Widely used technology
As far as PCB reverse engineering is concerned, this is something which is used in several fields by professionals such as product designers, electrical engineers as well as system integrators and system makers. In particular, these professionals might encounter a situation involving products which are based on old designs. This might also involve components which may have become obsolete and therefore very difficult to find. Likewise, the original manufacturer’s documentation may simply no longer be freely available. Nevertheless, manufacturers may have solid reasons for why they would want to use that specific PCB design. There are many companies today who are involved in the process of PCB reverse engineering. These companies will use a range of reverse engineering techniques where they would disassemble the sample which may be an assembled PCB or sometimes a bare PCB. They will then proceed to look at all of the available details and during this time they will examine the PCB boards extensively. In an attempt to be thorough they may even scan such a PCB ball by using sophisticated tools and technologies. When all goes well the company will be able to provide customers with an extensive documentation package. Well-established companies are able to do PCB reverse engineering involving PCB boards made up of as much as 28 layers.
The typical PCB reversal process
In the majority of cases, PCB design engineering involves a situation where a couple of design engineers have basic function details on the table which is then used to create the initial schematic. This will be followed by a range of layout drawings which is followed by BOM and PCB assembly drawings. This will then be followed by the actual PCB assembly and fabrication which is the final product in this process. Once this is understood, this will give an individual insight into what exactly PCB reverse engineering involves. Instead of the straightforward process described above, the desired information has to be obtained by going the other way. In this case, you have the final product in your hands which then leads to layout drawings and a BOM list. When all goes well this will result in a schematic. The typical PCB reversal process might look something like this. The reverse engineering company will receive a PCB board from the customer and they will proceed to disassemble the sample until they are left with a bare board and several components. They will then start to put together a list of the components which was used which is known as BOM or bill of material. During this process, each separate layer of the PCB is photocopied and everything is also scanned to identify all of the trace patterns. This will then result in a new PCB Gerber file.
A complicated process
Each component will be measured in order to ensure an accurate BOM which can be used to create a schematic. Sometimes an IC crack is done and thereafter the PCB fabrication will start based upon the new PCB Gerber file. This will be followed by the procurement of components and IC programming. The PCB will then be assembled according to the new BOM which was obtained. The building of the sample can then be done followed by a test of the sample and there may be a few finishing touches required. This will result in the completed PCB reversal process. The company is now able to provide customers with the Gerber files as well as the BOM. They can also provide the IC crack software if this is needed. All of the results and the samples are then sent to the customer for final approval. Reverse engineering circuit boards and related technologies are providing technological companies with interesting and valuable options.
What companies should do
Any company faced with the problem of reverse engineering PCB boards or similar problems should find a PCB reverse engineering company which will be willing to work closely with them and who will continue to share information during the process. This will lead to accurate results and an end product which is able to meet the needs of the customer. This will make it easier to provide a BOM list which is based on a solid reversal process. This will address all of the issues which will enable the client company to reproduce that PCB board and to make improvements when necessary. PCB reversal engineering companies are making use of sophisticated reverse engineering techniques which allows them to provide customers with extraordinary results. These companies have professional PCB reverse engineers who have the education, expertise, and commitment to ensure a satisfactory end product.