How to make FPC 0.5mm 60p

Hello!

I need to do this kind of PCB with FPC 0.5mm 60p with Kicad and JLCPCB. I have made many PCBs with JLCPCB, but I don’t know how to use integrated parts.

I would like that JLCPCB makes the FPC connector also to the PCB so that I don’t have to solder so tiny pins. How do I add that connector to the PCB with Kicad so that JLCPCB understands what I want?

Thanks!
, Pete.

1 Like

Hi Pete,

just for clarification: You are asking how to use the JLCPCB PCBA service (PCB assembly) with KiCad?
So you are familiar with orderding PCBs from JLCPCB, but have never used the PCB assembly service, is this correct?

  • Martin

Yes! I know how to do PCB with Kicad and order it from JLCPCB, but I don’t know how to add assembled components to my order and PCB. Thanks!

PCBA is the same as PCB, but you have to assign their p/n for components (Cxxxxx number from their website).
At the end you generate Gerber files + BOM and CPL (pick and place) file.
You can generate it manually or use of the JLC plugins for KiCAD.
On the PCBA preview make sure the components are not shifted and not rotated.
In your case it’s easy as it’s pretty much one components + a header which you probably will solder yourself.

Thank you! I will try it.

I recommend using the “fabrication toolkit” plugin for JLC export.
Otherwise you’ll have a lot of trial and error with the file formats.
Regarding shift and rotation: Don’t bother with it, some JLC engineer will fix it. Just make sure it’s clear from the silkscreen how it should be positioned.
When using JLC (actually LCSC) components, it makes sense to export their EasyEDA footprint into KiCad. There’s also a plugin for that. Saves a lot of time for ugly footprints like USB-C headers.

Finally, FPC connectors (also 0.5 mm) are very easy to hand solder. Technique is called “wave soldering”, check YT for tutorials. Basically you have a large tip with a tiny cavity for the solder and drag it over the pins. Very low temperature (like 270°C) and lots of flux keep the solder surface tension high enough it does not create shorts.

I just had a pcb made and assembled by JLC, the part ordering was very complicated, I had to find many alternates and it all has to be done (afaik) on the order page, there’s no way to come back later and change parts.
but i had a similar connector on my board, but only 14pin. it was fine except the center of my part was (near) the center, JLC’s center was in the center of the smt pins. so i just “moved” it in their sw as i was ordering. so don’t forget to check that screen as you’re going through it all.
good luck.
post a pic when you get boards back!

From my experience, JLCPCB is the wrong place to have an existing design manufactured, because most of your components won’t be in the LCSC catalog. This is continuously improving though.
So the JLC flow is: Find components in their assembly catalog, design around those and assign all of them already in the design. Trying to find components in the order page is the wrong approach IMO.

If you have an existing design with arbitrary components, go to an assembly house that will order from Mouser, Farnell, Avnet etc, for example Eurocircuits, Aisler or PCBWay.
If just few components are missing, you might hand solder them. However, solderability of already reflow soldered PCBAs from JLC is poor.

yes, that’s about right for now…
what i ended up doing was noting which parts it could not find, searching for those parts in the catalog and adding an LCSC part number to those (in the schematic and BOM) so it could find the substitutes automatically. then starting the order over again, i think i had start over 3 or four times.

Agree, you need to design using their library. The OP’s PCB is easy to very simple to “re-design”, but otherwise it most cases it too time consuming.
However if you start your project from scratch with JPB PCBA in mind - it’s very easy and straight forward. Especially after a few designs when you have some “favourite” components already choosen from their library.
The template I use has their p/n field already added. That makes things much easier and quicker.

Thanks for the all replies! Very helpful!

I checked Youtube-tutorial for soldering the 0.5mm FPC connector. I was very surprised how easy it is to solder the tiny 0.5mm connector! I’m going to try that. Thanks for the idea, Martinn! But, it would be so nice to learn how to do an assembled PCB also.