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A Beginner’s Guide to Ordering Custom PCB

Certain electronic projects need specific configurations. If you are using a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) for such projects, there is a likelihood that you would need a customized version. Find out in this article, some of the basic things you need to know about ordering custom PCBs.

What is a Custom PCB?

As the name suggests, it is a “customized version/variant” of a Printed Circuit Board (PCB). However, a lot more goes into the development, than just mere configurations.

Here are a few quick points about what a custom PCB offers:

  • Multiple Electronic Component Support: the customized version of circuit boards supports the integration of several electronic components. The integrations range from strips of conductive materials (such as copper), as well as smaller electronic components.
  • Maximum Optimizations: the optimizations and or configurations are extensive. For example, you could use the customized version of circuit boards for integrating several electrical components and other circuits.

Using a customized version of PCBs is a nice way to save space, integrate many components as possible and balance the complexities of the electronic components with the required functions.

Pros of Ordering Custom PCB Boards

Rogers RO4835T PCB

The benefits of ordering custom circuit boards range from having an opportunity to make the boards into whatever needs or uses you may have.

These are some of the additional advantages:

a.    The Circuitry is Condensed

One benefit is that the customized boards have a condensed circuitry. This is due to the space-saving or compact design that allows for many electronic components to be fitted into the smallest of spaces.

b.    Custom PCBs Offer More Technical Options

You and the custom PCB design company are in charge of the entire process and are better-positioned to improve on the board’s technicalities.

The following are some of the technical benefits:

  • You can choose between multiple design technologies, such as Surface-Mount Technology (SMT) and Through-Hole Technology (THT). More often, the THT process is prioritized for making a custom circuit board, due to the increased parasitic inductance.
  • The technicality also allows for the maximization of even the smallest of real estate/space on the board.
  • You can take advantage of the custom PCB software to manage the circuit boards’ parasitic inductances/properties.

c.    Longer Serviceable Life

Circuit boards reduce the overall manufacturing costs and can adapt to different sizes. Further customizations can also increase the usability; hence, the reason why custom PCBs have a longer serviceable life.

When compared to the mass-produced boards; they offer a mix of stronger circuitries and careful assembly. Hence, the custom board is less likely to be plagued by poor soldering and loose-hanging wires.

d.    Custom PCBs are Affordable

The affordability of custom circuit boards can be seen in the automated process. With less human and manual inputs, more money is saved from using manpower.

Other cost-saving mechanisms are:

  • Less resources are required, since the board’s size are subject to further optimization or being made compact.
  • The automated process comes with other benefits, such as increase quality, repeatability and accuracy.

e.    Designing Custom PCBs is a Pathway to Product Originality

Certain electronic products are deemed to be of a higher quality than the others are. This assertion is for a couple of reasons, one of which is the originality of the PCB design.

To ensure the consistency of the designs and related processes, the PCBs can be made to have a similar feature. All you need to do is inform the PCB designer of what you want to achieve and provide the right prototypes. The designer would then go on to replicate the same designs across the different circuit boards.

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Your circuit boards and the electronic products made from the same will have similar operations.
  • Your electronic products will be different from those of your competitors, in the sense that the capacities and performances will be different from what theirs has to offer.

f.     Custom PCBs are Highly-Efficient

Looking for one of the best boards to use for an electronic product design? Go for the customized PCBs. Their efficiency is mainly because of the design from the “ground-up” and the optimization for specific applications.

Other benefits of placing an order for custom PCBs include:

  • An overall functionality of the board can be confirmed via the use of the integrated Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights.
  • There may be no need for decals, as direct printing serves that purpose.

Disadvantages of Ordering Custom PCBs


Sometimes, optimizing a Printed Circuit Board (PCB), in an attempt to make “it yours” may not be favourable.

It is because of these few reasons:

g.    Changing PCB Design Trends

You will agree that the processes of manufacturing circuit boards have continually changed. In the coming years, additional changes, trends and technological advancements would be prevalent.

Boards that have been customized as per the current technology may not be relevant in some years to come. The few that could be may have become so costly to maintain and to fix any damages.

h.    Troubleshooting Difficulties

That a PCB has been customized doesn’t rule out the need to fix any issues that come up. Thus, troubleshooting is important – but can be hampered due to the enclosures used to protect the board from the working environment.

Customized circuit boards also have a host of other problems, such as a susceptible damage from higher amperages and a requirement for initial tooling.

How to Order a PCB for Custom Production

We will help you come up with one of the best-designed custom circuit boards. However, it is imperative for you to have some important points in mind before placing you order.

Decide on the Type of Custom PCBs

The option is usually between the single and multilayered boards. The former is mostly favoured due to the duplication of the boards.

Parts’ Sourcing

The PCBs need to have the components sourced or gotten somehow. You either provide them or have the PCB manufacturing company do that.

The common component sourcing options include:

  • Turnkey: this entails allowing the PCB manufacturer to handle the entire component sourcing.
  • Combo: for this, both you and the PCB manufacturer will provide some parts individually for the custom PCB production.
  • Kitted: this exclusively allows the PCB customer/consumer (you) to provide the components needed for the design.

Prototype Potentials

What becomes of your custom PCB when the manufacturer is unable to make more prototypes? This is why you need to be sure the company can make as many units of the board as you want as time goes on.

You should also find out what the manufacturer’s Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) is. Ideally, you want to aim for smaller quantities for prototypes, until you are sure the boards are in good condition for massive productions.

Number of PCB Components Required

TU 768 PCB
TU 768 PCB

Find out the estimated number of parts (components) required for the board’s customization. These parts are further classified into the Through-Hole (THT) components and the Surface-Mount (SMT) parts.

RoHS Compliance

The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) is required to validate the safety of using your electronic circuit boards in different countries.

The benefits of designing an RoHS-compliant custom PCB include:

  • Making the boards suitable for sales and use in other countries.
  • The compliance also provides a sort of legal coverage for the boards, in the event that a consumer gets injured when using the boards.

Testing Options

A wide range of tests are performed on the custom PCBs. Examples are:

  • X-Ray Test: the X-Ray inspection/test is used for the custom PCB designs that have their leads hidden underneath the components.
  • Functional Test: this is a testing method used to confirm the “functionality” of the circuit board. The following are validated in the process: the absence of open or short circuiting, that the board has excellent solder connections and that the right components are used and are installed in the right places.

Customizations vs. Changes

The customization of a PCB shouldn’t close up all channels of making relevant changes to the board. Can the board be open to further optimizations and or changes? Can further integrations be made, especially when new technologies are released?

The need for changes should be one of the factors to consider. Here are the major considerations:

  • Save some space inside the PCB to allow for the new components to be added.
  • The current design shouldn’t be “stiff,” but done in a way that much-needed changes can be made with ease.

The goal is to customize the PCB with a future-proof approach, which allows for the board’s design to be changed or adapted accordingly in the future.

Conclusion: How to Design and Order Custom PCB

To design your custom circuit board, use a dedicated software. Once the design is ready, go to the manufacturer’s website and upload it. You will get a quotation based on the submission and on the validation of the process, the customization process will commence.

For the necessary help, contact a professional custom PCB manufacturer. We are committed to helping you source the components, make the boards future-proof and implement the design requirements to the latter.




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