While you may have heard the term PCB or printed circuit board in the past, have you ever wondered about what they are and how they are used? Circuit boards are used in so many applications from large motherboards used in computers to very small ones in everyday electronics like phones, clocks, and even the remote control for your tv. They are commonly used as a platform to build on in things we all use every day. 

 Starting With A Base

The base of any printed circuit board is the nonconductive substrate that everything is built on. Often they are great or black in color and have holes drilled in them for components to be placed later or for mounting the board in a product. A layer of copper is added to the board after it has been each and cut to provide conductive pathways between components. The boards can be single sided, or have copper on one side, double-sided, or even contain multiple layers for extremely complex uses.

Building A Printed Circuit Board

Printed circuit boards are seldom made by hand anymore, though there was a time when each board was assembled by an individual worker. With the technology we have available today, these boards can be mass produced on equipment that allows precise placement of each part or component and can be done very quickly. The boards are placed on an assembly line to run through a process called surface mounting. The board has a thin layer of solder paste applied at the start of the process. It then is moved to a machine that places the components on it and from there to an over to cure the solder. The entire process takes just a few minutes from start to finish and the boards can be turned out in very high quantities and with a high degree of accuracy.

Printed Circuit Boards In Daily Life

Once the board is complete, it can be shipped to manufacturers to be used in their products. You might be surprised where these boards are found in your home. Things like the electronics that power your television remote, the clock on your microwave, even the brew timer on your coffee pot may have a small PCB in it to run the clock and other functions of the machine. While we take them for granted, the printed circuit board is an important part of our daily lives and most people will never even notice they are there.