Frequent Questions

General Q&A
  1. What assembly services do you offer?
  2. What are the requirements for each services?
  3. What data (files) do you require for assembly orders?
  4. What are your technical capabilities? / What can you assemble?
  5. Can Screaming Circuits order my parts and / or PCBs for me?
Turn-Key Ordering Q&A
  1. On Turn-Key jobs, what does Screaming Circuits do about part crossing or substitutions?
  2. How does Screaming Circuits order components for Turn-Key orders?
  3. What is the lead time on a Turn-Key order?
  4. Can Screaming Circuits order just components or just my circuit board?
  5. Is there a minimum order size for Turn-Key orders?
  6. What happens to the leftover components on Turn-Key orders?
  7. What do I need to send for a Turn-Key order?
  8. How do you process payment for a Turn-Key job?
Technical Q&A (including Lead-free/RoHS questions)
  1. Can you handle lead-free builds?
  2. What about moisture sensitive components?
  3. What about panelized boards (called an array by some)?
  4. What standards and certifications does Screaming Circuits follow?
File & Kit Requirements Q&A
  1. What is Centroid data and how do I create the file?
  2. How do I create a Centroid file from Eagle CAD?
  3. What are the requirements for the Bill of materials formatting?
  4. Can I use Digi-Key part numbers in my BOM?
  5. Which gerber layers do you need for assembly?
  6. How do I need to supply components?
  7. Do you have any existing inventory I can use?
  8. If I am submitting more than 1 order at the same time, can I kit the components together? How should I kit parts if I’m submitting multiple orders?
Capabilities Q&A
  1. What kind of quantities do you handle?
  2. What is the optimum panel size?
  3. Do you X-ray BGAs?
  4. Do my boards need to have silkscreen for assembly?
  5. How should I supply special instructions?
Other Services Q&A
  1. I want to get PCB Layout also. Do you offer PCB Layout or other engineering services?
  2. Can you do a partial assembly?
  3. Can you do PCB fabrication?
  4. What other services can you do besides Assembly? Building Cables? Box Build?
  5. What about volume production?
Policy Q&A
  1. What does the quote include?
  2. What do you charge extra to create the Centroid file?
  3. What are your work hours and "start" times?
  4. What is your delivery policy?
  5. What are the payment terms?
  6. What will you do with the stencil after the order is done?
  7. What do you do with extra components after the build is finished?
  8. How should I ship packages to Screaming Circuits?
  9. What do you charge for shipping?
  10. Do you offer any discounts?
  11. What if I have a problem with my boards? How do you handle rework?
  12. How do you handle shortages?
Answers: General

What assembly services do you offer?

Screaming Circuits offers two basic assembly services:

  • Full Proto: Our flagship quick-turn prototype PCB assembly service. If you need a few boards built up quickly and need flexibility in providing components, choose this service.
  • Short-Run: Our production assembly service optimized for runs of up to 5,000 boards. Perfect for taking your finished design to market at the right price. If you have completed testing your design and are ready to start building your product in quantity, choose this service.

Please visit our Services Overview for detailed benefits & requirements for each of our assembly services.

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What are the requirements for each service?

The requirements for each of Screaming Circuits' assembly services are listed below:

Full Proto: Our most flexible service - little to no restrictions on PCBs, Parts, or Placements.

  • PCBs:
    • .75in X .75in (min)
    • 14.5in. X 19.5in. (max)
  • Parts:
    • Cut & Continuous tape
    • Full or Partial Reels
    • Tubes
    • Trays
    • Thru-Hole parts on tape or in bulk
    • Learn more...
  • Placements: N/A
  • Data:
    • Bill of Materials (.xls, .xlsx, .csv, or tab-delimited text)
    • RS-274X Gerber files
    • Centroid (aka Pick-and-Place) file
    • Learn more...

Short-Run: Small lot production optimized for runs of up to 5,000 boards - some restrictions apply.

  • PCBs:
    • 16 sq. inches (min)
    • 14.5 in. X 19.5 in. (max)
    • PCBs smaller than 16 sq. inches must be panelized! (PDF)
  • Parts:
    • No cut tape!
    • Continuous tape (12in or longer)
    • Full or Partial Reels
    • Tubes
    • Trays
    • Thru-Hole parts on tape or in bulk
    • Learn more...
  • Placements: N/A
  • Data:
    • ASCII CAD Data
    • Bill of Materials (.xls, .xlsx, .csv, or tab-delimited text)
    • RS-274X Gerber files
    • Centroid (aka Pick-and-Place) file
    • Learn more...

Please visit our Services Overview for detailed benefits & requirements for each of our assembly services.

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What data (files) do you require for assembly orders?

Depending on the assembly service you are using, Screaming Circuits requires that you provide some or all of the following:

  • Bill of Materials (.xls, .xlsx, .csv, or tab-delimited text
  • RS-274X Gerber files
  • Centroid (aka Pick-and-Place) file
  • ASCII-Formatted CAD data or ODB++ files
  • Optionally, Eagle CAD .brd files

Please visit our Services Overview for detailed benefits & requirements for each of our assembly services.

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What are your technical capabilities? / What can you assemble?

Screaming Circuits prides itself on being able to handle almost any job. Our standard capabilities can be found here. Bottom line: When in doubt, give us a ring 1-866-977-6839 or email us with your job specs and we'll see what we can do to help!

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Can Screaming Circuits order my parts and / or PCBs for me?

Absolutely! We call this "Turn-Key" service - you can read more here. Or see the Turn-Key FAQ section below. You can quote and order parts, PCBs and assembly on line, in real time. Alternately, you can give us a call and we'll take care of the process for you.

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Answers: Turn-Key Orders

On turn-key jobs, what does Screaming Circuits do about part crossing or substitutions?

Screaming Circuits holds no inventory, therefore we will not substitute parts on your bill of material with parts we already have. We can suggest crosses or assist with component selection if necessary, but we require customer approval before ordering.

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How does Screaming Circuits order components for Turn-Key orders?

We order to your exact bill of material ordering 5% or 5 extra for most components. Occasionally we are faced with minimum / multiple orders where extra components must be purchased. These parts are addressed, and approval received from our customer prior to ordering.

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What is the lead time on a turn-key order?

  • Procurement lead time is in addition to assembly lead times quoted on the website.
  • If we order circuit boards, in most cases this is the longest lead time part, and is determined by customer needs.
  • All components must be received prior to beginning the assembly portion of the order

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Can Screaming Circuits order just components or just my circuit board?

Yes, we can order just what you need us to provide, and you can supply the rest. We refer to this type of order as a partial turn-key job.

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Is there a minimum order size for turn-key orders?

Yes, there is a $500 minimum on components for turn-key orders

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What happens to the leftover components on Turn-Key orders?

Components with minimum purchase requirements are returned with the finished PCBs. All other components are not returned to the customer.

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What do I need to send for a turn-key order?

  • Bill of material, complete with info in excel format. View Sample BOM
    • Complete info includes - manufacturerís name, part number, ref designators, component description, quantity
  • Complete gerber files
  • Centroid data - this file can be created by Screaming Circuits if needed.

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How do you process payment for a turn-key job?

An up front payment equaling the cost of components or 50% of order is charged with the balance being charged upon shipment of the order.

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Answers: Technical

Can you handle lead-free builds?

Yes, we can handle Lead-Free PCB Assembly. Please see our Lead-Free Page.

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What about moisture sensitive components?

Many SMT component packages absorb small amounts of moisture over time. When these components go through the reflow oven, that moisture may expand and damage or destroy the chip. Sometimes the damage can be seen visually. Sometimes you can't see it at all. If we need to bake your components, your job may be delayed by up to 48 hours. This bake time will not count toward your turn-time.

  • We follow the JDEC J-STD-033B.1 standard.
  • What that means is that if the component is labeled as being moisture sensitive or is open and unlabeled, we will determine if it needs to be baked or call you to determine if it needs to be baked.
  • On 5 and 10 day turns, this probably will not cause delays.
  • On 24 and 48 hour jobs, the need to bake components will cause a delay of up to 48 hours that will not be counted toward your tune time.

If possible, always send us your components sealed in the packaging that you received them in.

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What about panelized boards (called an array by some)?

If you want us to assemble a full panel of boards, you should still quote the individual board.

Unless instructed otherwise, we will de-panelize them after assembly!

For example:

  • Your design has 25 different bill of material line items
  • You have two panels, each with ten boards
  • Each board has 45 smt placements on it.

On our website, you would quote:

  • The “Desired board quantity” as 20 boards
  • With 25 “Total # of manufacturer part #s”
  • With 45 “SMT” placements.

Then, in the “Special Requirements / Comments for Assembly” box, tell us that the boards are panelized ten-per-panel and tell us if your Gerbers are panelized or single

Also in the “Special Requirements / Comments for Assembly” box - Tell us if you want the boards to stay in the panel after assembly. If you don't tell us what to do, we will de-panelize them.

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What standards and certifications does Screaming Circuits follow?

  • Screaming Circuits is certified ISO 2001:9000
  • By default, we inspect to IPC-A-610, Class II (Class III inspection available upon request)
  • For RoHS, we adhere to IPC-1066, finish category e1
  • JDEC J-STD-033B.1 standard for moisture.
  • ITAR service is available

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Answers: File & Kit Requirements

What is Centroid data?

Centroid data (aka Insertion or Pick-and-place or XY data) - This is the machine file, which should include: X, Y, Theta, Side of Board (Top or Bottom), and Reference Designator.

If we generate the Centroid file for you, we will add the following additional charge, based on the number of SMT placements per board:

  • 0 to 199 placements = $50 charge
  • 200 to 399 placements =  $100 charge
  • 400 or more placements = $150 charge.

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Creating a Centroid file from Eagle CAD

  • This Eagle CAD User Language Program (ULP) creates the specific format surface mount XY location file, called a Centroid file, required by Screaming Circuits for prototype assembly. Download this file (Centroid_ScreamingCircuits_smd.zip) and unzip it into the “ulp” directory inside your Eagle directory.
  • Then, once your design is complete, simply run this ULP and include the generated file “<project-name> centroid.csv” in the zip file containing your BOM and Gerbers when you order prototype pcb assembly from Screaming Circuits.

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What are the requirements for the Bill of materials formatting?

We require a Bill of Materials (BOM) to be in Microsoft Excel format (.xls, .xlsx, .csv, or tab-delimited). The BOM should include (View Sample BOM):

  • Quantity
  • Reference Designator
  • Manufacturer
  • Manufacturer's Part #
  • Optionally, DigiKey part number
  • Description
  • Package Type (footprint)

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Can I use Digi-Key part numbers in my BOM?

Yes. We used Digi-Key part numbers quite frequently.

  • The BOM should include: Digi-Key Part #, Reference Designator, Description, and footprint (package). View Sample BOM

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Which gerber layers do you need for assembly?

First, we need the Gerber RS-274X format. At a minimum we need silkscreen, copper (trace layer) and solder paste layers for assembly. We prefer you to send us all gerber files generated by your CAD program, as if you were sending them for fabrication.

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How do I need to supply components?

Each bag, tray, etc should be clearly marked with the part number that is listed on your bill of materials.

  • Depending on the assembly service you choose, we can work with cut tape of any length, tubes, reels and trays. We assume care will be taken to protect the integrity of the components.
  • If components are moisture or static sensitive, please package accordingly in static controlled and/or sealed packaging.
  • SMT components provided loose or in bulk should be considered as thru-hole placements. You should always call first before quoting a job with loose SMT components. Sending them loose may cause damage and will likely cost you extra in handling. It is almost always less expensive to buy a new strip of components then to have us try and use them loose.

NOTE: Please adhere to the parts requirements for the assembly service you are using! Visit our Services Overview for more info...

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Do you have any existing inventory I can use?

We do not carry any inventory for all customers. For customers we work with closely, we do carry inventory items.

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If I am submitting more than 1 order at the same time, can I kit the components together? How should I kit parts if I’m submitting multiple orders?

Each order requires its own kit. Multiple kits can be sent in one package, but please be sure each is clearly marked.

  • Parts used on both / multiple jobs should be marked with a sticker or other markation to denote they are shared.
  • The biggest "gotcha" with mutual parts is making sure to provide 5% extra parts for each separate build.

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Answers: Capabilities

What kind of quantities do you handle?

We do not limit the quantity you can quote on our website. However, we do limit any quote to $15,000. If you would like to place an order exceeding this $15k limit, just give us a call 1-866-977-6839 or email us. Our Full-Proto service is optimized for quantities between one and 250 PCBs. Short-Run production is optimized for quantities between 50 and 5,000. We are setup to process one-time builds and do not invest in NRE (Non-Recurring Expenses). If your need is for regular production in quantities that will total more than 5000 in one year, it may be more cost effective to consider our parent company, Milwaukee Electronics, for full-service volume production.

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What is the optimum panel size?

Generally, Screaming Circuits can handle a board size up to 14.5in x 19in however, our optimum panel size is roughly 8in x 10in. In small quantities (Less than 25 units or so) panelization is not a critical item. It is most helpful with very small board sizes and higher volumes. Our Short-Run Production service requires panelization in certain instances. Here is a guide we put together to help you and your PCB fabricator panelize your boards.

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Do you X-ray BGAs?

We X-ray BGAs as a part of our standard process. We also X-ray Leadless ICs and other parts that have leads which cannot be seen with a microscope as a part of our standard process.

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Do my boards need to have silkscreen for assembly?

It is not required, but it is preferred. If you are submitting boards without silkscreen, we will need to have some other form of documentation to verify component placement and rotation. Orders with boards that have no silkscreen need to be reviewed.

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How should I supply special instructions?

Special instructions should be supplied when an order is submitted. Often, special instructions will be supplied in an Assembly Instructions document. This is usually in PDF or notepad depending on the need for visual aids. There is also a large text field on the 2nd step of the online order process that is used for submitting special instructions.

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Answers: Other Services

I want to get PCB Layout also. Do you offer PCB Layout or other engineering services?

You can quote your layout job online - just visit http://www.screamingcircuits.com/Home/Layout! Through years of working with our in-house electrical and manufacturing engineers, we've accumulated the know-how to create custom designs that succeed. We design to IPC standards and have done layout work to meet all major certification standards (UL, CE, TUV, etc.)

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Can you do a partial assembly?

Yes, we do partial assemblies. Please see our sample BOM for instructions on how to communicate to us which components you do/do not want placed.

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Can you do PCB fabrication?

Screaming Circuits does manage PCB fabrication for our customers. However, we do not do PCB fabrication internally. We have relationships with companies around the world who do PCB fabrication. See our PCB Fabrication Page.

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What other services can you do besides Assembly? Building Cables? Box Build?

Screaming Circuits has a very limited capacity for prototype box build or other mechanical assembly, as well as general electronics work. We can do some solder-based cable work but can not perform crimp-based cable work unless you supply the tools.

  • Contact sales for hourly rates and specific services.
  • For mechanical assembly, we would require a sample or specific assembly instructions.
  • Please submit an RFQ or give us a call to discuss you needs.

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What about volume production?

  • Our parent company, Milwaukee Electronics handles volume production and is located in the same building. We share expertise and information for a smooth transition from prototype to volume production.
  • If your design is ready to move from proto to production, contact sales@mecnorthwest.com and we will walk you through the process of quoting and migrating to production.

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Answers: Our Policies

What does the quote include?

The quote includes purchasing a solder stencil, placing components on the boards. The SMT are placed by machine, and the thru-hole components by hand. The online quote DOES NOT include: creating a special oven profile, if needed/required; conformal coating; modifications; special gluing or masking of components; or processes that require special tooling, such as press-fit connectors and crimping pins on wires. Please call or email if you have special requirements.

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What are your work hours and "start" times?

  • We work weekdays except for holidays. Weekends and holidays do not count toward turn-times.
  • Your files need to be here and complete the day before your kit arrives. Then, on the start day, if your kit is here and complete before noon, we will start the turn-time clock that day. If not, we will start the clock on the day that we have a complete and correct kit before noon.

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What is your delivery policy?

  • We guarantee that we will ship at least 50% of your finished pc board assemblies within the promised turn-time. We try for all of them, but we guarantee 50% of them to be shipped by that date.
  • Screaming Circuits® guarantees on-time delivery of those 50%. If your order is 1 day late, we will only charge you half the order total (half of labor price). If we are 2 days late, your order is free of charge.
  • The assembly order does not start until the last component is received, so occasionally there are delays in receiving material that are beyond our control and therefore not considered as a late shipment.

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What are the payment terms?

Your first order must be paid with a credit card. If you wish to setup an account you must have a minimum of three orders during consecutive months, for a minimum of $2000 each. Applications for account are subject to our approval.

  • We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

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What will you do with the stencil after the order is done?

  • Not all jobs require stencils at Screaming Circuits. If a stencil is required, by default, we hold your stencil in house for 60 days from the date of your order. At that time they are recycled. A stencil (if one was used) can be returned to you for no charge (except for shipping) upon request. Your files will be retained for 1 year from the date your order is placed online.
  • The stencil requires packaging separate from your order so we need to charge $30.00 extra shipping to return a stencil to you.

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What do you do with extra components after the build is finished?

Screaming Circuits returns all extra components with the completed assemblies.

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How should I ship packages to Screaming Circuits?

Check out our KitChecklist. Please be sure the outside of each package is marked with the Screaming Circuits order number to:

Screaming Circuits
ATTN: XXXX-XXXX
1140 NW 3rd Avenue
Canby OR 97013

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What do you charge for shipping?

We ship via UPS by default. Our shipping charges are, per package, $60 for Next Day Air, $30 for 2nd Day Air, and $10 for Ground.

  • We default to Next Day for 24 & 48 hour turns; 2nd Day for 5 day turns, and Ground for 10 day turns. Please feel free to let us know your shipping preferences in the special notes field when placing an order.
  • We can ship by courier also, if you have a need please give us a call.

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Do you offer any discounts?

We offer 10% off your order if you are a new customer. We also offer a 10% ongoing discount for all University related work. At various times we offer special promotions. If you would like to be on a list to receive them, please register.

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What if I have a problem with my boards? How do you handle rework?

If you find an issue with our workmanship, we are more than happy to evaluate and repair your assemblies at no charge. Please contact us by phone or email for an RMA number.

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How do you handle shortages?

We have two options based on what you tell us at the time of order. We can:

  • A) notify you and wait until you ship us the part to complete the order
  • B) complete the order without that part, allowing you to hand place it when you receive the boards.

Note that we depend on you supplying the right quantity of the right parts. In order to maintain the most flexibility and keep costs down as much as possible, we do not inventory your parts prior to processing the job. That means that even on a ten day order, we may not notice a shortage until the day before delivery - so please make sure you supply the right parts.

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