One of the easiest mistakes for a PCB fab shop to make is building a board to the wrong revision. Now to some this might not seem that simple a mistake to make but it is and most of the time the reason is that the rev is not properly indicated by the customer.
I think one of the problems is that what seems like a small insignificant issue to the customers blows up when it comes to building the product. It is literally a mountain out of a molehill issue.
Here are a few tips to make sure that your PCB fabricator gets the right data package and builds the right revision of your board.

  1. Check all parts of your data package to make sure they are all in sync when it comes to the revision. All documents should reflect the same revision.
  2. Indicate on the cover page exactly what the change is. This is critical because sometimes the change is paperwork only and does not affect the design and build of the board. But! That is not always the case so this is not something to take for granted.
  3. If it is a significant change talk to your PCB supplier about it. This is no time to play guessing games. Lay out what the changes are and thus what you expect from him. Be clear about this.
  4. Take your supplier’s call if he is calling you about a questions as to which rev is correct. It is better to be safe than sorry and yes, your supplier only has your best interest at heart.
  5. This is important! Listen to your PCB supplier is the new revision in any way conflicts with the best and most economical way to build the board. You are the expert in engineering the board. Your PCB supplier is the expert when it comes to fabricating the board. So, work together with mutual respect.
  6. And one more and this is important. Make sure that your rev on your purchase order matches the revision you want to build to as well as the revision on the data package. If it is not this can not only cause your fabricator to build to the wrong rev, but it can cause a bureaucratic perfect time when it is time to ship the boards. This is particular critical when it comes to quick turn and prototypes where often the actual P.O. is not received by the board shop until the boards are almost built. Please make sure to update your P.O. as well as your data package. It is simple…everything has to match, end of story.

Think about it. You want the best board possible, and your supplier wants to provide that board, so work together to make sure you are all on the same page, building the right board with the right revision.