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25th January 2019
Why you don't want open vias in or near PCB pads

The term ‘via’ probably comes from the Latin word meaning ‘road’. Therefore, open via would essentially mean ‘open road’. Open roads, in Oregon for example, sometimes run through open range ranch land. That means that cows have as much right to be on the road as do cars. If you don't want cows on your PC boards where the BGAs go, don't leave open vias in your BGA footprint. By Duane Benson, Chief Technology Ch...

9th January 2019
Five tech predictions for 2019

We’re coming in for a wild ride in 2019. The last few years have been pretty crazy, and 2019 looks to continue that trend, but amped up, 2019 will go to eleven. Don't worry though. When it is at its worst, just ask yourself what we did the last time the world came to an end.  By Duane Benson, Chief Technology Champion at Screaming Circuits

Component Management
6th December 2018
LED and diode markation guidelines for PCBs

Have you ever had an LED or other diode placed backwards? PCB assemblers work hard to place every component, from the largest, highest pin-count logic chip, down to the smallest passive components and micro wafer scale BGAs, correctly every single time. A key element of that accuracy is the understanding of the board and the component markings. Duane Benson, Chief Technology Champion at Screaming Circuits, explains.

Component Management
17th August 2018
Five PCB assembly process definitions

If you’re new to the prototyping world, the words and phases assemblers use might not make sense. Here are the PCB assembly process definitions as we see them. By Duane Benson, Chief Technology Champion at Screaming Circuits.

Component Management
18th June 2018
Five ways to mitigate PCB component availability problems

The electronics design world is by now aware that there is a very serious components shortage. Allocation and shortages hit every few years, but this one seems to be the worst in recent memory, the hardest hit seem to be ceramic capacitors, but other passives as well as a variety of connectors and silicon parts are also caught up in the shortage storm. By Duane Benson, Chief Technology Champion at Screaming Circuits

Component Management
23rd January 2018
What is needed for a PCB assembly?

As PCB assemblers, manufacturing is all about taking data from you and delivering good working circuit boards. Well, it can be just data - as in full turn-key, or data plus some parts, and PC boards - as in a partial turn-key or a kitted job. By: Duane Benson, Chief Technology Champion at Screaming Circuits.

5th January 2018
Do you really need soldermask and silkscreen for PCB design?

As PCB assemblers, we've been asked the question, "do I really need soldermask and silkscreen?" many times. And, we've been asked with good reasons. To us, soldermask protects exposed metal, reduce the chance of shorts and keeps solder where solder needs to be. Author: Duane Benson, Cheif Technology Champion at Screaming Circuits.

20th December 2017
To route or to plane PC boards?

  Power distribution on a PC board can come in a number of forms. Duane Benson, the Chief Technology Champion at Screaming Circuits, a prototype PCB assembly electronic manufacturing company in Oregon explains more on the different types of power distribution.

Component Management
15th August 2017
QFN centre pads are so last decade

The QFN (quad flat pack, no leads) package can no longer be considered exotic. It was about a decade ago, but not any more. In fact, with the wafer scale BGA, it's one of the more common packages for new chip designs. Not all QFNs come with an exposed metal pad underneath, but most do, and that can still cause problems with reflow solder. The pad itself isn't the problem, but improper solder paste stencil layer design can be.

25th May 2017
Top three PC board storage hazards

It's late. Do you know where your PC boards are? Let me rephrase that: Can unused PC boards be stored for future use? Yes, they can - if stored properly. Keep them wrapped up or sealed in a bag. Anti-static isn't necessary in this case, but it won't hurt. It’s best to keep them in a cool, dark place. Be sure to keep them clean and do your best to avoid dropping them on the floor and stepping on them. Author: Duane Benson, Chief T...

11th May 2017
What is Personal Manufacturing?

  There's a lot of buzz floating around these days about 'Personal Manufacturing'. I'll do my best to describe it, and what it can do for you. The short answer: personal manufacturing is building your PCB boards on your terms, not on the terms of some nameless, faceless factory. The longer answer is probably more useful. Duane Benson, Chief Technology Champion, Screaming Circuits, explains.

27th April 2017
How should you mark your diodes?

Duane Benson, Chief Technology Champion at a prototype PCB assembly electronic manufacturing company, Screaming Circuits discusses the question: 'How should you mark your diodes?'

Component Management
12th April 2017
PCB boards: what makes a good fiducial mark?

PCB boards: what makes a good fiducial mark? Chief Technology Champion at Screaming Circuits Duane Benson explains. Accountants may have a fiduciary responsibility, but that really has nothing to do with PC board assembly. Change the 'ry' to a 'ls', however, and you get fiducials, which does have something to do with PCB assembly.

23rd February 2017
No reference designators on your boards? Here’s what to do

The first answer to that question is probably going to be along the lines of, “put them on the board.” Says author Duane Benson.  But sometimes you can't have reference designators on your board. Maybe it's too densely populated and there isn't room. Maybe, for aesthetic reasons, you've chosen to leave them off.

20th January 2017
What’s the difference between prototyping and rapid prototyping?

If I ask for a definition of the difference between prototyping and rapid prototyping, would the correct response be "it's faster - duh"? I would probably hear that a few times, but that really isn't the correct assessment. Yes, it is faster - duh - but it's faster because it's done differently.

Component Management
4th January 2017
8 PCB tips to take into 2017

There are plenty of people out there starting 2017 with the motto ‘new year, new me’ and while predictions and resolutions may be fun, hardly any of them will be carried out, and they won’t help get your job done. Here Duane Benson, Chief Technology Champion at Screaming Circuits is sharing eight pieces of PCB assembly advice for this year that you can stick to.

20th December 2016
Is it time for USB Type C?

The USB 3.1, type C standard have been around long enough such that the connectors and chips are readily available. But, it's a more complex set up and may have far more capabilities than is needed in your design. It's got quite a few more pins and types of signals. If you don't need all that, should you still make the plunge?

3rd November 2016
Seven cost reduction design tips for makers

As a maker, you really need a decent price, with good quality and good service. Contrary to what many people think, you don't need to look outside of North America for this. You can keep your gaze West of the Atlantic and East of the Pacific. Duane Benson, Chief Technology Champion, Screaming Circuits, explains.

Component Management
19th October 2016
Tips for moving from hand to robotic PCB assembly

Many factors go into the decision to hand build or outsource circuit boards according to Duane Benson, Chief Technology Champion at PCB protoyping specialist Screaming Circuits. Here are his top five things to know:

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