SparkFun Forums 

Where electronics enthusiasts find answers.

Questions about the BatchPCB service

Moderator: robacarp

By Otatiaro

Just a small feedback about my experience with BatchPCB.

I ordered something like 20 boards in 5 or 6 separate orders (for prototypes). Until now I always received at least twice the number of boards ordered, even one comes with 4 times the boards (ordered 3, received 12).

Boards always came perfect, except the last one where the silkscreen is a bit off (half a mm I think) which is not a "fatal error".

I really like the cheap prices, the quality of the boards, but I really HATE the verrrryyy looonnngggg lead time. It often takes more than one month to get my boards.
I'd pay twice the price for faster fab and shipping.

Now that my prototypes are fully tested, I'd like to order directly at GP, but after sending a mail with my design, they didn't answered :(

Picture of my last design (in Version 1, Version 3 is coming in panel #849) :

Thomas Legrand.
By smbaker
Otatiaro wrote:I really like the cheap prices, the quality of the boards, but I really HATE the verrrryyy looonnngggg lead time. It often takes more than one month to get my boards.
I know what you mean. I think I've become addicted to instant gratification. A 3-5 week wait didn't sound too bad when I first submitted my designs, but as each day ticks off I grow more and more impatient!

I wish there was a nice simple/cheap/easy-to-use service out there with delivery time in 2 weeks or less.
By Otatiaro
In fact some PCBs can wait, some other can ... less.
I'd really enjoy a more expensive, faster PCB fab service ...

Is it me or BatchPCB is getting slower and slower ? My first order took 2 weeks to fab (second half of 2009), and my last order is in fab for more than 2 weeks and not even about to be completed (panel #849, last panel shipped from sparkfun is #830).

That's more than one month from order to solder, so I'm considering splitting my order between BatchPCB for "secondary" PCBs and ... something else, don't know yet, for "primary" PCBs, which I need faster.

I've seen Eurocircuits, but it's far more expensive (but delivery in 5 days ...). I may consider Olimex too (but I do only very small PCBs for embedded electronics), and I you have another suggestions, they would be welcome ;)

By Otatiaro
Compared Olimex to BatchPCB ... (I live in France)

The negative point is that you must order at least one 160x100mm panel, for my last design, which is 1.2x1.6", that's about 10 PCBs.

Price at Olimex is 30€ for one panel + 19€ for FedEx shipping + 20% VAT = 58.8€.
Price at BatchPCB is 10x4.8$ + 10$ fee + 2$ USPS shipping = 60$ = 49€.

Delivery time for BatchPCB is known ... theoretical delivery time for Olimex is 4 to 8 days including shipping (3-5 fab + 1-3 shipping).

But ...
- with BatchPCB you have a chance to receive twice or more the ordered boards (always happened to me ...).
- with 49€ declared, you may have import taxes, that 19.6% VAT and at least 10€ additionnal fees, then batchPCB cost would be about 70€.

My conclusion is (after I'll give Olimex a try) that for faster fab or "pre-production" small runs, Olimex is better placed than BatchPCB. For one unit or two unit runs that are not in a hurry, BatchPCB is still better.

Still searching for a better deal.

User avatar
By leon_heller
I sometimes use PCB Train's 24 hour service, I actually get the board in my hands in three days. It costs around £30 for one board (plus shipping and VAT). I mostly use PCB Pool.
By Otatiaro

I've discovered at least 20 or 30 PCB manufacturers around the world in a few hours ;)

I've downloaded the dru files from Olimex, and my board don't pass, even with the "15 working day fab" rules.

I think for fast delivery, I'll go back to Eurocircuits (named ThePCBShop for the hobbyist), I've worked with them a few years ago and their boards are really perfect ...
They also are the only one who can manufacture a less than 6 mil precision board in 5 working days for a reasonable price (I'm currently working with FT2232H which is a pretty fine pitched SMD ... and 8 mils traces), plus they can provide the laser cut stencil for solder paste.

Full price for my board (1.2"x1.6"), 2 panels of 4, is about 90€ including shipping (FedEx 24h service) and VAT (19.6% in France).
Running a simple, 2 board batch would cost me 81€ including shipping and VAT.
I can have the stencil for 46€ incl VAT (no additional shipping) in the same delay.

For 2 boards, it's about 4 times more expensive than BatchPCB, but also 4 times faster (1 week compared to 1 month) ...
For 8 boards, it's "just" twice more expensive than BatchPCB ... and still 4 times faster.

Time is money ;)


[EDIT] BatchPCB has not shipped a panel for 5 days, are they Thread.Sleep(int.MaxValue) ?
[EDIT] With the Euro / Dollar rate continuously falling, BatchPCB (and sadly SparkFun too) is becoming less and less interesting :(
By jimg
I've had good luck with APCircuits(.com). When I've used them, I combine a few designs to optimize their size calculator. They are less than a week, and almost as inexpensive as PatchPCB but you don't get a solder mask, silk screening, or board routing. Also, they refuse to ship any way other than Fedex, which becomes a significant cost, at least for my small designs.

I don't mind the lead time with BatchPCB, but I'm disappointed in the lack of real status information about my order.
By smbaker
FYI, to add to the experiences thread: just received my order from 4/29 today, 5/22. Received double the quantity I ordered (no complaints here!). Great looking little boards, but also very simple boards with little that could go wrong.
By arguo
I purchased some PCB order on Miife PCB. My design is a 2"x2" size board, that's about 10 PCBs

Price at BatchPCB is 10x4x2.5$ + 10$ fee = 110$
Price at Miife PCB is 10x2$ + 68$ fee = 88$

For the lead-time, it said only 6 business days to build board, and shipping on the 6th day. I received my PCB boards on 10th day (3-4 shipping days, I think). It is really fast :D

But the minimum order is 10 PCBs, I can not buy it for one board only. :(
By russdx
i dont think you can moan about waiting a long time for these boards

pay A LOT and receive fast
pay CHEAP and wait

you cant have fast and cheap!
By analogon
Being in the US, the postage and delivery times is lower than for those in Europe. So the choice bends toward BatchPCB. When making little boards, is is incredibly economical. So my last order was 17 calendar days, and the previous order was maybe 19. In each case I was pleased that it was in the lower range of expectations. I don't get charged for customs or sales tax, probably due to the small orders. I guess those in South America and Europe might have an extra week of transit from Batch PCB and also get hit with an import duty or VAT.

During the processing time for each order, I ordered parts at about the same time or after I placed the board order. So I could order parts with longer delivery times without slowing up stuffing my boards. Some things are important to have during design, and others are adequately described in catalogs or datasheets, so I don't need the actual part until assembly.

Besides the wonderful bonus boards, I have been very happy with quality. As an experiment, I put some silk screen characters that were of different font size, as a test. Even # 2 font was readable. For actual things on the board would maybe use 4 or 3 fontsize for part numbers. When assembling, little stuff, I am already wearing some magnification anyway. I try to add extra margin to the design rules, but it does not seem that it was needed. Having bottom silkscreen at no extra charge is a luxuary that I use. I mount parts on both sides. I have even had DIPs on opposite sides with overlap of outlines. I have also put SMT devices on the bottom of the board between DIP legs.

My circuits are not time critical. So BatchPCB is a boon for me.