I have had my first experience with ordering PCBgogo printed circuit boards from China, which seem to have turned out well.
In August 2019, QST magazine ran an unusual product review. I say “unusual” because the review was for a service, rather than a product.
I noticed the review in question was for PCBgogo printed circuit boards. PCBgogo describes itself as “the electronics project engineer’s best partner”. On its web site, I read that this four year old Chinese company has three factories and specializes in PCB fabrication and assembly.
Bob Shaw, W7NOM, gave them a pretty good review in QST, which also described the process he uses to design and order small batches on circuit boards. Like me, he has been playing around with KiCAD and getting good results.
Up until now, I have been using OSH Park in Oregon to get my surface mount PCB made. OSH Park is not cheap, but the quality seems great. It’s pricing includes delivery by normal USPS first class mail. This works pretty well for me as a package from Oregon gets delivered to Calgary pretty fast.
But based on the QST review, I thought I would give PCBgogo a try for a couple of board orders. My first board, shown above, was for some more LZ1AQ wideband loop amplifiers. This time I added a voltage regulator to the design, as well as an RJ-45 connector rather than screw terminals. The second was a small circuit to combine two runs of CAT cable into one, for feeding my dual loop configuration.
PCBgogo Printed Circuit Boards Look Good
You can order five PCBgogo printed circuit boards for US$5, as long as the size is under 100 by 100 millimeters, or roughly four inches square. They charge a $1 additional fee if you pay by PayPal. Then comes shipping.
In his review, Bob talked about using DHL for expedited shipping to the USA at $21. But I found a number of different options, including shipping by E-packet for $7. Takes longer, but I am retired so not in a big hurry.
My boards arrived in 3½ weeks. While I have yet to add parts, the basic double sided boards look fine, including solder mask and silkscreen art. Total cost was US$26 for ten boards, which was around 30% cheaper than OSH Park but a bit longer.