2 Notes on PCB Reverse Engineering

2 Notes on PCB Reverse Engineering

Computerized tomography

A computerized tomography is a powerful tool for reverse engineering PCBs. This technique uses x-rays to take images of the inside of a circuit board. The resulting image can be used to reconstruct the board’s structure. Computerized tomography has several limitations, however. Its field of view is small, which makes it less effective for PCBs with large areas of copper foil.

Computerized tomography is not a good choice for all reverse engineering projects. CT scans can result in inaccurate results. It’s best to use a non-destructive method, which gives you more margin of error. CT scans are commonly used in this process, but you can also use X-ray tomography to capture the inside of a substance. It can also extract geometrical information, which can be extremely helpful for re-engineering circuit boards without destroying the device.

The main drawbacks of CT are the fact that x-rays can distort the image and cause a lot of artifacts. Additionally, the powerful X-rays can damage IC chips. In addition, the board needs to be depopulated before the process can begin.

In contrast, reverse engineering PCBs use a deconstructing method to understand complex things. This method is not limited to hardware engineering; it’s used in software development and human DNA mapping. This process starts with the PCB and works backward from it to the schematics to analyze how it works.

Another advantage of PCB reverse engineering is the ability to produce high-resolution optical images of a board with up to six layers in a few hours. It also has a low cost. The results can be sent directly to a PCB manufacturer for replica PCBs.

Computerized tomography can also be used to analyze multilayer PCBs. The results can also be used to generate a bill of materials. It is recommended to supply a sample PCB when PCB reverse engineering is needed. The sample board should be at least 10 mm in width.

Another benefit of using computerized tomography is that it allows the user to visualize individual components. In addition, it can also determine GD&T controls. A PC-DMIS can export features to polylines and step files. This allows the user to visualize the connections made on the printed circuit board.


X-ray for PCB reverse engineering is a relatively new technique for identifying components on a printed circuit board. Traditional methods rely on de-layering the PCB, which is a time-consuming, error-prone, and damaging process. X-ray for PCB reverse engineering, on the other hand, requires no physical damage to the PCB and takes much less time to evaluate. This method also allows the researcher to extract data from the circuit board.

X-ray for PCB reverse engineering is often used for reverse engineering, but the cost of purchasing such an inspection machine can be prohibitive for many people. One hardware hacker, John McMaster, decided to build his own X-ray to use in his own lab to save money.

Another important consideration is the resolution of the X-ray. Low resolution survey scans can reveal the main components of a board, but submicron resolution is needed to see traces and interconnects. Current micro-CT scanners and XRMs do not have the resolution necessary for this. Moreover, imaging a large PCB at coarse resolution can take hours. Furthermore, the X-ray beam can be harden and create streaks and bands.

PCB reverse engineering is a process of analyzing existing electronic products and recreating them with superior features and lower cost. During the process, documents are generated and sent to a PCB manufacturer for fabrication of a replica PCB. This method can also be used to reduce the time required for repairs and new circuit boards. In addition, it can reveal whether or not a given fabricator is a good match.

The process begins by cleaning the surface of a PCB. Afterward, the X-ray can reveal hidden information within the part. In addition, it can be used to solve quality and failure problems. It can also be used to create computer-aided design models of internal surfaces and trace connections.

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