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PCB reverse engineering

The imitation PCB board is a PCB copy board, It is also a PCB clone, which is reverse engineering of PCB design. It is to first remove the components on the PCB circuit board to make a BOM list, scan the empty board into a picture, and restore it to a PCB board drawing file through the copying software; send the PCB board drawing file to the PCB board factory to make the board ( PCBA), and then add components (purchase the corresponding components according to the BOM list), which is exactly the same PCB circuit board as the original PCB circuit board.
Any electronic product imitation and electronic product cloning can be completed through PCB copy board technology.

The purpose of the PCB copy is sometimes to modify the PCB, which is to conduct reverse technology research on the designed PCB board. After referring to a lot of information, the process of PCB reverse engineering is summarized as follows:

ItemWhat can i do?Accuracy
Maximum layers1-38 layers
Maximum PCB thickness6mm±0.05mm
Maximum size640mm x 480mm±0.01mm
Minimum line widthHardboard 0.01mm
Flexible plate 0.005mm
Minimum line gapHardboard 0.01mm
Flexible plate 0.005mm
Minimum mechanical through holeHardboard 0.15mm
Flexible plate 0.1mm
Minimum mechanical Bury holeHardboard 0.15mm
Flexible plate 0.1mm
Minimum laser hole management0.1mm±0.05mm
Minimum laser Bury hole0.1mm±0.06mm
Types of the blind foramenFirst-order, second-order,
third-order, fourth-order
 laser blind hole
Types of buried holes>20 kinds
Copper thickness measurement
of the multilayer board
Measurement of multi-layer
plate spacing
Impedance measurement5-150 Oumu±0.5 oumu
Resistance measurement0.00001 oumu-19m oumu±5%
Capacitance measurement0.001pF-100F±6%
Inductance measurement0.001nH-10H±7%

The first step is to get a PCB. First, record the model, parameters, and positions of all vital parts on paper, especially the direction of the diode, the tertiary tube, and the direction of the IC gap. It is best to use a digital camera to take two photos of the location of vital parts. The current PCB circuit boards are getting more and more advanced. Some of the diode transistors are not noticed at all.

Front of PCB board (this is PCB copy before the original PCB board)
Back of PCB board (this is PCB copy before original PCB board)

The second step is to remove all the components and remove the tin in the PAD hole. Clean the PCB with alcohol and put it in the scanner. When the scanner scans, you need to raise the scanned pixels slightly to get a clearer image. Then lightly sand the top and bottom layers with water gauze paper until the copper film is shiny, put them in the scanner, start PHOTOSHOP, and scan the two layers separately in color. Note that the PCB must be placed horizontally and vertically in the scanner, otherwise the scanned image cannot be used.

Remove all components from the original PCB board
Make all PCB BOM list

The third step is to adjust the contrast and brightness of the canvas to make the part with copper film and the part without copper film have a strong contrast, and then turn the second image into black and white, and check whether the lines are clear. If not, repeat this step. If it is clear, save the picture as black and white BMP format files TOP.BMP and BOT.BMP. If you find any problems with the graphics, you can also use PHOTOSHOP to repair and correct them.

Grind off the paint on it so that you can see the wiring diagram
Scan PCB board

The fourth step is to convert the two BMP format files into PROTEL format files, and transfer two layers in PROTEL. For example, the positions of PAD and VIA that have passed through the two layers basically coincide, indicating that the previous steps are well done. If there is a deviation, repeat the third step. Therefore, PCB reverse engineering is a work that requires patience, because a small problem will affect the quality and the degree of matching after copying the board.

The fifth step is to convert the BMP of the TOP layer to TOP.PCB, pay attention to the conversion to the SILK layer, which is the yellow layer, and then you can trace the line on the TOP layer, and place the device according to the drawing in the second step. Delete the SILK layer after drawing. Keep repeating until all the layers are drawn.

The sixth step is to import the TOP.PCB and BOT.PCB in PROTEL, and it is OK to combine them into one picture.

In the seventh step, use a laser printer to print the TOP LAYER and BOTTOM LAYER on transparent film (1:1 ratio), but the film on the PCB, and compare whether there are errors. If they are correct, you are successful.

A copy board that is the same as the original board is completed, but this is only half done. It is also necessary to test whether the electronic technical performance of the copy PCB is the same as the original board. If it is the same, it is really done.

PCB files

Remarks: If it is a multilayer board, you need to carefully polish to the inner layer, and repeat the PCB copy steps from the third to the fifth step. Of course, the graphics are named differently, depending on the number of layers. Generally, double-sided board copying requires It is much simpler than the multi-layer board, and the multi-layer copy board is prone to misalignment, so the multi-layer board copy PCB must be very careful and careful (where the internal vias and non-vias are prone to problems).

Double-sided PCB reverse engineering method:

  1. Scan the upper and lower layers of the circuit board and save two BMP pictures.
  2. Open the copy PCB board software Quickpcb2005, click “File” “Open Base Map” to open a scanned picture. Use PAGE UP to zoom in on the screen, see the pad, press PP to place a pad, see the line, and follow the PT line…… Just like a child drawing, draw it in this software, click “Save” to generate a B2P file.
  3. Click “File” and “Open Base Image” to open another layer of the scanned color image;
  4. Click “File” and “Open” again to open the B2P file saved earlier. We see the newly copied board, stacked on top of this picture-the same PCB board, the holes are in the same position, but the wiring connections are different. So we press “Options”-“Layer Settings”, turn off the top-level line and silkscreen here, leaving only multi-layer vias.
  5. The vias on the top layer are in the same position as the vias on the bottom picture. Now we can trace the lines on the bottom layer as we did in childhood. Click “Save” again-the B2P file now has two layers of information at the top and bottom.
  6. Click “File” and “Export as PCB File”, and you can get a PCB file with two layers of data. You can change the board or output the schematic diagram or send it directly to the PCB plate factory for production

Multilayer PCB reverse engineering method:

In fact, the four-layer board copy PCB is to copy two double-sided boards repeatedly, and the sixth layer is to repeat three double-sided boards… The reason why the multi-layer board is daunting is that we cannot see the internal wiring. How do we see the inner layers of a precision multilayer board?-Layering.

There are many methods of layering, such as potion corrosion, tool stripping, etc., but it is easy to separate the layers and lose data. Experience tells us that sanding is the most accurate.

When we finish copying the top and bottom layers of the PCB, we usually use sandpaper to polish the surface layer to show the inner layer; sandpaper is ordinary sandpaper sold in hardware stores, usually flat PCB, and then press the sandpaper and rub evenly on the PCB (If the board is small, you can also lay the sandpaper flat, press the PCB with one finger and rub on the sandpaper). The main point is to pave it flat so that it can be ground evenly.

The silkscreen and green oil are generally wiped off, and the copper wire and copper skin should be wiped a few times. Generally speaking, the Bluetooth board can be wiped in a few minutes, and the memory stick will take about ten minutes; of course, if you have more energy, it will take less time; if you have less energy, it will take more time.

Grinding board is currently the most common solution used for layering, and it is also the most economical. We can find a discarded PCB and try it. In fact, it is not technically difficult to grind the board. It is just a bit boring. It takes a little effort and there is no need to worry about grinding the board to the fingers.

If you need PCB reverse engineering, please contact Whatsapp: 0086133378667812; email: orod@chip-programmer.com; we will provide you with PCB clone services quickly and accurately!

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Tel :+86 13378667812



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