A PCB prototype is a blueprint that contains the essential components of a printed circular board, such as the thickness of the PCB, number of layers, and the width and height dimensions. The other aspects of a PCB like heat sinks, number of copper layers, circuitry, etc. are not factored in the prototype design because they do not represent the actual prototype.
Investing in PCB prototypes does not have to be an expensive affair. There are cheap and high quality prototypes that can be used and still give amazing results. This article will highlight the necessary details you need to look out for when purchasing a cheap PCB prototype that will be equally effective.
This is the most crucial factor to consider when purchasing a PCB prototype. Many companies manufacture printed circular boards, but quality and pricing differ a lot. It is essential to compare different suppliers before choosing the best one.
Take time to go through the reviews on the company's website to ascertain whether their products are worth your money. The reviews from previous clients will help you decide on the best PCB prototype, which is within your budget.
When it comes to PCB prototypes, it is important to note that cheap does not always mean poor quality and expensive does not always mean good quality. That said, you should be very keen on the quality of the PCB prototype you are about to purchase because it will affect the functioning of the electronic device you intend to use the printed circular board for.
Referrals from other business associates in the same industry will give you a rough idea of the different suppliers available and their products. This knowledge, coupled with the reviews from the website, will help you make an informed decision and prevent you from buying a poor quality PCB prototype that will eventually compromise your product.
3. Lead Time & Delivery
The time factor is very crucial in any manufacturing business. When buying a PCB prototype, settle for a company that has a proven track record of delivering their products on time. Otherwise, you might end up stranded as you wait for the printed circular board prototypes to be delivered.
The lead time should also be factored in for the next purchase. Go for a company that will ensure your prototypes are delivered right on time, and you are not inconvenienced in any way.
4. Reliability & Function
Strive to always maintain a balance between the turnaround time and the cost of the prototype. Most of the time, quick turnaround time in conjunction with low cost always results in some problems. The functioning and reliability of the PCB prototype will eventually get compromised, which is not a good thing.
5. Instant Quote Service
Many manufacturing companies inform their clients about the total PCB prototype cost. This helps to simplify the purchasing process because there is no back and forth dialogue on the price unless there is room for negotiating.
As a client, it assists you to quickly identify the printed circular board prototypes that are within your budget. Therefore, always choose the manufacturers or suppliers who provide instant quotations on their websites.
You should also note the minimum order quantity. Some companies have a specific limit on the minimum amount of prototypes you can purchase. Make sure you enquire first from their customer service team before making the order.
As much as PCB prototypes are not the real thing, they should be equally durable because they represent the actual product. They still cost money to purchase, even if they are cheap. The prototypes should be durable and long-lasting to give you a rough idea of how the product performs. The cost of manufacturing electronics is high, and the last thing you want is to encounter disappointments after the final product due to a defective printed circular board prototype.
Always choose a company that has a proven track record of manufacturing cheap and functional PCB prototypes. ALLPCB, Euro Circuits, Sunstone, EpecTec, and 4PCB are some of the renowned companies which are famous for producing functional PCB prototypes.
This point should be among the main factors to consider when purchasing a PCB prototype. The prototype should be in good condition, and it should be able to perform almost the same function as the actual prototype.
Buying a cheap PCB prototype does not mean that its efficiency should be compromised. From the reviews on the company's website, you should be able to ascertain whether the product is worth buying or not.
8. Purpose of the PCB Prototype
There are certain advanced features that a prototype is not able to handle, which is why you should know the reason for purchasing the prototype in the first place. If you are making a simple electronic, then most prototypes should work. However, for devices that required more advanced technology, buying a PCB prototype might not be the best idea.
Therefore, make an effort to find out if the prototype you intend to purchase will be suitable for the device you are preparing to avoid losses that could have been easily avoided.
9. The PCB prototype should be error-free.
There should not be any defects on the prototype because this will interfere with the quality of the product you are making. Once the manufacturing company has delivered the prototypes, take time to inspect them, and even test them. There should not be any missing prints or small drill holes on its surface.
Making the correct printed circular board is the most critical part of any electronic product. Some manufacturing companies have experienced massive losses due to a faulty PCB, which exhibited poor performance or no performance at all after full production. PCB prototypes eliminate these kinds of problems, and that is why it is crucial to invest in them.
However, you should also take the necessary measures to ensure you purchase a good quality product, especially if you are targeting the cheaper ones. The good thing is many companies are toeing the line and producing quality products at an affordable price; therefore, it should not be a difficult task to identify a reliable manufacturer or supplier.