PCB or Printed Circuit Board in one key concept in electronics that one should know if one is interested in this particular field. Most definition-providing online sites would state pcb as “a thin board made of fiberglass, composite epoxy, or other laminate material. Conductive pathways are etched or ‘printed’ onto board, connecting different components on the PCB, such as transistors, resistors, and integrated circuits. PCBs are used in both desktop and laptop computers.”
But there is more information to its composition that pins down its utility, “Printed circuit boards are used in all but the simplest electronic products. Alternatives to PCBs include wire wrap and point-to-point construction. PCBs require the additional design effort to lay out the circuit, but manufacturing and assembly can be automated. Manufacturing circuits with PCBs is cheaper and faster than with other wiring methods as components are mounted and wired with one single part,” wrote wikipedia in its comprehensive definition about PCBs in general.
It is likely that one has stumbled upon different types of PCBs. Engr. Joven Vitrimitz, an electronics and communications engineer from Singapore shared some tidbits of knowledge about PCB design and PCB assembly, “ What you need to know about PCBs is that they can be multi-layered, single sided, or double sided. Single-sided PCBs has one copper layer, the double sided has two, and the multi layer hay outer and inner layers. To achieve a higher component density, multi-layer PCBs are more desirable.”
And interestingly you can read some historical accounts like this online, “Initially PCBs were designed manually by creating a photomask on a clear mylar sheet, usually at two or four times the true size. Starting from the schematic diagram the component pin pads were laid out on the mylar and then traces were routed to connect the pads. Rub-on dry transfers of common component footprints increased efficiency. Traces were made with self-adhesive tape. Pre-printed non-reproducing grids on the mylar assisted in layout. To fabricate the board, the finished photomask was photolithographically reproduced onto a photoresist coating on the blank copper-clad boards, “ wikipedia further shared.
There can be a lot of information to know about PCBs that cannot be covered in one article as the field of electronics, although seemingly miniature, is truly complex and encompassing. One only needs to search online or even just watch helpful youtube videos to find clarity at the real function and significance of PCBs in today’s digital age. Darameja, who wrote an article about PCB design and a bit on PCB fabrication for medium.com, shared “Going from prototyping circuits on a breadboard, to designing our own printed circuit board (PCB) is like going on training wheels. There is a lot to know about this process, so let’s dive in… PCB design happens during the Electrical Engineering (EE) process. EE creates the “brains” of how your device will work. Without electronics, you basically have just a bunch of metal and plastic in your hands.” She wrote a very methodical and detailed blog about PCB which was aptly titled What You Need To Know About PCB Design & Manufacturing.