Any reliable PCB Assembly (PCBA) Turnkey Service?

PCB manufacture is now a common, standard service around the world. But before PCB Assembly, Components sourcing is very complex, cost time and money.

Thousands of components in the world, has variant of assembly process and quality specifications.

I have found some: NexPCB, Alibaba, OneStop,

Is it safe and convenient to try the PCB Assembly (PCBA) Turnkey Service online?

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I've never used one online, which I assume means not local. When I develop a board I need someone to make mods and shipping it across the country is too big a PITA.

The guys I work with are really great. They let me do my testing in their facility when I come up to pick up the boards. But I've even turned that over to them. They hand me a box of boards all packed up for shipping. Niche Electronics Technologies in Shippensburg, PA.

One funny thing is that when I ship something to them I have to tell UPS which county they are in. Seems knowing the address is not good enough for them. Weird.


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Seeedstudio is another (from China). (I have no specific experience)

I think the biggest hassle is the parts supply. If they say 'we get everything from Digikey' (or whoever) then that's one thing. But often you have various suppliers for different bits, or you don't care where parts come from. It's more of a problem for 'generic-ish' parts: I want a MOSFET, I only care that (insert properties here), but I need to know in advance what package to use.

The trouble comes when the parts vendor has a different supplier to you: you can't order samples to evaluate them, and the board house can't access the parts you can easily buy. It's especially a problem with China, because there doesn't seem to be a Digikey equivalent: parts are bought through all sorts of supply channels including market stalls, which as an external customer you can't see. So you can't just pick things out of a catalogue. Seeed have made their own catalogue of common parts they stock, but it's very small.

It's then significant hassle to work out what parts the manufacturer can access before you design your board. You can always send them a bundle of parts, but shipping them to China is going to add significantly to the cost of the board (if volumes are small).


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Theo Markettos

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