[vcf-midatlantic] gold fing-ers

systems_glitch systems.glitch at gmail.com
Mon Apr 23 07:47:32 EDT 2018

Indeed, the biggest benefit to running at PCBCart.com is the hard gold. The
quality of lesser board houses is still usually acceptable for most other
features. PCBCart's silkscreen process is also much better, so if you've
got a silkscreen layer that requires high precision, they're a good choice
too. Their big cost-increaser is the one time tooling fee, which of course
goes away if you run the board more than once with no changes. But, even
with all that, a medium-sized run of any full-featured board with
PCBCart.com is still an order of magnitude cheaper than it was, say, 10
years ago!

W.R.T. non-hard gold plating on new boards, unless the board needs to be
ENIG anyway (fine pitch surface mount), I wouldn't bother. It's my personal
opinion that running ENIG and showing off a gold-colored card edge
connector is somewhat dishonest. I know of *cough* at least one seller of
8-bit ISA IDE interfaces *cough* who pulls that business, and then charges
more for a much smaller board that lacks proper plating. I'm not 100%
convinced that the "thicker ENIG" some board houses offer is any more than
a scam anyway, since the immersion gold process in ENIG is an ion swap --
how could one possibly swap more gold ions once the nickel layer is coated?


On Sun, Apr 22, 2018 at 1:44 PM, Henry S. Courbis via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:

> Herb,
> You can usually request boards in varying thicknesses of gold plating.
> Most will "flash" gold to a pin for cheap I have found.  It does kind of
> look like gold, but as you said it's thin and won't withstand any real
> abuse.  I always request 2u" (.002 mils) of plating on edge connectors.
> This isn't as good as hard gold, however I have tested a board with 100
> inserts and removals with no issues.  And it may even make 200 times, but I
> never tested that far.  So that seemed a good compromise on price and
> longevity.
> Of course this doesn't help if you have boards already made.  In the future
> I can recommend MakerFabs.com for low runs and even assembly.  Jonathan's
> recommendation of PCBCart.com is also a good outfit but at a higher price.
> Quality was slightly better I believe, but not amazingly so. However they
> do offer hard gold as an option and at a good price too.
> $.02
> Henry S. Courbis
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> On Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 9:39 AM, Herb Johnson via vcf-midatlantic <
> vcf-midatlantic at lists.vintagecomputerfederation.org> wrote:
> > Thanks, Corey for the info on that pen technology. Prices seem to be
> > higher than you suggest. I'll email you with some questions, I'll share
> > some results - don't want to clutter this list with details.
> >
> > Also thanks, Jonathan, same deal. The boards I'm getting are not
> > expensive, I think making one or two of my own would not be cheap. We can
> > discuss wear and tear on edge connectors. I deal with some of those
> issues
> > on my Web site, some pages discuss use of cleaner/lubricants like DeOxit
> on
> > corroded IC sockets and (solder/tin coated) IC pins.
> >
> > Metal plating is interesting technology. And it's a means to repair some
> > vintage equipment, so it's relevant here.
> >
> > herb
> >
> >
> > --
> > Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
> > http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
> >

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