RFM26W Breakout Board – First Dirty PCB Manufacturing Service Test

This is partly a review of the Dirty PCB manufacturing service (“Dirt Cheap Dirty Boards” as they call it) as this is my first order. I usually let my boards being manufactured at Seeed Studio or iTeadStudio, but hearing a lot about Dirty PCB lately made me curious and so I ordered a small RFM26W breakout board.

They provide all you need (including Design Rules and CAM export) for Eagle CAD on their web side. For $14 you not only get around 10 boards (12 in my case) but also 6 different colors to choose from.

I did not opt for a fast delivery and so the package took 2 1/2 weeks from China to Germany. (Manufacturing the PCB took four days.)

First of all they provide a sturdy package with lots of bubble wrap:
Dirty PCB Package

The content was the first surprise – they actually added a Dangerous Prototypes sticker – yay… 🙂

The PCBs are well produced, no “dirt” besides a bit of dust from my side. A few tiny scratches that did not affect the board. The silk screen is clearly readable.
RFM26W Breakout Board

(Comment: the vias need to be covered as they might lead to unwanted contacts. Not visible on the photo.)

So now I have a few new little HopRF RFM26W based boards to play around…RFM26W Breakout Board - Assembled

The Eagle CAD and Gerber files for the PCB are available in my 433 Key Project on GitHub.

9 Replies to “RFM26W Breakout Board – First Dirty PCB Manufacturing Service Test”

  1. Hello Kai,

    very good report. Dirty PCB seems to be a quite good supplier for quick hardware evaluation purposes.

    I am about to evaluate different possibilities to add wireless
    functionality to a product development for health care purposes. I found your blog while checking the different transceivers of Hoperf. My current favorites are RFM69W and the RFM26W. I have actually a quite simple requirement – a reliable transmission range for home automation purposes with low data rates of about 20m indoors and a small – ideally internal or even PCB based – antenna. Did you already made some experiences with the RFM26W? Especially its sensitivity of 126dB is superior to the RFM69W. That’s why I would like to evaluate it first.

    Would you be so nice to share the Eagle files you used here for the breakout board? I am actually a software specialist and not so fit in PCB design. It would help much to accelerate the tests for the board evaluation.

    Best regards

      1. Hello Kai, thank you very much for that. I will order some boards at Dirty PCB. By the way you probably know that Dirty PCB offers the possibility to publish your layouts on their site.

    1. Hi Xav, I’ve bought 3 pieces for 14 USD (incl. shipping) on Aliexpress. The respective offer is not available anymore. — Kai

  2. Hey Kai,

    thanks for your work. What type of smd element is on the left side of the sma-connector? A capacitor? If yes, which capacity, and which function does it have with the module?

    Thank you!

  3. Hi, Kai I really loved your PCB and I wanted to order some of them on DirtyPCBS, thats why I wanted to ask you whats the size and thickness of the PCB that you ordered.

    1. Hi, here are the details of my order:
      Layers: 2
      Size (actual): 5x5cm
      Color: Blue
      Thickness: 1.6mm
      Coating: HASL
      Stencil: None
      Processing: Normal
      Quantity: Protopack ±10

      — Kai

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