Things to consider before buying PCB products
The minimum acceptable order
When you are starting off with a PCB Design, you are often not sure about the actual performance of the PCB when it will be deployed to the real field. In such a case, you want to purchase a few PCB products. You actually don’t mind to complete the PCB Assembly by yourself.
Figure 1: Purchase a few PCBs for test
This means that you need to get PCB products from a manufacturer who is able to supply just a few PCBs, say, 1 to 10 PCBs at a low cost of about $20. This is possible today due to pooling of PCB tasks.
If the PCB product passed the test
Before you order your PCB, you need to find out whether your PCB satisfies the guidelines in the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). This will ensure that your board will be safe to you and to the surrounding environment. It also makes you confident with your design.
Figure 2: Ensure your PCB orders are safe
Some PCB products are not acceptable in certain countries. Printed Circuit Boards are often the source of Radio-Frequency Interference (RFI) or Electromagnetic Interference (EMI). If a PCB is not well tested and passed, there’s a chance that it could interfere with other signals and give rise to undesired or unexpected results.
The manufacturer’s potential
If your one-off project turns out to be successful and deployable for commercial use, you will want to mass produce it. This means that if you chose the right manufacturer for your PCB during the initial stage, it will be easy to move to the next level of your PCB development. Still, later in your PCB life, you may want to add more functionality and eventually make it able to handle more complex tasks. The PCB supplier of your choice should have the potential to grow with the technology.
The intended use
Before placing an order for a PCB product, you need to make it clear to yourself about the intended use for your PCB. For example, maybe your PCB will end up in an open area in a certain cosmetic shop. This means that it needs to have a beautiful finish and resistant to rust.
Figure 3: Consider the intended use; beauty, heat…
Your PCB may be a shield for a motherboard that produces heat. This means that an Aluminum Clad PCB (ACPCB) would be the best choice due to superior heat dissipation.