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'[EE] PCB House'
2009\01\20@215426 by Tony Vandiver

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Hi,

   Anyone know of a good pcb house that's not China based (forgot about
the Chinese New Year again) that will do reasonably priced quick turn
full-up boards preferably in the U.S.?  I've already gotten quotes from
these :

PCBExpress
PCBPro
AdvancedCircuits
eFabPCB
SanFranciscoCircuits
APCircuits

any other favorites out there that I can do an online quote comparison with?

Thanks,

Tony

2009\01\20@220221 by solarwind

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On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 9:53 PM, Tony Vandiver
<spam_OUTtonyTakeThisOuTspamtraceelectronics.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>
>    Anyone know of a good pcb house that's not China based (forgot about
> the Chinese New Year again) that will do reasonably priced quick turn
> full-up boards preferably in the U.S.?  I've already gotten quotes from
> these :
>
> PCBExpress
> PCBPro
> AdvancedCircuits
> eFabPCB
> SanFranciscoCircuits
> APCircuits
>
> any other favorites out there that I can do an online quote comparison with?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Tony

Do you mind Canadian? Is this for hobby or production purposes?


--
solarwind

2009\01\20@222722 by Bob Blick

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flavicon
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>> Anyone know of a good pcb house that's not China based (forgot about
>> the Chinese New Year again) that will do reasonably priced quick turn
>> full-up boards preferably in the U.S.?  I've already gotten quotes from
>> these :
>>
>> PCBExpress
>> PCBPro
>> AdvancedCircuits
>> eFabPCB
>> SanFranciscoCircuits
>> APCircuits <--- Canada
>>
>> any other favorites out there that I can do an online quote comparison with?

http://www.sunstone.com/

Sunstone circuits near Beaverton.

But it's hard to beat Advanced Circuits, they'll do almost anything to
get a new customer, including doing the job for free.

Cheers,

Bob

2009\01\20@223515 by Tony Vandiver

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I love Canadian (Mist, Bacon, etc..).  Everything but the weather.  AP
Circuits is in Alberta - I've used them before for nosilk, nosm, but
they're a little pricey for full-up boards.  This is for production.  I
just need 15 first run pieces within the next 2 weeks while China's on
holiday.

Thanks,

Tony



solarwind wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2009\01\20@224153 by solarwind

picon face
On Tue, Jan 20, 2009 at 10:34 PM, Tony Vandiver
<tonyspamKILLspamtraceelectronics.com> wrote:
> I love Canadian (Mist, Bacon, etc..).  Everything but the weather.  AP
> Circuits is in Alberta - I've used them before for nosilk, nosm, but
> they're a little pricey for full-up boards.  This is for production.  I
> just need 15 first run pieces within the next 2 weeks while China's on
> holiday.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Tony
>

I wouldn't send it to china anyway if I were you. As soon as you send
them over, 4 or 5 clones will magically pop up on the market.

--
solarwind

2009\01\20@225714 by Tony Vandiver

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Yes, Sunstone is good, they're the parent company of PCBExpress and
PCBPro which I use religiously, but you're right, Advanced has the best
price right now apart from an online quote I just got from jetpcb rep.
in St. Petersburg, FL., which seems to have manufacturing in China, but
says online that they can deliver in two weeks and aren't closed for CNY.

Thanks,

Tony


Bob Blick wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2009\01\20@231520 by Tony Vandiver

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They can have the hardware design if they want to take the time to
reproduce it by figuring out what parts are supposed to be on it.  The
real thing that keeps me protected (there's really no such thing as
protection in this business) is the software and the limited market for
what I design.  I've been getting pcbs from China for 6 years and
haven't seen a competing reproduction of any design yet because there's
not big volume in what I do.  The Chinese aren't really any worse than
anyone else when it comes to "stealing" designs.  Americans do it to
some extent all the time, we just can't always do it in a way that's
less expensive than what we're paying for it in the first place.  If you
don't think that's true, walk into any company that does development for
a consumer product and count how many of their competitors designs they
have laying around for reference.  Besides, if you designed something
cool enough to be cloned in the first place, you should be patting
yourself on the back for being first to market and getting what you
could when you could - then move on to the next idea.

Thanks,

Tony


solarwind wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2009\01\20@235303 by John Day

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At 10:41 PM 1/20/2009, solarwind wrote:

>I wouldn't send it to china anyway if I were you. As soon as you send
>them over, 4 or 5 clones will magically pop up on the market.
>
>--
>solarwind

They do?

Never seen the problem yet with reputable houses. I use
http://myropcb.com (Chinese with support in Canada) I ordered a 4
layer board on Jan14th, the five pieces ordered arrived today. So
that's 5 working days, including shipping and taxes the total was $US
336. AP Circuits wanted 5 working days plus shipping time - another 2
days and $US 550 plus shipping and taxes.

One design I did a couple of years back for a client has now passed
25,000 pieces and no sign of a clone anywhere. Good PCB and assembly
houses stand to make more profit out of long term relationships
rather than the short term gain and the loss of a client.

We have had more trouble over the years with Eastern European fab and
assembly houses and even here in North America we tend to move around
because we have had issues with several fab & assemble companies
including one that did a direct knock-off of a product from our
photo-tools. We found out because our stencils were wearing far too
quickly - especially the $425 ones we pay for here. Strangely our $85
Chinese stencils were lasting three to five times as long!

Here in the US and Canada we find that most small to medium sized
places have products of their own in the marketplace, often directly
competing with their own clients. We had an instance here in Toronto
only a few months ago where a fab & assemble house was far too
interested in our controller design having seen the LED strips it
controlled. Needless to say we found out they are building LED
products themselves but don't have a good controller, sorry folks,
you aren't going to get mine to copy!

John

2009\01\21@020649 by Vitaliy

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"John Day"
>>I wouldn't send it to china anyway if I were you. As soon as you send
>>them over, 4 or 5 clones will magically pop up on the market.
>>
>>--
>>solarwind
>
> They do?

I'm afraid that solarwind is hardly an authority on the subject. :)


> We have had more trouble over the years with Eastern European fab and
> assembly houses and even here in North America we tend to move around
> because we have had issues with several fab & assemble companies
> including one that did a direct knock-off of a product from our
> photo-tools. We found out because our stencils were wearing far too
> quickly - especially the $425 ones we pay for here. Strangely our $85
> Chinese stencils were lasting three to five times as long!

Wow! Have you done anything about it? Was legal action possible?

Vitaliy

2009\01\21@021854 by Vitaliy

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"Tony Vandiver" wrote:
> They can have the hardware design if they want to take the time to
> reproduce it by figuring out what parts are supposed to be on it.  The
> real thing that keeps me protected (there's really no such thing as
> protection in this business) is the software and the limited market for
> what I design.

In other words, a deterrent. Most things can be cracked, but at some point
the cost of defeating protection becomes greater than the cost of developing
the item from scratch.

I read a whitepaper[1]  recently on AES encoding, and it had a table in it,
listing the resources available to hackers of various sizes:

   "Hacker"< $400
   Small organization $10K
   Medium organization $300K
   Large organization $10M
   Intelligence agency $300M

I guess the moral of the story is, a project that is worth $100K isn't worth
spending $10M on, to crack it.


> I've been getting pcbs from China for 6 years and
> haven't seen a competing reproduction of any design yet because there's
> not big volume in what I do.  The Chinese aren't really any worse than
> anyone else when it comes to "stealing" designs.  Americans do it to
> some extent all the time, we just can't always do it in a way that's
> less expensive than what we're paying for it in the first place.  If you
> don't think that's true, walk into any company that does development for
> a consumer product and count how many of their competitors designs they
> have laying around for reference.

Not us! We keep our competitors' designs neatly organized in a file drawer.


> Besides, if you designed something
> cool enough to be cloned in the first place, you should be patting
> yourself on the back for being first to market and getting what you
> could when you could - then move on to the next idea.

Amen.


Vitaliy


[1]
<<http://www.seagate.com/staticfiles/docs/pdf/whitepaper/tp596_128-bit_versus_256_bit.pdf>>

2009\01\21@073203 by olin piclist

face picon face
solarwind wrote:
> I wouldn't send it to china anyway if I were you. As soon as you send
> them over, 4 or 5 clones will magically pop up on the market.

Any you know this how?  Be careful repeating what "everyone knows".  Those
two words are a red flag to be highly suspicious of the following statement.
It's also not a good idea to try to look smart by talking about things you
don't really know about.  Sooner or later someone's going to call you on it,
and then you look stupid.

Cloning and piracy certainly happen, but unless you're making a well
recognized high volume product, it's not going to get cloned because there
isn't sufficient market for a cheaper version.  Nobody is going pay
attention to a 15 piece order.  And then this mostly applies to full
products anyway.  Think about it.  Who's going to want the raw PC boards
even if they were free?  How will the cloner find the 16th customer that
didn't buy the real thing because it was a bit too expensive?


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\01\21@074630 by William \Chops\ Westfield

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On Jan 20, 2009, at 11:17 PM, Vitaliy wrote:

> I read a whitepaper[1]  recently on AES encoding, and it had a table  
> in it,
> listing the resources available to hackers of various sizes:
>
>    "Hacker"< $400
>    Small organization $10K
>    Medium organization $300K
>    Large organization $10M

For legitimate companies of a certain size, there is also a  
significant risk in terms of legal and "prestige" issues.  If a  
product is worth a million dollars a year, and will cost $100k to  
develop vs $10k to steal, you have to be pretty desperate to actually  
steal it, since the difference in cost of $90k over a $5million  
product lifetime is pretty insignificant, and not worth "getting  
caught."

> If you don't think that's true, walk into any company that does  
> development for a consumer product and count how many of their  
> competitors designs they have laying around for reference.

Competitive analysis is not at all the same thing as theft.  We have a  
pretty strict policy that any proprietary data from our competitors  
(say, future product info given to loyal customers) is to be discarded  
immediately, but that doesn't stop parts of the company from chortling  
over the cost analysis (or legitimately purchased product) that puts  
their COGs ahead of ours, even though their MSRP is lower.  Nor does  
it stop sales teams from slogging through every bit of legitimately  
public data looking for things to jump on, even in error...

I've seen people take the most ridiculous "protection" steps over the  
most trivial bits of hardware (the particular example I'm thinking was  
a temperature sensor/logger that had the part numbers sanded off the  
chips.  I mean; it's a temperature logger.  I would hope most BSEEs  
could write one in a month or less, from scratch, picking a random CPU  
they hadn't used before...)

A lot of stuff out there that looks cloned these days probably isn't  
really; there's an awful lot of stuff that is essentially minor  
variations of chip manufacturer reference designs (or app notes)  
running standard operating systems and firmware that has been given  
only a cursory effort to make it "unique."

BillW

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