you need to set the order option Panel By JLCPCB to Yes.

After choosing the panel option you can enter the quantity of the boards on your PCB panel.

My ATiny sensor node project fits on a 3x2 panel with the dimensions of 100x100mm including the edge rails.

This order will include 10 panels each with 6 PCBs. The total quantity of single boards will be 60 pieces.

Additional information for panel configuration

JLCPCB provides additional help for the panel configuration.

V-cut can't applied to the panel when the panel length or width is smaller than 7cm and when the the individual board size is smaller than 1.5cm*1.5cm.

In my first panel project I made a mistake and ordered a panel with dimensions of less than 7cm. JLCPCB canceled this order position and refundet the cost for the board immediately.

It would be helpful to receive an error message or warning after upload in case the panel doesn't meet the requirements.

Shipping the panels

My order has been manufactured within 2 days. The shipping to Switzerland with DHL took another 3 days.

The panel with my project looks perfect.

The V-cut lines separate the single PCBs. It is very easy to break them apart.

Conclusion

JLCPCB provides a simple panelization function to maximize the order quantity. The configuration of the PCB panel doesn't need an additional tool and can be done during the ordering process.
This is a perfect solution for small PCB prototype orders.

Am 29. April 2019 erscheint die 4. Auflage von Arduino Praxiseinstieg.

Auf über 680 Seiten erlernt der Leser den praktischen Einstieg ins Thema Arduino.

Projekte wie

  • Gefrierschrankwächter
  • Roboter
  • Geschwindigkeitsmesser fürs Fahrrad

die man aufbauen und praktisch einsetzen kann.

Weitere Praxisanwendungen sind

  • Kompass
  • Fieberthermometer
  • Wasserwaage
  • Wetterstation

Vorbestellbar und verfügbar ab 29.04.2019 bei

mitp-Verlag
Amazon.de

Mit dem Breadboard Power Adapter Kit kann eine einfache und stabile Spannungsversorgung für das Steckbrett realisiert werden.

Eine ausführliche Anleitung zeigt den Zusammenbau.

Project in progress

Wireless sensor node with cheap 433MHz transmitter built on my Tiny84 PCB.

Sensor node is reading data from LDR and DHT environmental sensor.

This project ist built on the versatile Tiny84Board PCB.

PCB is available at:
OSHPark
Tindie Shop

Project in progress

Supply power from an external bench power supply to the breadboard via 4mm binding posts.

Prototype

PCB

Circuit

Bill of Material

1 PCB (OSHPark)

2 Capacitor Ceramic, 100nF/50V (C1, C2)

1 LED 5mm (LED1)

1 Resistor 2k2 (R1)

2 Pin Header 2x4 Pin (JP1, JP2)

1 Pin Header 1x3 Pin (Optional)

1 PCB Socket 4mm PB-4 red (K1, Reichelt Elektronik)

1 PCB Socket 4mm PB-4 black (K2, Reichelt Elektronik)