No Script, No Fear, All Opinion
RSS icon Home icon
  • EEVblog #241 – Circuit Labs PCBs from New Zealand

    Posted on February 2nd, 2012 EEVblog 17 comments


    http://www.pcbzone.net
    http://iteadstudio.com/
    Many people asked to see the PSU PCB’s from Circuit Labs in New Zealand.
    Here is an in-depth look, compared with the same board from ITEAD Studios

    Be Sociable, Share!
    • Asm

      The Circuit Labs silkscreen might be a photosensitive one – applied the same way soldermask is. Was looking for soldermask on eBay a few months ago, and came upon some jars specifically for labelling use.

      It would also explain both the more transparent nature as well as the perfectly smooth edges – this is not an old-fashioned silkscreen process, at the very least. The dot-matrix effect you see on the chinese boards is due to the mesh used to create the screen for the printing.

      Nice boards, by the way.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Yep, it’s not a silk screening process. Circuit Labs clued me in on what it is, but asked me not to tell! :-P
        And extremely durable too they claim, as well as superior alignment…

        • Mark

          The Component Overlay would most likely be applied in exactly the same way as the soldermask, using a Liquid, photo imageable ink (LPI). It’s typically a more expensive process then regular silkscreening but the results are far far superior.

          By the way, there are still at least 3 PCB Manufacturers who locally produce boards in Australia: Lintek, IMP and Artronic Productions. I have been using Lintek for over 5 years and their quality is absolutely superb (and they also use the LPI Component Overlays). Lintek make their boards in a completely different way to other manufactures through a process of electrodepositing the copper to the board rather than etching it. This results is very precise track geometries. (http://www.lintek.com.au/unrivalled.html)

          There is another prototype service I have recently used called Dorkbot PDX (http://dorkbotpdx.org/wiki/pcb_order), where you pay a flat rate of USD 5 per square inch (you get three copies of each board for this price), with a USD 15 postage fee. The boards are manufactured in the USA, and the quality is also very good (except for the component overlay which uses a silkscreen process). However it can take 3 to 4 weeks to receive the Dorkbot boards.

          • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

            By the way, there are still at least 3 PCB Manufacturers who locally produce boards in Australia: Lintek, IMP and Artronic Productions.

            I had forgotten about Artronics, and aren’t Lintek very high-end and uncompetitive for regular boards?
            And I was under the impression that IMP off-shored now?

            • Mark

              Lintek are indeed high end, but their pricing for regular PCBs is very competitive for a local manufacturer. When I started using Lintek a few years ago I got quotes from all the manufacturers who were left in Australia (back then it was Entech, Lintek, IMP, BEC, Precision Circuits, Artronic), and Lintek was the cheapest for a double layer board.

              Try getting a quote from Lintek on your uCurrent boards to see how they compare to the NZ manufacturer.

              IMP still do local manufacturing, but they can also source PCBs from China.

    • Daygen

      Hiya Dave, great to see some NZ stuff, I live in NZ and didn’t know about Circuit Labs.. got all of our boards made in China, definitely check them out for the next run.

      Can’t wait for the power supply kit, looks awesome

    • DJ Delorie

      I find that my flatbed scanner is the best way to get high-res images of circuit boards. Also, since you know the scan resolution, you can measure features as well.

      Also, note that holes in HASL treated boards may be smaller diameter as the HASL plates the inside of the holes as well. Manufacturers are supposed to account for that, though, but they might always use the bigger drill so they don’t have to have option-specific drill adjustments. Also, some manufacturers have a limited set of drills and will round up, so the fact that one board’s holes were bigger than the other might have been a coincidence of available tool sizes.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Yep, very likely just tool size availability/rounding.

    • David Bogot

      Dave,

      I love the EEVBlog – I’ve probably learned more about electrical/electronics engineering from you in the last few months than I did while getting my electrical engineering degree!

      In this video, you mention Murphy yet again. I thought I would share MY favorite – “O’Malley’s Law”.

      O’Malley’s law states: “Murphy was an optimist…”

      Keep up the good work, and best of luck to you!

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        “Murphy was an optimist…”

        I’ve seen that on a T-shirt somewhere…

    • Peter

      Hi Dave, solid work as always! I just wanted to point out that iTead studios also offer a faster DHL shipping alternative, with which I received my boards after a week to Sweden.
      Love your blog, keep up the good work!

    • http://blog.mikucki.eu Mikuslaw

      Great to see that there are some local pcb fabs with good quality. Hard come by these. On the other hand the old ucurrent looks a bit better (at least on camera) – the red mask is a bit more suitable for the panel.

    • Zinahe Asnake

      With all due respect, that was lot of useless nit-picking for a circuit board that will boxed in a container anyway. I am sorry to say that I felt like I really wasted my 15 minutes watching it. I have a lot of respect for EEVBlog to walk away without mentioning this.

      Cheers.

      P.S. I’m not Chinese and don’t have anything against New Zealand.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Well, the video got 85 thumbs up, only 4 thumbs down, and tons of positive comments. It seems a lot of people liked it. What’s your address?, I’ll send you your money back…

    • fozia
    • http://[email protected] charleswarren

      I love the EEVBlog – I’ve probably learned more about electrical/electronics engineering from you in the last few months than I did while getting my electrical engineering degree! Electronics and gadgets products are exclusive collection in our online shop with specific accessories, low price and quickly delivery.