Active PCB

 FAQ

You are valued as a customer and we know how important it is for your project to arrive on time and on budget. One of our pre-fabrication procedures incorporates design rule checks and a thorough CAD review of all PCB layer data we receive.

Every effort to minimize and correct any obvious errors is made. Some CAD software packages are prone to error when generating Gerber data, so we review your data for obvious errors. With your guidance, our experienced staff can re-touch your data to produce the result you expect. If our check of your data produces any concerns, a “snapshot” of the area will be supplied and your approval requested before we proceed. This level of commitment to getting it right and on time is found at every stage of production process.

On time delivery is a Shared Responsibility. The design team and the fabrication facility must have a working dialog that is clearly understood in both camps. The clock ticks precious minutes away as our production cutoff approaches. Our team can encounter technical issues that stop the progress of a design. When this occurs it is imperative to make direct contact with one of your engineering team members. Relaying observations or recommendations through a third party like a purchasing agent can severely impact the urgency of the situation and lead to the unexpected result of missing the process run that day.
 

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What does Active PCB do?
ASA main focus for the past twenty-five years has been the production of small to large quantity prototype and production circuit boards. We also have alliances with UL/ISO certified, Pacific Rim based manufacturers to service all of your printed circuit board manufacturing requirements including RoHS and Lead Free.

Q. I am new to PCB prototyping. Can Active PCB help?
We encourage you to visit our website for helpful hints and checklists. Check out the information provided under information resources – Data File Formats and Uses, CAD Programs and Sample Data Files, etc. If you still have questions, please contact our Staff  for assistance.

Q. Can you tell me more about your quoting process.
To receive a quote and delivery schedule please send us your data and requirements to sales
@activepcb.com or contact one of our sales representatives in your area.
All orders should be accompanied with payment information in the form of  PO's on approved Net 30 accounts..

Q. How can Active PCB offer such low prices?

We continue to develop our own processes, which enables us to format and panelize with an exceptionally high degree of accuracy.
When we receive the correct data files and your PO, your order is sped through our production system. We track your order as it passes each stage of its production.  A few years ago we put a quality policy in place to improve our quality and reward our employees.  Since the very first day, we  have seen improvements that have continued for years.
ASA does not compromise on the laminate quality. We use Brand name laminate products which are some of the finest materials available.

Q. What if I am not satisfied with the boards I receive?
Our goal is your complete satisfaction. Assist us by making sure the data you provide is complete and contains no discrepancies with your fabrication information.

Q. What are the most common delays that can be avoided?
Getting your order to you on time is a shared responsibility. Due to automation of our systems, the information we receive from you on the initial transmission is critical. Missing data or data files can cause your order to be delayed. When operator intervention is required we need to contact you. It is very important that you provide us with a telephone number where you can be reached. We will be unable to proceed without your guidance, and your order may be delayed.

We will manufacture your order to the specifications of the service type you have requested. You can do your part by avoiding some common pitfalls:

  • Make sure all files in your data set are complete and from the same design version
  • Make sure none of the files you send are corrupt or empty
  • Put all fabrication notes on a mechanical layer or in a read.me file.
  • Please don't scatter them in multiple documents
  • Please ensure you include a minimum of the following information:
  • Who ordered the board
  • where are we shipping the boards
  • service requirements (prototype, multi-layer, etc.)
  • material type and substrate thickness
  • board dimensions
  • layer designations

Q. Do you accept multiple parts or arrays?
We do accept multi-parts or arrays as long as they share the same specs.  Example Thickness, material type, layer count, impedance requirements, etc…

Q. What is the recommended thickness of line for the PCB outline for routing?
Please use a 0.010" line to indicate the extents and/or inside cuts of the board.

Q. Is routing done along the center of the outline?
Yes, the edge of the router bit will travel down the center of your outline.

Q. What is the routing tool diameter?
Our standard router is a 0.094" bit, we also stock .050", .070", and .125" bits.

Q. How close can the router get to the features of the board?
Please ensure there is a minimum 0.015" gutter between the router path and the closest pad, trace or plane area.

Q. Can you cut complex shapes or inside cutouts?
Yes, please indicate on your mechanical layer. The complexity of your needs will determine if there are any additional fees involved.

 

FINISHED HOLE SIZE QUESTIONS

Q. What are finished hole sizes?
A finished hole size is the opening left after all metals have been deposited into the hole barrel. Some CAD programs output drill files listing the finished sizes of the holes while others produce drill files that indicate the tool sizes used to drill the required holes. The tool sizes will generally be 0.003" to 0.005" larger than the finished diameter.

Q. What are the acceptable finished hole sizes?
Any finished hole size between 0.010” and 0.247” is acceptable when drilled.  Laser drills can be done as small as 0.004”. Please consult our drill table or actual sizes available.  We can mechanically drill as small as 0.008"

Q. What if I have holes larger than 0.247"?
We offer an inner-routing service for any hole sizes larger than 0.247". Routing is performed using bit sizes of 0.0315, 0.050", 0.0709", 0.0945" or 0.125".

Q. What should be shown in the drill file: tool diameter or finished hole diameter?
We can accept either finished hole or tool diameters, but please tell us which you are using.


MASKING QUESTIONS

Q. Can I have a different color component legend?
Yes, other colors are available.  Our in house services use white epoxy ink.

Q. What is the minimum thickness of line for legend text?
0.006” is the minimum recommended trace for legend text.

Q. What is the minimum height for letters on legend?
0.030” is the minimum recommended height.

 

LEAD FREE QUESTIONS

Active PCB has been investigating lead-free alternatives for several years and will continue to monitor trends in this area. From time-to-time we have offered lead-free finishes to customers for their evaluation. At this time, the vast majority of our customers still prefer the traditional solder finish and the core of our production will continue to be finished with tin/lead until the public reaches a comfort level with a lead-free finish or North American legislation requires a change.
All of our prototype circuit boards are currently manufactured with traditional tin/lead solder. Lead-free alternatives are available, but not on our Basic prototype or Plus services. If you require a lead-free finish, please let us know when you transmit your data and we will provide possible alternative finishes and a quote for you.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION
 

Q. What are your business hours?
Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time..  Our Sales staff can always be reached via email.

Q. What files do I need to manufacture my PCB order?
We need Gerber files, drill files, ordering information, and any additional fabrication information.  Please make sure there are no discrepancies in the information you provide.

Q. How do I provide my data to Active PCB?
You can email or let us setup a FTP site to get your files to us.

Q. Can I cancel my order?
Depending on where your order is staged, it may be possible to cancel your order. Some costs could be incurred. Once the order is drilled, it is too late to cancel. You can request this order to be held and shipped with a future order. Contact us as soon as possible if you need to cancel.

Q. What about payment for my order?
Accepted methods of payment purchase order numbers for approved NET 30 accounts.

Q. How do you ship the boards?
Active PCB ships FedEx priority overnight with orders inside Canada for 3 week or less delivery.  Longer or larger orders might have different transportation methods. FedEx is our exclusive carrier in Canada.  Active PCB ships UPS priority overnight with orders inside the United States of America for 3 week or less delivery.  Longer or larger orders might have different transportation methods.

The reliability of the service received from FedEx and UPS is such that during the twenty years ASA has been manufacturing circuit boards, we have experienced extremely few shipment delays. With new technology, the shipping process has been streamlined to such an extent that US Customs is aware of each and every one of our shipments prior to the goods even leaving the airport in Canada! All the necessary paperwork is electronically transmitted to the FedEx hub in Memphis to ensure that packages pass seamlessly through the FedEx shipping system. On the few occasions where delays have occurred, they have been largely due to weather or mechanical failures with FedEx.

Q. Does ASA do business with PCB buyers and designers outside North America?
Apart from customers in North America, we serve many customers globally including Asia, Mexico, UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Spain. All orders are shipped via FedEx International priority.

Q. How do you calculate turnaround time?
All orders are looked at on an individual basis, calculating the time to produce from the point where the data and price is verified to the product being delivered to you. Our Standard lead time is 3 weeks for small to medium runs.

Q. I have more questions. Where can I reach you?
Please see our contact page to contact one of our staff that is geared to your needs.

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