Eurocuircuits - Blogs

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

 

One problem designers have always faced is the ability to program various microcontrollers especially when each runs and requires different software and interfaces to program them, meaning that you need to have various adaptors and software knowledge for each of them …..

Until now, a programming adapter was just an interface between the microcontroller and the matching flash- or debug software. The USBprog already contains these softwares which can be accessed via a network and a web service using a browser. A first time user will gain easy access to program or debug the microcontroller using any operating system and any computing device.

 

Buy it from the Eurocircuits online shop.

 

 

 

 

The USBprog 5.0 OpenOCD is a programming- and debug adapter that can be managed from a Windows, Mac or Linux PC without the need to install additional software. In the simplest case you can operate it via a web browser. If the programmer should be triggered by a batch- or make file, there is a simple command tool available.

 

 

-ARM JTAG / SWD debugger and programmer
-AVR ISP programmer for flashing standard processors
-Level converter (Adjustable 1.8V, 3.3V and 5.0V)
-Browser interface for easy operation
-Manual for integration into the Atmel AVR Studio 6
-Web service interface for a command line tool
-Connection Via USB network interface (RNDIS)
-Firmware archive to import a software easy in to production repeatedly

 

The USBprog 5.0 combines many programmers in a single device. Operated via a browser, there is no need for configuring the device. The USBprog 5.0 works with Windows 7 and 8, MacOS and Linux.

To start: plugin the device, setup a network connection and connect via browser http://10.0.0.1 Programming and debugging has never been so easy.

 

Further information you will find here: Embedded Projects Website

Posted under:
eC-solutions
Posted on:
14 Jul 2016
Hits:
276

The WoTS-badge is this years' exhibition gadget - register now!

"WoTS-badge", is the exhibition gadget for the industry branche Industrial Electronics of FHI for this years’ show. It is a pleasant gadget which is easily programmable through a simple freeware app. Watch how it works here.

The WoTS-badge is an idea and development of Salland Electronics and Eurocircuits. The WoTS-badge is a display of 85 LEDs which you can simply pin on your clothing. De WoTS-badge can display a large variety of texts and animations. The freeware app (Android, IOS and Windows) is a handy tool to program the WoTS-badge. On your smart phones’ screen, you can simply input texts or draw pictures. The WoTS-badge connects to your smart phone via the new Nordic nRF52832 Bluetooth 4.0 LE chip.

The PCB of the WoTS-badge is a 1.6mm thick, 4-layer board with the following specifics:

  • Material: Isola IS400, FR4 improved
  • RoHS compliant
  • Flammability: V-0CTI (Comparative Tracking Index):  class 3
  • Outer layer start Copper: 18 um
  • Inner layer start Copper: 35 um
  • Material Tg: 150 Celsius degree
  • Smallest track width: 0,2mm
  • Isolation distance: 0,15 mm
  • Internal Pad Isolation: 0,375 mm
  • OAR: 0,18 mm
  • Smallest final hole: 0,4 mm
  • Top solder mask: Black on White (PCB PIXture)
  • Bottom solder mask: White
  • Bottom legend: Black
  • Surface Finishing: ENIG

On top of the assembled PCB we mount an over lay PCB to dispers the LED light evenly so the text and images shown are perfectly readable. This over lay board is held in place by 4 press fit pins.

 

The PCB is graphically enhanced by using the Eurocircuits PCB PIXture technique. This option in STANDARD pool allows to integrate

images/photographs in the solder mask. More on this here.

WoTS 2016 – Eurocircuits again fully committed to the show !

 

Register now as Eurocircuits customer via this link and assure yourselves of your gadget and a free entry ticket for the show. Be quick to assure your gadget reservation! Only personal on site collection will be possible!

More information about the World of Electronics can be found here.

Posted under:
eC-events
Posted on:
30 Jun 2016
Hits:
315

The 23rd of May 2016 we celebrated the 25th anniversary of our company.

 
The journey started 25 years ago in a dark pub in the center of Mechelen, Belgium, where Luc and Dirk shared the dream to start their own company. The Belgian beer gave them the courage to do so.

In 1991 Luc visited Hungary with nothing more than this courage and was lucky to meet the right people at the right time with the right spirit. We want to thank all these people that contributed to the successful company we are today.

We do have something to celebrate. In 25 years we built a company that generates a yearly turnover of more than 20 million euro. More than 300 families in Europe and India depend on our operation for their daily income. More than 10.000 customers place orders with us every year, we target to process 100.000 orders this year. And all this in an industry in crisis, where the majority of the companies from 25 years ago do not exist anymore.

This proves the success of our strategy, the quality of our teams and the flexibility of our organisation.

We are ready to continue our journey and explore further opportunities in the future.

 
 

 

To remember this 25th anniversary milestone, we have cut our name in the stone of a CNC drilling machine that served us 25 years long, and was only recently taken out of production.

At the same time of celebrating our 25th aniversary we could officialy op our new building.

For some years we felt the need to increase the production surface in Hungary. Finally in 2013 the decision was made and  started the project. After planning, organizing the location and all the permissions, we contracted with Aktual Bau, who also built our existing building in 2004. The construction started in july, 2015 and was finished last month.

The building is a part of our 4M€ investment project 2015-2016. With it, we created extra space to expand and serve our customers with a broader pallet of services.

 

 
 
 

 

We had the pleasure to share these happy moments with our European staff who joined us in Eger Hungary from the 20th till the 22nd of May.

Some impressions are bundled in this short movie.

 

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Posted under:
Eurocircuits
Posted on:
07 Jun 2016
Hits:
7863

The difference between Production and Prototype quality and how to bridge the gap?

Historically electronic designs have a clear evolution. A design is made and created on breadboard to check functionality and then a board layout is created and put to production.

We have obviously made light year leaps since those days of single and 2 layer boards and now 4 and 6 layer boards are the norm with greater and greater density and smaller and smaller components being used to constantly stay competitive in this micro world.

Once the design is proven and goes to mass production then hundreds of thousands of these circuits can be produced at high speed and precise accuracy, which is perfect.

But… when you want to prove your concept and design before mass production, what then? This first stage of designing and manufacturing these concept prototypes, who will build your boards? Most production companies cannot offer cost effective solutions for producing 1 -10 prototypes. The work alone to break down and setup for a quantity of 1 or 1000 is the same and very labour intensive.

The solution is to build up your prototype in-house, in your lab where build up is cost effective and timely and if design changes should be required, they can be made “on the fly”.

 

This seems logical, but we still have the problem of the size of the components and the density of the board layout being prohibitive for manual assembly. In the past, accurate and controlled equipment has been reserved for EMS/OEM companies with expensive solder paste printers, costly paste stencils, automatic Pick and Place machines, chip shooters, reflow ovens, etc...  

So how do you manufacture your prototypes without the space or budget for this large production equipment and the skills to setup all these different machines? This is where a huge gap appears keeping the designer in the dark ages limiting construction to the basic tools like a soldering iron, magnifying glass and tweezers.

But there is hope for these engineering superheroes! Eurocircuits noticed that nobody considered the difficulties faced by engineers and specifically designed and developed equipment to allow prototype designers manufacture to high end specification of accuracy and quality of production equipment.

Desktop solder paste printer (eC-stencil-mate) offering a small machine footprint, a high accuracy and a simple set-up - no more need for expensive paste stencils:

Manual pick and place machine (eC-placer) providing high accuracy placement of small SMD and fine pitch components - no more eye strain, employing camera assisted placement.

 

Benchtop reflow oven (eC-reflow-mate) with precise temperature profile control and surface temperature monitoring - ensuring that components are no longer destroyed with thermal shock.

So to conclude, there is equipment available for engineers so even prototypes can look and perform like a professional production board.
 

eC-test-mate is a handheld test system for functional testing of assembled PCBs without the need for complex tooling. Simply integrate eC-test-mate footprints into your PCB-layout, write your test programs, place the eC-test-mate test head(s) on your board and run the tests. No connectors, no test jigs, just easy footprints. eC-test-mate is a cost-effective solution for testing small series of assembled PCBs.

 
This blog is also available in following languages
Posted under:
eC-solutions
Posted on:
06 Jun 2016
Hits:
3972

How can Eurocircuits offer a competitive prototype service?

The European engineers are a very inventive and enterprising group, this has led to a huge industry of innovation and prototypes.

Manufacturing of these prototypes for customers can be costly and labour intensive and quoting is inhibitive because of the setup and material costs. Setup of a production line for 1 board or 10,000 boards costs the same, so where can cost saving be made without compromising on quality?

PCB’s

Your PCB supplier offers a great deal on large batch quantities of boards, this is because it is easy then to dilute the tooling charges across 1,000’s of PCBs but cannot offer a good price for a small quantity because the tooling charges are a constant.

The answer is order pooling, sharing the cost of tooling with multiple customers where 1 board costs significantly less than just the tooling charges from a conventional PCB fabricator. Eurocircuits have created a system where we process over 400 orders per day, so sharing the production panel space is never a problem.

Stencils

Stencils are a large and unavoidable cost for manufacturing PCB’s, this is because stencils for large industrial stencil printers are licenced to manufacture and the size is a constant to fit the machine frames, with a typical cost of €200 to €300, again this makes Prototypes impractical, but again the solution is a system whereby the stencil is based on the size of the individual board and not a fixed constant. Eurocircuits have developed a registration system – eC-registration – for perfect board and stencil alignment and utilise the same principles of Pooling to offer stencil from as little as €35.

Board and stencil registration

How to setup these stencils to the PCB is now a matter of minutes without any expertise needed, the answer is to use the eC-registration together with the Eurocircuits desktop stencil printer (eC-stencil-mate) offering small machine footprint, high accuracy and simple set-up - no more expensive paste stencils.

Note

Read our BLOG on inhouse PCB assembly

This blog is also available in following languages
Posted under:
eC-services
Posted on:
03 Jun 2016
Hits:
5123

The benefits of the Gerber X2 format

Perfectly understanding customer data and not losing any PCB design information in data transfer, are key issues to seemlessly produce and deliver quick turn around PCB prototypes.

In our BLOG section we already explained the history of the Gerber Format. We have written a white paper on which actions we need to perform once we have received your data to check them and make them production ready. And we have informed you that UCAMCO is no longer supporting the old Gerber RS-274D format.

Gerber X2 is todays' standard. Why should you use it?

X2 adds intelligence to the Gerber format by its use of attributes. When PCB Vislualizer processes your new job, attributes allow the software to put the layers directly in the correct position in the stack-up. Other attributes identify the via pads, the SMD pads and so on. This avoids manual interaction and offers extra info for DRC and DFM checks. UCAMCO's Gerber X2 intro movie offers a sneak preview in the CAM-engineers environment where he uses a UCAM system reading in X2 and experiencing its benefits.

CAD systems - KiCAD, Pulsonix, Easy-PC, DipTrace and Altium - can all generate Gerber X2 files. UCAMCO cooperated with the CAD and other software vendors to validate their X2 output. We like the efficiency of X2, please use it as It will improve data transfer from you to us in a safe and practical way. 

All about the Gerber format on the UCAMCO website

 

Posted under:
PCB data
Posted on:
01 Jun 2016
Hits:
3176