Circuit boards for pico balloon trackers


Chuck KG5CA
 

Question for those of you building ultra-small trackers for pico balloons:

What thickness of FR4 boards are you using, and where do you get them manufactured?
Many shops will build 0.0625" thick, but that seems unnecessarily thick and heavy.  What are good alternatives?

Thanks....


greg@bigredbee.com
 

Oshpark.com  does .8mm boards.  I'm a happy repeat customer for prototypes)

Greg K7RKT

On Sat, Jan 23, 2021 at 3:22 PM Chuck KG5CA <goldsmith@...> wrote:
Question for those of you building ultra-small trackers for pico balloons:

What thickness of FR4 boards are you using, and where do you get them manufactured?
Many shops will build 0.0625" thick, but that seems unnecessarily thick and heavy.  What are good alternatives?

Thanks....


Chuck KG5CA
 

On Sat, Jan 23, 2021 at 03:24 PM, greg@... wrote:
Oshpark.com
Greg,
Thanks for the referral.  I see they also manufacture 4mil thick polyimide boards.  Might be even lighter.... :-)
--
Chuck / KG5CA
StratoCasters


Bill Brown
 

Hi Chuck,

 I get mine from JLCPCB in China.   Send them Gerber files and specify board thickness in mm.  You will receive high quality boards that are ultra-thin in just a bit over a week and they are inexpensive to boot. I order the 0.6mm boards which equates to  0.024 " thickness. You can go with 0.4mm boards as well but 0.6mm seemed to be the best compromise for strength vs thinness.

- Bill WB8ELK




-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck KG5CA <goldsmith@...>
To: GPSL@groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 23, 2021 5:22 pm
Subject: [GPSL] Circuit boards for pico balloon trackers

Question for those of you building ultra-small trackers for pico balloons:

What thickness of FR4 boards are you using, and where do you get them manufactured?
Many shops will build 0.0625" thick, but that seems unnecessarily thick and heavy.  What are good alternatives?

Thanks....


Rodney Sparks
 

I use PCBWay.com for all of my quick-turn PCBs.  A small batch of boards is $23 shipped, and the record so far for receiving boards from them is 69 hours from ordering until boards in hand.  Always good quality too.  Boards that aren't green and 1.6mm thick take a few days more though.

-Rodney


On Sat, Jan 23, 2021 at 8:31 PM Bill Brown via groups.io <wb8elk=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hi Chuck,

 I get mine from JLCPCB in China.   Send them Gerber files and specify board thickness in mm.  You will receive high quality boards that are ultra-thin in just a bit over a week and they are inexpensive to boot. I order the 0.6mm boards which equates to  0.024 " thickness. You can go with 0.4mm boards as well but 0.6mm seemed to be the best compromise for strength vs thinness.

- Bill WB8ELK




-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck KG5CA <goldsmith@...>
To: GPSL@groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 23, 2021 5:22 pm
Subject: [GPSL] Circuit boards for pico balloon trackers

Question for those of you building ultra-small trackers for pico balloons:

What thickness of FR4 boards are you using, and where do you get them manufactured?
Many shops will build 0.0625" thick, but that seems unnecessarily thick and heavy.  What are good alternatives?

Thanks....


greg@bigredbee.com
 

OSH Park is just $5/square inch for 3 copies.   Free USPS first class mail.  Price is hard to beat for small boards.  

Greg K7RKT

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 1:29 AM Rodney Sparks <rodney@...> wrote:
I use PCBWay.com for all of my quick-turn PCBs.  A small batch of boards is $23 shipped, and the record so far for receiving boards from them is 69 hours from ordering until boards in hand.  Always good quality too.  Boards that aren't green and 1.6mm thick take a few days more though.

-Rodney


On Sat, Jan 23, 2021 at 8:31 PM Bill Brown via groups.io <wb8elk=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hi Chuck,

 I get mine from JLCPCB in China.   Send them Gerber files and specify board thickness in mm.  You will receive high quality boards that are ultra-thin in just a bit over a week and they are inexpensive to boot. I order the 0.6mm boards which equates to  0.024 " thickness. You can go with 0.4mm boards as well but 0.6mm seemed to be the best compromise for strength vs thinness.

- Bill WB8ELK




-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck KG5CA <goldsmith@...>
To: GPSL@groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 23, 2021 5:22 pm
Subject: [GPSL] Circuit boards for pico balloon trackers

Question for those of you building ultra-small trackers for pico balloons:

What thickness of FR4 boards are you using, and where do you get them manufactured?
Many shops will build 0.0625" thick, but that seems unnecessarily thick and heavy.  What are good alternatives?

Thanks....


Michael Hojnowski
 

I just ordered a stack of panels for my Wisp tracker from JLCPCB in 0.6mm thickness, the same as Bill/WB8ELK.  The turnaround was super-fast, and the boards were excellent quality.  I couldn't beat the price.  I ordered 10 panels of 3 boards each and it came to just under $30 delivered.  I'm looking forward to trying them.  I had ordered 0.8mm in the past from Hackvana, but they're out of business now.  I was able to give JLCPCB the same gerbers and got identical looking panels, on thinner boards.  I'm excited to fly one (or more!).

Mike/KD2EAT

On 1/24/2021 10:40 AM, greg@... wrote:
OSH Park is just $5/square inch for 3 copies.   Free USPS first class mail.  Price is hard to beat for small boards.  

Greg K7RKT

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 1:29 AM Rodney Sparks <rodney@...> wrote:
I use PCBWay.com for all of my quick-turn PCBs.  A small batch of boards is $23 shipped, and the record so far for receiving boards from them is 69 hours from ordering until boards in hand.  Always good quality too.  Boards that aren't green and 1.6mm thick take a few days more though.

-Rodney


On Sat, Jan 23, 2021 at 8:31 PM Bill Brown via groups.io <wb8elk=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hi Chuck,

 I get mine from JLCPCB in China.   Send them Gerber files and specify board thickness in mm.  You will receive high quality boards that are ultra-thin in just a bit over a week and they are inexpensive to boot. I order the 0.6mm boards which equates to  0.024 " thickness. You can go with 0.4mm boards as well but 0.6mm seemed to be the best compromise for strength vs thinness.

- Bill WB8ELK




-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck KG5CA <goldsmith@...>
To: GPSL@groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 23, 2021 5:22 pm
Subject: [GPSL] Circuit boards for pico balloon trackers

Question for those of you building ultra-small trackers for pico balloons:

What thickness of FR4 boards are you using, and where do you get them manufactured?
Many shops will build 0.0625" thick, but that seems unnecessarily thick and heavy.  What are good alternatives?

Thanks....


Pat
 

I can’t say that the flex PCB material is FR4 by a long shot.  DE Pat N8PK-FM19 


On Jan 24, 2021, at 12:22 PM, Michael Hojnowski <kd2eat@...> wrote:


I just ordered a stack of panels for my Wisp tracker from JLCPCB in 0.6mm thickness, the same as Bill/WB8ELK.  The turnaround was super-fast, and the boards were excellent quality.  I couldn't beat the price.  I ordered 10 panels of 3 boards each and it came to just under $30 delivered.  I'm looking forward to trying them.  I had ordered 0.8mm in the past from Hackvana, but they're out of business now.  I was able to give JLCPCB the same gerbers and got identical looking panels, on thinner boards.  I'm excited to fly one (or more!).

Mike/KD2EAT

On 1/24/2021 10:40 AM, greg@... wrote:
OSH Park is just $5/square inch for 3 copies.   Free USPS first class mail.  Price is hard to beat for small boards.  

Greg K7RKT

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 1:29 AM Rodney Sparks <rodney@...> wrote:
I use PCBWay.com for all of my quick-turn PCBs.  A small batch of boards is $23 shipped, and the record so far for receiving boards from them is 69 hours from ordering until boards in hand.  Always good quality too.  Boards that aren't green and 1.6mm thick take a few days more though.

-Rodney


On Sat, Jan 23, 2021 at 8:31 PM Bill Brown via groups.io <wb8elk=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hi Chuck,

 I get mine from JLCPCB in China.   Send them Gerber files and specify board thickness in mm.  You will receive high quality boards that are ultra-thin in just a bit over a week and they are inexpensive to boot. I order the 0.6mm boards which equates to  0.024 " thickness. You can go with 0.4mm boards as well but 0.6mm seemed to be the best compromise for strength vs thinness.

- Bill WB8ELK




-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck KG5CA <goldsmith@...>
To: GPSL@groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 23, 2021 5:22 pm
Subject: [GPSL] Circuit boards for pico balloon trackers

Question for those of you building ultra-small trackers for pico balloons:

What thickness of FR4 boards are you using, and where do you get them manufactured?
Many shops will build 0.0625" thick, but that seems unnecessarily thick and heavy.  What are good alternatives?

Thanks....


Chuck KG5CA
 

Thanks for the advice and referrels.  Much appreciated.
--
Chuck / KG5CA
StratoCasters


Bill Brown
 

JLCPCB was one of the board houses that Hackvana used. Mitch at HAckvana sent me that info when he closed his doors. I also have used PCBWay with great results but the boards are slightly heavier than JLCPCB...only about a quarter gram.  Very similar quality.  PCBWay will also do PCB Assembly as long as the parts can be purchased totally in China and they did a great job.

I've also used OSH Park but I think the thinnest board they can offer is 0.8mm (half thickness).

Be aware that Chinese New Year is fast approaching and manufacuring in China will come to a complete standstill fo 3 weeks or more so get your orders in soon.

- Bill WB8ELK


-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Hojnowski <kd2eat@...>
To: GPSL@groups.io
Sent: Sun, Jan 24, 2021 11:22 am
Subject: Re: [GPSL] Circuit boards for pico balloon trackers

I just ordered a stack of panels for my Wisp tracker from JLCPCB in 0.6mm thickness, the same as Bill/WB8ELK.  The turnaround was super-fast, and the boards were excellent quality.  I couldn't beat the price.  I ordered 10 panels of 3 boards each and it came to just under $30 delivered.  I'm looking forward to trying them.  I had ordered 0.8mm in the past from Hackvana, but they're out of business now.  I was able to give JLCPCB the same gerbers and got identical looking panels, on thinner boards.  I'm excited to fly one (or more!).

Mike/KD2EAT

On 1/24/2021 10:40 AM, greg@... wrote:
OSH Park is just $5/square inch for 3 copies.   Free USPS first class mail.  Price is hard to beat for small boards.  

Greg K7RKT

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 1:29 AM Rodney Sparks <rodney@...> wrote:
I use PCBWay.com for all of my quick-turn PCBs.  A small batch of boards is $23 shipped, and the record so far for receiving boards from them is 69 hours from ordering until boards in hand.  Always good quality too.  Boards that aren't green and 1.6mm thick take a few days more though.

-Rodney


On Sat, Jan 23, 2021 at 8:31 PM Bill Brown via groups.io <wb8elk=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hi Chuck,

 I get mine from JLCPCB in China.   Send them Gerber files and specify board thickness in mm.  You will receive high quality boards that are ultra-thin in just a bit over a week and they are inexpensive to boot. I order the 0.6mm boards which equates to  0.024 " thickness. You can go with 0.4mm boards as well but 0.6mm seemed to be the best compromise for strength vs thinness.

- Bill WB8ELK




-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck KG5CA <goldsmith@...>
To: GPSL@groups.io
Sent: Sat, Jan 23, 2021 5:22 pm
Subject: [GPSL] Circuit boards for pico balloon trackers

Question for those of you building ultra-small trackers for pico balloons:

What thickness of FR4 boards are you using, and where do you get them manufactured?
Many shops will build 0.0625" thick, but that seems unnecessarily thick and heavy.  What are good alternatives?

Thanks....


John Maca
 

I've used JCLPCB, DirtyPCB, and SeeedStudio, all with good results.  I prefer the 0.6mm boards from JCLPCB but 0.8 from the others is OK too. 
One thing about JCLPCB is the smallest size stencil they have is still HUGE.  It's fine if you're doing panels of boards, but for single boards, you might look at OSH Stencils (www.oshstencils.com) as an alternative.  

John
AB5SS