Elecrow PCB Review

Sat 20 June 2020

PCB design art is something I have been experimenting with. Recently, I used Elecrow PCB who offers yellow soldermask with black silkscreen without additional cost.

elecrow yellow


There are many cheap prototype PCBs manufacturing services online. They can also produce boards in colors other than the conventional green.

jlcpcb colorful

(Image above is from the JLCPCB Facebook page. This is an example of colorful PCBs.)

I got interested when I found out that Elecrow PCB offers yellow soldermask with black silkscreen without additional cost.

(image of PDF document)

In comparison, JLCPCB only has the option for yellow PCBs with white silkscreen. PCBway offers black-on-yellow but at a higher cost than white-on-yellow.

Review Objective

I decided to try out Elecrow PCB and I ordered 2 boards. I was surprised at how well they produced it for the price.

I am writing this blog post because I could not find any recent reviews on Elecrow PCB.

This review is not paid for and I hope to share as much of my personal experience with you.

Board Design

I designed both my boards in KiCad. These are the 3D renders and later on, let's see how it compares to the actual board received

My first board is a badge design of the Bare Bears cartoon series. I manually panalized it to fit within 100mm x 100mm.

Board #1, 3D render

One potential problem of this board will be the tight corner in between the bear's legs (the smallest width here is about 1mm). I read Elecrow PCB can do a 0.8mm contour routing so I hope it will turn out nicely.

Another possible difficulty will be the panalization. I later realized that the mouse-bite and the tabs may make the board flimsy and I wonder how they will deal with it during manufacturing.

Board tight corner

My second board will be to try out the yellow soldermask.

3D render front

In this board, I added a plated slot and prototyping spaces in thhe empty space on the left.

On the back, I added images and halftones. Halftone is a technique used in printing to produce a gradient of color by using dots of different sizes.

3D render back

Gerber Generation

It would be great if Elecrow could provide some instructions on how to export the Gerber files to their requirements.

I had to search online to see what settings other people used. I took reference from these websites.

In the end, I used these settings without any issues.

Kicad settings A

Kicad settings B

After which, I renamed the Gerbers to the Elecrow filenames.

Layer KiCad Filename Elecrow Filename
Top Copper F_Cu.gtl LcdPrototype.GTL
Bottom Copper B_Cu.gbl LcdPrototype.GBL
Top Soldermask F_Mask.gts LcdPrototype.GTS
Bottom Soldermask B_Mask.gbs LcdPrototype.GBS
Top Silkscreen F_SilkS.gto LcdPrototype.GTO
Bottom Silkscreen B_SilkS.gbo LcdPrototype.GBO
Non-Plated Drill Holes NPTH.drl LcdPrototype-NPTH.TXT
Plated Drill Holes PTH.drl LcdPrototype-PTH.TXT
Board Outline Edge_Cuts.gm1 LcdPrototype.GML

Ordering Process

The website interface is simple. You specify details, such as the color, thickness and quantity.

website interface

I should mention that Elecrow provides $5 worth of loyalty points to offset your first purchase. I forgot to use it at that point of time, so remember to make use of the points.

I chose the cheapest shipping. Each design costs US$4.90 and shipping of US$10.47 to Singapore. In total, I paid US$20.27. I submitted my zip files and waited.

For the next few days, I heard no news. There's no feedback or progress indicator like JLCPCB or PCBway. I can only see that it is in production. Hence, I assumed there was no issue with my uploaded files.

After exactly a week (5 working days + 2 weekends), the status changed from "Production" to "Shipped".

website interface

Shipping Issues

If everything goes fine, Elecrow will send you an email with the tracking number and photos of the boards.

At the time when I ordered, it was during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Thus, my shipping experience has not been ideal due to delays and increased prices. Despite this, the Elecrow customer service has been very accommodating to me as I'll explain my story below.

In this case, I did not receive any email for one whole week before I decided to contact them. I got a reply and they told me that they will check with the post office.


The cheapest shipping option was PLT Express. Unfortunately, it so happened that they have suspended services due to the pandemic.


After a few emails back and forth, I was recommended to use Shenzhen DHL. I had to pay an additional $15.19 via their PayPal account.

And after they shipped it from there, they sent an email with the tracking number and photos of the boards.



With DHL expedited shipping, it will cost me double the price per board. But it was still somewhat affordable, thus I decided to go with it.

This brought the total cost to US$35.46.

With Shenzhen DHL, the package travelled from China to Singapore in a mere 2 days!

This is a summary of my waiting time.

Day Date
23 Apr I placed an order
5 May Status on website changed to "Shipped"
11 May I emailed them to ask for tracking number
12 May They replied; they will follow up from the post office
21 May Informed me that PLT Express is suspended
26 May Package returned from post office & shipped using DHL that night
28 May Package arrived

If you minus the time wasted due to shipping issues, I could hhave possibly gotten my package in slightly over a week with the fastest shipping.

First Impressions


The box is filled with lots of bubble wrap and packaged very well.


As I said earlier, the BareBears board may be flimsy. I realized that Elecrow added pieces of hard cardboard before vacuum packing the PCBs in order to protect it during shipping.



Many of these Chinese PCB manufacturers may sometimes throw in an additional board or two. Perhaps when if they have extra space on their production panel.

For both boards, I ordered only 10. I received 12 pieces of my panelized BareBear board. And to my surprise, I saw a whopping 16 pieces of my yellow PCBs!


Fine details

The one thing I like about Elecrow PCB is that they do not insert any order numbers or ID on your board.


It seems like the black soldermask is shiny, while the white silkscreen has a matte finish. I really love the matte white look.


Yellow soldermask looks quite dull on areas without copper. I wish I had done a polygon pour including the orphans/islands. The black silkscreen is shiny instead.

The halftone technique appears to work and it seems like they can do the really small dots too.


I'm amazed at the contour routing of the PCBs, especially the tight portion between the bear's legs. Although there is a dent at some areas (in this photo, the left foot has a dent in the middle).


Also, the milled slot is not entirely smooth and has some unevenness.


Soldered Board

I don't have any other complains for now, considering the low price for it's quality. So far I only soldered the Bare Bears board. This is how it looks like.

image image


I think only the downside of Elecrow PCB might be their slightly slower production time and lack of live feedback on the production process.

There are many attractive features of Elecrow PCB. I particularly like their soldermask/silkscreen colours and the really flat HASL finish.

Do let me know if you find my review helpful. I hope to do more of such blog posts in the future.

Category: Electronics Tagged: PCB Elecrow