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Topics - sghughes42

General discussion / Forum messages
I don't know if this is a known 'feature', but when I log in to the forum, the 'My Messages' icon at the top shows 1 message. I click on this and the messages drop-down shows 'Inbox [1]'. However when I click on this it says 'no messages'.

Any ideas?
DirtyPCBs support / Any disruption?
What sort of disruption are the current challenges in China causing with PCB production and shipping? Are orders being processed at all and what sort of delays might we experience? Also, is shipping impacted at all - I know many passenger flights are being cancelled, is freight getting through?

I hope all is well with the DPCB team!
DirtyPCBs support / Practical limits?
I'm hoping to start a discussion to find out what others have used in terms of design limits and what success they have had with the resulting boards.

For example, the minimum track / gap is quoted as 6 mil. I tend to be conservative here and use 10 mil unless I have a really tight layout where I have gone down to 8 mil. Does anyone regularly use 6 mil and if so, what sort of success rate have you had? FWIW, I've had no issues at all with 8 mil.

However, for vias I have had some issues. They quote 12 mil as the smallest finished size and 2 mil as the drill position tolerance. I've used vias which I defined as 28 outer, 14 mil hole where some boards are scrap due to issues with these vias. I even had one where I used 32/16 and a few vias were faulty. These were 0.8mm thick boards. I would say that only a small percentage of boards were faulty this way

Conversely, I've had 20/12 vias which worked fine so maybe it's a board house issue.

Anyone else care to share their experiences? It'd be good to get a feel for what the service can actually deliver reliably so we can either push closer to the limits or back off a bit to ensure we get working PCBs.
DirtyPCBs support / Silk now digitally printed?
Just got my latest batch of boards from DPCB and noticed the silk screens appear to be printed on a dot-matrix. Looks good in general, however very small text doesn't render too well. That's more something for designers to be aware of rather than a criticism of the service though - I know I push component IDs a bit small at times.
DirtyPCBs support / New Year closures
Guys, is there any information available from the factory and shipping agent to indicate when we need to place orders by to avoid being affected by the Lunar New Year holiday?

DirtyPCBs support / Drill sizes used
The latest batch of boards I had from Dirty PCBs (order 2032821) have come with some really weird drilling. All holes appear to have been drilled the largest they could possibly be while keeping the minimum viable annular ring. Two oval pads have even had slots milled rather than the single, small hole specified in the PCB.

To be honest, this may well make the boards unusable as some holes are a certain size to hold connectors etc in place and I'm not sure there is enough exposed copper left to get a good solder joint to on others.

Is there any reason why the specified drill sizes would be ignored and how can I stop this happening in future?
DirtyPCBs support / Couple of shipping queries
A recent order of ours was shipped on Monday via DHL China but we still haven't had a tracking number. Is this normal?

Also, how is shipping weight calculated on here? A recent order which showed as 2.4kg when ordering came in at under 1kg when shipped. I know someone was having problems ordering PCBs as the weight was coming up over 10kg but if the weight calculation is this far out that might be part of their problem.
DirtyPCBs support / Size of nibs used to create panels
I've put quite a few panels through DirtyPCBs and had no issues until the last one where the board house rejected it as they said the nibs were too small. I increased the size to about double what I normally use and they accepted them, but when I got the boards back they have obviously tinkered with the routing and increased some of the nibs massively, to the point where they are much too big to cut.

Two questions, first, has anyone else used nibs and what size have you used with success. And second, I've seen others use mouse-bites. How are these created? I use DesignSpark and I can see no way to place a hole without an associated pad and also DirtyPCBs doesn't seem to be able to do non-plated holes (presumably as this is an extra stage in the PCB production process and so costs more).
DirtyPCBs support / Guest checkout option?
I'm trying to place an order but it seems the Paypal guest checkout option has disappeared. I'm unable to create an account for various reasons - is there any way around this?
DirtyPCBs support / Add to cart problem
I'm trying to put a PCB in the cart on the dev site but I'm hitting an issue where I get told the system is 'Unable to determine type'.

I've never seen this before and have tried to re-add gerbers previously ordered and get the same issue. Any suggestions? The file is a zip of gerber files generated by DesignSpark if that makes any difference.
DirtyPCBs support / Plated slots?
Are plated slots supported in DirtyPCBs?

I want to use a coin cell retainer such as: ... ct-18-3785

These have a thin, wide 'pin' - 1.6mm x 0.3mm. While it will work to just put a big enough round hole, this would be harder to solder and uses up a lot more board area.

With a previous PCB house I created a 'plated slots' layer which just included the outline of any slots to be plated, similar to how unplated slots work with DirtyPCBs. They did this milling before plating rather than after.

Is such a thing possible here, or as with unplated holes is it a step they have been able to omit from the PCB production process to get the costs down a little?

BTW, Ian, you've commented elsewhere that DirtyPCBs actually makes a small loss. I, personally, would be more than happy to pay a little extra, especially where I'm able to panelise several boards on to one as the service is much cheaper than available anywhere else and I would really love to see it continue. I tend to do lots of PCB variants but in fairly low volumes so what you offer is ideal.