10 Facts about PCB’s

  1. Why are they green?

The majority of PCB’s are a green colour. The green colour that you see on the PCB is actually just the colour of the solder masks that is showing through the glass epoxy. You don’t have to have green it can be a different colour for example, orange, blue or yellow. So, why the green? The green colour is believed to have been used as the regulation standard for PCB’s when they were being used by the American Military, also the original colour of the glass epoxy is naturally green and the colour may still be used to stay conventional.

  1. Who invented PCB’s?

Paul Eisler, an Austrian inventor. In Austria, Paul learnt about the use of printing technology and he wanted to know if it was possible to use the printing process to lay down all the components in an insulating based, instead of connecting them manually with wires. In 1936, he developed his PCB while working on a radio set. Even then, they didn’t gain popularity initially and actually came in proper use by the 1950’s.

  1. How are they designed?

First, you will have a layout design of your PCB. This is normally done by CAD (Computer Aided Design). This is needed in order to make the schematic and design the layout of the PCB before they are manufactured. Any possible errors can then be detected beforehand as the traces and the position of all corresponding components are tested and checked before being used to manufacture the PCB. We recommend using a PCB design house to do this for you to ensure everything is correct.

  1. They’re two main manufacturing techniques

There are two main methods of mounting components onto a circuit board. Through-hole technology and surface mount technology.

Through-hole or THT was developed in the 1940’s and it had become a very popular method of mounting components. Essentially through-hole utilises holes that are drilled into the PCB and then the leads of components are fed through and soldered onto the pads on the opposite side.

Surface mount technology was then developed in the 1960’s which is a technique that allows components to be placed directly onto the surface of the board. This eliminated the need to drill holes through the PCB which meant that the mounting and soldering of the components can be automated which saves time which then saves money.

  1. No Wires?

If you are a beginner, you might not know that wiring is not involved when it comes to PCB’s. Instead of wires, PCBs use copper traces to direct current throughout the device and to connect all the components.

  1. They have lots of components

Each component has its own individual property and will serve different purpose on the board. A few examples of components are Capacitors, Resistors, Inductions, Fuses and Batteries.

  1. Silkscreens

Have you seen the white etching on top of the green PCB solder mask? That’s the silkscreen. It’s used on the component side of the circuit board to identify components and other PCB information.

  1. They are getting smaller

Over time developers are making PCB’s increasingly smaller, as the manufacturing is becoming more accurate and being smaller means that they save space. This is also because the electronics we use today are smaller too.

  1. They are everywhere

You are probably in touching distance of a device that makes use of a PCB as you read this blog, you are more than likely reading this from a device that contains a PCB! You will find PCB’s in watches, mobile phones to computers and cars!

  1. There are a variety of PCB types

All PCB’s are not the same. There are several types of circuit boards available and each has their own properties that are suitable for certain tasks. Some may be more suited to low performance devices so the PCB would be cheaper and easier to manufacture. Other types of boards may be more suited to high power device but these will be more expensive to manufacture. For example, Single sided, Double sided, multi-layered PCB, Flexible, Rigid and Flex-rigid.

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