PCB Reverse Engineering Services

Are you in need of pcb reverse engineering services? If so, you've come to the right place. We specialize in pcb reverse engineering and can help you convert your existing pcb designs into schematic files, gerber files and bill of materials lists. With our expertise and experience, we can ensure that your design is accurate and optimized for optimal performance.

Table of Contents

What is PCB Reverse Engineering?

PCB (Printed Circuit Board) Reverse Engineering is the process of analyzing, understanding, and reconstructing the design of an existing PCB, typically for the purpose of duplicating, modifying, or improving the original product. It involves the extraction of the design data from a physical PCB and its conversion into a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) format for further analysis and modification.

pcb reverse engineering procedure
pcb reverse engineering procedure

Benefits of PCB Reverse Engineering

What You Will Get from Reverse Engineering?

In the situation that there are already physical circuit boards on your electronic devices, we’ll extract or generate the below engineering files for you by reverse engineering:

Based on these engineering files, our engineers can help you achive some more pcb engineerings such as PCB redesign, PCB clone, component soldering, flying probe testing, pcb fabrication and assembly.

How to Reverse Engineer a PCB Board?

It’s important to keep in mind that PCB reverse engineering can be a complex and time-consuming process, and that it may require specialized knowledge and equipment, as well as a thorough understanding of the original design. But with the right process, insights, and resources, you can get the job done correctly. In this guide, we’ll walk you through what it takes to reverse engineer PCBs and support successful projects.

pcb sample

Step #1: Establishing Goals and Gathering Resources

Before starting any project, it’s important to establish goals and develop a plan. This will help you determine what resources are needed for the task – both physical and digital. One of the physical components you’ll need is a PCB, which can be sourced from a variety of vendors. A good example from this type includes Multicomp, which offers single-sided PCBs that are compatible with prongs and connectors. Additionally, it’s important to create a budget for software and other digital tools needed to properly address your project goals. Depending on the complexity of your project, these could include design tools like Eagle, Altium Designer, or DesignSpark.

PCB Component Recognition and Decoding

Step #2: Component Recognition and Decoding

Component recognition and decoding in PCB reverse engineering is a process that involves extracting component information from a PCB design. It is also known as “component extraction” or “symbol recognition”. The goal of component recognition is to identify all parts on the board, their respective values, and their associated functions.Once the components have been identified, the next step is to decode them. This is done by comparing the component information with reference databases of electronic components. These databases contain information about the part type, its associated pins, and its functional description.

PCB scanner

Step #3: PCB Imaging and Scanning

After the components have been identified and decoded, the designer can then proceed to scan the PCB board for image. The goal of this step is to obtain high-resolution, accurate images of the PCB's top and bottom layers for further analysis. The images are used to identify components, trace connections, and extract important design information, which can then be used to recreate the circuit or to improve upon its design. The images can be captured using various techniques, including photomicrography, x-ray imaging, or scanning electron microscopy, each of which provides unique advantages and limitations for different types of circuit boards.

PCB Component Disassembling

Step #4: Component Disassembling and BOM Making

Disassembling a PCB allows engineers to have a closer look at its components, trace lines, and make measurements for further analysis. The disassembly process should be done carefully and systematically to avoid damaging the components or the board itself. Next, trace the components on the board to create Bill Of Materials (Bom) that lists all of the components required to build the circuit. By tracing components, you can figure out the type and manufacturer of each component on the board, their specifications and prices.

Circuit Tracing and Reconstruction

Step #5: Circuit Tracing and Reconstruction

To do circuit tracing and reconstruction, follow these steps:
1. Inspect the PCB to identify components and connections.
2. Find test points and measure voltage and current to determine electrical connections.
3. Trace connections between components to determine the circuit diagram.
4. Verify the traced connections with the original schematic, if available.
5. Conduct additional testing and analysis if needed.
6. Document and save the circuit diagram for future reference.

PCB schematic design, PCB routing

Step #6: Schematic Creation and Verification

To create a schematic of a printed circuit board (PCB), an engineer first inspects and traces the board to gather information. They use this information to create an accurate schematic diagram in a PCB design software. The schematic should include all component values and connections of the original PCB.The engineer then verifies the component values and part numbers using datasheets and ensures that the schematic accurately represents the original circuit. They run a simulation of the circuit on software to check for any errors or warnings and make necessary modifications.Once the schematic is verified, the engineer tests the original PCB to ensure that it functions as expected and compares the simulation results to the actual performance of the board.

Schematic Comparison and Optimization

Step #7: Schematic Comparison and Optimization

After drawing the schematic diagram, we need to check and optimize the nominal values of components that are sensitive to PCB distribution parameters. The schematic diagram is compared, analyzed, and checked against the PCB file diagram to ensure complete consistency between the schematic diagram and the file diagram. If the layout of the schematic diagram is found to be non-compliant during the check, the schematic diagram will be adjusted until it is fully reasonable. The design validation and optimization involves verifying that the schematic diagram and BOM accurately reflect the original design and correcting any errors or inconsistencies, and analyzing the design for potential improvements such as reducing component count, increasing efficiency, or reducing cost.

PCB Reverse Engineering Software

  • ScanCAD –  support schematic creation, autorouting, and simulation;
  • DipTrace – support schematic-based editor or a layout-based editor;
  • AutoTrace – a program that automatically converts bitmap images to vector images;
  • Protel or Altium Designer – helps you to generate a schematic from a board;
  • Gimp – a free and open-source graphics editor for image editing, converting between different image formats;
  • Inkscape –  a free and open-source vector graphics editor used for creating and editing vector illustrations;

PCB Reverse Engineering Hardware

  • A computer – with good performance;
  • Digital Camera – photograph the circuit board image;
  • Multimeter – to measure voltage, current, and resistance so that you can identify the components ;
  • A hot air rework station – to remove and replace components;
  • A soldering iron and solder – to attach and detach wires;
  • Microscope – to inspect the board and components;
  • A magnifying glass – to identify components with printed symbols on the board;

Application of Reverse Engineering

Our PCB Reverse Engineering Services

  • Schematic and BOM creation basing on original circuit board;
  • Component identification, assembly and replacement;
  • Signal tracing and analysis on circuit board or integrated circuit;
  • IC analysis, testing and decryption if necessory;
  • Upgrading the old design and functions;
  • Review, validation and testing for newly created design;
  • Hardware modification and optimization;
  • System integration and testing;
  • Handle the technical documentation for circuit board reproduction;

Best Practices and Tips for PCB Reverse Engineering

Reasonable division of functional areas:

In the reverse design of the schematic diagram of a complete PCB circuit board, the reasonable division of functional areas can help engineers reduce some unnecessary troubles and improve the efficiency of drawing.

Generally speaking, components with the same function on a PCB will be centrally arranged, and the functional division of the area can provide a convenient and accurate basis for inferring the schematic diagram. However, the division of this functional area is not arbitrary. It requires engineers to have a certain understanding of electronic circuit related knowledge.

Finding the reference parts:

The reference parts can be said to be the main components to be used at the beginning of the schematic drawing. After the reference parts are determined, they are drawn according to the pins of these reference parts, which can ensure the accuracy of the schematic to the greatest extent. For engineers, the determination of reference parts is not very complicated. In general, the components that play a major role in the circuit can be selected as reference parts. They are generally larger in size and have more pins, which are convenient for drawing. Such as integrated circuits, pcb transformers, transistors, etc., can be used as a suitable reference.

Learn from similar schematic diagrams:

Engineers need to be proficient in the frame composition and schematic drawing of basic electronic circuits, not only to be able to directly draw some simple and classic basic unit circuits, but also to be able to form the overall framework of electronic circuits. In addition, the same type of electronic products have certain similarities in the schematic diagrams, and engineers can fully refer to similar circuit diagrams to reverse the new product schematics based on the accumulation of experience.


There is no definitive answer to this question since it can vary depending on the country and laws in place. In general, however, reverse engineering is considered to be legal as long as it is done for personal use and does not violate any copyright laws. Additionally, there are some cases where reverse engineering is considered to be legal even if it does violate copyright laws, such as when it is done for the purpose of creating a compatible software program or when it is necessary to identify a security flaw in a piece of software.

In the United States, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) makes reverse engineering for software interoperability purposes only legal if three conditions are met:

  1. The information necessary to achieve interoperability is not already readily available to the person engaging in reverse engineering.
  2. A person reverse engineering a copyrighted work must have a legitimate reason for doing so, such as achieving interoperability with other programs.
  3. The reverse engineering must be done in a manner that does not infringe on the copyright of the original work.

In other words, you can reverse engineer something for the purpose of making it work with other programs, but you can’t do so in a way that violates the copyright of the original work. It is important to be aware of the laws in your area before attempting any reverse engineering.

Here are some potential challenge and risks associated with PCB reverse engineering:

  • Intellectual property infringement: PCB reverse engineering may involve copying or replicating a product or design without permission, which can violate intellectual property rights.
  • Legal liability: Reverse engineering may also violate patent or copyright laws, leading to potential legal action against the individual or organization responsible.
  • Data leakage: Reversing a printed circuit board can allow an individual to access sensitive information, such as confidential product designs or system configurations.
  • Quality issues: Reverse engineering can lead to errors or inaccuracies in the design or construction of the PCB, which can cause malfunctioning or failure of the final product.
  • Technical limitations: PCB reverse engineering may be limited by technical constraints such as outdated or unavailable components or manufacturing processes.

If you are looking for outsourcing services for your PCB project, here are some approximate cost estimates:

  • Small single-layer PCBs (2″x2″ or smaller) with no complicated features or components, and with available schematics or documentation, may cost between $500 and $1,500.
  • Medium-sized or double-layer PCBs (up to 6″x6″) with some complexity and components, but with available schematics or documentation, may cost between $1,500 and $5,000.
  • Large multi-layer PCBs (larger than 6″x6″) with high complexity and no available schematics or documentation may cost between $5,000 and $20,000 or more.

It’s important to note that these are rough estimates, and the actual cost will depend on the specific details of the project.

The time it takes to complete a PCB reverse engineering project can vary widely depending on various factors, including the complexity of the PCB, the availability of documentation or reference materials, the expertise of the engineers involved, and the scope of the project.

In general, a simple PCB reverse engineering project may take a few days or weeks to complete, while a more complex project can take several weeks or even months. Factors such as the availability of schematics or design files, the number of layers in the PCB, and the density of components on the board can all affect the time required to reverse engineer a PCB.

Yes, PCB reverse engineering can potentially be used for any type of circuit board. But the feasibility, accuracy, and complexity of the process can vary depending on the specific details of the project.

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Phone: +86 134 8072 0771
Email: info@reversepcb.com
B205, Block 7, Phase 2, D & J Innovation Park, 73 Bulan Road, Longgang, Shenzhen, China
MON-FRI 09:00 - 19:00, SAT-SUN 10:00 - 14:00
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