PCB Board Manufacturing and Assembly

DTMF Pulse to tone converter for old antique phones.

All I have zero background in electronics and I am following a diy project on how to build a tone to pulse dial converter. The project has got the Attiny85 that also needs programming. Does Core electronics do the assembly of the components as well or where do I find someone that can print and assemble a prototype board and upload the .hex to the attiny85 please. Once I have it working I would then like to learn how to programme the Attiny85 and eventually solder my own components Any advice much appreciated. I have got the diagram and the gerber files.Thanks

I asked Core a while back if they created PCB boards from Gerber files. They said they didn’t. I have used JLCPCB for my boards, but it would be expensive if you want just one. For simple projects there are project or prototyping boards, basically a lot of holes with copper circles for soldering. Component leads are pushed into holes and hand wired. Or if you haven’t done any of this get a solderless breadboard with jumper leads. Easy to set up and pull apart circuits, so reusable. If you are going to learn to program the ATtiny85 then look first at learning about Arduino programming. It is easier than ATtiny85, and an Arduino board can be set up as an ATtiny programmer. If you offer a few hundred dollars someone will make your board for you, but you won’t learn much.


Here you can get some resources for the project: Pulse to Tone Converter | Hackaday.io
For PCB printing, you can contact: https://www.pcbway.com/
They do PCB printing and assembly.


Which way around ??? Common sense would say it is the pulse to tone one as unless you have several thousand relays or several of those big bulky stepper things (forget what these were called now) the other one won’t be much use.

But the point I would make here is unless you can be more accurate with descriptions and requirements you are not going t get very far.
Cheers Bob


Thanks Bob, maybe I should change the title of my post to make it easier. Maybe I was not clear enough in my post that I am after a PCB manufacturer regardless if I want a pulse to tone converter or build a space ship.

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Hi S

Yes i thought that. My criticism was meant to be constructive. I was highlighting the fact that there was an error (will put that down to a typo) and accurate descriptions make life so much easier when trying to help with a problem remotely. Unfortunately getting the desired accuracy sometimes, as I have mentioned on several occasions, is like pulling teeth. But that is the way it is.

Anyway back to business. I have not come across any Forum contributor who is in the business of producing and populating boards but I could of course be wrong although you have not had many offers. I do however recall some Forum users having boards made and populated I think in China with apparently good results. I think you design your board using KiCad or one of the other bits of software and populate it with this company’s inventory part numbers, submit this and you wind up with the finished product.

Alan’s mention of JLCPCB rings a bell.

Perhaps someone who knows more about this could jump in here and help out.

If, as you say you have nil electronics experience, Alan"s advice re starting with Arduino is worth heeding. You can’t do an electronics course in 5 minutes. You need to start with basics and work up.

Soldering. Is once again a subject brushed aside as having little importance. Once again start by reading about it and looking at some techniques. There are some videos around and as always some are just rubbish while there are some very good ones with lots of do’s and don’ts.
It all come down to how well you learn about it and lots of practise. And more practise. First thing is getting a quality soldering iron, temperature controlled with a useful selection of tips.

One final thing returning to your phone project. I am not sure what the situation is these days but the powers that be (Telstra etc) used to be VERY fussy about what you could connect to their telephone line. Serious repercussions for those caught connecting un approved devices. I know in extreme cases this even got down to the 240VAC power cable used to power such devices.
A bit of trivia. We found out some years ago that the common Sub D (DB25 etc) connectors used just about everywhere were (or ar) NOT Austel approved. Approval requires insulation of 800VDC between pins. “D” connectors were rated 600V.
Cheers Bob


I have only dealt with JLCPCB, but have looked at other manufacturers. It seems the common language for PCB production is the Gerber file. S123282 says they have the Gerber files so it is a matter of following the instructions on the manufacturer’s website. JLCPCB require all the files to be in a zip file then submitted stating what sort of PCB is wanted (colour, copper thickness, material, layers). Pay with PayPal, arrives a week or so later.

I was interested to see if I could find a local PCB maker. There is a directory https://www.pcbdirectory.com/manufacturers?country=Australia. I emailed a couple asking for quotes, only one responded and basically wasn’t interested. The conversation went “give me a quote”, “we can’t do it cheaper than JLCPCB”, “give me a quote anyway”,“we can’t do it cheaper than JLCPCB”,“so even though I might accept your quote you are not willing to give one, and I might as well go to JLCPCB”,“If you want to take it that way”. This, even though the company had on its website “send your requirements and we’ll give you a quote”. Also, other companies that say they are PCB manufacturers may not be, just acting as agents and sending the requirements overseas.

I haven’t tried getting a board populated yet. So can’t help there. I think Core have their own production line for populating boards, there was a video a while back.

If I were looking to make a one off pulse to tone converter or vice versa, I would wire it up on a prototype board, put it in a box, nobody would know. Or for someone with no soldering skills a small breadboard and jumpers is fine. And cheaper than buying a decent soldering iron.



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Another one advertises in Silicon Chip magazine.

Cheers Bob


Hi Alan,

Just thought I’d update this thread to confirm this. Our engineers are flat out designing original products, and our production line is always busy producing runs of them, so we don’t currently have the bandwidth to take on commercial production.

It’s also a very different game, if we make a mistake during a production run we can absorb it and reschedule around it, but someone else’s parts might not be so flexible. Not to mention we product in the hundreds at a time, and most people aren’t interested in quantities that high.

For OP, I can say JLC has been an excellent supplier of PCBs for my personal projects, and Michael Ruppe’s KiCad tutorial series is what I used to dip my toes into EDA. It certainly is cool seeing something custom-built show up at your door for you to solder. (or get JLC to place and solder the parts for you).

All the best with your projects, I’m sure a few of us can help out if you need help getting over a hurdle :slight_smile: