The Electric Skateboards arrived today from PCB Cart. The first thing I noticed is that the yellow soldermask I asked for was not yellow at all, but rather what can only be described as a dark spew orange. I was kind of disappointed about this, since I was hoping for a bright yellow that would match the colour of the pacman on the PCB. Also was the problem that the text on the remote PCB did not stand-out well against the dark orange, and it would be hard to read the user interface. I sent PCB Cart an email with a photo showing the colour, and they replied saying that it was the colour that they always used for yellow, and no one had complained about it before.
We reached an agreement that I could get them redone in another colour, paying have the manufacturing costs (about NZ$40), without paying for set-up costs (presumably because they still had the stencils), and with free shipping. I thought this was a fair deal and resubmitted the design to be made with a red soldermask and white silkscreen.
The photo below shows the gross orange colour compared to the kind of yellow I was expecting.
Finally, the electric skateboard PCB’s have been sent away for manufacturing. I eventually chose PCB Cart after discovering that I couldn’t run the PCB’s as a ‘Prototype’ at Silver Circuits (their maximum Prototype PCB size was 160mm in any direction, my panel was 200mm). See the Electrical Suppliers page for more info on PCB manufacturers.
The boards ended up costing NZ$330 (ouch!). This was for 3 panels of 3 boards (adding two panels only added NZ$14 to the price, so it’s worth it for back-up boards).
There is the the motherboard PCB, the half-bridge PCB (both to be mounted on the skateboard), and the remote control PCB (mounted on the hand-held controller). I’m crossing my fingers and hoping there are no mistakes (well, at least no major ones that would require a redesign). One thing that I will do differently next time I design a PCB is to make sure the minimum annular ring is 0.3mm or larger. Since I had 0.2mm vias with 0.4mm holes, I had to raise the annular ring spec when submitting it to PCB cart (from 0.3mm to 0.1mm), which added about NZ$40 to the price.
I chose the longest lead-time (12 days) to keep costs down, hopefully they will ready by the weekend after next!
After going nuts on the Electric Skateboard project in the last week, I have nearly finished the PCB routing for the skateboard PCB, the first of two boards (the other is the remote PCB).