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Think Outside the Board Think of the Panel: 3 Hints

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antedeluvian
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Re: Some neat tricks !
antedeluvian   11/21/2013 9:46:34 AM
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salbayeng

Those tiny PCB's look like the "fuse blown" indicators  , do you use those little spongy EMI pads to get a good contact ,

No they are held on by pressure alone. You can see it more-or-less in action in Figure 8 of my blog Strange Brews

The other thing is with say a production run of 3" x 4" PCB's , you get about a 2" margin left all around the panel, so you fill this up with prototypes.

Nice variation on the idea- thanks

salbayeng
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Some neat tricks !
salbayeng   11/21/2013 8:46:34 AM
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Hmm running the tracks in from the edge for testing is a neat idea!

Those tiny PCB's look like the "fuse blown" indicators  , do you use those little spongy EMI pads to get a good contact , e.g. Gore 25SMT-4442-01 ? or a little metal spring finger like the Harwin S1741-46R?

I also usually send my PCB's in as full panels ,  was 10.5 x 16.5 "  , but changed supplier now 15.74 x 10.23" , I get it a cheaper rate, the so called "plot and go" 

I also discovered that if you are making 10" x 8" panels , it is cheaper to ask for "5 full panels, each with two of the attached halfpanel.pcb files" than to ask for "10 panels of halfpanel.pcb" 

It helps to put a dividing line somewhere near the middle to make shipping easier.

I can have upto 20 designs/panel.

The other thing is with say a production run of 3" x 4" PCB's , you get about a 2" margin left all around the panel, so you fill this up with prototypes. So with a run of 10 panels, you get 120 production boards and as a bonus get at least 10 of each proto board for free. (The stencils are just made to cover the area of the "production boards") , the proto boards are hand pasted or maybe mylar stencils.

Next production run, you make minor tweaks to the "production boards", but run a completely different set of proto boards around the edge.

JoshuaJohnston
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Good ideas
JoshuaJohnston   10/28/2013 11:57:27 AM
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Thank you for taking the time to write these ideas up and share them.  I have never considered the efficiencies that might be possible with mulitple units on a panel and a common test connector.  This type of setup may be well suited to some of the prototype work we do.

Brooks Lyman
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Panels
Brooks Lyman   10/23/2013 7:47:26 PM
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While I have not had the need to do this, it's my understanding that some of the proto houses (Advanced Ciruits was specifically mentioned in this regard) will send you the uncut/unbroken panel.  This can be a real moneysaver if you are making a fair number of small boards and the PCB house charges by the individual board.  Of course, some PCB houses won't cooperate here.

_hm
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Re: Good idea but not practical
_hm   10/20/2013 9:25:59 AM
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Yes, I agree with you. But for us, sometime we ask next day 9:00 am delivery or if they make mistake in delivery, we ask them to send it in person or by taxi. Yes, it is expensive, but you must follow management instructions. I wish I get that much money for my test and measurement equipments or like that. But that is difficult.

Sheetal.Pandey
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Re: Good idea but not practical
Sheetal.Pandey   10/19/2013 2:56:18 PM
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PCB majufacuturers are normally quite discplined. They also sometime deliver the boards in one week time.

antedeluvian
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Re: Good idea but not practical
antedeluvian   10/19/2013 11:14:11 AM
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_hm

It looks good if you are so concerend about saving $300 and delaying work.

We appear to wok in completely different markets. It's not $300, it's $300 per board. We produce probably more than 50 boards a year, but let's take that as a round number. Making each individually would cost $15K. If we spread it over 7 panels that works out to $5K6. Although we make quite a number of boards, we are a small company so the $10K saved is important.

And yes, we have the luxury of not being pressed to get a product to market ASAP most of the time. Because each of the engineers have at least 2-3 projects going on simultaneously (and I am NOT advocating this as a great way to work) the board delays are not normally an issue.

_hm
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Good idea but not practical
_hm   10/19/2013 5:23:56 AM
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It looks good if you are so concerend about saving $300 and delaying work. However, time to market for everyone is so great and no one wants to wait for even half a day. In general we pay premium for two three days delivery. I am not sure, this is practical in bigger organization.

 

 

TonyTib
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Re: Rules different when using Proto PCB Fab
TonyTib   10/18/2013 1:56:16 PM
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You could do a "board within a board", e.g. design say a matrix of small boards with external traces, but there are two potential problems:

1. You'll have to de-panelize it yourself after the testing is done

2. Some PCB Proto houses won't allow this or will charge extra on some of their services (e.g. a "flat-rate" service that charges the same for all PCBs up to a specified size)


Our PCBs are very low tech and large, so testing hasn't been an issue.

j_b_
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Cooling
j_b_   10/18/2013 1:55:30 PM
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The pricing of PCB manufacturing is sometimes a little obscure, but it was always my impression that one major part consists of the area the board takes on the panel ... including the unused area. It became a habit to use such areas as cooling "wings" for power chips that use copper areas as part of their cooling. I leave them with more or less full copper on both side and little solder areas. On the major board I leave adjacent lanes without screen. In the end the otherwise useless pieces of board get soldered vertically between these lanes and provide additional cooling at (almost) no additional cost.

 

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