Posted on Leave a comment

JLC PCB Assembly Service – First Time User Review

Overview

JLC PCB started an assembly service a while ago and I’ve been hoping to design a PCB to use it at some point. I started designing a PCB a while ago – the schematic went quick and then kind of forgot about it for a few months. The PCB is a 64 channel Data Acquisition Unit meant primarily to measure a large number of thermistors, but can also be used as a general digital I/O board.

Board Details

The board is not too complicated – pretty simple, but I wanted to try out a few different things, as well as making it as easy as possible to make and program. I used some chips with varying packages – QFN, TSSOP, and some 0402 passives. I chose a 4-layer board to keep it easy to design and have dedicated power and ground planes for easy layout. I chose ENIG as the board finish mostly because the gold just looks really good. I also put the A2D logo in the corner of the board in copper (remove the soldermask in this area) and kind of wanted this in gold.

As the design software, I used EasyEDA – not because I wanted to use it but because I didn’t want to spend the time to create all the component libraries in Altium. Its also really well integrated with LCSC (a chinese component supplier) and the JLCPCB order service (they are pretty much the same companies just different names for different divisions I think).

I ordered 10 boards with the following specs:

  • 150mm x 100mm outline
  • 4-Layer
  • 1-oz copper
  • ENIG finish (Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold)
  • Green Soldermask (required for the JLCPCB Assembly Service)

Quality

The Good

  1. The price – total was around $170 all shipping and import fees to Canada included
    • $65 for the boards
    • $53 for components and assembly
    • $23 shipping via DHL
    • $28 DHL import charges on arrival
  2. Really nice board finish – silkscreen, soldermask, and ENIG finish looked great!
  3. Boards worked – no shorts, etc.
  4. Assembly quality was great – no issues here 0402s and TSSOP packages were great! (QFNs were out of stock so I had to order those from Digikey and assemble it myself).
  5. The boards came packaged really well. I only have components on 1 side of my board, and they packaged them back to back and wrapped in the pink antistatic bubble wrap.

The Not-so-Good

  1. The sides of the board were a little rough – the panel removal left some material on the edges. Nothing that a bit of sandpaper can’t fix, and I can’t really complain for the price that the boards were.
  2. LCSC didn’t have some components in stock or low in stock, so I had to solder a few components myself after the boards arrived.
  3. There were some parts of the silkscreen that were cut off (the RESET at the top of the board). JLCPCB in the past used to be pretty good at catching things like this. I can’t fault them for this since it was my design mistake and I didn’t catch it.

Overall, for quick-turn prototype boards, I can highly recommend JLCPCB. Just make sure that you’ve designed your board and exported Gerbers properly – they will make exactly what you send them. The integration with LCSC makes it super easy to purchase components when you design it in EasyEDA but would require a litt

Leave a Reply