Reverse Engineering PCBs

Reverse engineering can be a great way to learn electronics. I’ve heard about services that can reverse engineer PCBs and provide gerbers, BOMs and schematics (e.g., Does anyone have experience with anything like this?

There was also a recent Remoticon talk on this subject.

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Reverse engineering (RE) of PCBs is pretty easy. It gets harder with the more trace layers. Usually an Xray of the PCB will give you most of the traces, then following the beginning and end of the line will help you find the layer. What are you trying to RE?

I have a couple of boards I would like to RE, but they’ve never made it to the top of the priority list. I’d be interested in testing out a reverse engineering service on the order of a few hundred dollars but would love to hear a recommendation or reasons for/against.

If you have the funds and don’t want to mess with emails then use an online service.

If you want an adventure then here is what I’d do. First, have you tried contacting an engineer of the hardware device, if it’s old and depreciated, they might release the Gerber files to you, if you network. It’s harder to do with big commercial products (Apple), but it’s the first step.

Second, search the web if someone has already RE the board; reddit, github,, darkweb has (a lot of apple PCBs), etc.

Next, I would contact YouTube’ers who RE electronics on their channel and ask them if they’d be interested in doing it for monetary compensation, which might be cheaper than

Lastly, if the cause is noble, email some university professors who have done similar work, and see if they have a grad student they can throw at it.

What hardware are you trying to RE?

Try it. I have been thinking of doing this many times and i wonder what you get.

BTW, I love these YouTube channels for their “China Reverse Engineered” :slight_smile: