Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ's - PCB Fabrication & Manufacturing Processes
Please click the FAQ category below to view answers on PCB fabrication and circuit board manufacturing questions:
How long has Advanced Circuits been in business?
Advanced Circuits was formed with the purchase of Seiko Circuits in 1989. Since that time, the company has achieved phenomenal growth and is well-known for its expedited turntime capabilities and its reliable best-on-time shipping record.
With divisions in Aurora, CO, Tempe, AZ, and Maple Grove, MN, the company is now ranked among the top 4 board fabricators in North America and is a leader in not only the commercial PCB arena but also in the high-reliablilty, military/aerospace/defense, and high technology marketplace.
What are your hours for doing business?
Our Office Hours are 8:00 AM-5:00 PM MST. Salespeople are available from 7:30 AM-7:00 PM MST. However, we our online services are available 24 Hours a Day, and also our Technical Support Engineers who are available 24 hours a day, except on Saturdays they are available until 2 PM MST.
Our business and sales offices are closed on weekends and on all major U.S. holidays, but our manufacturing facility operates 24 hours a day. Through our website, Advanced Circuits' customers can get quotes, place and track orders, and have their designs checked 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.FreeDFM.com.
Where is Advanced Circuits located?
Advanced Circuits' corporate headquarters are located at the Aurora, CO manufacturing facility. The company also has divisions located in Tempe, AZ and Maple Grove, MN.
How do you keep your prices low?
We keep our prices low by constantly implementing more efficient manufacturing processes, developing systems that allow us to quickly change setups, maintaining partnerships with suppliers, and conservatively managing our business.
What happens if I have a problem?
We are committed to your satisfaction and we ask that you contact your salesperson immediately if you have a problem of any kind. If you ever feel that you've received a product or service that was below your expectation, please feel free to email directly Advanced Circuits' CEO John Yacoub. Also, we would like to hear any suggestions you may have for improvements.
How large is your facility?
Advanced Circuits currently has three U.S. manufacturing locations totaling 180,000 sq. ft. The Corporate headquarters is in Aurora, CO.
"International Traffic in Arms Regulations" (ITAR) govern the export of weapons and weapons-related technology from the United States. If your board design data is ITAR-controlled, please inform us of that when you place your order. For basic information on ITAR, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITAR. For detailed information on ITAR, go to http://pmddtc.state.gov/.
How do I keep my order from going "CAM Hold"
There are multiple reasons that an order gets placed on hold, such as corrupt files, omitted information, or missing connections. To avoid having your order placed on hold, please review the "How to Avoid CAM Hold" section, Click Here.
Do you have any cancellation fees?
A prorated cancellation fee will be charged for cancelled orders depending on fabrication status at the time of cancellation. $33 Each, $66 Each, and Barebones orders are subject to 100% cancellation fee. Please contact your Salesperson immediately and follow up with a fax or e-mail to confirm and provide written record for any verbal cancellation.
Why can't I get a quote for a dimension less than .5"?
Our matrix is set to 0.5", enter 0.5" as the dimensional unit for quoting only. If you have a dimension less than 0.5", enter 0.5" as the dimension or call your Sales Person to get a quote. If you place an order from this quote, be sure to put the actual dimensions in the COMMENTS section of the order. Your printed circuit board will be fabricated to your actual dimensions. There may be additional costs associated with your smaller dimensions.
Where should I send my files to get a printed circuit board quote or place an order?
Will you allow me to put several part numbers together and run as one printed circuit board offer?
You are welcome to panelize circuit boards together to make one order. To do this, all your files must come to us pre-panelized. However, we cannot rout these into into individual boards. They will be shipped to you as a tab routed array or as an un-routed array as you specify on full spec orders. Multiple parts or step and repeat of a single design are available for the $33 Each and $66 Each Specials for an additional charge of $50; however, individual or tab routing of the multiple images is not included in this service.
Under what conditions will Advanced Circuits change my requested method of shipment?
Our intent is to always ship via the carrier you choose and to use your shipping account number if provided; however, all the carriers (UPS, FedEX, and DHL) have different pickup schedules during the day and evening. Our last pickup is provided by UPS. If your order is ready for pickup after the final pickup time by your requested carrier we will change the carrier, as we assume that it is more important to you that you receive your order on time as expected rather than what carrier is used. In doing so, we will not be able to use your shipping account number. We will ship it on our account and add the shipping charges to your invoice. If you request a change to this policy, we will be glad to hold your order until the following day's scheduled pickup by your preferred carrier.
How do you define your "Standard Spec shipped on Time or Free Policy"?
a. We guarantee shipment for our Standard Spec PCBs within our Standard Spec turn times which is 3 days for double-sided and 5 days for multilayers. If we ship after these time intervals, we will upgrade the method of shipment at our expense if necessary to ensure ontime arrival to customer. If we cannot upgrade the shipping, we will, when requested by customer, provide a credit to offset the cost of the boards. For orders having partial shipments, only those boards shipped "late" qualify for the "on time or Free" policy. Excludes any other services, goods, or offerings.
b. For Standard Spec PCBs placed with expedited turn times less than these standard times and shipped late, an expedite cost credit for each day beyond the order ship date will be available to the customer up to the time when the standard turntime is exceeded. If the applicable standard turn time is exceeded, then the "Free" aspect of this policy will apply. Exceptions to policy if shipment upgrades can be made and/or partial shipments are detailed above. Excludes any other services, goods, or offerings.
What happens if UPS, FedEX, or DHL is late in delivering my order?
We work very hard to make sure all your PCB orders get shipped on time. There are occasions, however, when the freight carriers have delays and/or make shipment errors. We regret when this happens but we cannot be responsible for delays by these carriers.
Who is responsible for import fees and custom charges on international order (outside the U.S.)?
All International customers are responsible for their own custom charges and import fees on all orders.
How do you define your turn and cut off times?
The day order is processed and confirmed to customer is counted as Day 0. 1-day turn orders, for example, ship next business day. Same-Day orders ship same day if received and confirmed to customer NLT 8:15 AM MST M-F. "Weekend Wonder" Same Day orders received and processed on Friday (NLT 3:00 PM MST for 2-layer, and 12:00 PM MST for multi-layers) will be shipped on Saturday for Monday delivery.
Immersion Gold (ENIG) Multilayer orders (3 – 8 layers) placed for a 1-day turn must be received NLT 12:00 PM MST Monday – Friday. Immersion Gold (ENIG) orders (0-2 layers) placed for a 1-day turn must be received NLT 3:00 PM MST Monday – Friday.
If I receive a price using your online quote matrix, does that guarantee turntimes & quantities?
If an order is placed online or by any other means, it is not guaranteed to be accepted by Advanced Circuits until it passes our engineering review and customer’s receivables account is in good standing.
Online price quotation does not guarantee total order quantity and turntimes. All order quantities and turntimes are subject to production capacity review.
Do you schedule out shipments?
We will schedule out shipments over a 6-month period; however, the order will be manufactured at the discretion of Advanced Circuits to maximize Custom Spec capabilities and cost efficiencies. If for any reason this order is cancelled at any time prior to the final scheduled shipment, any or all of the completed order will be subject to a cancellation fee which may be up to 100% depending on the manufacturing status at the time of cancellation. Customer is liable for all completed product quantities.
Will RoHS Lead-Free Custom Spec Boards be marked with lead-free symbol?
RoHS compliant lead-free Custom Spec boards will be marked with a lead-free symbol if requested by customer. If not specifically indicated on fab drawing or requested in separate document, the lead free symbol will not be added. No symbols of any kind are added to protos other than the work order number for fabrication identification purposes.
What is Advanced Circuits Warranty on PCBs?
ADVANCED CIRCUITS 90 DAY LIMITED WARRANTY
This limited warranty is governed by and construed under the laws of the State of Colorado.Advanced Circuits warrants its bare boards against defects in materials and workmanship under normal use for a period of 90 days from date of shipment ("Warranty Period"). If a defect arises and a valid claim is received within the warranty period, Advanced Circuits will, at its option and to the extent permitted by law, for any bare boards that are returned and confirmed by Advanced Circuits to be non-conforming to the order specifications and/or the applicable quality and acceptability standards, either (I) replace the bare board at no charge or (II) issue a credit equal to the original purchase price of the bare board. When a product is exchanged, any replacement item becomes the customer's property and the replaced item becomes Advanced Circuits' property. When a refund is given, the product for which the refund is provided must be returned to Advanced Circuits and becomes Advanced Circuits' property. Advanced Circuits. Advanced Circuits will not accept liability for any cost in addition to the value of the bare boards including but not limited to components, labor, business interruptions and any other consequential damages or losses. Advanced Circuits disclaims any open-ended acceptance of liability for losses beyond the control of Advanced Circuits.
If Advanced Circuits assembled the PCB then we will include the cost of any components Advanced Circuits supplied and all labor that Advanced Circuits supplied with regard to replacing the assemblies or issuing a credit. All other limitations will still apply.
This limited warranty does not apply: (A) to damage caused by use with non-Advanced Circuits products; (B) to damage caused by accident, abuse, misuse, flood, fire, earthquake or other external causes; (C) to damage caused by use of the product outside the permitted or intended uses described in the order specifications; (D) to damage caused by service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not a representative of Advanced Circuits; (E) to a product or part that has been modified to alter functionality or capability without the written permission of Advanced Circuits; or (F) to cosmetic damage, including but not limited to scratches or dents, that does not otherwise affect the product's functionality or materially impair it use.
To the extent permitted by law, this warranty and remedies set forth above are exclusive and in lieu of all other warranties, remedies, and conditions, whether oral or written, statutory, express or implied. As permitted by applicable law, Advanced Circuits specifically disclaims any and all statutory or implied warranties, including, without limitation, warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and warranties against hidden or latent defects. If any term of this warranty is held to be illegal or unenforceable, the legality or enforceability of the remaining terms shall not be affected or impaired. Except as provided in this warranty and to the extent permitted by law, Advanced Circuits is not responsible for direct, special, incidental or consequential damages resulting form any breach of warranty or condition, or under any other legal theory, including but not limited to loss of use; loss of revenue, loss of actual or anticipated profits (including loss of profits on contracts); loss of the use of money; loss of anticipated savings; loss of business; loss of opportunity; loss of goodwill; loss of reputation; loss of damage to or corruption of data; or any indirect or consequential loss or damage howsoever caused including the replacement of equipment and property, any costs of recovering, programming or reproducing any program or data stored or used with Advanced Circuits products. Advanced Circuits disclaims any representation that it will be able to make a product exchange without risk to or loss of programs or data. You must assist in diagnosing issues with your bare board and follow Advanced Circuits warranty processes.
Does Advanced Circuits bevel gold fingers?
Yes. We do bevel gold fingers unless otherwise specified. We do NOT bevel solder fingers unless specified by customer.
What is your standard bevel on a printed circuit board?
Our standard bevel is 30 degrees leaving a .030" edge ( /-.005") on a .062" board.
Optional bevels are as follows:
45 degrees leaving .025" edge ( /-.005")
20 degrees leaving .071" edge ( /-.005")
What is tab route?
A tab route is used to create arrays, often called "route and retain". The customer can place more than one board (same or different design) up in a given area in an array or panelized configuration. This is typically for the convenience of the customer or for assembly requirements that utilize pick and place machines to load components. The PCB's are then separated by breaking or cutting the tabs. Tabs are usually 0.100" in width and are placed with at least 1 on each side of the boards.
What does "scoring" mean?
This is a "v" groove cut into the top and bottom surface of an array of multiple PCB's or between a board and rails to be removed after assembly. The cut is usually 1/3 top, 1/3 bottom, leaving 1/3 uncut in the middle. This process is used when removing the tabs of a tab route is not a viable option, this does result in a less smooth finished board edge. The boards are typically set up side by side and end to end with the edges adjacent to each other. After assembly the boards are broken or snapped apart.
Can you handle Controlled Impedance requirements?
Yes. Call your salesperson for more info.
Can you process my dielectric requirements?
No problem. We will run this as a custom order. Be sure to send us your core and stackup details.
What is the difference between a prototype pcb (Standard Spec) and production pcb (Custom Spec)?
The difference between proto & production is not a quantity or turntime issue, but rather has to do with the range of specs covered. Click here for a complete list of these specifications.
What files do you need to manufacture my printed circuit board?
We require gerber files (274X or 274D with an aperture list), an excellon drill file, and a drill tool list (may be included in excellon drill file). We can use other formats such as ODB or AutoCAD dxf to create gerbers for you. Please send any non-gerber formats to firstname.lastname@example.org for review.
When do I pay a tooling NRE fee for my printed circuit board?
You will only pay a Tooling charge if you go directly to Production (Custom Spec) without having ordered a Proto (Standard Spec) as a first step. We do not charge Tooling for Protos (Standard Spec) and neither do we charge Tooling if the proto (Standard Spec) is reordered for Production (Standard Spec).
If I only have a minor change in my design, do you charge Tooling NRE?
When we make any change to your printed circuit board, we assign it completely new tooling. This helps prevent old artwork or cnc programming from being used. Even a minor change will require the same process as new files, so a tooling charge may apply. Please contact your salesperson for details.
What is Test NRE?
The Test NRE is a one-time "non recurring expense" for electrical test. This charge is optional but when paid, all circuit boards will be tested each and every time that part number and revision is ordered without additional charge.
What core thicknesses does Advanced Circuits use for multi-layer circuit boards?
.005", .008", .010", .014", .021", .028", .039", .059", .093" cores
What is the thickest printed circuit board you can process?
What is the thinnest printed circuit board you can process?
.020" if ordered with solder HAL plating finish. Thinner if other plating options are used. Contact your salesperson for details.
What is the largest pcb Advanced Circuits can fabricate?
37" x 120"
What do you need if I want my pcb panelized in array format?
We recommend you send us your complete array pre-panelized. This allows you to set up the array exactly the way you want it. If you need us to set up your array, please be aware that additional engineering time may be billed.
What file generating software would you recommend?
We would recomment our own exclusive FREE PCB Layout Software "PCB ARTIST". It's easy, very innovative and loaded with benefits. We will even give you your Gerber files. Download it now for Free, visit www.PCBArtist.com.
Can I order a different copper weight when I go to production pcb (Custom Spec) from prototype pcb (Standard Spec)?
Yes, you can. The unit price may change but we will waive any Tooling charge.
How can I determine the trace width I need for my design?
Some engineers have found the following web site helpful: click here.
Are your proto
No. Our prototypes (Standard Spec) use the same premier manufacturing processes as our production (Custom Spec) circuit boards.
Are you UL "Underwriters Laboratory" approved?
Yes, you can use the following web link to access our UL registration. Underwriters Laboratory
Are you MIL SPEC 55110 approved?
To what acceptability standards do you build?
IPC-A-6011/6012 latest revision with inspection based on IPC-A-600 latest revision: Class 2 Prototypes (Standard Spec) and Class 2 Production (Custom Spec).
What CAM software do you use?
We use Frontline's Genesis software for editing and viewing.
Can you build RF applications?
Yes. We stock several RF materials such as Rogers 4000, Teflon, Duroid, and Polymide. All of the pricing is subject to change at any time without notice. We reserve the right to refuse any order at any time.
For more questions and answers from the European Commission click here.
What is the thickest copper capability?
Up to 20 oz.