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Got Board

My “Tiny Board Test” custom-designed PCB is here! The BatchPCB order took 18 days from design submission to delivery, but it seemed like an eternity. It’s pretty awesome to see my ideas rendered in copper and fiberglass. Somebody might even mistake me for one of those professional electro-whatsit engineers. Shhh, don’t tell anyone I’m making it all up as I go!

I actually received two boards, although I only ordered one. This seems to be common with BatchPCB. Because they don’t perform any electrical testing on the boards, maybe they make up it for it by sending extras?

The drill registration on this board is not great. You can see in the photo that all the drill holes are offset slightly above-left of the pads, especially noticeable in the top-left corner of the board. It’s close enough that I think it should still work OK, though. The second board (not pictured) has much better drill centering. Both boards are routed with nice straight edges– it’s the extreme close-up perspective of the camera that makes the edges look curved here.

I did some cursory electrical testing, and everything seems fine. I guess there’s nothing for it but to solder on all the parts, and see if it works? Let’s take bets on how many errors I’ll discover in my original design during the assembly process. My guess is four!

Read 5 comments and join the conversation 

5 Comments so far

  1. Martin Piper - May 30th, 2010 6:14 am

    These people can do an electrical test. When I was using four layer boards this was really important. 🙂

  2. Steve - May 30th, 2010 7:55 am

    They look to have lots of great customization options, but are a bit pricey for me, considering the dollar to euro conversion. Can I get VAT back? If I try another vendor, it’ll probably be Seeed Studio. 10 units of 10x10cm two-sided boards, with soldermask and silkscreen, with five of them e-tested for $40, or all ten e-tested for $50.

  3. Martin Piper - May 31st, 2010 2:05 pm

    Exporting outside of the EU means they shouldn’t be charging you VAT.

  4. Owen - June 1st, 2010 4:16 pm

    BatchPCB’s overproduction can be a bit ludicrous – I was building some little high brightness LED drivers on 1″ square boards. I ordered two.

    They sent me *eight*.

    I think there are two things in play here: Firstly, Golden Phoenix seem to do some limited form of electrical testing on the board – definitely not a full test, but they do some testing – and therefore need to overproduce slightly to compensate for any failures.

    The other is that the BatchPCB guys probably have some spare panel space left over once all of the designs have been batched up and pick out a smaller design or two to fill in the holes.

    I think in your case, you probably got a test duplicate; In mine, either the panel was really problematic, or SparkFun threw down some extras of it.

  5. PCB Manufacturer UK - January 30th, 2011 3:48 am

    May be it because outside of uk, they didn’t charge you Vat amount.

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