First experience review of allpcb, $15 for 5 100x100mm boards, $5 for 50x50mm boards, shipped DHL

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victor_pv
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First experience review of allpcb, $15 for 5 100x100mm boards, $5 for 50x50mm boards, shipped DHL

Post by victor_pv » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:50 pm

Update 1/18/18:
Their prices seem to be increasing slowly but steadely, but still offer DHL shipping (delivery in 5 days to the US) for about $20 for 100x100mm boards, which seems to be the best deal unless you are willing to wait a couple of weeks on other vendors.
I still plan on using them for the next rev of a board I am developing, their quality seems to be very good, and the shipping is unbeated yet by any other.

There is a link for joining below, if you use that link gives some credit to my account, and some discount to you if you decide to go ahead and order.
The credit in my account will be used for open projects in the forum such as F4 bluepill.

Their credit is the form of a discount, we can't pay for free boards. It gives a %10 discount as far as I can tell.
--------------------------------

First, for anyone not wanting to read a lot, just the quick and dirty:

First of all, I think they are just as good as anyone else I have used in the past, but cheaper and faster. I can remember I have used dirtypcb, EasyEda, and elecrow in the past. No problem with them, but in all cases either you pay more for shipping than for the boards themselves, or you have to wait weeks, and still pay much more than with allpcbs.

Allpcb matches the best of those in quality, and beats them in price and shipping. I am really impressed since for 5$ you can order 10 pieces of up to 100x100mm boards, and get them delivered for free anywhere.

If you register to the site using this link gives $20 credit to each me that we dedicate to community/open projects, and some discounts to the person joining. If you join using this link, write a post saying you joined to keep track. I only see the email address of who joined, but not even the name. We can use the credit to pay for community/open boards such as the F4 bluepill being developed. I went to use the "bonus" for the first time for bluepillF4 boards, and it only gives a 10% discount, you can't pay a full order with the bonus no matter how much bonus has accumulated.
Use this link if you want to get a small discount when ordering, but sadly we can't pay for project boards with the bonus.
http://www.allpcb.com/setinvite.aspx?in ... llpcb.com/

After my first order arrived, this is my review of them:
  • Quality: I have only received my first order, and will update if my second doesn't meet expectations, but my first order was perfect.
  • Shipping: Can't get any better. DHL with tracking for free. Arrived to US within 5 days. Nicely packaged in a box, not just an envelope as some orders I have ordered. The tracking number shows in their website, and you can click to go to DHL.com. In my case required signature on delivery, but I think you can change that thru the DHL website.
  • Price: For 2layer prototypes, under 100x100mm, the best price around. $5 pays for up to 10 100x100 boards (I got 12). Allows single design panels with V cuts. Typical design rules, and typical materials (1.6mm thick, HASL, 0.3 min drill, 6mil trace spacing...).
Now, the detailed explanation and opinion for anyone that wants to read it.

As some of you know from the forum, a few weeks ago I started developing a HAL for Marlin for stm32 MCUs, based in our core.
I had a working version a few weeks ago, but no 3d printer board based in STM32 to test it with, so I embarked on designing my own board.

I designed 2 versions, one of them with up to 8 stepper drivers, 5 high power mostfet outputs, 2 low power fan outputs, 6 endstop IO, and some more expansion. That required a 100x140mm PCB. I ordered 10 pieces from the cheapest company I could find for that size, EasyEDA, but shipping is either slow or expensive, and I made a mistake in the design ruining all the boards, so I had to start again. The boards were fine to my design, it was totally my mistake, but after waiting 2 or 3 weeks to get them, or paying more for faster shipping and risking throwing more money away, I decided to design a smaller version that could fit in 100x100mm, so would be cheaper to go thru prototype iterations.
Then I made a new version with up to 6 steppers, 4 thermistor inputs, 3 high power FETs, 1 lo power fet, 4 endstop/io, 1 ESP8266 port, LCD and SD ports, and some extra IO pins for whatever else. Once that is fully functional and tested, I could add more to it.

At that time, I discovered allpcb offered 10 pieces of 100x100mm board for $5, shipped with DHL to anywhere in the world! I thought there had to be something wrong with it to be so cheap, but after reviewing the site it looked as good as anyone else, so I decided to place my first order.

The boards arrived just few days later, and I started assembling one. I was going to wait until complete functional testing to post about it, but 1 components is still in the slow ship from China, and someone else posted that they ordered their first boards that had not arrived yet, so I thought posting my honest opinion could be helpful for anyone doubting on using them.

I live in the US, and the boards arrived in like 5 days (there was a weekend in between if I remember right). DHL tracking is updated as soon as the package ships, so you know when to expect them.
From production to shipping they take about 1-2 working days. If they find any mistake or suspect something wrong, Emily will send you an email, with good English, so easy communication, and once everything is sorted out they get to production, and get shipped in a couple of days. My first design had something that was fine but called their attention, was sorted in a couple of emails.

I ordered 10 pieces, and got 12. Everything looks good in them, and I have checked 2 of them more in detail and they look perfect. Silk screen looks great in both sides (other than mistakes I made and I verified in my design files).
I assembled 1 of them almost completely, except for a connector that was ordered weeks ago, never got here, and I had to reorder. I did some basic testing (power pretty much), but can't connect the MCU to do full test of the board (MCU goes in a daughter card).

I have already ordered a different pcb from them and waiting for it to arrive, and will update if my second experience is any different, but at this point I feel confident with them, and I think for small prototypes they are unbeatable. I have not tried panelized designs, but from their website they allow it as long as is 1 single design replicated multiple times in a board, and with V cuts.

I am adding this invitation link to them, if someone wants to join and uses this link supposedly gives some credit to him and me ($20 to each according to the site), that pays 4 x $5 orders for each.
http://www.allpcb.com/setinvite.aspx?inviteid=25861

Use it if you want to get some credit upon joining for your first orders. I'm happy to use the credit to order community boards.

My review is totally honest and motivated by helping others decide if they are worth the shot.

Perhaps we can instead have Roger post his link if he decides to use them, and we can use his link to join, so he can get some credit for his own projects. After all he pays for the forum from his own pocket.
Or if he doesn't feel like it, we could instead create one account for future forum projects, anyone that uses them joins their site using that link, and that accumulate small ammounts for things like the F4 bluepill prototypes or things like that.
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On a side note, the stm32duino/libmaple Marlin HAL is working fine. I printed successfully with a generic 103VET board wired to my first faulty 100x140mm prototype, Marlin ran great. Later on someone sent me a Chitu3d (based in a 103ZET MCU), and after finding out the pin mapping I compiled Marlin and printer successfully with it. I need to get my current prototype finished though to test the LCD display and SD card functionality, but XC000005, who started working in the HAL too, has tested SD Card succesfully, so only the LCDs left to test..

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RogerClark
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Re: First experience review of allpcb, $5 for 100x100mm boards shipped

Post by RogerClark » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:19 am

Hi Victor

Excellent review

I think they must be running this as a loss-leader ad even the DHL shipping normally costs far more than $5

So I guess its best to take advantage of the offer while its still at this price.


I have a half complete, simple breakout board for the Blue Pill to connect to a ILI9341 and a OV7670 camera, so at $5 I may get my ass in gear and finish it and send off.
As even if its useless its only $5 down the drain

victor_pv
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Re: First experience review of allpcb, $5 for 100x100mm boards shipped

Post by victor_pv » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:26 am

RogerClark wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:19 am
...


I have a half complete, simple breakout board for the Blue Pill to connect to a ILI9341 and a OV7670 camera, so at $5 I may get my ass in gear and finish it and send off.
As even if its useless its only $5 down the drain
I had the same thought when I placed my first order, I thought it would be a few days promotion and hauled ass to finish my board and send it :lol:
Also agreed this price must be at a lost, I bet after they have gained enough momentum this will go away...
On the other hand, other PCB houses may start bringing down their shipping costs...

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RogerClark
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Re: First experience review of allpcb, $5 for 100x100mm boards shipped

Post by RogerClark » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:33 am

With DirtyPCB's I normally end up paying for DHL (or similar) otherwise the boards took months to get here.

I agree the others will need to raise their game or just hope theses guys burn up too much cash and just wait for them to start having to charge realistic prices

But hopefully this offer will last for a while.

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RogerClark
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Re: First experience review of allpcb, $5 for 100x100mm boards shipped

Post by RogerClark » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:34 am

BTW. What does the invite link do?

The first time I clicked on it, I got a 404 and the next time it just took me to their home page

victor_pv
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Re: First experience review of allpcb, $5 for 100x100mm boards shipped

Post by victor_pv » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:32 am

RogerClark wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:34 am
BTW. What does the invite link do?

The first time I clicked on it, I got a 404 and the next time it just took me to their home page
Supposedly if you join after clicking on that link, we both get $20 credit. I say supposedly because I find it hard to believe, given their prices, and because if the first time I post such link, so no real experience. They mention somewhere else in the page that if someone places an order after clicking the link, I should get 2% credit. That seems more realistic, but $20 each just for signing seems too good to be true. But then $5 PCBs with DHL shipping was seemed just as good to be true... :lol:

If you haven't signed up as client yet and want to do so, go ahead and we will see if it's true. If they give me $20 in credit just for someone signing I will place the first order of F4 pills to spread in the US, or the first 4 $5 orders actually :D

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RogerClark
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Re: First experience review of allpcb, $5 for 100x100mm boards shipped

Post by RogerClark » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:32 am

There seems to be a problem with the full URL

If I remove the redirect bit at the end, it worked

e.g. the correct link is

http://www.allpcb.com/setinvite.aspx?inviteid=25861

I seem to have a $20 coupon, but I've not look how to redeem

Hopefully you also have $20

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RogerClark
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Re: First experience review of allpcb, $5 for 100x100mm boards shipped

Post by RogerClark » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:47 am

Victor

Did you apply to claim a coupon by posting a link to your review e.g.

http://member.allpcb.com/newmember/share_info

I don't mind and perhaps the community can get some benefit e.g. F4 Pills ?

victor_pv
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Re: First experience review of allpcb, $5 for 100x100mm boards shipped

Post by victor_pv » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:19 pm

I posted a review in their own site, and they gave me $4 credit, nice.
I have submitted this review to their site, we will see what happens, but seems like they are legit giving rewards because now I see $20 credit in my account, and seems like it's from you registering.
Do you see $20 bonus in your own account also?
I see your other post above. Well that's nice, you got enough credit for 4 prototypes too.

Well, I'm happy to use those 20 bucks to order F4bluepills when they are ready for a first shot.

I have now built my own reflow oven (still testing it), so I'll be happy to reflow them too. So we have credit for the PCBs, and I have a working reflow oven. We need the final designs and BOM and we can order the components.

Perhaps they are good enough to order batches of F4 pills assembled, when we have a final design we can try to get a quote.

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RogerClark
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Re: First experience review of allpcb, $5 for 100x100mm boards shipped

Post by RogerClark » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:54 pm

I am not sure if I have any credit, it seemed to imply that I only got that credit if I made a purchase and then wrote a review e.g here or on my blog.

I took another look at the OV7670 ILI9341 BluePill breakout I designed but I realised I need to re-do the layout as the board was too wide, as I had included connections to the SD on the IKI9341 which made the whole board over 10 cm wide.

So I will need to reroute it, which is actually more complicated than it sounds

That will be a job for this evening

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