What are the common terminologies used for Printed Circuit Boards?

There are lots of terminologies that are used while dealing with PCB’s. We have put a list together to help knowing what the key ones are.

Active Components: This term refers to a type o component that is dependent on the flow direction of any electrical current.

Annular ring: This is a copper ring around a plated through holes in a PCB.

There are different types of Annular rings but two examples are component Annular ring and Via Annular ring.

Array: This is the combination of multiple copies of the same PCB into a connected matrix on-board. An Array also may be referred to as a panelized or stepped up.

Normally made for ease of assembly

Blind Via: A Via connecting a top layer to one or more inner layers.

Buried Via This is a through-hole that connects inner layers, but it can’t be seen from the exterior of the PCB.

CAM files: Computer-aided manufacturing. The files produced by this software are used for the manufacturing of the PCB. There are different types of CAM files such as, Gerber Files for photo plotters and NC drill files for NC Drill machines.

Copper Weight: This term is used to indicate thickness of copper on each layer of a PCB.

DRC: Design Rule Check. This is a software based check of a PCB design. It measures the design you wish to be make to the manufactures capabilities. It also takes into account factors that will effect cost through yield.

Etching: After an image pattern has been applied to a panel of FR4 the unwanted copper is chemically etched away.

FR-4: this is a fibreglass material that has a specific standard for flammability. It is the most common material used in the manufacturing of PCB’s

Gold Fingers: These are Gold plated connections on the edge of the PCB. The hard gold plating allows for the PCB to be inserted into a connector and removed on numerous occasions without damaging the surface of the connections.

HASL Finish: Hot Air Solder Level is a common finish on a PCB. The PCB panel with exposed copper is lowered into a liquid bath of solder and is quickly removed of the bath and moved past jets of hot air that clear off the excess solder leaving the solder on the exposed copper areas.

Hot air solder level is available in both lead and lead free options.

IPC: This is the Institute of Printed Circuits. It’s a worldwide non-profit association dedicated to the design of PCB wiring. They define the standards along with OEM’s that manufactures need to meet. The most common IPC is IPC 6012

Multi-Layer PCB: This is a type of PCB with at least three conductive layers of trace and components.

Pad: This is small surface of copper in a PCB that allows you to solder component onto the board.

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