Screaming Circuits: Top-Ten Lists

Top-Ten Reasons to Ship Us Your PCBs in December

Yes, Christmas is near, as is New Years. Some companies shut down for the holiday week. Some don't. Some rush to spend remaining budget dollars before the end of the year, while some don't. Regardless, there are quite a number of reasons to send your prototype off to Screaming Circuits for assembly before the end of the year.

#10. You can come back on January 2nd to a clean desk.

#F. Or you can come back on January 2nd to a freshly assembled PCB, ready to be probed by that big expensive scope you convinced your boss to let you buy.

#E. Get those obnoxious marketing geeks off your back: You can show them the assembled boards and say: "See, your stupid prototype will be ready for the CES show in January. Now quit bugging me so I can do my job."

#D. As suggested in the opening to this post, you can squeak out some more budget dollars before the close of your fiscal year.

#C. Skiing! Send us your kit, sneak out early and hit the slopes for a long weekend. Skis or boards?

#B. Surprise the family. Start with #C, but instead of running off to the slopes with your ski bum buddies, build a snowman with the kids. Heck, build a whole snow family. Maybe do a "Calvin & Hobbes"

#A. Okay, if you live in Oregon, you probably won't be able to do the snowman thing, but you can leave early and do some singing in the rain! Singing in the cold, dreary, miserable, incessant rain that won't stop. It just keeps raining and raining and it never, ever stops...

#9. By getting the boards assembled now, you will know how many extra FPGAs you will have left over and you can take those spares and hang them on your tree as decorations.

#8. See #A, above. Get the proto assembly off your desk so you can silently wallow in your SADs without getting further behind schedule. Then get facilities to buy you some of those outdoor spectrum florecent lights that are supposed to help.

#7. That other project team that always seems to be on schedule... Get a jump on them with a 24hour turn here. You can tell them about us later.

#6. It's fun and entertaining.

#5. Stick it to your competition by beating them to launch.

#4. Help with your Christmas shopping - get the assembled boards back and wrap them up as presents to put under your tree. Okay that one's pretty lame, I admit, but it's hard to think up 10b16 things for a top-ten list and not have a few lame ones. #6 was pretty lame too.

#3. Sleep. Send us the project to assemble and stop stressing. You need some good sleep. Holidays are stressful enough without an unassembled proto hanging over your head too.

#2. Don't forget turn-key. have us order the parts and boards for you and save yourself even more time.

#1. And the number one reason to send us your board for assembly before the end of the year: It will make us work longer hours and cut into our holiday time. That's a little bit of payback for all of those annoying marketing message we keep sending your way.

Duane Benson
And a very happy holiday to you too!

Top-ten Reasons for Via in Pad

Okay, so it's really just a top-seven. I hope you don't feel cheated. If you do, then go here and read more about via-in pad.

Now, here are the top-seven reasons for putting vias in pads:

#7.  Grounding the center flag pad on a QFN. All those little electrons might need a quick and easy way home - (or is it the holes that need a quick and easy way to go to work??)

#6.  Cooling the QFN center flag pad. If light can be both a wave or a particle, why not heat? All the little Kelvonic particles will run down the via and hide on the other side of the PCB. Kelvons are better than Photons because Kelvons have feet.

#5.  Greater BGA routing flexibility. Put the via in the BGA pad (make sure your board house fills it and plates over it) and you can run traces between the pads. Then your signals can have races on the traces.

#4.  Keep all that messy solder off the top side of your board. It's easier to inspect a pcb assembly, especially underneath a BGA, if all the solder gets sucked down through a via to the other side of the board. As long as the circuit doesn't actually need to work...

#3.  Promote tombstoning with small passive parts. Put a via in one pad on a small passive and take bets on whether the part will pop up like a tombstone in the other pad. Wyatt Earp can be PN# 478-1051-1-ND and Ike Clanton can be PN# 478-1055-1-ND. No unauthorized component substitutions, please.

#2.  Presents for friends and family of PCB fab company executives. Doing it right by filling and plating over costs money. As we say in the marketing bizz, that service is a "high-margin accessory". Of course, doing it wrong, costs even more money.

... and ...

The number one reason to put vias in pads is:

#1.  Get revenge on your manufacturing folks for all of those annoying documentation requirements they keep throwing at you.

Duane Benson
Via la Screaming Circuits!