Are you wondering what PCB cloning means? Well, worry not! Here are the answers to all your questions.
PCBs make electrical gadgets work. And PCB cloning is among many techniques for making PCBs. That’s not all about it, and there’s more.
Luckily, this article will help you learn what PCB cloning is, how it works, and its advantages.
What is PCB cloning?
The constant high demand for PCB in the manufacture of electronics led to the development of PCB cloning. Also called PCB duplication, PCB cloning is a form of reverse engineering technology. It involves creating copies of existing PCB circuit boards.
In PCB cloning, reverse engineering is specific to its hardware engineering. Thus, it plays a role in computer software development.
(image of a printed circuit board)
What is a PCB cloning service?
A PCB cloning service is a simple procedure that helps you create the exact design of the electronic circuit board. However, the PCB cloning service happens without undertaking the board design process. In addition, using a PCB clone service is quite cost-effective.
( A printed circuit board)
Advantages of PCB cloning
Some advantages of PCB clones include;
Cost-effective and style novel
Usually, PCB manufacturing is time-consuming. And high-quality board manufacture is also costly. On the other hand, PCB duplicates are cheaper and just as reliable. Additionally, you'll save on testing and prototypes while designing is free.
To simplify the production
PCB cloning should be easier for manufacturers. Therefore, manufacturers identify innovative designs through reverse engineering and use them to create a new PCB. In addition, PCB cloning is automatic, which streamlines the production process. For example, using PCB cloning in the electronic product replacement of an obsolete PCB.
Rigorous engineering skills
It means being careful with PCB cloning specifics. For example, companies must analyze the board extensively if they want to adopt advanced technologies. So, analysis helps engineers create high-quality PCB artworks. Moreover, engineers can now construct temperature-reliable PCBs.
Utilizing PCB clones enables engineers to build consumer-friendly products. However, you can only reverse engineer the current PCB design, thus improving product performance.
(a PCB with visible electrical components.)
Improved scalability and freedom
PCB cloning allows mass manufacture from a single design to producing several PCB board copies. Usually, the resulting PCBs are custom, depending on the customer's needs. For this reason, PCB clones offer companies production flexibility.
Usually, the cloning service makes cloned PCBs look like the original and increases board performance. Also, the mechanical and electrical features make the cloned boards ideal for high-performance applications.
(automatic machine for testing a PCB.)
How does PCB cloning help PCB redesign and development?
PCB cloning is an example of modern information technology. It utilizes reverse research techniques to produce a PCB design board. Usually, building a new PCB product from scratch takes many days. However, through PCB cloning with the inclusion of reverse engineering, the PCB redesigning process is now simple.
Technology advances daily, so most electronic components require consistent upgrades. Unfortunately, most traditional methods of PCB designing cannot handle constant upgrades. Thus the fast adoption of reverse engineering in the new high-tech systems.
(an engineer designing a PCB.)
PCB Cloning Procedure
Cloning a PCB is a simple automated process.
Before you begin the cloning, ensure you have the Bill of Material (BOM) and a copy of the circuit schematics. Besides these, choose a research technique from the several available. For equipment, ensure you have an Autocad, computer, scanner, and a PROTEL99.
The following are steps to follow when cloning.
- First, from the PAD hole and the tin, remove all active components. Next, use an ultrasonic to clean the board. Then put the empty board on the scanner and scan it horizontally. Ensure that the contrast and brightness of the scanner are set. Otherwise, the images won't be viable.
- Secondly, launch Photoshop and copy the scanner into the program. Usually, the bottom and top screen-printing methods are similar. Both save the name of the custom out while utilizing a color sweep.
- Thirdly, polish the top and bottom layers of the board using paper yarn. Place the board back on the scanner and relaunch Photoshop. Complete the process by color sweeping both layers.
- Next, adjust the brightness, lightness, and contrast of the canvas. It will help verify whether the image lines are clear. If this is not the case, you must repeat the process or use photoshop to correct the sketch. However, if the picture is clear, save it as a BMP file in black and white.
- Now, convert the BMP files into a PROTEL file. Then, open PROTEL99 and create a new PCB file. Now, select import CAD from the PCB's editor's menu and place the CAD file inside it. With the PROTEL file, generate two levels. That’s not all. You will know a stage is complete and correct if the VIA and PAD are in the same place.
- You should open both imported CAD files. Then, copy the component package into the CAD using the PCB image as a reference. Then, put the pads and vias in their correct places and measure both the outside and inner sizes of the pads. It will help to get the diameters of the ring. Then arrange the pads according to their sizes when doing the layout.
- On the board, there is a silk layer. Carefully draw a line on the TOP Layer and install the device as previously described. After, delete the silk layer.
- BOT and PCB are two different types of circuit boards. So, convert the PCB to PROTEL and integrate the two diagrams into one.
- Next, in a 1:1 ratio, print both layers on a clear film. Then put the film on the PCB, and it is complete.
- Further, print the TOP LAYER and BOTTOM LAYER on clear film (1:1 ratio) on a laser printer. Then place the film on the PCB and compare for errors.
- Finally, test the cloned PCB to ensure it works as the original.
Remember, you need to focus on completing a successful PCB copy properly. Mostly, an experienced PCB clone servicer normally carries out the process. But you can too.
(testing the functioning of a PCB)
The legal boundary of PCB cloning
Since the start of reverse technology, a lot of doubts have ensued. Its legitimacy has constantly been in question for a long time.
For example, the court in China around January 2007 stipulated that trading information gained from reverse engineering was irrelevant. Thus, this meant that reverse engineering violated trade secrets and was hence inappropriate.
However, in the following month, the court revisited the case. Now, engineering services play a vital role in circuit industry development. However, its legitimacy is still in question.
Currently, most companies have rules on the issue. For example, anyone who wants to use reverse engineering must own design copyrights. It is necessary for legal purposes. The copyright protects the interests and legitimacy of the original designer.
(PCB boards on a production machine)
PCB cloning makes work easier, cuts costs, and increases PCB production capacity. Most manufacturers prefer cloning to construct a PCB schematic diagram from scratch. Before trying PCB cloning, you should understand its procedures, advantages, and legal.
We truly hope this article has been beneficial to you. For any further questions regarding PCB cloning, do not hesitate to contact us.