Author Archives: Rick

Hi5’s 2014 investment ends with black hole (machine!)

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2014 saw us bid a fond farewell to our venerable Resco Black Hole machine and welcome our new improved machine, manufactured by Lantronic of Holland. What is the Black Hole process? In order to make the holes in a printed circuit board conductive (prior to the copper plating stage), we need to apply a microscopically […]


Flexible PCBs move forward

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Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are the heart and heartbeat of all electronic devices.  Developed principally after WWII, we are all familiar with the exponential development in PCB technology in the following years, and the oft-quoted pub statistic that the electronics in the spaceship that first landed man on the moon are now found in most […]


8 tips for PCB designers

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In the 21st Century, electronic equipment can perform an incredible array of tasks, from automatically recording Antiques Roadshow… to automatically hovering round your feet as you watch it.  However, at the heart of any piece of electronic equipment is its circuit board… its neural wiring.  And if you get that wrong, you may find your […]


How to protect your PCB

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PCB design has come on a great deal In recent years and circuit boards can now be incredibly resilient (and in fact, as we have noted elsewhere on the site, even manufactured in bendable material).  Despite that, there is still one thing all designers need to bear in mind when it comes to their circuit […]


Energy Saving LEDs Win Nobel Prize

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Last week, the most prestigious award in the world of science was presented to three scientists for an invention that’s bringing light to even the darkest places in the world. On first impressions, the humble blue light emitting diodes (or LED for short) may not strike you as the most impressive of inventions. But the […]


RoHS. What you need to Know

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Firstly, the basics.  RoHS stands for “Restriction of Hazardous Substances,” the culprits in question being such materials as mercury, lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated diphenyl ether flame-retardants and polybrominated biphenyl. The notion behind RoHS is to reduce the use of these potentially toxic chemicals in electronic items. Initially aimed at consumer/household electronics, the net was […]


What does UL certification testing entail?

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Part of the PCB manufacturing process is the UL test.  In this article we will firstly outline what is involved with the UL test, before moving on to discuss’ Hi5’s accreditation for performing that test. UL recognition of metal substrates (in terms of the base material used in PCB manufacture) has become increasingly important in […]


How to choose PCB components

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The design of a printed circuit board can be a difficult and challenging undertaking.  Of course here at Hi5 we are more than happy to consult on the design of PCBs.  However, if you are keen on Hi5 manufacturing to your own design, here is a 10-point plan of some things you should be thinking […]


The 4 best PCB surface finishes

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Scratch the surface and you’ll find there’s a lot more to PCB finishes than you think.  Actually, don’t scratch the surface… that is very much the point.  It is the finish will ultimately protect the copper on the board from oxidation. The possible finishes to your PCB are varied, and can have very different impacts […]


From Gerber to working prototype – a PCB manufacturing overview

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The electronics industry – just as with marketing… even politics – is often guilty of an over reliance on jargon.  This is also true of the ubiquity across the industry of O.P.As (often pointless acronyms). That’s not to say, of course, that the process isn’t complicated, with many precise stages in the process between your […]