When you create a circuit design, you want to make sure that it is truly functional before you have it manufactured. Ideally, it will be perfect before you have a prototype made. Of course, this requires a lot of preparation and design work on your part. A lot of hours can go into the creation of a circuit board, and even when you believe that it is perfect, there can be errors in the Gerber files.
Find the Problems Early
If there are errors in these files – even just a single error – it can cause problems with your production schedule. If you are using a no-touch manufacturer that doesn’t even look at what they are creating, it could cause you to have thousands of useless PCBs delivered to you. You have to know whether your PCB is ready to take to production or not.
If there are errors, you have to take time to find out what is wrong, and you need to fix it. This would be a time-consuming process if it weren’t for the availability of a Gerber file viewer. This can help you find both common and uncommon Gerber file errors, so you don’t end up sending a bad design to be manufactured.
Types of Gerber File Errors
There are many types of Gerber file errors that could cause issues with your PCB. One of the most common is missing drill files. These files are used to determine the location and the size of the holes that need to be drilled. Since many PCBs require that holes are drilled into them, this is important information that will need to be there for the manufacturer.
Sometimes, the files might have missing outlines, or they might have double outlines. There could be issues with a mismatched PCB size, the drill hole placement might cut into the tracing, or the plated and non-plated holes might not be defined clearly. The layer labeling might not be clear, and having naming protocols that are not effective can lead to confusion. It can also cause problems for you when you are trying to check the files and do the troubleshooting for the circuit. It is important that you make sure the labeling system is clear and understandable.
Something else that you will want to keep in mind is that you should have just a single aperture list. There might be a temptation to have different lists, but this can cause confusion with the manufacturer. They might not see the list, or you might have inadvertently put conflicting information on two different lists. Having just a single aperture list is always a good idea.
Common Errors Easily Caught
Even though these mistakes might seem simple, they happen relatively frequently. When they occur, it means that it will take time, energy, and money to find the mistakes and correct the errors. If the PCBs were to go into production at this point, it could mean a massive waste of money on your part. You do not want to go through any of these issues, and you certainly don’t want to make mistakes with your Gerber files.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help relieve these types of issues and catch problems early. This will ensure that you can fix those problems before they affect the actual production.
How a Gerber File Viewer Can Help
One of the best things to do is to use a Gerber file viewer, which will allow you to more quickly and easily find problems with your files. There are Gerber file viewers online that you can use, and one of the best is offered through Advanced Circuits. With our PCB file viewer, FreeDFM, you will be able to add your files to the system and find the potential problems that exist. Unlike some of the other Gerber file viewers, you will find that this software even has the ability to correct certain issues automatically.
The software is easy to use. You will have to export files from the program you are using and then load them online to the site. Best of all, the software from Advanced Circuits is free to use. All you need to do is supply an email address where the results will be sent after the file is checked. You will receive a report that will let you know about any issues that were found with the PCB design, and it can provide details about those problems. It will also let you know what problems were fixed by the software.
If you have been designing your circuits using these files, as many do, it is imperative that you use a Gerber file viewer. It can help you to eliminate headaches down the road that would cause production delays and increased costs.
Other Ways Advanced Circuits Can Help
In addition to the free Gerber file viewer, Advanced Circuits offers free software called PCB Artist. This software provides users with a range of features and benefits, including more than half a million parts and the ability to design PCBs that are up to 28 layers. The software can be downloaded right through the site. It can make the process of designing and getting the circuits ready to prototype and manufacture faster. While the system is easy to use, there are also video tutorials, a user’s guide, and tips and tools on the site that can help you to get started. Through the use of the software, you’ll reduce the risk of errors in your PCB designs.
In addition, Advanced Circuits provides high-quality customer service for clients. There is 24-hour tech support, so you can always get in touch with a CAM engineer if needed. You will be able to order only as many circuit boards as you need, since we don’t require a minimum order. We can provide you with fast turnaround times, fast shipping, and customer service that helps to ensure that you are getting the boards that you need. Get in touch with Advanced Circuits for a quote, and learn more about how we can help with your manufacturing needs.