Wednesday, 12 October 2011

PCBs ordered from PCBCart.com

After receiving such great service from PCBCart.com for our earlier guitar neck part of the project, and struggling to find a quick and easy way to attach cables to our home-etched boards, we decided to put another order in for more PCBs. Soldering multi-core cable to professionally produced boards (with only the pads exposed and solder mask covering the traces) is quite easy when using a solder pot.

Soldering quarter-pitch cable to home-etched boards with exposed traces can get a little messy with bridges and shorts and traces lifting when you try to correct them and so on. Simliarly, using home-brew reflow techniques are a little difficult with tiny components on home-etched boards because when the solder paste melts, instead of it pulling the component into line over the pads, the solder sometimes runs along the traces, dragging the component with it!

 Hopefully all these problems will be solved by using properly masked, professionally produced circuit boards for our little guitars. Now we can simply populate a board and either hot-air gun or bake the board to fix everything in place. We already know that soldering cable to a professionally produced board is much easier and less likely to cause faults, so while we're waiting for these new boards to arrive, we're going to buy/build a stop watch to time how long it takes to build a miniature guitar from start to finish!

 For anyone interested, here's the schematic and PCB layout for the miniature guitars.