JLCPCB is a printed board (pcb) manufacturer well known from all electronic hobbyist by now. They produce relatively good quality pcb, have some services related to this market.

Most of the time, they come out the ‘cheapest’ from Pcb Shopper comparator.

To do that, they have to maintain low prices or make them attractive. Doing that will slowly but surely strangle any other pcb manufacturer. They also need to win some money. So how do they achieve this ? Cheating of course !

This must be in chineese DNA. Steal or fake somehow. We all know about fake electronic components, fake car parts, fake anything. But could they cheat on a product designed by you ? Not really !

The trick is adding fake weight to the order. In short, charge parcel fee for +1kg, pay the carrier the exact fee, keep the difference.


For bare pcb 2 or 4 layers, the weight calculator is relatively accurate.

Example with a 1.6mm 4 sided 100x100mm

5 pcb weight=290gr

JLCPCB evaluates 290gr (including packaging) for this job.

The received package:

received 5 pcbs package

The diff between evaluation and reality is ~40gr.

Someone entered the correct weight at some point. It can be the carrier as well as data from JLCPCB. Something sure, “290” wasn’t use for fee by initial carrier.

received 5 pcbs package received 5 pcbs package

The real weight used by carriers.

The box is the common blue one, no surprise here. It contains the classic stack of PCB + silica gel. There is not any goodies as before. Not even the invoice.

Every box is a fixed weight, any decent piece of software can determine the correct minimal packaging needed for a pcb, accordingly to the quantities. Even combined orders can be accurately evaluated.

received 5 pcbs package

The box is 249-174 = 75gr

From the time being, JLCPCB knows exactly the density of each kind of pcb stack ordered by a client. Even if there is lot of combination between number of layers, thickness, coating, it’s a constant value. They are on the market since 10 years. Plenty of time to perfectly adjust all the constants. It is hard to explain this error.

received 5 pcbs package

Look at this pcb. Do you feel all the drilling and cutouts count for 40gr, more than a single board ? No of course.

The ‘error’ can be calculated as follow: 174 * X% = (290-75) = 215 (the box is eliminated). X=24%. That is not a marginal error. It is volontarily introduced.

Here is the first small cheating: add some extra weight for small board, no one will see it.

We can evaluate for 10 pcb. Let’s say a board without cut and drill is 35gr. The extra weigth should be simply 5x35=175gr. The JLCPCB calculator should give a result of 290+175 = 465gr.

5 pcb weight=290gr

Almost no errors. They perfectly know the weight of a single board.

It is not possible with one job to tell if JLCPCB adds one fake pcb or a fixed ‘error’. This has to be verified with several orders of several sizes.


Adding an extra fake board is a small cheat. Perhaps it is from the era when receiving 6 pcbs was common instead of trashing a full panel partially messed up. At this time, it was de facto sometimes legit. They do much better with the assembly.

Last year (2023) I ordered a big board (21x28cm) with some 805 resistors capacitors, some diodes on it. Today(2024), the exact same order is just plus one Kilo. Yep one fake kilo of nothing.

Of course I asked support about it. After three dozen of mail/replies, JLCPCB (or the guy acting for them) never gave an explanation. He NEVER explained what is this new kilo. I think the hierachy of the support guy tols him “reply any bullshit you want, the real reason must not be acknoledged”.

The guy (Troy) have a fairly good imagination. But is dumb. He totally forget that basic fact: I have the material on my desk, I know how to use a scale.

So, among stupid replies:

  • the carrier uses box size blah blah, ok the packaging is identical no, does not explain +1Kg
  • choose your carrier to avoid our ‘error’
  • we will do complicated ‘fix’ on the order to use the correct carrier
  • we blah blah…
  • NEVER the simple obvious “one CMS is now 1gr”, because this is the simpler, logical, evident reason. 6 months ago, a 805 was 5 milligrams (realistic), now a 805 is 1gr (cazzy stupid).

tableau poids composants

Some weight for basic resistors. You need ~200 resistors to make 1gr..... 200.000 for one kilogramme.

JLCPCB gives us all the necessary info to expose the problem. It’s very easy to check. You need a valid pcb + BOM + positions project.

  • place the order without surface mount assembly
  • place the order with the assembly and observe the diff.
  • or mesure your last order
  • review the invoice

The direct consequence is +$5 to +$40 increase for stricly fake weight.

Example 1

This big pcb have some component on it, not a lot, 192 cap/diodes/resistors.

5 pcb weight=290gr 5 pcb weight=290gr 5 pcb weight=290gr

A single board, with some component is 190gr. The 192 components are negligeable, even with the solder. 5gr top.

Packaging for this order is exactly 1073+190 = 1263gr. The blue box have now 4 pcb inside it (one is in use). It is possible the boxe is lighter because it is actually an assembly of two, making a lot of redundant cardboard. Maybe they were out of stock this day and had to improvize ?

assembled box 4 pcb in the box 5 pcb tracked

The weight registered by the carrier was 1406gr. I was a combined order (with a much smaller pcb).

As you can see, nothing obviously wrong here. The second job was probaly 100gr pcb + 40gr cheating.

This job today (january 2024) is calculated as this:

  • no assembly:

5 pcb in the box, 2024

Notice the weight. Now under estimated. It should be 1260gr, not 1170gr. Maybe the box problem.
  • with assembly for 5 boards:

5 pcb+assembly in the box, 2024

Here they steal for real. No joke. Remember 980 components. +1240gr !!!!! To do that, I need something like 225.000 resistors. Idiots.

Of course, a lot of the mail exchanged were arguing with photos like that. Troy never replied on the exact question (what is this extra kilo). He also never did what he said.

  • ask dev team for explanations
  • transfer the case to a manager

The main side effect with this cheating behaviour is that the system eliminates the standard GSDL cheap carrier. I have to pay for DHL Fedex to receive it. This fake kilogramme is costing a lot. They stole me for 1Kg, they force to upgrade the carrier. It’s here on that point that the genius response from Troy/JLC came after concertaion with the ‘shipping dep’. Because of course, in China, you don’t correct the source of the error, you try to fixe the consequences.

  After a few rounds of checking with the shipping dep,
  they offered a solution which is that you choose a random shipping
  method to place the order first and then we will manually change to
  Global Standard Direct Line and we will refund you the extra cost for the 
  higher cost shipping method. If we can go with this solution, 
  you can tell me the order number and then i will ask the shipping dep to do the change for you.
The last ridiculous response. No way this is sustainable solution.

Example 2

It is a small pcb with ~31 smd resistors or capacitors, all 805. 5 pcb weight=180gr

The BOM. Total is 155 components.

5 pcb weight=180gr

Order without assembly. Weight is 180gr

5 pcb weight=180gr

Order with assembly. Weight is 390gr

JLCPCB is completly out of his mind. Do they really think they can fuck people like this ? Say 155 small 805 resistors will increase by 210gr the final product ????????? They are basically saying a resistor weight is 775mg when it is near 5mg. They are cheating 14 times the weight of a 805. I agree a transistor with metal tab dissipator is heavier. But counting like that, no shit. That is stealing money. The footprint gives them a fairly accurate idea of what component will be used.

5 pcb weight=180gr 5 pcb weight=180gr

The order is just increased by 6.93 - 1.41 = 5.52€. +VAT (20%). : 6.62€. They just stole 6.62€ for a small job.


Much simpler here. The basic stencil sheet is 38x28cm. With this and the thickness, it is easy to obtain the exact weight of of sheet. Just go to this online calculator. The result for .12 is 100gr/sheet. steel 316L sheet density weight calculator

So, the basic sheet is 100gr, or less because of holes in it.

What is the problem then? Simple. The sheet weight varies. Yes, JLCPCB is the only factory able to source an unknown hyper dense metal, better than gold. And for $7 only. A rapid search on youtube on the subject “stencil jlcpcb” will return a lot a video. On those, is it easy to see the steal in progress:

  • 2018: stencil 200gr. Cheating x2
  • 2022: stencil 900gr. Cheating x9
  • 2023: stencil 800gr. Cheating x8

Add 100 to 160gr for packaging.

heavier than gold

One of numerous youtube video you can find on the net. Easy to catch numbers.

If you order 2 stencil sheets, yep the invoice is for twice the weight. Be happy when the two sheets are separated by 2gr of paper in the exact same packaging. JLCPCB is stealing. They probably received to much complaints and stepped down a little.


They do what they can to hide little extras. Most of the time, you won’t bother for such ‘little’ money compared to the the job. If that’s true, what are you waiting to tell them “hey jlc, use real prices”.

If they are caught , well, they don’t recognize it. That’s a usual complaint you can read everywhere. Never their fault.

I suggest you strongly request refund for past jobs, pcba and stencils. For stencils, I need to know the weight of the cardboard/wood/package.

This ridiculous PCBA cheating was introduces after march 2023. Check you orders.