Screaming Circuits: PCB Finishes

PROTOTYPE AND SMALL VOLUME
PCB ASSEMBLY MADE EASY

Choosing Between Flex and Rigid-Flex

You're in the middle of designing a very small wireless data collection. The size has made it a real challenge and you've always thought that you could get another important chip or two on the board if it could just... Read more

Afraid of designing with Flex? Three reasons you might want to try

Until fairly recently the use of flexible PC board material (flex) was considered only for specialized or exotic applications. As tends to happen with advanced technology, the "mainstream" has caught wind of flex. With so many Internet of Things (IoT)... Read more

Five Misconceptions About Solder Mask

Before parts are added, a typical printed circuit board (PCB) has four ingredients: substrate, metal, solder mask, and silkscreen. Each of those four ingredients comes in a host of variations, and each has varying degrees of “requiredness.” All four should... Read more

Do You Really Need Soldermask and Silkscreen?

We've been asked that question: "Do I Really Need Soldermask and Silkscreen?" many times. And, we've been asked with good reasons. To us, soldermask protects exposed metal, reduce the chance of shorts, and keeps solder where solder needs to be.... Read more

Let's Talk About HAL - And Another Thing

A few days ago, I wrote about HASL PC board surfaces, explaining that it's not an appropriate choice for small parts. Look at the same PCB image as I used yesterday. You might not recognize it because yesterday, it was... Read more

Let's Talk About HAL - For Big Parts Only

The board surface names: HAL and HASL (hot air leveling and hot air surface leveling) refer to the same thing. They are interchangeable terms. With that out of the way, I'll get to my point, which is that HASL is... Read more

Milling Madness

Sometimes, we find things that kind of defy explanation. Fortunately, this didn't come from Sunstone, our normal board house. Regardless of who it came from, I'm sure it was a one-off mistake, but, wow. How could anyone miss this? It... Read more

Fiducials and Odd PC Boards

One of the handy aspects of getting boards assembled at Screaming Circuits is that we don't require fiducial marks for standard process boards. I would say that we build far more boards without fiducials than with. That's cool, but there... Read more

Happy St Patrick's Day!

In honor of St Patrick's day and all things green, I give you the PCB... And some trivia. You may have noticed that the soldermask used on most PC boards is green, as is the paint used on most steel... Read more

Proper PC board storage - The top three hazards

It's late. Do you know where your PC boards are? Let me rephrase that: Can unused PC boards be stored for future use? Yes, they can - if stored properly. Keep them wrapped up, or sealed in a bag. Anti-static... Read more