Throughout its lifecycle, an electronics design may require modification. It may be that there are obsolescence or supply issues, reliability problems to address, or compliance to update. However, sometimes editable CAD files may not be available to make these changes. For example, CAD files may be missing due to data loss, poorly managed mergers and acquisitions, staff changes, software incompatibility or subcontractor-related issues.

We offer Gerber modification and electronics reverse engineering services for scenarios where CAD files are not available. From Gerbers and a Bill of Materials (BOM), or even as little as a sample PCB, we can re-create an electronics design, and its manufacturing files.

Electronics Reverse Engineering

What is Electronics Reverse Engineering?

Electronics reverse engineering starts with analysing a sample PCB assembly to establish what it does and how it does it. From this analysis, a new schematic and PCB layout is created. These will have exactly the same form and function as the original PCB unless requested otherwise. Note that the aim of this process is not to produce a carbon-copy of the sample PCB. It is to produce a PCB which replicates the functionality of the original.

Electronics Reverse Engineering for Design Modification

Electronics reverse engineering is necessary where neither CAD files nor manufacturing data are available for a PCB requiring modification. From a sample PCB assembly, our experienced electronics engineers recreate a complete electronic design, making any improvements and modifications required along the way. We deliver back to you schematics and PCB layout CAD files, along with all data required to manufacture the reverse engineered PCB.

Gerber Modification

What are Gerber files?

Gerber files are the most common method of communicating PCB manufacturing data. They contain geometry for each electrical layer along with silkscreens, soldermasks, pastemasks, and holes – both plated and non-plated.

Modifying Gerber Files

Where Gerber files are available, simple one-off changes are best made directly without recreating a full CAD design. If required, we can update schematics manually to reflect any changed components or routing. This is the most cost-effective way to make changes to a PCB when the original CAD files are unavailable. We deliver the modified files back to you as a package with new revision number, ready to submit for manufacturing.

Recreating CAD Files from Gerbers

For more complex changes, it can be more efficient to recreate schematic and PCB layout CAD files. This is a more costly process than Gerber modification, since we must recreate the schematic and PCB layout CAD files in full. However, the advantage of this process is that future modifications are simplified.

Firstly, using the Gerber and NC Drill files together with schematic and BOM, we translate the PCB into editable CAD files. Next, we make the required component and electrical changes to the schematic and carry these across to the PCB layout. Along with new manufacturing data, you receive schematic and PCB layout CAD files for future design maintenance.

Why use Ex Dynamics to reverse engineer electronics or modify Gerbers?

Engineering departments are stretched and making urgent changes to maintain production of an existing design slows new product development. Using Ex Dynamics services takes the strain off your engineering department so it can focus on your future, rather than maintaining the past.

If you have a requirement we may be able to help with, please get in touch.