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Troubleshooting Common PCB Assembly Issues


PCB assembly stands as a foundational process in the world of electronics, transforming designs into functional devices. However, like any intricate procedure, it’s not without its challenges. From soldering mishaps to component placement errors, even a minor issue can significantly disrupt the desired outcome.

Recognizing and addressing these common hiccups ensures flawless circuit card assembly (CCA). Below, BESTProto will look into these challenges, offering solutions to streamline the PCBA process and ensure consistency and reliability.

Soldering Defects

Here are some of the predominant soldering defects and their remedies:

  • Cold solder joints: Cold solder joints appear as dull or grainy soldered points and usually result from insufficient heat during soldering. To address the issue, ensure the soldering iron is hot enough and that both the pad and component lead are heated properly before applying the solder.
  • Bridging/shorting: When a solder connects two pins that shouldn’t be joined, it results in a bridge. The best way to resolve bridging is to utilize flux to ensure solder flows to the right places or use a solder wick or a desoldering pump to rectify the issue.
  • Tombstoning: Tombstoning is a condition where a component stands upright. It’s easy to resolve the issue by ensuring a uniform temperature during the reflow process.

Component Placement Issues

Some of the prevalent component placement issues and their solutions include:

  • Misalignment: This is a common issue where components aren’t properly aligned to their corresponding pads. This can be remedied by using precise placement machines or manually adjusting before soldering.
  • Wrong components: Incorrectly placing components can lead to malfunctioning boards. Always double-check component values and positions before final assembly.
  • Component shadowing: This issue occurs when a larger component blocks the heat from reaching a smaller component during the reflow process. To avoid component shadowing, reconsider component arrangement or modify the reflow profile.

Polarity Mistakes

Some components, like diodes, capacitors, and ICs, have specific orientations. Reversing their polarity can result in the circuit not functioning or even damaging the component. The best way to prevent this issue is to clearly mark polarized components and ensure their orientation is consistent with the PCB footprint.

Inadequate PCB Cleaning

Residue from the soldering process can lead to shorts and affect component performance. Always ensure the PCB is cleaned adequately using the recommended cleaning solutions.

Stay on Top of Common PCB Assembly Issues

A successful PCBA process is a combination of attention to detail, the right tools, and a thorough understanding of common challenges. By understanding these common issues and their solutions, you’ll be better equipped to ensure the success of your next circuit card assembly project.

And if you’re looking for an expert touch, consider partnering with BESTProto. We are a leader in PCB prototyping, assembly, and full-scale production. Contact us today for consistently superb results.


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The Basics of PCB Assembly: A Step-by-Step Guide


Producing a PCBA (Printed Circuit Board Assembly) correctly, is the foundation of a successful product. Components must be correctly mounted on the board, soldered in place, and connected with wires to ensure that the PCB performs optimally.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the exacting and methodical process BESTProto uses to assemble our customers’ PCBAs.

Step One: Careful selection of components

The first step in the PCBA process is carefully selecting the correct board components. We begin by ensuring that all parts are approved parts selected by our customers and on their provided BOM. At BESTProto, we will never supply a part that is not on the customer’s BOM and/or AVL. QVL.  Once we have determined the integrity of the boards and parts kit, during production and inspection we examine the quality of components during production through to test, inspection and final shipping. 

Step Two: Placement of components

The components are then placed on the board in their correct positions, with particular attention paid to any mounting pads or other connections that may be required. We also take special care to ensure that all components are secure and don’t shift during solder reflow.

Step Three: Testing and inspection

The final step of PCB assembly is testing and inspection. Our technicians will use advanced inspection and testing equipment to ensure the PCBA works correctly and all components are placed and soldered. The board is also inspected for any signs of damage or improper assembly, such as shorts or misalignments.

Choose BESTProto for your PCB assembly needs!

BESTProto’s thorough and meticulous PCB assembly process has been developed over years of experience in the industry.

Our staff includes Master Instructors in IPC A610 and J STD-001 to ensure your products consistently meet the latest electronic industry standards.

We specialize in delivering prototype and natch quantities of quantity electronic assemblies, so contact us today to discuss your project’s needs.

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Optimizing Electronic Device Performance Using Embedded PCBs


Performance optimization remains a top priority in a world where technology continues to take strides toward more compact, efficient, and powerful devices. One avenue making waves in this ongoing endeavor is the utilization of embedded Printed Circuit Board Assemblies (PCBAs). AKA, Printed Wiring Boards (PWBs) Circuit Card Assemblies (CCAs).

Pioneering the frontier of electronics, embedded PCBAs offer a groundbreaking method to elevate device functionality, propelling us into a new era of technology. Below, we explore how these embedded PCBs are key to optimizing electronic device performance.

Understanding Embedded PCBs

An embedded PCB is a type of PCB where some or all the components, such as resistors, capacitors, or even integrated circuits, are embedded within the layers of the PCB itself rather than being attached to the surface. This unique design substantially reduces the product’s size and weight while increasing the overall device’s reliability by limiting the physical connections that may fail.

Embedded PCBs optimize electronic device performance in the following ways:

Enhanced Reliability

When components are integrated directly into the Printed Circuit Board Assemblies, it reduces the need for numerous interconnects, traditionally associated with potential points of failure in a circuit. This results in a more reliable and robust design, which is paramount for applications where failure is not an option, such as medical devices and aerospace systems.

Speeding Up Signal Processing

Embedded PCB Assemblies facilitate faster signal processing by reducing the physical distance between components. Shorter travel distances mean faster communication between components, resulting in quicker signal processing. This enhanced speed allows devices equipped with embedded PCBs to perform complex tasks more quickly, improving the user experience significantly.

Reducing Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)

EMI is a significant concern in electronic devices as it can interfere with their operation, causing slow performance or even system failures. Embedded PCB Assemblies offer an effective solution to this problem by reducing the exposed traces and components that can act as antennae, mitigating the effects of EMI. The outcome is a smooth, interference-free operation that optimizes the device’s performance.

Bottom Line

Embedded  are revolutionizing the electronics industry, forging a pathway to smaller, faster, and more robust devices. They are not only beneficial to manufacturers by saving space and cost, but they also offer end-users a better-performing, longer-lasting electronic experience.

At BestProto, we are a leading provider of circuit board assembly and design services for various industries like medical, telecommunications, and military. Whether you need an embedded PCB Assemblies or any other type of advanced board assembly, we will work with you to ensure the design is accurate and manufacturable. Contact us today for more details. 


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Understanding the Different Types of PC Board Assembly and Which One is Right for You

BESTProto-Understanding the Different Types of PCBA Builds and Which One is Right for You

As technology continues to evolve, the demand for complex electronic devices is on the rise. Behind every electronic device lies a crucial component known as a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA). A PCBA refers to a finished board with all the components soldered and installed on a printed circuit board (PCB), usually in fiberglass. Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) known in certain industries as Circuit Card Assemblies (CCA), Printed Wiring Boards (PWB) they are identical in everything but name.

In this article, we’ll explore the different types of PCBA builds and help you determine which one is right for your needs.

What Is Circuit Board Assembly?

Circuit board assembly refers to the process of installing and soldering electronic components onto a printed circuit board (PCB). The PCB serves as a platform with conductive pathways made of laminated copper sheets embedded within a non-conductive substrate.

During assembly, electronic components such as resistors, capacitors, integrated circuits, and connectors are carefully placed and soldered onto the designated areas of the PCB. This process typically involves automated machinery, including pick-and-place machines conveyorized ovens, X-ray machines and various soldering equipment, to ensure precise and efficient assembly. 

Once all the components are in place, the PCB Assembly represents the final product ready for testing and integration into electronic devices or systems. Below are the different types of PCB Assemblies:

1. Rigid PCB Assembly

Rigid PCB assemblies are the most common type of PCB Assembly build. As the name suggests, these boards are built on a rigid base layer that cannot bend. Rigid PCBs offer excellent durability and stability, making them ideal for applications where the board will not be subjected to frequent bending or flexing. They are commonly used in consumer electronics, industrial equipment, and automotive systems.

2. Flex PCB Assembly

Flex PCB assemblies, also known as flexible circuits, are built on a flexible base that can bend, twist, and fold. These assemblies provide design flexibility and can be shaped to fit into tight spaces or conform to non-planar surfaces. 

Flex PCBs are often used in applications that require high-density interconnections, such as smartphones, wearables, medical devices, and aerospace systems. The flexibility of these boards enables enhanced functionality and reduces the need for bulky connectors and wiring.

3. Rigid-Flex PCB Assembly

Rigid-flex PCB assemblies combine the benefits of both rigid and flex PCBs. They consist of multiple rigid and flexible layers interconnected to form a single board. Rigid-flex assemblies provide the best of both worlds, allowing for a compact and robust design that can withstand bending and flexing without compromising reliability.

These boards are commonly found in applications that require a combination of reliability, space savings, and complex interconnectivity, such as military equipment, high-end electronics, and IoT devices.

What is the difference between PCB and PWB?

The terms PCB, PWB and CCA are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between them. PWB, which stands for Printed Wiring Board, is the foundational term for board technology. It refers to boards that have circuitry printed on them but no components attached but can also mena that it is populated with components as well. 

On the other hand, PCB, which stands for Printed Circuit Board, is an improved term that encompasses both the printed circuitry and the components mounted on the board. PCBs are complete boards with fully integrated circuitry, including components like resistors, capacitors, and integrated circuits. 

While PWBs are considered bare boards without components, PCB Assemblies refer to boards with a complete set of circuitry and components.

What is the difference between Flex Circuit Assembly and PCB Assembly ?

The key difference between flex and PCB lies in their base layer properties. A rigid PCB is constructed on a solid, inflexible base layer (commonly fiberglass), restricting its ability to bend. In contrast, a flexible PCB, known as a flex circuit (commonly Kapton), is built on a pliable base layer that allows it to flex, twist, and fold. 

Flex circuits are advantageous in applications where space constraints, complex geometries, or dynamic movement are involved. They provide enhanced design flexibility, improved reliability due to fewer interconnects, and reduced assembly time and cost. 

On the other hand, rigid PCBs are suitable for applications that require stability, durability, and rigid mounting of components. The choice between flex and PCB depends on the specific requirements of the electronic system and its intended use.

Choosing the Right PCBA Build for Your Needs

Selecting the appropriate PCBA build depends on several factors, including the intended application, size constraints, environmental conditions, and cost considerations. Here are a few key considerations:

  • Application requirements: Determine the functionality, size, and form factor needed for your device.
  • Space constraints: If you have limited space, flex or rigid-flex PCB assembly may be the optimal choice.
  • Environmental factors: Consider the operating environment, including temperature, humidity, vibration, and impact resistance.
  • Cost considerations: Evaluate the budget for manufacturing and assembly, as flex and rigid-flex PCB assemblies can be more expensive than rigid PCBs.

Bottom Line

Understanding the different types of PCB Assembly builds is essential when developing electronic devices. Whether you require a rigid PCB assembly for traditional applications, a flexible PCB assembly for space-constrained designs, or a rigid-flex PCB assembly for complex interconnectivity, choosing the right build is crucial. 

BESTProto, a leading provider of PCB assembly services, can help you navigate the intricacies of PCBA builds and deliver high-quality solutions tailored to your specific needs. For more information, contact us today for expert guidance.


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How Flex Circuits and Printed Wiring Boards (PWBs) are Used in Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA)


Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA) is a vital process in the electronics industry. It involves assembling electrical components on a printed circuit board (PCB). Flex circuits and printed wiring boards (PWBs) and Circuit Card Assemblies (CCAs) are two important components in this process.

Flex circuits are thin, flexible conductive circuits often made from Mylar that can be bent, twisted, and folded into any shape. PCBs, on the other hand, are rigid insulation materials with thin layers of conductive metal on one or both sides. Unlike the printed circuit board assemblies which are covered in circuitry, the PCB/PWB/CCA are just bare boards with no components installed on them.

This article will discuss how these two components are used in PCB Assembly

Flex Circuits in PCB Assemblies

Flex circuits are used in PCB Assembly to save space and reduce weight. They can be integrated into existing PCB designs to reduce size and improve performance.

Flex circuits have become prevalent today due to the increased demand for light or small electronic products. They are ideal for portable electronics, which is why they are commonly used in medical devices, automotive applications, and consumer electronics.

Printed Wiring Boards (PWBs) Assembly

PWBs are commonly used in PCB Assemblies for their mechanical strength and durability. They are rigid and can withstand vibrations, shocks, and extreme temperatures. PWBs are used in applications such as aerospace, defense, and industrial control.

They are also ideal for high-density designs where the number of components exceeds the capacity of traditional wire harnesses. They can be designed with multiple layers of conductive metal, which allows for the connection of many components without the need for excessive wiring.

The Combination of Flex Circuits and PWBs in PCB Assembly aka, Rigid-Flex Circuits

Flex circuits and PWBs can be combined in PCBA to create a PCB with the best of both worlds. The combination allows for the placement of components in different orientations and saves space.

This combination is also ideal for applications that require interconnects or flexible joints. The interconnects allow for connections between rigid and flexible parts, while the flexible joints provide flexibility and bendability.

The Bottom Line

Flex circuits and PWBs are both crucial components used in PCB Assembly. While flex circuits provide the benefit of space-saving, PWBs offer mechanical strength and durability.

If you’re an OEM, our team at BESTProto can help you with PCB prototyping, assembly, and production. Whether you need flex circuits, PWBs, or a combination of both, we have the expertise and experience to meet your needs. Contact us today to learn more about our services.



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The Future of Telecommunications: Advances in PCB Assembly Technology

Bestproto - The Future of Telecommunications_ Advances in PCB Technology

The telecommunications industry is constantly evolving, and printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) are a major part of this evolution. PCBAs are the backbone of all electronic communication equipment, from broadcasting networks to mobile phones.

In recent years, advances in PCB technology have allowed for more efficient and reliable communication systems. This post explores how these advances impact the telecommunications industry and what the future holds for PCBs in telecommunications.

How Are PCB Assemblies Used in Telecommunications?

PCBAs (known in other industries as Circuit Card Assemblies or CCAs, Printed Wiring Boards, or PWBs) play an essential role in the telecommunications industry. They are used to create video collaboration systems, VoIP devices, PBX systems, and satellite technology.

PCB Assemblies are also used in broadband equipment, fiber optic multiplexers, and phone switching systems. These devices rely on PCB Assemblies to provide reliable connections between their components and allow faster data transmission speeds than traditional wiring methods.

Advances in PCB Assembly Technology

Recent advances in PCB technology include improved materials such as high-temperature laminates that can withstand higher temperatures than traditional laminates. This allows manufacturers to produce PCBs with higher current and voltage capabilities.

Advances in PCB Assembly technology have allowed for more efficient and reliable communication systems. For example, high-density interconnect (HDI) boards are now being used in telecom applications. HDI boards use finer lines and spaces than traditional boards, allowing them to fit more components into a smaller area while still providing excellent signal integrity.

Flexible printed circuit board assemblies (Flex Circuits) have become increasingly popular due to their ability to bend around corners or fit into tight spaces without sacrificing performance or reliability. This feature makes them ideal for use in mobile phones or other portable electronics where space is limited, but performance needs remain high.

What the Future Holds for Telecommunications

As advances in PCB Assembly technology continue, so do the possibilities available within the realm of telecommunication. Companies will be able to create devices with unparalleled efficiency that provide faster data transfer speeds than ever before. Furthermore, advancements will enable companies to enhance security measures on their products with biometric scans so that all information exchanged between two points is secure from unauthorized access.

The Bottom Line

Printed circuit board assemblies will continue to be a cornerstone of technological advancement, especially in telecommunications. This evolution is worth watching for entrepreneurs seeking new opportunities within this rapidly advancing field.

If you’re an OEM looking for top-of-the-line PCB solutions, consider partnering with BESTProto for all your telecom PCB assembly needs. We will help you build the perfect PCB for your next telecom project. Contact us today for more information about our offerings.

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5 Innovative Ways PCB Assemblies are Revolutionizing Medical Technology

BestProto-5 Innovative Ways PCBs are Revolutionizing Medical Technology

The medical industry is constantly evolving and improving, and printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs also known as Circuit Card Assemblies CCAs and Printed Wiring Boards or PWBs) have been at the forefront of this revolution. They provide a reliable connection between components and allow for more efficient operation of medical devices. This article will explore five innovative ways that PCBs are revolutionizing medical technology.

1. Improved Diagnostic Tools

Printed circuit boards have enabled the development of more accurate and efficient diagnostic tools for medical professionals. By utilizing advanced sensors and microprocessors, PCB Assemblies can help detect diseases earlier and provide more accurate results than ever before. The accuracy allows doctors to make better decisions about treatment plans for their patients.

2. Wearable Devices

Wearable devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches have become increasingly popular in recent years, and they rely heavily on printed circuit boards to function properly. These devices can be used to monitor a patient’s vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature, allowing doctors to keep track of their patients’ health without being physically present with them at all times.

3. Smart Implants

Smart implants use tiny sensors embedded in the device, which allow it to monitor a patient’s health from within their body. This data can then be transmitted wirelessly back to a doctor or other healthcare provider for further analysis and diagnosis. By incorporating flexible substrates and evolved printed circuit boards, engineers have created small, lightweight implants that can monitor vital signs without causing discomfort or irritation.

4. Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery is common in the medical field due to its ability to reduce risk while still providing excellent results for patients undergoing procedures such as cancer removal or organ transplants. Printed circuit boards enable robotic surgeons to perform these operations more precisely, resulting in fewer complications.

5. Laser and Magnetic Therapy

Printed circuit board assemblies are also being used to develop laser and magnetic therapy devices for medical treatments. These devices use specialized electrical circuits to direct the energy from lasers or magnets to target areas of the body for therapeutic purposes. Thanks to PCBAs, doctors can provide more targeted and effective treatments with fewer side effects.

The Bottom Line

Printed circuit board assemblies are a key part of the medical revolution we are currently seeing. At BESTProto, we are proud to be part of this revolution by providing high-quality PCBs for medical devices and applications.

We can handle the medical PCB assembly and building of your medical products, so you can focus more on marketing your medical device. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

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Understanding the Restrictions of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in Europe

BestProto-Understanding the Restrictions of Hazardous Substances _RoHS_ in Europe

In 2002, the European Union (EU) restricted the use of certain hazardous materials in electrical and electronic products sold in EU countries. The new rules became known as the RoHS regulation and came into effect four years later, in 2006. Since then, consumer electronics and household appliances have all had to pass RoHS compliance before they could reach their end users. 

The goal is twofold: protect users from associated risks to human health and protect the environment from the consequences of these materials being disposed.

At first glance, this may not seem overly relevant, but the regulations affect anyone doing trade with EU countries. In short, if you are a U.S. manufacturer offering electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) products or components to EU consumers, you need to ensure compliance. 

What Does RoHS Mean for BESTProto and American Businesses?

The RoHS directive specifically applies to ten substances: 

  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Mercury
  • Hexavalent chromium
  • Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)
  • Bis (2-ethyl-hexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  • Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) 
  • Di-isobutyl phthalate (DIBP)

The first six substances were covered under the original regulation, and the remaining four phthalates were added in 2015. Their use is not expressly forbidden, but it needs to be restricted to less than 1,000 ppm. 

Most EEE manufacturers sell their products worldwide, even if they are operating from a comparatively small base in the United States. If that sounds like your business, now is the time to get serious about compliance. 

Complying with RoHS regulations may require manufacturers to change their practices and ensure products suit domestic and overseas customers. Customers have the right to ask for compliance documents, so it is important to ensure your processes are in order. 

What To Do About Non-Compliant Products?

As an EEE business, you can choose not to sell to overseas customers, but that could substantially limit your growth potential as resellers and distributors may also ask for compliance. Converting the manufacturing of non-compliant products is a better option to secure your company’s future and its continued appeal to customers around the world. 

At BESTProto, we have converted our practices to ensure compliance, and we are helping our partners do the same. Call us today at 877-722-1015 for inquiries or to request a quote.

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Choosing the Right Parts for Your Computer Box Build

Walk into any computer store, and you could pick up a fully-built computer off the shelf. But will it truly meet your needs? Box builds do, and that is why they are growing in popularity with manufacturers and end users. But how can you choose the right parts? Here is a closer look. 

The Importance of Choosing the Right Parts for Your Box Build

What constitutes the right parts of a computer box build depends on how you want to use your machine. If high-performance gaming is your priority, you need different features from someone who is mostly programming or creating graphics. Box builds allow manufacturers and users to customize the parts that go into the box to their exact requirements. 

Six Main Parts of a Computer Box Build

Understanding the system requirements needed to be fulfilled helps you choose your parts. Read on:

  1. Motherboard: this is the main board screwed into the computer case. The motherboard connects all other parts and enables them to collaborate and communicate.

  2. Input and output units: these are nothing other than monitors, speakers, keyboards, mouses, and joysticks. As input units, most users want at least a keyboard and a mouse. For gaming, joysticks or other devices are essential. Anyone working on complex projects benefits from two monitors, whereas a professional musician may choose to upgrade their computer’s speakers and sound technology.
  3. Central processing unit (CPU): think of the CPU as the computer’s brain where all data is being processed. The more demanding your work is, the more powerful the CPU needs to be.

  4. Graphics processing unit (GPU): GPUs are specialized processors that accelerate any work requiring high-quality graphics. They are essential for gaming or video editing.

  5. Random access memory (RAM): RAM stores data of frequently accessed programs and processes. As faster storage options are becoming available, RAM is becoming less important.

  6. Storage: hard disk drives (HDD) used to be the main unit for storage, but they are being replaced by solid-state drives (SSD) which work more like SIM cards and store and read data faster.

Need more help? The team at BESTProto is happy to offer tailor-made recommendations. 


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How to Ensure Your PCB Assembly Prototype Meets Your Requirements

BestProto-How to Ensure Your PCB Prototype Meets Your Requirements

Well-designed PCB Assembly (PCBA, CCA, PWB) prototypes can help you save time and money. You can use them to identify and correct potential usability and performance issues, enabling you to avoid costly errors in the production stage.

It’s, therefore, essential to ensure prototypes meet your requirements and accurately resemble your final product. Below are a few tips to help you achieve this:

Work With an Experienced Manufacturer

Before hiring a contract manufacturer (CM), verify that they possess the requisite expertise and experience.  Request that they send their portfolio, which should include their past or present projects and most notable accomplishments. We advise seeking a product development partner familiar with your industry and who has worked with similar firms.

If you’re running a critical systems industry like the military, aerospace, or medical facilities, the chances are that you have an approved vendor list. If so, consider the approved development partners first.

Observe Applicable Regulations and Standards

Hiring a professional manufacturer does not relieve you of the responsibility of adhering to PCB manufacturing industry guidelines and standards. If the regulatory bodies discover that your PCBs contravene any regulations, they’ll come for you, not the manufacturer.

While prototypes should merely help you forecast your PCB’s functionality and performance, there’s no harm in ensuring they are also compliant. Doing so can make production more efficient by eliminating the need to worry about compliance at that critical stage.

Follow Component Traceability Procedures

Another key factor to consider is the dependability and quality of your PCB prototype’s components. The materials used in the prototype should be similar to those used in the final product. Therefore, you should take all the necessary precautions as you would during production. Avoid counterfeits and ensure that each component can be traced from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to the component manufacturer (CM).

Above all, ensure you’ve contacted a PCB prototype manufacturer who understands what they’re doing. These systems are so critical that their production has no room for guesswork.

At BESTProto, we pride ourselves on helping several clients like you prototype, assemble, and produce PCBs. Our customers come from several sectors — from medical to telecommunications, industrial, and military. 

Call us today at 877-722-1015 for inquiries or to request a quote. We’ll be more than glad to help you.

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PCBs and the Military Sector

Bestproto-PCBs and the Military Sector

Printed Circuit Board Assemblies or PCBAs otherwise called, Printed Wiring Boards (PWBs) and Circuit Card Assemblies (CCAs), are an integral part of many military systems and devices. From communication equipment to weapons systems, PCBAs/PWBs/CCAs play a critical role in the functionality and reliability of military technology. 

In this article, we will discuss the use of PCBAs/PWBs/CCAs in the military sector, the differences between military-grade and private-sector PCBs, and the importance of proper inspection and testing.

The Role of PCBAs/PWBs/CCAs in Military Applications

PCBAs/PWBs/CCAs are used in a wide range of military applications, including communications systems, radar and sonar equipment, avionics, and weapons systems. They provide a reliable and efficient way to connect and power various components, allowing for the integration of complex systems and the creation of compact and portable devices.

Military-Grade vs Private-Sector PCBAs/PWBs/CCAs

Military-grade PCBAs/PWBs/CCAs differ from those used in the private sector in several ways. They are typically made with higher-quality materials and manufacturing processes to meet the strict requirements of the military. For example, military-grade PCBs may use higher-grade copper and insulation materials and more advanced fabrication techniques.

Also, military-grade PCBAs/PWBs/CCAs are typically designed with higher levels of redundancy and fail-safes to ensure that they continue to function even in the event of component failure or damage. This is critical for military applications, where the failure of a PCB can have serious consequences.

The Importance of Inspection and Testing

Proper inspection and testing are crucial to ensure the quality and reliability of military-grade PCBAs/PWBs/CCAs. This includes visual inspection, electrical testing, and functional testing to verify that the PCB meets all specified requirements and specifications.

One key aspect of PCB inspection and testing is power inspection. This involves verifying that the PCB can deliver the necessary power to the various components and systems– and that it does so efficiently and without overheating. Power inspection is vital for military applications, where the failure of a PCB due to power issues can have serious consequences.

BESTProto: Your Trusted Source for Military-Grade PCBs

PCBAs/PWBs/CCAs play a vital role in the military sector, providing the connectivity and power necessary for a wide range of systems and devices. Military-grade PCBAs/PWBs/CCAs are designed to meet the demanding requirements of the military, and proper inspection and testing are crucial to ensure their quality and reliability.


If you are in need of high-quality, military-grade PCBAs/PWBs/CCAs, be sure to check out BESTProto for all your prototyping and manufacturing needs. Our team of experts is ready to help you bring your project to fruition with the best possible PCB solutions. Contact us today for a free quote and learn how we can help.

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4 Benefits of PCBA, PWA and CCA Assembly Services


When it comes to PCB Assembly  (PCBA), including Printed Wiring Board assembly (PWB) and Circuit Card Assembly (CCA) you have plenty of options. Although some may try to take shortcuts or even go the DIY route, this is ill advised. Generally speaking, printed circuit board assembly is one of the most important aspects of PCB fabrication. It pays to work with a high-quality PCB assembly service provider. Here is a closer look at the benefits of working with our team of experts at BESTProto. 

Benefits of Working with BESTProto for PCB, PWB and CCA Assembly Services

What are the benefits of entrusting BESTProto with your PCB Services? 

  • Leveraging Expertise: One of the top benefits of outsourcing your PCB services to us is that it allows you to leverage the expertise of our team of experts. With decades of collective experience, our experts are highly skilled at building customized PC boards of all kinds. 
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Another major benefit of working with a professional company for your PCB assembly services is that these services may be highly cost-effective. This is because reliable PCB assembly services fully understand concepts such as design changes, price fluctuations, part obsolescence etc. This makes it possible for them to design PCB assemblies in a manner that is the most cost-effective short and long term. 
  • Boost Capacity: Working with BESTProto will also enable you to boost the capacity of your circuit boards. Companies that have to scale unexpectedly may experience downtime while reconfiguring their boards. However, working with a reputable company like BESTProto can drastically reduce any downtime that a given company may experience.
  • Focus on Daily Operations: Lastly, creating printed circuit board assemblies is a complex process. Therefore, creating them in-house can seriously distract from daily operations. By working with us, you can continue focusing on what matters most: running your business.

Do You Need Premium Quality PCB, PWB and CCA Assembly Services?

Overall, if you are in the market for premium quality PCB assembly services, we’re here to help. Contact our team of professionals at BESTProto for a quote and more information. 

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Everything You Need to Know About Box Builds

Three-dimensional view of the electronic Board of a digital set-top box, motherboard

When it comes to electronics manufacturing, there are a lot of terms and concepts that can be confusing to newcomers. In this blog post, we’ll be taking a deep dive into one of these concepts: box builds. Read on to learn more about box builds and how they can benefit your business.

What is a Build Box?

In the electronics manufacturing industry, a “box build” is the term used to describe the process of putting together all the components of a final product into a single enclosure. A box build can be as simple as mounting a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) into a plastic or metal enclosure and adding boards, cable assemblies, connectors and a few peripherals, or it could involve hundreds of components and sub-assemblies. Regardless of the complexity, all box builds have one thing in common: they require careful planning and execution to ensure a high-quality end product.


Why Use BESTProto for Box Builds?

There are several reasons why electronics manufacturers such as BESTProto do box builds to assemble their customer’s products. First, box builds allow for greater flexibility in the design process. By outsourcing the assembly of individual components, manufacturers can focus on designing and building the PCB assembles and enclosures that will house those components. This can result in better-designed products that are easier to assemble and test.


Second, box builds can save time and money by reducing assembly errors. When components are shipped pre-assembled from different suppliers, there is always the risk that something will be misassembled during production. This can result in costly delays and rework. By outsourcing the entire assembly process to a single supplier, manufacturers can avoid these pitfalls and reduce their overall costs.


Finally, box builds allow manufacturers to outsource production to specialized suppliers who have the experience and expertise necessary to produce high-quality products. These suppliers often have access to state-of-the-art equipment and processes that would be cost-prohibitive for most manufacturers to purchase and maintain themselves. By outsourcing production, manufacturers can take advantage of these resources without incurring a significant upfront investment. 


Box builds are an essential part of BESTProto’s electronics manufacturing process. By outsourcing the assembly of individual components, manufacturers can save time and money while maintaining a high level of quality control. Specialized suppliers with experience in in box builds can provide manufacturers with access to state-of-the-art equipment and processes, ensuring that products are assembled correctly and efficiently.


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How to Prevent Future PCB Problems

BestProto-How to Prevent Future PCB Problems

From smartphones & computers to critical medical electronics & military equipment, printed circuit boards are essential components that make it all possible. However, the slightest manufacturing errors and defects in PCBs can cost a lot of money in the long run– and even cost lives if it’s an important medical or military device in the field.

That’s why PCB inspections from reliable and reputable engineers are more important today than ever. In this article, we’ll cover a few of the inspection methods used to find defects and prevent future PCB problems.

Flying Probe Testing

Flying probe testing (FBT) is a cost-effective method that is ideal for low-volume production or prototypes. The test probe “flies” (or moves) from test point to test point to easily and quickly identify open & short circuits or wrong values. FBT can also ensure each component is correctly placed and find anything that is missing. However, it does NOT allow for power inspections or functionality inspections.

In-Circuit Testing

In-circuit testing (ICT) is also an FBT, but it uses electric probes to run a current through various points of the PCB to check for power levels, resistance, capacitance, short/open circuits, and other basic information to determine the PCB’s integrity. This inspection is ideal for mid to high-volume productions, and it’s a great tool for picking out design-related defects, component deficiencies, and more.

X-Ray Inspections

Another inspection type that’s perfect for advanced components (such as multi-layered PCBs or those with a multitude of sockets) is X-Ray inspections. The X-ray gives a detailed look at each of the parts, making it less likely to miss errors that would be overlooked by a typical visual inspection. This includes giving detailed information on parameters such as voiding, solder thickness, and the sizes of the joints.

Reliable PCB Repair Services & Inspections You Can Count On

BESTProto is a PCB company with many years of experience in inspecting PCB units for a variety of industries including medical, military, telecommunications, and more.  Contact us today to learn more about our PCB inspection services

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How to Tell if a Printed Circuit is Bad


A printed circuit board, or PCB, is present in almost all electronic devices. Computers, smartphones, and television sets all have them. PCBs are usually very reliable but may deteriorate because of age and misuse. If your PCB is not working as expected, take the following steps to troubleshoot the issue. 

The Tools You Will Need

You would need a few simple tools to test a PCB:

  •       A multimeter
  •       Soldering iron
  •       Desoldering station
  •       Magnifying glass

Now, let us discuss how we can go about testing a circuit.

Visual Inspection

We should begin with a visual inspection of the PCB. First, switch off the power to the circuit. Look for scratches, broken traces, misplaced solder, and burn spots. See if there are any cracked chips or blown capacitors. Do a sniff test – burned components will give off an acrid smell.

Power Check

Next, turn your attention to the power module. Switch on the power. Measure the input and output voltages of the voltage regulator with the multimeter. Verify that the values are as expected. A very low voltage at the output could mean that the regulator or another point has a short circuit. See if any component has heated up (but be very careful – some parts can get quite hot). Don’t keep the power on for long if you suspect a problem.

Schematic Check

Check each connection physically and compare it with the schematic. If there are mismatches with the schematic, then the circuit is bad.

Software Diagnostics

The PCB might come with a software diagnostic package. If so, run the diagnostic program to get a report on whether the PCB is functional or damaged. The program may also identify the faulty part.

Next Steps

We have discussed some simple techniques for checking if a PCB is defective. There are more complex and expensive methods like In-Circuit Test (ICT), Flying Probe Test, Functional Circuit Test, and Boundary Scan Testing.

If you need an old PCB repaired or a new one designed and built, consider hiring BESTProto. They are a professional group of technicians and engineers who are experts in PCB assembly and PCB repair services.

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Five Types of Product Prototypes

BestProto - Five Types of Product Prototypes

Before most devices are released to the market, a prototype is developed to test the process or the concept. A prototype is the initial version of the final product. The prototype helps inventors and entrepreneurs when they are meeting with manufacturers, retailers, patent attorneys, and sources of funding. It captures how the subsequent products are put together, their appearances, and what they will do. A prototype will provide the specifications for the real product and how it works instead of the theoretical design.  

The following are the five different types of product prototypes:

Digital Prototype

A digital prototype is a virtual prototype or a computer model that represents the real product. Design engineers use 3D modeling or Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to build a realistic product model. Many types of digital prototypes and other sophisticated digital prototypes use a wide range of simulations to test impacts such as temperature resistance, strength, or other product’s behavior virtually before any physical product is created.

A digital prototype offers many benefits in the same way a physical prototype provides the added benefit of being faster to create at a lower cost.

Mockup Prototype

A mockup prototype is typically the easiest and can be made using modeling clay or cardboard and a tape or the cheapest 3D printer. The basic idea is to capture the shape of the final product and how it fits together.

Marketing Prototype

A marketing prototype is created focusing on the appearance and how customers will interact with the product. It is ideal when you have to meet with the customers and want their feedback. The prototype can be used in advertising and branding.

Functional Prototype

A functional prototype is created to show how the products solve consumers’ needs. It is also known as the working prototype because it is created to showcase how the final product will operate.

Pre-Production Prototype

A pre-Production Prototype is created when the manufacturing is ready to take off. The model uses the same manufacturing processes as the final products. The prototype is ideal for marketing.

Where PCB Assembly Prototyping Fits In

Many entrepreneurs looking for PCB Assembly prototyping can find these prototypes a little confusing, and that is why you need to consult an expert. BESTProto remains the leader in PCB assembly and has PCB prototyping tailored to suit any business needs. 


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Understanding PCB Assembly Repairs


Printed circuit board Assemblies are the brains of all of our modern electronic devices. Currently a 58 billion dollar industry, its worth is expected to grow up to 75 billion dollars by the year 2026. PCB Assemblies are so common in all of the devices we use every day that a failure causes us great inconvenience and even some personal stress.

There are times when a PCB Assembly will give some warning that it is about to experience a failure. For instance, a smartphone might display vertical lines or other distortions on the screen and a computer can give corrupt data warnings or reboot at random. The ultimate symptoms of PCB Assembly failure include overheating, smoke, an odor of burnt electronic components, and the failure of the unit to power up at all.

These are some of the most common reasons for PCB Assembly failures.

  1. Manufacturing defects – Misaligned layers, crossed signals, short circuits, and exposure to electrostatic discharge (ESD) are the most likely causes of PCB Assembly failure and generally occur during the PCB assembly process.
  2. Component burning – Caused by incorrect component spacing, component failures, errors made by the technician, and intense heat, repairing a burned component can mean replacing the entire PCB Assembly.
  3. The surrounding environment – PCB assembly is conducted in a clean climate-controlled area in order to prevent heat and humidity from causing the boards to expand and warp. After the board has been assembled and is being used for its intended purpose, external debris including liquid, fibers, dust, and hair can adhere to the PCB Assembly and cause it to overheat.
  4. Soldering errors – The consistency of the solder as it refers to its moisture content as well as application errors result in defects including excessive solder, cold joints, component shifting, and lifted pads.
  5. The PCB Assemblies’ age – The average PCB Assembly can last up to 10-20 years or more. As a PCB Assembly reaches its life expectancy, the electronic components begin to break down and require repair or replacement.

Repairing or replacing the components on a PCB Assembly is delicate work requiring expert precision. The technicians at BESTProto are supervised by master instructors in IPC A610 and JSTD-001 to guarantee that all PCBs we work on will meet current electronic industry standards. BESTProto offers the following PCB repair services:

  • Out of production/non-current electronic equipment and component repair
  • Re-box and re-label services
  • PCB troubleshooting and component level repair
  • PCB testing

Please visit our website to learn more about our PCB repair services or to contact us to schedule a consultation.

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medical devices powered by PCBs

PCBA Services and the Medical Industry

medical devices powered by PCBs

A fascinated first-time mother receives a picture of the baby growing inside her. A diabetic verifies that his blood glucose level is in an acceptable range. A dentist has located a cavity that early treatment can repair. What do all of these scenarios have in common? All of the medical devices that make these discoveries possible are powered by Printed Circuit Board Assemblies (PCB Assemblies) In certain industries and parts of the country, they refer to PCB Assemblies interchangeably as PWBs (Printed Wiring Boards) and also CCAs (Circuit Card Assemblies). Flexibility and surface mount technology are two of the major developments in PCBA services that have made PCB Assemblies for medical companies a reality.

In fact, the market for wearable medical devices is growing by 16.4 percent each year. These kinds of portable devices, such as ECG and blood pressure monitors and biosensors, allow technology to keep up with our fast-paced lifestyles. Patients no longer have to be in a doctor’s office to have their chronic conditions monitored and for that data to be transmitted to the medical professionals who need it. Doctors’ visits can also be conducted remotely thanks to computers, tablet devices, and virtual meeting apps.

The potential for PCB Assembly to revolutionize the medical equipment industry is endless. PCB Assemblies already make the following possible:

  • Implanted devices, such as pacemakers, defibrillators, Responsive Neurostimulators, and cochlear implants
  • Diagnostic and imaging equipment including ultrasound equipment, MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), and CT (computerized axial tomography) scanners
  • Monitoring devices for glucose levels, body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure

PCB Assembly is also requisite to the operation of infusion pumps and nerve and muscle stimulation equipment.

What does the future hold? Along with greater flexibility, PCB Assembly innovations are predicted to accommodate two major trends.

  1. 3D PCBs – 3D technology will decrease the rate of human error and the production of waste materials.
  2. Biodegradable PCBs – Electronic waste and the short-lived nature of electronic devices is causing concern for the future. Switching to recyclable and biodegradable PCB materials is a workable solution.

BESTProto is an experienced company in the medical PCB Assembly industry. We are ISO 9001:2015 Certified, AS9100-2015 Certified, ITAR Registered and NIST 800-171 Compliant not to mention ROHS compliant. Contact us today to discuss your project or to receive a quote or answers to your questions.

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Understanding Box Build Assembly Services


When your company needs to create a finished product and you need to have your PC Board Assemblies placed into an enclosure along with a power supply, cable assemblies, connectors to the outside world etc., you are looking for what the industry calls a Box Build.  You have to strike the perfect balance between the ideal design concept and the ability to manufacture it. This can lead to many challenges, including higher component and assembly costs and quality control issues. The answer is BESTProto.  Along with our PCB Assembly services, we can help guide you through the concept and design of the box build straight through to the construction and resulting production of the needed units.

The idea of a box build is relatively easy to understand. It’s literally a box-like shape (enclosure) made out of materials like plastic or metal that will serve as the means to hold all the electronic components. That’s where the concept gets trickier. A box build not only involves the creation of the box/enclosure but also the routing of wires, connectors and cable assemblies and attaching sub-components and other assembly work and in some cases, testing. Some of these sub-components can include relays, pneumatics, logic controllers, DIN rails, PCBs, cable assemblies, safety components, and power supplies.

While creating your box build can be done internally, there are several compelling reasons why you would benefit from having your box build assembly work done by BESTProto:

  1. Removing the burden of managing several suppliers saves money and time.
  2. Miscommunication can be reduced or eliminated by not dealing with several vendors and designers. You can also make changes more effectively, streamline the process, and reduce lead times.
  3. A BESTProto can give you needed input to enhance and perfect your design.
  4. A box build assembly service can provide the most cost-effective resources along with stricter quality control and a one-stop-shop.

Working with one vendor simplifies your process, reduces costs, improves communication, and optimizes quality control management. BESTProto offers design, engineering, and PCB assembly services for many industries including medical, industrial, telecommunications, and the military. AS 9100 and ISO 9001:2015 certified, we are also ROHS compliant and ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) compliant. Contact us today to learn more about our services and to request a quote. 


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printed circuit boards

Why You Should Outsource PCB Assembly (PCBA) and CCA Prototyping

printed circuit boards

CCA and PCB Assembly prototypes are an essential part of the design process. CCA and PCB Assembly prototyping gives everyone involved, including design teams and clients, the opportunity to conduct tests and make adjustments at various stages in the development process. While prototyping can’t be avoided, there are benefits to outsourcing these tasks.

While it’s true that prototyping can be done in-house, there are distinct advantages to outsourcing it to CCA and PCB Assembly specialists, especially if there is a need for outside expertise, bridge tooling equipment, and better cost analysis.

Advantages of outsourcing PCB prototyping include:

  1. Additional Resources

    – CCA and PCB Assembly prototyping services can give you access to CNC tool centers, 3D printers, and trained engineers that may not be available in-house. 

  2. Avoidance of Scheduling Conflicts

    – In-house systems can be strained by the addition of prototype development into existing manufacturing schedules. A CCA and PCB Assembly service provider can give exact details of how long it will take to build the prototype so that it can be worked into the schedule without disrupting everything else.

  3. Greater Flexibility

    – The use of bridge tooling fills in the gap to create parts using 3D printers in lieu of production tooling. Bridge tooling also costs about one-third of the price of production tooling.

  4. Cost Control

    – New product development costs can be spread out over different in-house resources and difficult to track. PCB services can give you a better idea of the cost of building the prototype before the final decision is made.

  5. Innovation Opportunities

    – Outsourced CCA and PCB Assembly services may have greater knowledge of and access to new materials and production methods that your in-house PCB technicians may not be aware of. The expertise and outside knowledge can provide unexpected and advantageous qualities and features to the process, which results in a better overall product.

Outsourcing is becoming more common and offers great benefits. PCB services, such as those provided by BESTProto, can help your company develop more innovative products while controlling your costs and streamlining your success.

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A Beginner’s Guide to the PCB Assembly Process


You wouldn’t be able to live your life without PCB assemblies (PCBA). Printed circuit boards are a vital component of the electronics we use every day. Without them, we couldn’t enjoy televisions, mobile devices, computers, or make use of medical devices like X-ray machines and portable heart and glucose monitors. The first PCB was invented in 1936 in Austria to operate a radio system. The technology was picked up in the US by the military and has been advancing ever since.

PCB Assemblies are built on non-conductive material (often fiberglass) and can be single-sided, double-sided, or multilayered. They can also be flexible or rigid and contain both flexible and rigid sections.

The PCB Assembly process is extremely important. Designing the board can be very complex as well. The bottom line is that your board has to be reliable, so the assembly process must be correct and precise.

These are the steps that are necessary to assemble a printed circuit board. It should be noted that surface mount technology is used as opposed to the older method of inserting components through holes in the board. Just as it sounds, it means that components are mounted directly onto the circuit board.

  1. Apply Solder Paste

    – This used to be somewhat like a screen-printing process in that solder is distributed through holes so that it is only applied to component pads. It’s a very meticulous and challenging process done with the aid of a solder screen.  Nowadays, we utilize a much more precise method of solder deposition.  We affectionately refer to it as a “jetter” since it isn’t too far removed from an inkjet printer type device.

  2. Pick and Place

    – After the solder is deposited, the desired components can be placed into their positions on the board. The purpose of the solder paste is to hold them in position but small amounts of glue can also be used where necessary.

  3. Solder the Components

    – After everything is where it needs to be, the soldering process begins and in most cases go through a reflow oven with multiple zones that gradually heat the boards and solder paste and at the correct point in the process, the oven temperature rises beyond the melting point of the specific solder type, the solder reflows and then the boards pass through a cooling zone whereby it is still hot but gradually and carefully let’s the boards cool down to ensure a good and reliable solder joint.

  4. Inspection

    – This is a crucial step. An engineer checks the placement of the components and verifies that they are present, in the right location and with the correct orientation per the customer’s file.  

  5. Test

    – It’s time to connect the board and see if it performs properly.  We can work with customers to develop a siple power-up test or a functional test or just meter-out certain areas to verify they work and were built correctly.

Circuit board assemblies have become a necessary part of our everyday life for computers and other electronics and if you are manufacturing an electronic product, you may well need PCB Assembly services like those provided by BESTProto. A proven and established provider of PCB assembly services can be a valuable partner in helping you bring your products and ideas to life.


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The PCB, PWB, CCA Assembly Inspection and Testing Process


PCB Assembly Inspection Guidelines and Procedures

In the past, manual inspections were the standard in the printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) industry. Today, machines help testers perform inspections. Learn more about this cost-effective and essential process:

Manual Inspections

During a manual visual inspection, a group of technicians will examine each board assembly individually. Then, they will compare the data to the proper design documents. Every board must meet the designer’s specifications.

AOI Inspection

An automatic  optical inspection (AOI) is faster, more reliable than a manual inspection, but it requires a state-of-the-art optical system. A typical AOI machine will take pictures of a board assembly, then it will compare duplicate images to find flaws.

X-Ray Inspection

BESTProto utilizes X-ray inspection on all lead-less devices such as BGAs, LGAs and QFNs.  In order to ensure there are no shorts between pads, we use an X-ray machine 100% of the time on lead-less devices.  X-ray inspection is also helpful to verify voiding on the solder joints and to quantify what percentage of the pad is covered with solder.

An AXI Inspection

To ensure a thorough inspection, a PCB technician must check every solder joint on a freshly assembled board. The problem is that some joints on a printed circuit board are hidden. In order to examine these joints, the PCB technician has to use an X-ray system. AXI stands for automated X-ray inspection. During this process, a machine produces an X-ray image that will display all solder joints that are nestled underneath the chips on a PCB.

Flying Probe Testing

This kind of test utilizes a machine that makes a quasi in-circuit test to the top and bottom of the PCB assembly. Flying probe testing can discover most manufacturing defects that most commonly occur during PCB manufacturing, such as:

  • Shorts
  • Opes
  • Resistant levels
  • Diode problems

Why PCB Assembly Inspections Are Important

A PCB assembly inspection is important because it helps manufacturers find defects before moving forward in the manufacturing process. By finding flaws early, manufacturers can ensure the reliability and quality of a PCB.

At BESTProto, we have experienced PCB inspection and testing technicians and engineers on our team. We can help you navigate the complex challenges of PCB inspection and testing. Contact us today to learn more about our PCB inspection and testing services.

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Military and Aerospace PCB Assembly Needs and Requirements

All About Military and Aerospace PCB Assembly Services

Military-grade circuit boards power essential equipment during field operations. They’re tougher than traditional circuit boards. During a mission, a high-quality PCB can handle:

  • Harsh desert temperatures
  • Temperatures at altitude
  • Volatile chemicals
  • Strong contaminants

A circuit board must meet strict standards before it can be cleared for military use (IPC Class 3). Discover what steps are taken during the process and how military PCB assembly services benefit the armed services.

The Design Process

When military-grade circuit boards are designed, their tolerance range is tested. If a product fails the tolerance test, it won’t be approved for military use.

A standard circuit board has a generic clock generator that produces regular clock signals. PCBs for the military and aerospace applications have a more refined clock generator that produces leaner clock signals, and the hardware is heat resistant.

The Purpose

Military-grade circuit boards power necessary equipment and systems. BESTProto has experience in a wide variety of military systems, including:

  • Tactical communication systems
  • Digital information processing systems
  • Guidance and navigation systems
  • Simulators
  • Power and control systems
  • Propulsion systems
  • Electronic systems
  • And more

Military and Aerospace-grade circuit boards help teams accomplish their objectives safely and efficiently. Thanks to their rugged design, these PCBs will be less likely to require maintenance or repairs in the field.

The Manufacturing Process

Before the manufacturing process begins, a manufacturing team must review the specs from the military or aerospace client. These specs are concepts for the final circuit board design. The first phase always begins with a prototype. To work on the prototype, a manufacturing team must review a batch of Gerber files. The military provides these files in advance. The final circuit board is assembled after the prototype is complete.

Previous experience plays a large role in the military PCB assembly because the process of building military-grade parts requires a special skill set. Reliability is essential when these PCB assemblies are used in the field, so high-quality design and effective testing are necessary parts of the PCB assembly process.

At BESTtProto, we have an experienced military PCB assembly team with the knowledge and skills to build circuit boards for essential tactical equipment. If you need high-quality military PCB assembly services, contact us today.

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Which Industries Need PCB Fabrication and Assembly Services?

Different Types of Industries and Their Need for PCB Fabrication and Assembly Services

There are many industries in which PCB fabrication and assembly services are necessary. PCB fabrication and assembly services are used for a wide range of applications in electronics, automation, and more. Below are just a few of the industries that need PCB fabrication and assembly services.

  1. Automotive

The automotive industry needs a high-quality PCB design to decrease the time and costs of testing their cars. They depend on flexible PCB fabrication and assembly services or rigid-flex PCB fabrication and assembly services to reduce the cost of replacing parts and complete cars once they hit the production line.

  1. Electronics

The electronic industries use the PCB fabrication and assembly services for producing various electronic items, including smartphones, computers, and home appliances like washing machines and air conditioners.

  1. Medical

The medical industry needs PCB fabrication and assembly services for several purposes, including measuring blood pressure and other vital signs like heart rate monitors. The industry also uses PCB fabrication and assembly services for surgical equipment and medical diagnostic equipment.

  1. Aerospace

The aerospace industry relies on PCB assembly services to develop circuitry for satellites, rockets, and parts used in airplanes like landing gear assembly lines, navigation systems, and aircraft instrument displays.  Often times PCB is called PWB or, Printed Wiring Board

  1. Agriculture

The agriculture industry uses PCB fabrication and assembly services to develop machines that work to harvest crops or manage livestock. The PCB assemblies are utilized for automated milking machines and greenhouses used in horticulture (growing plants) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil). 

  1. Mining

The mining industry relies on PCB fabrication and assembly services for vehicles and equipment used in all phases of extracting natural resources (sand, minerals, oil, etc.). The PCB fabrication and assembly services are used for underground mining machines and the pipelines used to transport oil or gas.

  1. Construction

The construction industry uses PCB fabrication and assembly services to process steel and other building materials like concrete and ceramic tiles. These materials are then formed into objects with various functions like buildings, tanks, pipes, or bridges.

  1. Transportation

The transportation industry utilizes PCB and assembly fabrication services for their various land, air, and sea travel forms. The PCB fabrication and assembly services are used to develop GPS systems that track planes in flight or ships at sea and the electronic components included in cars and trucks used for personal transport. 

At BESTProto, we offer PCB assembly services, engineering, and design for different industries. The above examples are just a few of the numerous industries that rely on PCB and assembly fabrication services. As you can see, various industries and their needs for PCB fabrication and assembly services are vast and diverse. It is easy to see how important these types of services are in all aspects of manufacturing.

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person fixing a PCB with tools

Common PCB Assembly Issues That Cause Malfunctions

person fixing a PCB with tools

Common Problems With Your PCB Assembly

Most electronic devices feature some type of printed circuit board assembly, also known as a PCB. Some folks and industries refer to them as PWB (Printed Wiring Boards) CCA s (Circuit Card Assemblies) What is common on all these is, the components are what give electronics their abilities. PCB Assemblies can be vulnerable to problems and damage. When you have a PCB Assembly that is not working, it can be hard to troubleshoot the cause of the problem.

There are multiple reasons that PCB Assemblies fail or stop working. Sometimes, they need to be rebuilt or remanufactured, but some shops offer PCB repair services.

Issues Due to Physical Damage

Physical damage is the most common reason a PCB Assemblies malfunctions. Physical damage can mean some sort of shock, overheating, or even being dropped. If the PCB Assemblies part is still in one piece, most physical damage can be fixed.

It still takes a certain amount of expertise to take apart the device and measure the damage to the PCB. Instead of attempting to fix it yourself, your best bet would be to receive assistance from a shop that offers PCB repair like BESTProto.

Issues Due to Component Failure

Sometimes PCBs are made with faulty components or components fail over time. The components are the small, intricately connected parts of the printed circuit board that allow it to work and send signals throughout the device.

Overheating or aging are the most common causes of component failure if a device has slowly become faulty. Individual components can rarely be repaired. In order to save the PCB, you would need to replace the component (or components) entirely.

What Are Other Reasons a PCB Might Break?

There are several different reasons that a PCB might suddenly stop working. Sometimes there’s a power failure, where the PCB stops transmitting power either due to physical damage or component failure. Other times, it could be due to a faulty design of the PCB board or device itself. 

It can be hard to diagnose PCB problems if you’re not a professional. PCBs are small and so intricately designed that if you take them apart yourself, you might damage the PCB in the process. Next time you need PCB repairs, contact PCB professionals like BESTProto.

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soldering iron and PCB

Tips for the Best Soldering Results

soldering iron and PCBBasic Tips for Ensuring Good Solder Results

Before beginning a PCB project, it’s important to have the right tools and a basic understanding of the soldering process. The following tips are helpful for ensuring the best solder results:

1. Make Sure You Pick the Right Soldering Iron

The right soldering iron will play an essential role in ensuring you can get the job done properly. Consider the following when choosing an iron:

  • Be sure that the iron is capable of producing a high enough temperature to melt the solder.
  • Read plenty of reviews before purchasing to ensure the iron is safe and easy to use.
  • Make sure that the soldering iron is designed to be compatible with PCB systems.

2. Know Your Secret Weapon: Flux

The whole point of soldering is to create an electrically conductive connection. Flux simplifies this process by cleaning the metal surfaces before they’re joined together. Essentially, flux chemically cleans away oxides and other impurities on the metal, and it promotes the wetting of the solder while preventing corrosion. Without flux, you will not be able to get an effective connection.

The most effective type of flux for PCB projects is made from rosin that is extracted from pine tree sap. Here are the types of rosin flux to know:

  • R (rosin): As the weakest type of rosin flux, it should only be used on clean metal surfaces. Since it has a lower level of activators, this rosin flux won’t create any dangerous residue during soldering.
  • RMA (rosin mildly activated): This type has a higher level of activators that’s effective for cleaning PCB pads and holes in addition to component pins. While this flux can leave some residue, it shouldn’t be enough to cause concern.
  • RA (rosin activated): Having the highest levels of activators for cleaning, RA flux will also leave the most residue after soldering.

3. Research Proper Soldering Techniques Before You Start

To properly solder, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the basics techniques of the process. Here’s what you should know:

  • Ensure that all of the surfaces you’re soldering have been properly cleaned with a sponge before you add the flux. 
  • The soldering iron must be set to a high enough temperature.
  • Bring the two surfaces you’ll be joining up to temperature at the same time. Do this with the tip of the soldering iron.
  • Add enough solder to the heated joints so that it completely covers the joints you’re connecting.
  • Clean off the excess flux when you’re done soldering.

4. Don’t Hesitate to Contact an Expert

If you need help with PCB testing services or some other kind of soldering-related and PCB or PWB Assembly services, reach out to BESTProto.

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PCB Surface

Types of PCB Surface Finish

PCB Surface

Choosing the Right Printed Circuit Board Finish

An often-overlooked decision in designing printed circuit boards is which surface finish is the best choice for the project. At least nine different choices are commonly available. Thinking through some factors will help you make the best decision.

Lead-Free Solder

Depending on where the product will be used after PCB assembly, you may face government regulations on the type of solder used in the project. Choices include:

  • Lead-free hot air solder leveling
  • Organic solderability preservative

* Immersion silver

  • Immersion tin
  • Electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG)
  • Electroless nickel
  • Electroless nickel electroless palladium immersion gold
  • Electrolyte wire bondable gold
  • Electrolyte hard gold

Denotes BESTProto preferred finishes

Tight Pitch

Pitch refers to the center-to-center spacing between conductors, such as pads and pins. If you have a project, such as ball grid arrays, where that space is extremely minimal, it is vital to choose the right finish. Making a poor decision often leads to weak connections.

If you need a tight pitch, consider:

  • Immersion silver
  • Electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG)
  • Electroless nickel electroless palladium immersion gold

Shelf Life

Many different factors determine the shelf life of PCBs. Keeping the boards in a low-humidity environment that is dust-free helps extend their lives. Choosing quality materials for the PCB assembly can help. High frequencies and high loads on PCBs can make them fail more quickly. Boards should be stored in an environment that is colder than 30 degrees Celsius and has less than 85% relative humidity.

When shelf life is one of the deciding factors, choose:

  • Hot-air solder leveling (HASL)
  • Lead-free hot-air solder leveling (Lead-free HASL)
  • Immersion silver
  • Immersion tin
  • Electroless nickel immersion gold (ENIG)
  • Electroless nickel electroless palladium immersion gold
  • Electrolyte wire bondable gold
  • Electrolyte hard gold

Extra Costs

Some raw materials can be more costly to obtain. The manufacturer must pass these costs on to the company using the PCB. The market can change rapidly, but some types of PCBs that typically come at a higher cost include:

  • Electroless nickel electroless palladium immersion gold
  • Electrolyte wire bondable gold
  • Electrolyte hard gold

Considering these different factors can help you make a more informed choice based on your specific needs. Contact BESTProto, and we will be happy to discuss the specifics of your PCB needs with you.

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PCB Assembly Enclosure

Considerations When Choosing a PCB Assembly Enclosure

PCB Assembly Enclosure

When designing and manufacturing a printed circuit board assembly (PCBA), the creator must make countless considerations. Designers must specify size, weight, shape, materials, and a number of other features. Another aspect of PCB design and layout  includes the PCB enclosure. Similar to the board itself, a PCB enclosure consists of numerous variables from materials to size. Below is a guide to expound on considerations when choosing a PCB enclosure.

Evaluate the Source

Research potential suppliers to determine whether an organization is reputable. Newly-established or poorly-reviewed companies may not consistently provide products of adequate quality or reliability. Be aware of a supplier’s customer support and service, since these factors can play a pivotal role in long-term satisfaction with the enclosure. Compare a supplier’s pricing patterns with reputed quality and customer support to help determine the best company for your project.

Consider Flexibility

Determine how much effort should be spent on assembling each enclosure. Ease of assembly is an important factor in selecting the cost-effectiveness of a product. Ease of modification informs how much delicacy will be required for drilling, fitting, and printing. Easily-modified enclosures may reduce overall PCB assembly costs. Select a product that offers flexibility of design, including height, depth, and width.

Environmental Considerations

Enclosures will serve somewhat different functions depending on the usage environment. A PCB in a hot, humid indoor area will require different protection compared with a board in a dry, dusty environment. Depending on the anticipated placement of the PCB, an enclosure ought to protect against certain environmental factors. A board may need protection from elements such as temperature, airborne particles, and ultraviolet light. 

Choose Ideal Materials

Each material type offers specific advantages as a PCB enclosure. Metal cases are highly durable, which translates to lowered long-term costs. Metal, however, can have relatively high initial costs, and metal construction can be somewhat labor intensive. Conversely, plastic is highly malleable, so it is a popular choice based on its workability. Plastic also survives humid environments without corrosion common to metal. A plastic enclosure is prone to breakage, but the initial cost is lower for this material.

PCB enclosures are an important element of printable circuit boards. While the “best” enclosure is the product of several variables, a few considerations can help the buyer determine where to begin in the selection process. Refer to this guide when evaluating what type of enclosure is a viable option for your upcoming project.

BESTProto is a leader in PCB prototyping, PCB assembly, and PCB production. Contact us today for a quote on your project: 224-387-3283

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PCB Assembly

An Overview of Documentation for PCB Assembly

PCB Assembly

PCB assembly is a very precise and highly-technical process. In order to ensure the finished product meets every specification exactly, manufacturers rely on a number of documents provided by the client.  Although manufacturers work with documentation frequently, clients (especially new clients) may require some guidance in order to understand what information to provide and when. In this overview of documentation for PCB Assembly, we list the documentation required by most manufacturers and outline the benefits of a complete documentation package.

The Importance of Documentation

A PCB Assembly project requires countless specifications. Manufacturers make quality PCBs, of course, but even the best board is useful only if it meets client requirements.The documentation packet protects both parties and causes the assembly to run as smoothly as possible. By providing written instructions, the client establishes what is expected of the finished product. The manufacturer follows the specifications precisely, ensuring the client receives exactly what they asked for. Documentation eliminates any guesswork or miscommunication that may have occurred during verbal agreements. 

Key Documents

While requirements may vary slightly between manufacturers, most documents are quite standard to the industry. These include:

  • Gerber Files
  • BOM in MS Excel File
  • Test specifications
  • CAD Files in ODB++
  • Assembly drawings
  • Approved vendor list

Obtain a quote using complete documentation. Doing so will guarantee the price and timeline are accurate. More importantly, the manufacturer will have to input the specifications only once, which dramatically decreases the risk of human error. 

Regardless of project size, every PCB Assembly ought to meet several requirements which are specific to each client and each project. Because accuracy is paramount, detailed, precise instructions are a common requirement in the PCB Assembly process. Consider the document types listed above when preparing for PCB Assembly RFQ and build.

BESTProto is a leader in PCB prototyping, PCB assembly, and PCB production. Contact us today for a quote on your project: 224-387-3283

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PCB Prototype Assembly

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Materials for Your PCB Prototype Assembly Project

PCB Prototype Assembly

A high-quality, reliable Prototype PCB Assembly will be composed of appropriate materials. Based on the desired cost and performance of the finished board, certain materials will work better for a given specification. Below, we list a few tips for choosing the right materials for your Prototype PCB assembly project.   

General Considerations

Each PCB Prototype Assembly project presents a unique set of material needs. Consider what threshold your project will require for heat and power. Maximize cost efficiency by selecting the least expensive material which will still meet performance specifications. As a rule, when performance increases, so does the cost. Review the following materials to determine which will be the best balance of  cost and performance for the project.

Standard FR-4

FR4 (fiberglass) is the most common PCB material. It is durable, easily manufactured, and a popular choice for general use. This flame-retardant fiberglass also performs well in a wide range of humidity levels. FR4 is among the most inexpensive materials to use. As such, it may not be adequate for LED light, microwave, or high-heat projects.  

Rogers Materials

Rogers materials serve as a sort of “upgraded” version of FR4. In fact, Rogers material is essentially FR4 with copper coating. The coating, of course, renders this material more costly than the uncoated fiberglass. However, Rogers materials are appropriate for more demanding jobs, such as RF, microwave, or high-speed designs.

Metal Core

Moving away from fiberglass altogether, metal core is built around a plate made of aluminum, copper, or an alloy. The major advantage of a metal core is its performance in high-heat or heat-sensitive projects. The metal plate is designed specifically for heat distribution and is most commonly made from aluminum. 

HDI Material

For smaller, lighter products, consider High Density Interconnector (HDI) material. HDI material is rapidly growing in popularity due to its performance in increasingly small gadgets. Heat transfer is kept to a minimum, and vias can blind or buried. This material supports microvias, which are .006 in diameter (or smaller.) 

The quality and longevity of a PCB Assembly can have a lasting impact on the designer’s reputation (and future clientele.) Selecting the best materials for a given project can enhance PCB reliability and quality. Use the points above to determine which material will be right for your PCB project.

BESTProto is a leader in PCB prototyping, PCB assembly, and PCB production. Contact us today for a quote on your project: 224-387-3283

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High Quality PCB

How to Maintain High Quality PCB / PWB Assembly Without Breaking the Bank

High Quality PCB

Most producers endeavor to save as much money as possible while maintaining high-quality products. PCB / PWB assembly is one area where costs can be reduced while maintaining a company’s reputation for quality devices. Below are a few ideas for achieving high-quality PCB assembly without breaking the bank.

Produce a Simple Design

Most PCBs are square or rectangular in shape. Some manufacturers produce various shapes to achieve practical or stylistic designs. Uniquely shaped PCBs typically require a unique fit into other hardware. Special tools or modifications (and the associated costs) may be necessary in such cases. Designing a standard shape and using a minimal number of unique components can significantly reduce material and assembly costs.

Find the Best Size

Smaller components are less expensive to manufacture than their larger counterparts. That being said, assembly may become more expensive when working with smaller pieces. Hole drilling, for example, requires a great deal more precision for smaller holes than larger ones. Assembly using larger holes requires less time and less expertise, usually resulting in a smaller bill. It is, of course, important to keep boards and components reasonably small. Efficient spending can be accomplished by balancing the assembly costs of small workmanship with the material costs of larger components.

Utilize Quality Parts

Ensure all components are made from parts which meet industry standards and come from a reputable seller. High-quality parts are less likely to warp or fail, and the alloy ratios are likely to comply with design specifications. The use of quality parts maximizes the lifespan of individual components and the board itself. In addition, assembly will be more efficient if each component adheres and functions properly with the first piece and on the first attempt. Efficient assembly is paramount in reducing costs.

Smart assembly practices will reduce overall PCB costs. By utilizing quality parts and using the best size and a simple design, you can effectively produce PCBs on a budget. Not only can efficient assembly increase overall profits, but it can also allow savings to be passed on to consumers.

BESTProto is a leader in PCB prototyping, PCB assembly, and PCB production. Contact us today for a quote on your project: 224-387-3283


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PCB Parts

How to Ensure Authentic, Non-Counterfeit PCB Parts: Part Two

PCB Parts

Boards are in a row. Factory for the production of chips

In our previous article (part 1), we discussed how choosing reliable sources and inspecting product packaging can help your organization avoid purchasing lower quality, counterfeit PCB Assembly parts. 

As promised, below we have provided three additional ways you can ensure high quality parts that will help maintain your organization’s reputation.

Compare Parts

Side by side, a counterfeit component may have visible features which vary from an authentic part. Ensure size and color are consistent between previous purchases from authorized distributors and the new shipment. Notches should be uniform in size and color. Counterfeiters often produce pieces which are shinier than the OCM’s parts in order to achieve a more high-end appearance. If the original serial number is sanded off, this can render the piece to be of uneven or lesser thickness. Ensure serial numbers are consistent between the new shipment and those from the OCM (Original Component Manufacturer). The typeface or font should also match both with the OCM part and between individual components within the new order.

Inspect Parts Thoroughly

If a part must be evaluated without an OCM piece for comparison, several techniques may reveal a counterfeit. Original serial numbers may be sanded off or made invisible through a process called “blacktopping.” Blacktopping is effectively applying a matching “paint” on top of a piece (often a board) in order to cover the original serial number. An acetone-covered swab can reveal blacktopping. When the swab is rubbed against the part, it will retain some of the “blacktop” if any is present. Components may also be X-rayed in order to affirm compliance with expected chemical specs. Lead content is often overlooked by counterfeiters. 

Hire a Professional

Businesses are more profitable when costs are reduced. Parts are often ordered from independent distributors or brokers because they are purchased at a lower price. Counterfeits, however, drive up the total cost on account of premature failure and indirect damages. In the U.S. alone, counterfeit parts result in the loss of billions of dollars annually. For larger companies, establishing a quality inspection team may actually lower overall expenses by minimizing the risk of premature product failure or other defects. Smaller businesses may benefit from a small team or an individual performing randomized tests. Contracting with an independent inspector may also reduce overall costs; many such contractors offer some degree of guarantee or insurance.

Obtaining inexpensive parts for your PCB Assembly lowers production costs. Purchasing a lower-priced product often comes with the risk of receiving a counterfeit. Such parts often increase costs. In order to maintain a high reputation and low overall costs, manufacturers should ensure PCB parts are authentic. Parts are most likely to be authentic when they come from a reliable, reputable source. Authenticity can be gauged through inspecting product packaging, the appearance of the part, and its chemical composition. A specialized individual or team of inspectors may increase the likelihood that each part is authentic. Providing PCB boards which are high-quality and highly reliable is crucial for PCB manufacturers and their clients.

BESTProto is a leader in PCB prototyping, PCB assembly, and PCB production. Contact us today for a quote on your project: 224-387-3283

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PCB Assembly Components

How to Ensure Authentic, Non-Counterfeit PCB Assembly Components: Part One

PCB Assembly Components

Although government agencies endeavor to eliminate counterfeiting, such parts continue to change hands, often at a high cost to the buyer. Counterfeit components are inexpensive to produce relative to their authentic counterparts. Because they are low-cost, such parts are typically made of low-quality or worn components. Authentic parts are far more reliable, lengthening the lifespan of the component, the parts it comes into contact with (e.g. a fire will impact more than one part of a device), and the overall functionality of whichever device is using it. Spotting and avoiding counterfeit parts is an important aspect of maintaining best practices. Below are some techniques to ensure authentic, non-counterfeit PCB Assembly parts.


Choose a Trustworthy Source

Independent distributors often offer products at a lower cost than the manufacturer. This, unsurprisingly, may not always be the best bargain. Buying components from an authorized distributor is  the best idea since counterfeit components are a risk to device reliability and physical safety. Each year, counterfeit parts are responsible for an estimated $250 billion in damages globally. Parts manufacturers typically provide guarantees and/or warranties, an insurance seldom offered by independent parties. As an alternative to buying directly from the manufacturer, “authorized” distributors may be suitable. In finding a distributor, it is important to research the seller’s reputation, which may include customer reviews paired with how long the company has been in business.


Inspect Product Packaging

Inconsistencies may be evident on the shipping box itself. Look for discrepancies in fonts between the new shipment as opposed to what is standard for the official component manufacturer (OCM). Counterfeit products may list an unreasonable manufacture date (too far in the past, or, occasionally, in the future). Misspellings and incorrect information may indicate the product differs from what was expected. If the interior packaging does not contain the usual elements (dry packs, foam, etc.) this may be an indicator of counterfeit parts. Inspect the logo for variations such as blurring or discoloration.

Keep an eye on the BESTProto blog for part two of this article, featuring three more important techniques to avoid counterfeit PCB Assembly components.


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machinery for positioning smd components on pcb

The Difference Between SMT, SMD and IMT

When designing printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs), many factors must be considered. Designers must understand and account for size, materials, layout, and connectivity. The quality of a PCB depends largely on the integrity of contact points. Due to the vast number of options regarding connectivity, various forms of soldering have developed and evolved. The newest step in this evolution is Surface Mount Technology (SMT,) which, consequently, created Surface Mount Devices (SMDs.) While the two terms are closely related, there are key differences as described below.

Surface Mount Technology (SMT)

Soldering connections on printed circuit boards has conventionally consisted of through-hole mounting or Insertion Mount Technology (IMT). This form of mounting simply means that connections are created and soldered through holes in the PCB. A new process developed called Surface Mount Technology. In this modality, connections are made not through holes in the PCB, but on devices attached to the board. SMT refers to the concept and process by which a PCB obtains mounting other than the through-hole variety. While SMT has become more common than conventional through-hole technology, it should be noted that not all connection components are suitable for surface mounting and are, therefore, mounted the conventional way.

Surface Mount Device (SMD)

SMT developed, in tandem, surface mount devices. Simply stated, a surface mount device is a component attached to a PCB that allows for a connector to be soldered to the board. If a hand were to be run along the top of the device, the SMDs could be felt to be physically raised from the board. SMDs are most commonly attached to the PCB using a method called SMD reflow soldering. The ideal scenario for achieving this method is by use of an oven, but a soldering iron can be effective for small-scale or at-home projects. The term Surface Mount Device refers to an item or component which can be touched and/or physically handled.

As long as PC boards require connectivity, they will also need a method of attaching the components. As conventional mounting technology became largely replaced by surface mount technology, the popular term SMT developed along with the term SMD. While the two work hand-in-hand, the most important takeaway is that surface mount technology is a concept or practice of mounting in a manner other than the through-hole predecessor; that is, on top of the device using an intermediary device. The device itself is called a surface mounting device and can be moved, seen, and touched.

BESTProto is a leader in PCB prototyping, PCB assembly, and PCB production. Contact us today for a quote on your project: 224-387-3283

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The Importance of Solder Mask

When constructing a printable circuit board (PCB), copper wires form connections within a board and between boards. The points of contact are often coated with a polymer called Solder Mask. Including solder mask in the design process will improve both quality and reliability of the PCB.

Improved Functionality

Connectors on and between PCBs are designed to function only at points of contact. Due to the size and proximity of components, a connection can take place at an unintended location, causing potential malfunction or damage. Applying a solder mask significantly reduces the conductivity of a given component, lowering the risk of faulty connections and short circuits.

Improved Longevity

Solder mask help maximize the longevity of PCBs. This is accomplished, in part, by protecting delicate electrical components from dust and other particles in the air. Dust may land on the solder mask without causing as much interference as exposed components would experience. Similarly, solder mask protect components from oxidation and corrosion.

The application of solder mask can increase both the immediate and long-term reliability of a printed circuit board. Whether it be preventing undesired shorting or protecting from corrosion or every-day dust, including a solder mask is an important step to implement when fabricating PCBs.

BESTProto is a leader in PCB prototyping, PCB assembly, and PCB production. Contact us today for a quote on your project.  224-387-3283

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Best Practices for More Reliable PCB Assemblies

Printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) or PWB (Printed Wiring Boards) or CCAs (Circuit Card Assemblies) may vary in use, from remote controls to hospital equipment, extending even to airplanes. But the cost of a PCB failure is easy to predict: Loss of money and/or applications, as well as valuable time. It is important for quality engineering to be paired with good PCB layout design practices to create and deliver a robust and functional PCB assembly.

Quality Versus Reliability

When a PCB assembly is manufactured, the quality of the board is easily measured and can be tested according to a checklist of requirements related to technology and performance. The manufacturer has a variety of responsibilities related to quality and workmanship once the customer accepts the boards, and the customer expects the boards to perform and function properly.

There is no simple answer for determining reliability. Measured over the lifespan of the board, reliability is much more difficult to quantify than quality. Failure can occur after one year, five years, or ten. Below are design tips to help improve PCB reliability.

Maintaining Connectivity

If a board is highly reliable (as in IPC Class 3), all connections will remain intact for the lifespan of the device. Connections can be copper, silicon, gold, or other materials, and maybe fused by means of soldering, vias, or bonding wires. Quality design and workmanship will increase the probability of constant connectivity and improve the reliability of the board.

Matching Coefficient of Thermal Expansion

A PC Board has parts made of a range of materials. When the board or its components increase in temperature, each will expand at a different rate due to its composition. The rate of expansion for each material is known as the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion, or CTE. Designers are advised to use materials with matching CTEs to prevent uneven expansion. If components with differing CTEs are used, cracking or delamination may occur, rendering the PCB unusable and leading to potential failure.

Thermal Profile

Boards may be built using reflow soldering or wave soldering. For either type, it is important to calculate the best temperature at which the board will be processed. PCB components must be able to withstand the high temperatures required for lead-free soldering. While lead-free solder requires temperatures that are higher, the time will be shorter. Adjusting the reflow oven to the correct thermal profile will allow all parts to be effectively soldered.
Printed circuit board assemblies are crucial in important electronic devices, the failure of which can be catastrophic. Through implementing these best practices, designers can increase not only the quality of PCBs but also their reliability, improving the long-term value of the boards and, more importantly, allowing devices to function as expected. BESTProto uses advanced software for creating reliable PCB layouts. We will work with your organization to ensure all design rules are met and that high quality, the reliable layout is produced.

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pcb assembly

Methods for PCB Assembly Inspection and Verification

Inspection is a crucial part of the PCB production and assembly process. The inspection process is to ensure high quality and reliable printed circuit boards are assembled. The inspection process helps reveal any design flaws that may exist at different stages during manufacturing and the assembly procedure that must be eliminated. 

This blog post will inspect the leading inspection methods. Here is an overview of the various PCB assembly inspection methods. 

1. Visual Inspection

Manual visual inspection is the simplest form of PCB inspection. This inspection method can be used after most PCB assembly processes have been conducted. To perform this type of test, a worker looks over the board either with the naked eye or through magnification. Although visual inspection is a method commonly used, its validity depends on the capability of the inspection staff and how they apply the inspection standards.

2. Structural Process Test Inspection Systems

Structural process test inspection is often used for large volumes of production where accuracy and speed are extremely important. This inspection method uses some form of light emissions such as visible lights, lasers, and x-rays to acquire data through real-time image processing for locating and measuring defects related to solder joint quality. 

3. Automated Optical Inspection (AOI)

This method typically conducts an inspection using multiple visible light sources with programmable LEDs, one or more still or video cameras and computerized systems for inspecting solder joints.

An automatic optical inspection can find many of the same defects that a VMI can, including open circuits, solder thinning, missing components, displaced components and more.

4. Component Value Verification

BESTProto uses the latest technology to verify that not only the correct package size and types are being placed on a board but, we are also able to electrically test the individual components before placement to verify that the are the correct electrical value as well.

5. X-Ray System Inspection 

The X-ray method can be performed in two different ways: the X-ray fluoroscopic system and the X-ray lamination system. The fluoroscopic system produces a density image to accurately inspect solder joint distribution, thickness, and internal integrity. The lamination system, on the other hand, uses X-rays to generate focal planes of a horizontal sectional area of a PCB. 

Inspection is a crucial part of the PCB production and assembly process. There are five different types of manufacturers, and assemblers can use to inspect the PC board assemblies and help to eliminate workmanship defects. BESTProto ensures quality through our quality assurance program and continues our commitment from first articles through a disciplined approach to process control. Contact our team today to request a quote on your PCB Assembly project today.

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pcb assembly

Implementing Effective PCB Manufacturing Processes for 2020

There are four crucial stages for creating and implementing printed circuit boards, including design, manufacturing, testing, and, of course, PCB assembly. Traditional processes do not always incorporate all independent stages from the start; neither do they require the input of the contract manufacturer from the onset. Over the years, this practice has led to unnecessary hold-ups due to modifications in fabrication and design that expand the time to market. When we look at the future impacts of PCB, a more effective PCB manufacturing process must be implemented.

The Need for Change

In 2014, the market for bare PCBs surpassed $60.2 billion. By 2024, the PCB market is expected to exceed $79 billion. The demand explosion in the electronic market augments the growth witnessed in demand for PCBs. Therefore, PCB manufacturing industries must seize the opportunity by boosting productivity which is only possible with a more effective PCB manufacturing. 

Factors Impacting the Effectiveness of Your PCB Manufacturing Process

Every PCB manufacturing process needs an objective. Usually, the aim is to transform the PCB design into a quality, assembled product that can be reliably used for its intended purpose. While different PCB projects have their own costs and deadlines, the practices you implement can significantly improve your processes:

1. Select the Right BOM Materials

Making available crucial materials on your BOM can augment the PCB manufacturing process and prevent long lead-time or shortages. Therefore, it is essential to create a comprehensive list of suppliers that can deliver genuine components.

2. Using DFM Guidelines

Every PCB product has specific regulatory standards that must be met. Therefore, it is essential to consult with the contract manufacturer’s DFM (Design For Manufacturability) guidelines at the start. This ensures that the PCB layout meets standard industry specifications and tolerances and avoids wasting time and money in designing.

3. Consulting for PCB Assembly

It is recommended to consult with your EMS (Electronic Manufacturing Services) supplier or, contract manufacturer (CM), which provides access to valuable insights on how to maximize assembly efficiency and reduce assembly costs. The design files should also be made available to the CM in the preferred format to avoid errors.

4. Testing

Collaborating with the CM during testing ensures that an objective and independent assessment is made on your prototypes. This way, you can effectively locate and deal with all types of faults.

The bottom line is that with strategic CM and PCB assembly partners, you can effectively improve all stages of production. Finding the right partners will help you control costs and leverage current trends without sacrificing quality. BESTProto offers electronic assembly services for single or multi-layer flexible or rigid circuit boards. Contact us today to request a quote for your PCB project.

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electronic assembly services

A Brief Introduction to Common Plating Methods

PCB finishing processes are a common aspect of electronic assembly services. However, finishing processes vary and one of those processes is plating. In electronic assembly services, the plating process uses a chemical to fuse all of the different layers of the PCB together. PCB production knows four main types of plating: gold finger-plated plating, through-hole plating, reel linkage selective plating, and brushing plating. This article will discuss these four different methods in more detail.

1. Gold Finger Plating

Gold fingers are electroplated edge-connectors the are generally used to connect PCBs to a motherboard. Since gold fingers are mainly used for plugging, the gold thickness should be between 3u“ to 50u“. The expectant cycles of gold fingers are approximately 1,000 before any repair is needed, however, that is only if the correct thickness is used and if the gold fingers are applied correctly.


2. Through-Hole Plating

Through-hole plating is a crucial step in the manufacturing process for drilling. This method is beneficial as it allows both sides of the printed circuit board to be used and connect to other layers of the board. This method uses copper plating to allow electrical conductivity to travel through the board. The thicker the copper plating, the longer it can go through this thermal cycling without cracking. The life of the printed circuit board is dependant on the thickness of the copper plating of the through-hole.

Through-holes without the copper plating lack conductivity and electricity, and is unable to connect to the other side or other boards.

3. Selective Plating

Selective plating is the ultimate method for corrosion resistance and good contact resistance.  Selective plating is suitable for electronic components that use contact pins. The process of individually selecting the pins is extremely expensive so most electronic assembly services use batch welding. Selective plating only uses the portion of the metal copper foil plate that is selected, as the other part is coated with a resist film.

4. Brushing Plating

Brushing plating is also a form of selective plating. It is a plating technique that only uses a select amount of parts of electrolyte during the plating process, thus only a limited portion gets plated. This plating method is commonly used by electronic assembly services when repairing waste boards.

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circuit board repair service

Why Should You Consider Circuit Board Repair Services from BESTProto?

circuit board repair service

Organizations rely on circuit boards to conduct their business daily. When a circuit board gets damaged or stops working, consider circuit board repair service before tossing it out. Here are a few reasons to consider a repair before a replacement.

Save Time, Save Money, Improve Bottom Line

When you invest in repairs from a reputable company, such as BESTProto, you will save time and money, thereby improving your overall bottom line.

Knowledge and Experience

When it comes to knowledge and experience, you can’t find anyone my knowledgeable and with more experience than BESTProto. With our years of experience, we are able to offer affordable repair services for a variety of printed circuit boards. You’ll be hard pressed to find another company that offers repair services that are equal to our level of experience and knowledge.

Superior Quality

Because printed circuit boards are highly complex and sophisticated, they require individuals who are highly trained to repair them. Through years of experience, all of BESTProto’s technicians have gained the necessary skills and experience to handle any circuit board repairs that you may need. Additionally, we only use the highest quality tools and materials needed to ensure quality repairs.

As you can see, when you are looking for quality circuit board repair service, you can’t go wrong with Best Proto. We offer quality service that can’t be beaten anywhere else. Our services are affordable, reliable, and supersede industry standards. If you need any circuit board repairs, contact us today.

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prototype pcb

Different Industries that Rely on Printed Circuit Boards

prototype pcb

The most common devices associated with engineered prototype PCB assembly designs and implementation include computers, cell phones, TVs, radios, digital cameras, and host of other plug-in and battery operated devices. Although, printed circuit board assemblies are not limited to consumer electronics, there are various industries that rely on this technology as well. Read on to learn more about the different industries that use PCB assemblies to help power their electronics.


The medical field is heavily dependent upon electronic devices to not only administer medication but also provide valuable information and monitoring. Because many electronic devices are now denser and require less power to operate, it has become possible to test new and exciting technologies. Because medical devices need to be small and as dense as possible, they utilize high-density PCBs. High-density PCB assemblies allow medical equipment to accommodate the unique requirements that many devices face, that allow them to be small and lightweight. PCB assemblies can be found in pacemakers and larger medical devices such as X-ray machines and CAT scan equipment.


PCB assemblies are commonly found in high-powered industrial machinery where they utilize thick copper PC Boards in lieu of one-ounce copper PCBs. Most often, these are found in motor controllers, high-current battery chargers and industrial load testers.


LED lighting has rapidly gained in popularity, due to their low power consumption and high energy levels. Ironically, the PCB assemblies that are used to make these lights also require low amounts of energy. The specific type of PCB assembly allows heat to transfer at a higher level than standard PCBs.

Automotive and Aerospace

Both the automotive and aerospace industry utilize flexible PC Boards, as they are designed to withstand the various high-vibration environments which are commonly found in both. Depending on the specifics of the device, these types of PCB assemblies can also be lightweight. Other restrictions that are common in both the automotive and aerospace industries is that PCB assemblies need to fit in tight spaces, like an instrument panel or behind the instrument gauge on a dashboard.

As you can see, PCB assemblies are everywhere! Whether you are in need of a lightweight, compact, or any other prototype PCB assembly, BestProto can provide design, engineering, and assembly services for a variety of industries.

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quick turn pcb assembly

An Intro to Printed Circuit Boards

quick turn pcb assembly

When electronics first made their debut, components were soldered to each other or to terminal strips and tube sockets. Thanks to advances in technology, this method has evolved into printed circuit boards via quick turn PCB assembly, making connecting components easier and cheaper.

What Are PCBs?

PCBs, also known as printed circuit boards, PWBs (printed wiring boards) and Circuit Cards are thin boards made out of an insulating material, (usually fiberglass) with a metal-coated surface. In some instances, the metal-coated surface can be coated on both sides of the board. Within the metal, there are tiny etches made by using acid  to remove the unwanted metal, that allows electricity to travel across the surface to various components that are mounted to the board with solder.

Advantages of PCBs

The growing demand for smaller electronics is possible thanks to PCBs. Not only do PCBs allow devices to be smaller, but they also allow them to be more compact with everything contained on a convenient, rugged circuit board. On a printed circuit board, you will find drilled holes, allowing resistors and capacitors to be inserted and soldered through automation.

Where Can You Find PCBs?

The good news is that PCBs are everywhere! Just about every electronic appliance you use on a regular basis contains a printed circuit board. Some of the most common devices that have PCBs include smartphones, computers, printers, televisions, stereos, digital clocks, microwave ovens, cell phones, and so much more!

In computers, the largest PCB is known as the “motherboard” and serves as the heart. Other circuit boards inside computers perform necessary functions, such as RAM (random access memory), power supplies, modems, and video cards. It is easy to see just how important printed circuit boards are for helping devices function the way we have come to know and expect them to. Printed circuit boards and quick turn PCB assembly have made dramatic changes to the world of electronics.

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pcb repair services

What You Need to Know About PCB Repair Services

pcb repair services

When a printed circuit board (or PCB) fails or malfunctions, do you repair or replace it? Unfortunately, most organizations don’t have the time or the resources to try and repair PCBs and opt to purchase a new one. This is generally done because it used to be time-consuming and expensive to try and figure out what was wrong with it. This has changed with a growing number of organizations deciding to offer PCB repair services, making fixing your circuit board more affordable.

Find an Honest Contract Manufacturer

There is an abundance of manufacturers who are eager to repair your PCB. But be careful who you entrust with your repair work, not all are going fulfill their promise with honest and effective repairs. Find a manufacturer who has IPC trained and certified technicians with the knowledge and expertise necessary to address any faults or issues with it. Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t always know if a company made the PCB to spec to begin with or if high-quality components were used, or if it was even properly tested. To avoid these costly mistakes, it is crucial that you take the time to do your research and find a reputable manufacturer who will stand behind their work.

Quality Work and Repair Services Saves You Money

When you take the time to find a manufacturer that offers IPC quality repair services, you’ll save money. Additionally, quality PCB repair services will take great care to use the highest quality parts available, ensuring that your electronic device lasts longer. Having quality, dependable equipment and devices allow you to focus your energy on growing your client base, offering quality service, and improving your business overall.

One of the biggest advantages that PCB repairs offer is their environmental-friendliness. They promote recycling of old parts, allowing your business to leave a smaller carbon footprint. While not every circuit board can be repaired, consider it before purchasing a new one.

At BestProto, we specialize in creating new PCB boards and providing quality repair service that you can count on!


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Common Applications for Printed Circuit Board Assemblies

proto PCB

From smartphones to kitchen appliances, the heart and soul of each electronic is composed of a Printed Circuit Board Assembly that was, once upon a time, a prototype PCB. Each one comes in an array of configurations that allows it to serve a specific function.

As electronics continue to evolve and change, so will PCB Assemblies. Currently, they are found in just about every industry, continually evolving to create new applications. Because PCB Assemblies can be printed on a variety of materials and are pliable and sturdy, they can be used for nearly anything. We will explore the most common applications.

Medical Devices

Electronics play key roles in the healthcare industry. You can find PCB Assemblies in diagnostic, monitoring, and treatment devices. As electronics continue to develop and evolve, there are infinite possibilities as time goes on.

PCB Assemblies can be used within medical devices are extremely specialized so they can fulfill unique tasks.PCB Assemblies used for medical applications tend to be highly dense interconnections.

Because these devices are used for medical applications, medical PCB Assemblies are held to a higher standard than most other PCB Assembly types. Medical devices that depend on PCB Assemblies to operate include:

  • Monitors
  • Scanning Technology
  • Control Systems
  • Internal Devices
  • Scientific Instruments

Consumer Electronics

We use these types of electronics on a daily basis. Types of consumer devices include smartphones, computers, kitchen appliances, and entertainment devices. Located in each of these devices, you will find a PCB.

Because consumers purchase electronics in mass quantities, it is necessary for the production of PCBs to keep up with the demand. These types of PCBs come with a low per-unit cost, facilitating a low-cost final product.

The biggest challenge that PCB manufacturers encounter with PCBs for consumer electronics is that they must achieve uniformity and maintain quality. As a result, PCB manufacturers are required to comply with strict industry standards and quality-control measures that ensure every consumer electronic will function as it is designed and expected to.

The most common consumer electronics include:

  • Mobile Devices (smartphones, tablets, GPS)
  • Computer Electronics
  • Recording Devices
  • Entertainment Systems
  • Home Appliances

Industrial Applications

High-powered industrial applications depend on PCBs to control the mechanisms used in factories and manufacturing facilities. As a result, these devices need to be able to survive harsh conditions that are often found in industrial installations.

Because the industrial industry is a fast-paced environment, industry standards are equally rigorous. Examples of PCBs being used in industrial applications include:

  • Industrial Equipment (electrical drills, presses)
  • Measuring Equipment (measure and control pressure or temperature)
  • Power Equipment (DC to AC power inverters, solar power cogeneration equipment)

As you can see, PCBs are everywhere. They are responsible for the functionality we experience every day, from mixing a batch of cookies to reading our blood pressure. All of these electronic devices were once merely a prototype, with a proto PCB that was tested, tried, and, eventually, perfected.

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The Technologies Transforming PCBs

PCB assembly services

Several new technologies are shaping the PCB assembly services sector, and most of these have been developed in response to market pressures. Whether they’re responding to forces from the environmental sector or from legislative changes, engineers have been hard at work developing new techniques that are transforming the industry.

Wearable Computing and the Healthcare Sector

A recent push from the healthcare industry to produce smaller devices that could be used in surgery has spurred on the development of new nanotechnology solutions that focus on building components smaller than 100 square nanometers. Minimally invasive surgical procedures necessitate the use of tools that can fit into extremely small openings.

Consumers have been contributing to this type of transformation as well since the demand for wearable computer parts has also created a strong need for ever smaller components. Engineers are beginning to manipulate surfaces on an atomic scale, and this is helping them to design materials small enough to meet exacting specifications.

Green Manufacturing Processes

The demand for greener products has influenced the PCB market on more than one end of the market. On the production side of the equation, PCB manufacturing and prototyping companies have retooled their factories to comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. While this directive was primarily designed to influence the sale of products in the European Union, many North American companies like BESTProto have sought to eliminate the following six substances from their circuit boards:

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Hexavalent Chromium
  • PBDE
  • Cadmium
  • PBB

RoHS rules forbade the use of any lead-based solder that’s greater than 0.1 percent of the weight of an assembled printed circuit board. Consumers, too, are demanding greener products. With a societal push for environmental conservation, more people are looking to make ecologically-friendly choices. In response, some companies have had to eliminate many chemicals even if they didn’t necessarily have to abide by the rules from a legal standpoint.

New chemical technologies are quickly replacing the use of these toxic substances when it comes to consumer-grade equipment. Lead-free solders using tin, silver, indium, zinc, antimony, and other metals are quickly making it possible to assemble circuit boards that don’t have poisonous chemicals in them. Advances in recycling have also made it possible to recycle existing electronic waste and prevent the release of these chemicals back into the environment.

With consumers continuing to push for smaller and more environmentally-friendly devices, PCB assembly services should keep moving forward with the development of new techniques and materials for the foreseeable future.

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What to Look for in a PCB Assembly Partner

prototype PCB assembly services

While large companies might be able to handle production delays, you’ll want to look for a PCB assembly partner that can work quickly, while providing regular updates about the process and provide design for manufacturability (DFM) feedback. Keeping a few simple tips about the best industry practices in mind can save a good deal of grief when it comes time to send in your design.

Red Flags

If you’re looking to hire a company to provide prototype services, keep an eye out for any of the following red flags:

  • Minimum production order requirements
  • Prototype partner wants you to source all the parts by yourself
  • Quotes take too long to get to you
  • Quotes seem outrageous
  • Long periods of time pass before the company gets back to you

You’ll also want to make sure that you’re dealing with a domestic prototype PCB assembly services company. While overseas companies might offer lower quotes, dealing with language, time zones, logistics and customs can add unforeseen delays and costs on top of whatever amount they claim it will cost. Shipping times between countries can also be extremely slow, which is a huge problem if you represent a smaller firm that needs to get a product to market as quickly as possible. Recent advances in PCB technology are making it possible for American manufacturers to now offer landed prices that are competitive against offshore options anyway.

Signs You’ve Picked a Good Partner

Companies that adhere to the best practices in the industry tend to make excellent partners. While it used to be rare to find service providers that accepted small production runs, many of the best domestic companies now have much smaller minimum orders. Established companies like BESTProto also offer PCB testing services, which gives you the option of going with a single service provider to assemble and test your circuit boards, thus cutting out the middleman. This also helps to decrease the amount of time it takes to get to full-scale production.

If you’re able to quickly get in touch with a representative from the assembly service provider, you’ve more than likely picked a good partner. Pay attention to how knowledgeable they seem. Prototype PCB assembly service providers that share the industry’s best practices with all of their employees are likely to make good partners.

Once you’ve made your decision and you’re sure that you’re working with the right partner, the prototyping process should be a breeze.

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Why Use a PCB Layout Design Service?

PCB layout service

You have a spectacular idea for a new gadget with functions that are easily controlled by a printed circuit board. However, you only have a schematic. The PCB cannot be released to the public in its current form. It’s time to consider a PCB layout service to take your PCB based product to market.

Designing as a Functional Feature

A layout service takes your circuitry connections from a schematic or breadboard, and they create a manufacturable PCB unit. Every circuit must be logically arranged on the board so that the electrical signals move through each component with ease.

This service will include an in-depth look at the safety of your circuits. Certain elements, such as microchips, must have the necessary insulation surrounding them. Without this design feature, the chip’s functions might break down because of interference from nearby resistors, transistors or capacitors. You can avoid any functional headaches with a PCB layout service.

Outsourcing to Professionals

Your idea and overall business could benefit from PCB services for a number of reasons. By turning to professionals, you’re freeing up resources within your business. An entire department can concentrate on other aspects of your gadget.

Outsourcing the design process is simply more convenient. Allow the experts to figure out any issues that might be plaguing the circuitry. You’ll receive feedback on the work, which keeps the rest of your project on track. Dedicating the right people to specific tasks will only boost your productivity and success over time.

Creating a Dialogue

It’s easy to have tunnel vision when it comes to your circuitry design. Hundreds of hours have probably gone into this design, and it finally offers the functionality that you demand. Working with a service gives you a third party’s view of your work. They may see improvements or changes that you’ve overlooked. These suggestions aren’t comments on your abilities, however. A fresh look at the design may be what you need to move the project forward.

Saving Production Funds

One of the costliest mistakes in the production world is faulty dimensions. You might have a PCB size in mind, and housings for your creation are being built right now. Any changes to the PCB size, however, renders your housings obsolete. PCB services will get the circuitry and size right the first time. Therefore, reducing the probability that your production will suffer.

When you turn to BESTProto, you’ll be working with professionals who understand the PCB layout business.

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Most Common Uses for PCB’s

PCB assembly


Electronics play a major role in your daily routine. You use them for everything from your kitchen appliances to your smartphone. A printed circuit board (PCB) is at the core of each electronic device. In fact, they are the foundation of electronic products. The components come in an array of PCB assembly configurations.

Serving a Variety of Functions

Nearly every vein of the electronics sector utilizes PCBs. These boards use a series of circuits that connect multiple components to each other. They are the small chips on a green PC board that are at the heart of most electronic devices.  As electronics develop and expand across a variety of industries, PCB applications have extended and adapted to new applications with ever smaller size and more powerful capabilities.

There is an infinite number of PCB assembly configurations. That flexibility allows them to function in different applications and capacities. Those applications and capacities include:

  • Medical devices
  • Consumer electronics
  • Industrial applications
  • Aerospace applications
  • Lighting applications
  • Smart homes
  • Marine applications
  • Security applications
  • Broadcasting and telecommunications applications

If electronics are part of an application, PCBs are part of the configuration. For example, smart homes are filled with various PCBs.

Smart Home Usage

There are more gadgets than ever connected in the homes of today. They include locks, switches and speakers. Some homes even have real-time energy monitoring systems. With the help of PCBs, such systems show energy consumption of individual appliances, monitor solar power and control smart devices connected to the app.

A PCB is also part of the smart thermostat that intuitively understands the cooling and heating equipment in your home. It functions based on data points that are unique to your home energy profile and the weather outside. Similarly, a home sound system expands to other rooms with a device that uses a PCB.

Soft white lighting enhances your home with a PCB-enabled remote that uses timers and light schedules. These lights can also turn on automatically even when you are away. Would-be intruders will be unaware of your absence. Even voice-controlled personal assistant devices make use of PCBs.

In many smart homes, people can control appliances that are connected to Wi-Fi electrical outlets. The devices can be turned off and on by smartphones that include PCB configurations. Indoor and outdoor lights are also controllable via smartphone.

If you’re in need of PCB Assembly prototypes, partner with a reliable tech company. BESTProto provides solutions that meet the requirements of many businesses.

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What You Need to Know About Circuit Card Assembly

For entrepreneurs, start-ups, and specialized businesses that focus on developing, designing, and launching new technological products, the suppliers of the parts for their prototypes are key partners in their success. Circuit cards, also known as printed circuit boards (PCBs), connect and support the components used in electronic products in all industries.

Printed circuit boards, which were developed and refined in the early half of the 20th century, provide a cost-effective means of housing electronic components, and they can be mass produced by automated machines. This is in contrast to traditional soldered circuit boards, which required hands-on assembly. Traditional boards were also subject to breaking easily under any stress due to the soldered parts, glass vacuums, and sometimes bulky components. Creating viable prototypes of new electronic products requires reliable PCBs that can be designed, printed, and altered quickly and efficiently.

What Is Involved in the Assembly Process?

The circuit card assembly process to build PCBs involves several steps. First, the design and layout of the circuit card must be done using specialized CAD software or schematic capture tools. Once the PCB layout has been designed to meet the schematic requirements for maximum efficiency, the PCB is printed by etching copper that has been laminated to two sides of a non-conductive material. This material serves as the substrate of the PCB.

After the PCB is etched or printed, the assembly process that best meets the needs of the project is chosen. Different assembly processes for PCBs include both automated and manually operated equipment. The process may include SMT assembly, through-hole assembly, leadless device assembly, or ball grid array.

Within each different assembly method, the electronic components required for the circuit card assembly are soldered into place. This is typically done through an automated process such as wave soldering. In some cases, hand operators do the job of soldering.

PCB Services Companies

Companies such as BESTProto offer services that cover all stages of the assembly process. From the design, layout, and etching/printing of the PCB to the placement and soldering of components, these companies follow an efficient and quick process that can produce early prototype PCBs within a few business days. All PCBs are created using innovative processes, advanced automated equipment, and highly skilled operators.

These companies provide both prototype PCBs for early product testing and high-volume PCB assembly for finalized product designs in the telecommunications, industrial, medical, and military industries. With the right PCB assembly services, companies across all industries can meet their business goals.

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2014 Spring E-Newsletter


UncleSamBestProtoIt is well-known that US manufacturers have spent the past 30 years off-shoring production in pursuit of low-cost labor and economies of scale. This trend has had significant ramifications for the landscape of the US economy, in which manufacturing as a share of total employment has fallen by more than 40% since its peak in 1979. Off-shoring, however, is no longer the default choice for US manufacturers. Issues with logistics, culture clashes, intellectual property, and quality control have made on-shoring or re-shoring more attractive.

Companies participating in this counter-trend note a range of advantages associated with producing on-shore, from better quality control, improved responsiveness to product changes, more logistical flexibility and lower shipping costs, to simply operating in the same (or a similar) timezone. Small businesses in particular see an advantage in domestic manufacturing, which frees them from the challenges of financing the required bulk orders from Chinese manufacturers. Larger businesses have found savings by eliminating the need to send employees to China and India to oversee production processes.

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What iPhone, iPad owners need to know about iOS 7

Apple is releasing its latest operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch today.

The system, iOS 7, will come installed on the new iPhone 5S and 5C models that go on sale Friday. Owners of some older Apple devices also can download it to replace their current systems. But should they?

Before you jump in and upgrade, here’s what you need to know about iOS 7.130918140403-ios-7-screenshtos-story-top

What is iOS 7?

Apple’s iOS is the software that controls all the basics of your gadget, including the look, feel, settings and hardware. iOS 7 is Apple’s latest update to this system and its biggest change since iOS debuted six years ago.

What time is the iOS 7 download available?

Developers have been testing early versions of the new operating system for months, but Apple made it available to the general public at 1 p.m. ET today.

To see whether it is available, go to Settings > General > Software Update on your device, or visit iTunes on your computer.

How is it different from what’s already on my iPhone or iPad?

Six years is a long time to wear the same look. Apple’s iOS has received a major design overhaul in this version and now has a more streamlined, flat, abstract look. The typography is all new, and nice touches like transparency and subtle animations abound.

There are also a handful of new features, though some are not available on all older devices. Here are a few of the biggies:
the biggies:

• A new time-saving control center slides up from the bottom of the screen for easy access to basic settings such as brightness and Airplane Mode. It has shortcuts for the flashlight, timer, calculator and camera.

• An updated notification center now shows a summary of what you have in store for the day and details on the weather and your commute.

• The camera adds a square-photo option and new filters, while the photos app drops the map view and sorts your images into events by date and location.

• It adds AirDrop, a feature for people who use iCloud that makes it easier to move photos and files between computers and mobile devices.

• The Siri voice-search tool adds an option for male voice, defaults to Bing for Web searches and pulls in results from Twitter and Wikipedia.

• Multitasking looks different. The same double-click of the home button now zooms you out to show a carousel of mini versions of all your open apps.

iOS 7 won’t require a great deal of re-learning. The basic layout and functions are the same: The home screen is still a grid of icons, there’s a dock with your favorite apps at the bottom, and the gestures you’ve become used to work the same. There will probably be some initial confusion as you struggle to re-identify all the new icons, but a proper upgrade should leave them all in the same spots they were in before.

iOS 7 won’t require a great deal of re-learning. The basic layout and functions are the same: The home screen is still a grid of icons, there’s a dock with your favorite apps at the bottom, and the gestures you’ve become used to work the same. There will probably be some initial confusion as you struggle to re-identify all the new icons, but a proper upgrade should leave them all in the same spots they were in before.

New iPhones: The reviews are in

Can I update my iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch?

Although iOS is coming out the same time as a pair of brand new iPhone models, it can also be installed for free on some older devices.

At the press event announcing the new models, Apple CEO Tim Cook said there were 600 million devices running iOS. Just because you have a year-old iPhone 5 doesn’t mean you can’t freshen it up with the latest operating system. Look for your device below to see whether it is eligible.

• iPhone (original): No

• iPhone 3G: No

• iPhone 3GS: No

• iPhone 4: Yes. Does not include AirDrop, Siri or camera filters (you can add filters later in the photos app).

• iPhone 4S: Yes. No AirDrop.

• iPhone 5: Yes. Includes all new iOS 7 features.

• iPod Touch: Only the 5th-generation iPod Touch can upgrade but will include all new iOS 7 features.

• iPad (original): No

• iPad 2: Yes. No AirDrop, Siri, camera filters or square format, or Photos app filters.

• iPad 3rd generation: Yes. No AirDrop or camera filters.

• iPad 4th generation: Yes

• iPad Mini: Yes

Some of the cooler new features you may have heard about, like the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and the new camera tools — slow-motion, burst mode and image-stabilization — are available only on the new Phone 5S.

Should I update?

Just because your device is compatible doesn’t mean it should be upgraded right away. Once you update your device to iOS 7, there is no going back to iOS 6 or whichever earlier iOS you were running. (Yes, there are unofficial ways to downgrade, but these are not recommended for regular iPhone and iPad users.)

If you are not in a rush, wait a few weeks or months until Apple releases the first updated version of iOS 7. The early releases of the operation system can include bugs that should be addressed with subsequent iOS 7 updates. Let other eager people spend the next few weeks finding and reporting these issues so you don’t have to deal with them.

Older devices can experience frustrating performance issues when upgraded to a new OS. The iOS 7 software was designed specifically for the hardware that’s faster than your trusty old iPhone 4. If your device is anything older than the most recent generation, it might suddenly slow down, and battery life can suffer.

This should not be as much of a problem for newer devices, such as the iPhone 5, 4th generation iPad and iPad Mini, or the latest iPod Touch. If you are worried about performance issues, skip the update.

Updating immediately is recommended only for tech-savvy early adopters who are comfortable with the risks.

Are there any downsides of not updating?

Immediately, not much. You won’t have the new features to play with, but your phone will continue to work as it always did.

In the long run, there could be a few drawbacks. Apple has been pushing developers to update their apps to be iOS 7 compatible. The updates can be as minor as changing the look of an icon or as major as adding all new features. Many developers may stop updating and supporting older versions of their apps as they move their focus to iOS 7. That means eventually, you could be stuck with out-of-date (or even non-working) versions of your favorite apps.

I’m going for it! How do I upgrade?

1. Back up: Before you make the leap, it is very important that you back up your iPhone or iPad. There is always a small chance your device could be wiped clean in the upgrade process, so make a full backup of everything. To back up, plug your device into your computer, open iTunes, and if it does not start backing up automatically, click the “Back Up Now” button.

If your photos are not set to back up automatically, use Image Capture or iPhone on a Mac and Windows Explorer on a Windows PC to make copies of all your pictures.

Another option is to skip the cord and back up to iCloud over Wi-Fi. On your device, go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup. Tap the “Back Up Now” button.

2: Download the new iOS: You can get the update by plugging into a computer and opening iTunes (this is the faster option) or over a Wi-Fi connection directly to your phone.

If iTunes doesn’t automatically ask whether you’d like to upgrade when you plug in, click “Check For Updates” in the Summary tab. It will do the rest automatically.

From your phone, go to Settings > Software Update and click the install button. Make sure your phone is fully charged and connected to a Wi-Fi network, not your cellular network.

-Contributions from CNN Tech.


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Why Quality and Customer Feedback Top Our Priority List

Why Quality and Customer Feedback Top Our Priority List

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. – Quality of our product and responsive customer service are undoubtedly two of our most important values here at BESTProto Inc.

Knowing our Customers

Quality and speed are key.

At BESTProto, we try to tailor our efforts to provide individualized services to meet each customer’s specific needs.. The knowledge that transfers on a daily basis helps to strengthen our relationships with our customers. Real world examples  are where we are able to develop customer specific component libraries to aid in the assembly, inspection and ultimately, quality of their boards assemblies.  “I’d like to think we stand out among others when it comes to quality and speed,” said Director of Business Development Garth Cates. “We strive to bat .1000 but understand that things do happen during the course of product development and production. Our goal is to always get it right the first time, and learn for the next time.”


Proactive Service
Being proactive by catching potential mishaps before they occur, is another key to quality, but even more so in our customer service. We compare this to going into a diner and asking a customer why they didn’t touch certain pieces of food on their dish.  We’d rather replace the dish for free or remove it from the bill if there is anything unsatisfactory. We don’t send our customer’s home hungry or feeling they didn’t receive value for their money spent.

Reactive Service
While proactively addressing potential customer issues, we also strive for speed in being reactive. “If our production floor is busy we’ve worked late into the evening and over weekends to put in the extra hours for our customers,” said our Production Manager. “If we’ve got people waiting in line, we’re going to make sure we do everything we can to meet their schedule.”

Personal Touch
Don’t be shocked if you receive a message from us just to see how things went. Every relationship is a two-way street. We like to know how our customers are feeling about their experience with BESTProto. We value your feedback and we’d appreciate your filling out any questionnaires you receive from us.   Most importantly, always feel free to send any quotes our direction. We strive to meet our customer’s needs so if you have any questions regarding special assembly requirements, component issues, cost, lead-times etc. we’d be glad to discuss them with you.

As summer moves into fall, we wish you a happy and safe month ahead. We look forward to hearing from you soon.




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Safety Tips

Safety Tips for Animals and Humans

For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including the four-legged members of the household. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and products can be potentially hazardous to your pets. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:

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BESTProto June 2013 Newsletter

How to Prevent Tombstoning

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. – Now you may say that this is an “assembly issue????” But not so fast. Yes it is true that assembly materials including solder paste and stencil design, improper profiling or even inaccuracy of the pick and place machine accuracy may cause tombstoning but the PCB layout may be a cause as well. Possible culprits include the following:

  • The lack or imbalance of thermal relief’s
  • Incorrect land patterns – when in doubt use the IPC standard guidelines

To control the effect as a designer, you have to look after symmetric soldering process on both sides of the component. Make sure there are symmetric pads in your design. This can easily be checked via automatic scripting.

Finally, look to problems in the manufacturing of your PCB’s for potential causes. The thickness of a soldermask is critical. Make sure the mask is below the level of the lands.

Click here to read more.

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