What Is A PCB Clone - And What Is It Used For

What is a PCB clone – and what is it used for

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When manufacturing products, designers have two options: outsourcing the manufacturing or doing it in-house. If they decide on the latter, they will need a PCB clone, even if they use a contract manufacturer to build products. But What is a PCB clone, and how to choose it?

Let’s dive in to get all the information about PCB clone.

What is PCB clone?

PCB Clone

PCB copy or PCB duplication are other terms for PCB cloning. It is a Reverse engineering that makes copies of physical PCB boards that already exist. Reverse engineering of PCBs, IC unlocking (also known as IC cracking), PCB prototyping and debugging, and re-production are all interconnected tasks.

The two primary activities required in PCB cloning are:
●Copying the schematics.
●Creating (BOM) the bill of material.

A PCB clone is not confused with a printed circuit board(PCB). A printed circuit board is an actual electronic circuit that connects electronic components on a circuit board. A PCB clone is an exact copy of an existing PCB but has no electronic components.

What is the purpose for PCB clone?

A PCB clone is a copy of a PCB layout, which can be useful in many situations.

There are many reasons why people clone PCBs:

●To build prototypes, especially for small runs of boards.
●To save money on production boards by making your copies.
●If designers need to get something made quickly, get around the long lead times of buying from a manufacturer.

The main reason for cloning a PCB is to create a copy of the original design that can be modified before being sent out for fabrication. After the clone has been changed, it can be tested and then sent out to be fabricated.

How to start working for cloning a PCB?

How to start working for cloning a PCB

Here’s the complete procedure for how to start working for cloning a PCB.

●Send sample photographs to IBE or any other PCB cloning service provider.
●If the engineer has the software, they will estimate a price or take good pictures of the ICs.
●Send them a sample (preferably two)
●Once they have the sample, they can provide a precise quotation.
●Pay, and then begin to copy.
●The following copy, they will deliver Bom List, Gerber files, and schematic diagrams ( if they have them)
●So now that the copy job is finished, they can begin manufacturing the board.

What is the process of PCB clone?

  • After removing the tin packaging, remove your clean PCB board. Now scan it horizontally.
  • Open Photoshop, and drag the scanner’s image inside.
  • Polish the upper and lower layers with water yarn paper until they sparkle. Again scan it with Photoshop.
  • By making clear lines on the secondary layer, change the secondary image to two colors (black and white).
  • Adjust the canvas’s contrast to create a difference between areas with copper film and those without it.
  • Create two Protel files from the BMP files and levels in each new file.
  • Line the top layer properly to install the device. The yellow silk layer, must be deleted after drawing. Also, no need to pay for design once selecting PCB duplication.
  • Combine both diagrams into one with the help of converting the PCB to Protel.
  • The top and bottom layer should be printed on clear film with a ratio of 1:1 through a laser printer. The films are then placed over the PCBs, checked for mistakes, and that’s it!

What is a PCB cloning service?

PCB Cloning Service

A PCB clone service is a prototype manufacturing service that allows you to make an exact copy of your PCB design. The process is called cloning because it uses a master copy to create copies, which are called “clones.”

The main benefit of using a PCB cloning service is that you can create multiple working copies of your board without having to spend time and money on making each one yourself. You send your design information to the PCBA manufacturer, and they’ll produce as many boards as you need.

PCB clone: How it help PCB redesign and development?

One example of current information technology is PCB cloning. It creates a PCB design board using approaches from reverse research. A whole new PCB product typically requires several days to construct. However, rebuilding a PCB is now straightforward, thanks to PCB cloning and reverse engineering.

The majority of electrical components need regular upgrades because technology is constantly evolving. Unfortunately, most conventional PCB design techniques cannot accommodate continuous upgrades. Reverse engineering has so been quickly incorporated into new high-tech systems.

Also, PCB cloning provides:

●Cost savings – By reusing the existing designs for new products, designers can save money on development costs.
●Faster time-to-market – Cloning allows multiple versions of the same board with minimal effort.
●Simpler design process – With cloning, there’s less chance of mistakes being made when creating multiple versions of the board.

Advantages of using PCB clone

Advantages of PCB Clone

There are many advantages of using PCB clones:

Cost-effective solution
A PCB clone is much lower than the original PCB price. It is more cost-effective when you need less than 100 pieces of PCBs. Even if there are more than 100 pieces, it would still be cheaper to make them from a single supplier than to order from multiple manufacturers and assemble them yourself.

High quality products
The quality of PCB clones is very high compared with other options like homemade or outsourcing service providers. The quality control process ensures that all components in a batch are manufactured according to design specifications, so you don’t have to worry about receiving defective parts or having to rework them later on.

Easier debugging of issues
With a clone, you can easily debug issues that might arise with your original design. If there are any errors or bugs in your design, chances are that they will also be there in the clone. Hence, you can easily figure out what needs to be fixed and make necessary changes without going through all that hassle again.

PCB Cloning and Its Legal Boundary

The moment reverse technology emerged, different questions have been raised with the time. You can notice its reliability has long been turn into a question.

For instance, a well-known court in China announced that trading data obtained via reverse engineering was unimportant somewhere in January 2007. The statement declares that the reverse engineering was unacceptable since it broke trade secrets.

However, after the following month, the court took back the matter. In today’s era, engineering services are crucial to the development and growth of the circuit sector. Also, its realism is still in doubt, though.

Most businesses currently have policies governing this matter. Reverse engineering, for instance, requires design copyright ownership. It is needed for legal reasons. The copyright safeguards the original designer’s interests and authenticity.


The electronic industry is developing in the modern world. Once an innovation hits the market, electronic makers always want to update the designs of their PCBs. PCB cloning can play an important role in the world of PCB design.

From students who face issues with their projects to start-up companies with no cash flow, it can be a great help. Chances are that a cloned board might not fulfill your requirements, and making adjustments to suit your needs might make you lose out on the sources of inspiration.

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