Eurocircuits Printed circuits blog

What keeps us busy at Eurocircuits, projects we are working at, new idea's, background information and a platform where you can participate, give your opinion and guide us to what is important for you as an electronics developer

Eurocircuits are long-term partners of the University of Kassel’s Herkules Racing Team and 2015 was no exception. We provided the PCBs for the team’s Formula Student challenge.

The Formula Student competition for construction and design was founded in 1981 and has transformed many a student into a good engineer. We are glad to be a part of that process.


The team’s current engine is based on a Suzuki GSXR 600 delivering 84PS and 59Nm torque. The car has a team designed gear box and a Titan based exhaust filtering system.

An FPGA based custom designed data logging system connects via a CAN-bus with the motor control unit and transmits live data by radio to a laptop for monitoring during the race.

The Herkules Racing Team 2015 took part in the Hockenheim race last summer and came in 14th the best result ever for Kassel University.

We congratulate them and wish next year’s team the same success as their predecessors.




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21 Nov 2015

Toby McBride, team member Durham University Electric Motorsport, writes:

3000km. Across the outback. Powered only by the sun. Arguably one of the greatest challenges in the world that any team can undertake. Durham University Electric Motorsport, otherwise known as DUEM, are one team ready to take on the challenge. We are a group of students from Durham University who design, build and race electric vehicles, entirely outside our degree courses.

We have just returned from Australia where we raced our solar powered car, DUSC 2015, across the country, all the way from Darwin to Adelaide. This would be tough even using conventional petrol or diesel engines, but what made it particularly challenging is that it was entirely undertaken using just solar power; nothing else.

DUEM was up against 40 or so other teams in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. The team had a thoroughly rewarding trip and despite encountering technical problems in the first week which resulted in the in-wheel motor rendered unusable, we pulled through and reached Adelaide. This was an incredible test of both the car & the team.

Eurocircuits are an important sponsor for DUEM and supported us with the latest technology and expertise, delivering high quality PCBs fast and on time. We are very excited by their future focused strategy and the new developments they have in the pipeline.

Steve Jones, UK Sales Manager for Eurocircuits, adds:

We are very proud to have supported DUEM in their Australian challenge. Check out their website, Facebook & Twitter and don’t forget to follow them! Here are just a selection of photos from their time in Australia.








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20 Nov 2015

By Juergen Pintaske - ExMark

At Peakcamp 2015, over 7000 Scouts and Guides had a wonderful week meeting and enjoying over 85 different activities. The IET wanted to add a soldering activity and asked a group of people to help with the design of the project and at the event. We decided to turn it into a practical soldering activity which would be presented as a whole at the end of the week.

Due to the very limited budget available, we had to find donors to support us – and succeeded. In the end there were 25 sponsors, who contributed either components - or money to buy parts. We have to thank all of them for their support, and also extend this to supporters at the event, who helped to make it all possible.

We were very happy when Eurocircuits agreed to Sponsor our worthwhile cause by donating all the PCB’s used to create this project, this was the first cornerstone of the project.

The second breakthrough was Texas Instruments who agreed to donate 1,000 microcontrollers.

MicroProcessor Engineering (MPE) specially adapted their Forth Lite system for this project.

The last issue was the box to hold it all together, rather than designing a box for the system which would be too expensive, we brainstormed for a more inventive solution, we found out that a TicTac Box would just be the right size for the project with board assembly and batteries fitting perfectly into a TicTac box –so a box full with TicTacs were supplied with the components to all scouts and guides that would make the project.

The Beating Heart – represented by the flashing LED in the MicroBox - source ExMark

The “Beating Heart” MicroBox - source ExMark

Over 300 scouts and guides built about 450 MicroBox systems a very impressive project to look at.

For the last day the scouts and guides “Beating Heart” boxes were set up on a large display consisting of approximately 250 MicroBoxes.

source ExMark Sorting the MicroBoxes for the large display

The “beating hearts” display - source ExMark

See the final display in the video -


IET TV Video and Interview - source Stephen Powley and


Source Eurocircuits

A successful event for all parties involved – and thanks to the IET, the sponsors, and here especially to Eurocircuits, to the people who helped at the event and the 300+ Scouts and Guides who came and built MicroBoxes and took them home to show to their friends or use them afterwards for Learning Programming.


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17 Nov 2015

Outline Editor.

Outline Editor is the second tool in the PCB Solver range. PCB Solver gives you the tools to fix common data issues before you place your order. You avoid delays to your delivery and can often reduce board costs.

Use the Outline Editor where the board outline (profile) data is missing, incomplete, incorrect or duplicated (two outlines shown). Where this happens you get a clear warning. In most cases you can fix the outline directly on screen, avoiding the disruption and delays involved if you have to go back to the CAD system. There’s a full description here


Outline editor



PCB Solver.

PCB Solver is the third component in the PCB Visualizer user interface. PCB Visualizer itself is the core of our pre-order data verification process. As soon as you upload your data into your Shopping basket, PCB Visualizer generates a detailed analysis of the PCB dataset and compares it to the specifications of the proposed order and of the chosen PCB service. PCB Configurator then provides a detailed report of the board status. PCB Checker pinpoints any DRC or DFM issues found in the data. PCB Solver provides the tools to fix them, either automatically or interactively.

The Outline Editor and the automatic repair of annular rings running in PCB Checker are the first two of a series of repair tools planned to fix the data issues which our customers have told us frustrate them the most.

PCB Visualizer’s pre-order data verification is a key part of our optimized PCB design workflow. By spending a few minutes checking the board data prior to ordering you avoid delivery delays of 24 hours or more while our engineers come back with questions (“exceptions”). In many cases you can also cut the board costs. That way you can order confident that you will get the right board, on the right day, at the right price.

PCB Solver has been made possible by a major change in PCB Visualizer’s core structure. This is now vector-based rather than image-based. It is structured around real objects (pads, tracks, drills …). This allows us to extend to users the benefits of procedures already field-proven in our front-end data-preparation process. It has the added benefit of smaller internal data-sets and so faster processing.

How to use the Outline Editor: go to technical description or watch our video


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10 Nov 2015

The only event exclusively designed for electronics design engineers

"Share our knowledge"

The Electronics Design Show in Coventry, 21st – 22nd October has established itself as one of the leading shows in the UK catering for the professional needs of electronics designers. This year it includes more than 110 exhibitors plus a Conference program and Workshop sessions and Eurocircuits will be there on stand L46.

Eurocircuits will be showing its newest tools for PCB visualization and DFM, prior to ordering and completely free of cost to the user as well as:

    • Live demonstrations of the full range of Eurocircuits PCB services
    • Live pricing
    • Exciting new services
    • Our bench-top reflow soldering equipment, eC-stencil-mate, eC-reflow mate, eC-test mate, eC-pre-heater and introducing eC-placer
    • Expert advice and tips on EAGLE CAD and reflow soldering


Registration is free and can be made quickly and easily here:

Show opening hours:

  • Wednesday 21 October: 10.00 – 17.00
  • Thursday 22 October: 10.00 – 15.00


Show location:

Jaguar Exhibition Hall 2

Ricoh Arena, Phoenix Way, Foleshill, Coventry CV6 6GE


All visitors to our stand will receive a €15 voucher to be used against their next purchase from Eurocircuits.

The eC-equipment

The eC-stencil-mate

The eC-placer

The eC-reflow-mate

The eC-preheater

The eC-test-mate

The eC-consumables

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08 Oct 2015

Figure 1

Internet headline 2 October 2015

The price of gold has risen by nearly 250% over the past few years. So accurate costing is essential both for our customers and ourselves.


We have made some changes in the way we calculate chemical nickel-gold (Che Ni/Au) prices. Previously we had 2 options:

  • Che Ni/Au selective: the nickel/gold surface finish was applied only to the copper exposed by the soldermask.
  • Che Ni/Au overall: this covered 2 situations: cases where the customer required nickel-gold over the whole board but under the soldermask; and cases where there was no soldermask on one or both sides.


Now we offer a choice of 3 options:

  1. Che Ni/Au selective
  2. Che Ni/Au sel. - large area
  3. Che Ni/Au before soldermask


Che Ni/Au selective and Che Ni/Au sel. - large area


For Che Ni/Au selective and Che Ni/Au sel. - large area the nickel/gold surface finish is applied only to the copper exposed by the soldermask. If the exposed copper covers less than 40% of the board surface choose Che Ni/Au selective; if it covers more, choose Che Ni/Au sel. - large area. The percentage of exposed (or "free") copper is calculated in real time and shown in the DFM section of PCB Checker.

Both Che Ni/Au selective and Che Ni/Au sel. - large area are pooling options.


How to use the new options when specifying Che Ni/Au surface finish?

  1. Select Che Ni/Au selective in the price calculator menu.
  2. To get the final PCB price, upload your data to allow PCB Visualizer to calculate the free copper area.
  3. Open PCB Visualizer in your Shopping basket.
  4. For most PCBs the free copper will be less than 40% of the board area, so Che Ni/Au selective will be correct. When you open the Shopping basket, there will be a green tick in the PCB Visualizer column (assuming that there are no other issues).
  5. If the free copper is more than 40% of the board area on the top or bottom layer (typically where there is no soldermask on top and/or bottom layers), there will be a red flag in the PCB Visualizer column. Click the item to open PCB Configurator/PCB Checker. A Remarks message will advise you to change to Che Ni/Au sel. - large area. The PCB price will rise slightly. Click the "PCB Checker" and "DFM information" tabs to see the exact values.
  6. If you have selected Che Ni/Au sel. - large area and the free copper percentage is less than 40% of the board area, a message will advise you to switch to Che Ni/Au selective.

    If you have selected Che Ni/Au sel. - large area when calculating the price and the free copper area is less than 40%, PCB Visualizer will show a green tick (as the job is producible). If you have selected Che Ni/Au sel. - large area in the pricing menu always click the item in the basket and check for the warning message.
  7. The new price for boards with Che Ni/Au surface finish and no soldermask on top or bottom layers is significantly lower than the present Che Ni/Au overall price.


Che Ni/Au before soldermask

This is now a separate option. As it is rarely specified and requires a special process route, it cannot be pooled. It is now a non-poolable option. In case you have chosen it by mistake you will receive a warning message.

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Posted on:
06 Oct 2015