Have Questions About the PCB Design Process?
Here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
Please feel free to call us as well at (800) 320-2480
or email [email protected].
1. How do I get a quote?
Just provide us with a native schematic (ideally) or a pdf schematic from your layout software and answer a few questions about your board. We’ll need to know the board size (unless you want us to determine it) and if you have any special features, like a particular shape, RF traces, matched line lengths, or if you need components or mounting holes placed in particular locations.
2. How long will it take to get my quote?
If your board has no special requirements we will deliver a quote generally within a few hours of receiving your information. If you are really in a rush, call Ryan O’Connor directly at (760) 646-0745 and he will facilitate getting you a quote as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that we can generally start on new projects the same day or the following day after we provide a quote.
3. Are you going to Auto-Route my boards?
No, we have a team of very experienced PCB designers who have been designing PCBs for many years. They provide the ‘common sense’ and expertise that auto-routers lack. They know how to optimize a board for manufacture and keep it within IPC specs. They’re also experts at meeting regulatory requirements for UL, CE, and all major certifications. We have found that the time it takes to clean up an auto-routed board can often exceed the time it would take to manually route it.
4. How soon will my layout be done?
Boards vary from simple to complex, but we’ll tell you how long it will take when we quote your boards.
Our layout team is fast, but will take the time required to ensure that you receive a quality layout. We will have two or more reviews with you with at least one after part placement and one after routing. If there are critical placement or routing requirements, we will complete those and send the files for review before continuing. Your response time at these two points will impact our delivery time, but we plan ahead, so you can too!
5. My quote seems excessive.
Give us a call and tell us why. Although we have been in business for 17 years and have developed a very accurate quoting system, there are certainly times when our quote may be off. Your board may have features that are throwing off our calculations. If you draw our attention to it, we’ll give your layout a second review and modify our quote and our quoting process if you help us identify a shortcoming. Sometimes this can come down to our layout staff seeing things differently than you and/or your engineers.
6. How do I get a netlist?
We can help you. If you had your design performed out of house, you may have a .net or .asc file that is the netlist, or we can help you extract one from your schematic entry program. Let us know and we’ll have a designer contact you.
7. My board needs to fit in a particular case/location. How can we make that work?
Give us a call and we’ll have a designer review your mechanical constraints with you. If you have a mechanical drawing of what you want we can work from that. If you don’t, we can design one for you.
8. How do I review my board during the check points?
We will send you the complete design files or pdf’s at each review stage. At that time we can also schedule a ‘live’ review with the engineer and our designer to review the board and make changes on the fly. During the live review we’ll teleconference with you using a GoToMeeting (at no cost to you) so that you and your engineer can see the board and discuss potential changes in real time.
9. How can I be sure my board is properly designed for manufacture (DFM)?
Leave it to us! Our experienced engineers will provide you a list of suggestions if there are manufacturability issues with your design. We’ll then work with you to make your board what you want.
10. What about testability (DFT)?
Our designers have extensive experience with designing for test as well. Whether you want simple MDA (Manufacturing Defect Analysis) or more comprehensive functional testing, we can design with those goals in mind – just let us know!
11. What will you deliver?
We will deliver the complete set of board files so that you can make changes internally if needed in the future and a complete set of Gerbers, including drill chart, and mechanical drawings – everything a board house needs to make your board.
12. What if I need other engineering help?
Let us know – we have electrical, software and mechanical engineers – an entire design team, plus manufacturing facilities. We regularly take projects from concept through production and product sustaining – we can help you with any step in the process. Give us a call and we’ll have one of our engineering managers discuss your project needs with you. Learn more about our engineering services on our PCB Engineering Page.