What is a Solder Joint?

Most of the solder the electronic industry uses today is of the lead-free variety, as use of lead has been recognized as a health hazard. Lead-free solder melts at a higher temperature, and has [...]

Why You Need an HDI PCB?

As long as electronic products were large, conventional printed circuit boards (PCBs), even complex PCBs, sufficed. However, with the advent of modern smartphones, wearables, and the Internet of [...]

PCB Trends 2016

The first concept for a printed circuit board (PCB) was developed in the 1930s. The concept became commercially viable by the 1950s, and since then, PCBs have moved into just about every phase of [...]

Electronics Design Tips

CAD programs provide a very effective tool for designing PCBs. Even with an effective program. A wide range of ideas/tips help you design your board efficiently. Use Block Diagrams A block [...]

All about SMT Stencils

What are Stencils? Surface-mount technology (SMT) is a method of producing PCBs where the components are mounted or placed directly onto the surface of the board. The stencil is designed to allow [...]

Parts Shortage

While assembling SMT PCBs for a customer, the line unexpectedly ran out of 01005 package size resistors during the production run. This was due to an error on the customer’s part; they simply did [...]

Mirror Mirror

A mirror can bring bad luck, it is said. In this PCB assembly challenge, it certainly did when a mirrored pad layout for a transformer made it impossible to mount the component to its intended [...]

Wicked Wicking

  This PCB assembly challenge involved attaching a solar panel to one side of a pad using solder paste with a pass through an SMT reflow soldering oven. The attachment or bond itself wasn’t [...]

Too Close for Comfort

This is a little bit like the old college prank of trying to see how many kids can squeeze into a telephone booth. Pretty soon everyone’s too close for comfort! In this PCB assembly challenge, [...]


If the shoe doesn’t fit, can you still wear it? You might have to if they are the only shoes available. In this case, the SMD packages for this PCB assembly application are actually wider than [...]

A Sticky Situation

The surface tension of liquidus solder exerts a considerable pulling force on a component during reflow. This is why, once upon a time, small components could be relied on to self-align on SMT [...]

Coming Up Short

In another PCB assembly challenge, the customer’s BoM called for a through-hole header part to be installed on a circuit board, a mixed technology (SMT and PTH) assembly. A problem became [...]

Down the Drain

1. Problem: Insufficient solder, i.e., ‘Starved’ solder joint on one of the SMD pads. In the first close-up photo of a PCB assembly, It seems as though solder has flowed ‘down the drain’ and away [...]