PCB : Stands for printed circuit board. A PCB helps to support and connect components using pads and tracks that have been etched into the board by using copper sheets. These copper sheets are also laminated onto a substrate that is not conductive, so it stops the current from going through the board as well as the track. PCBs are single sided or double sided. A single sided PCB has a single copper layer, whereas a double sided PCB has multiple layers. Printed circuit boards utilize a variety of electronic components all on one conductive material surface. Conductive tracks, pads and other features on a circuit board or all laminated onto a non conductive material. This means that you can form multiple connections without having to use any type of extensive wiring and this speeds up production drastically.

The various conductors on circuit boards through certain layers are connected through holes which are referred to as vias. More advanced printed circuit boards can also contain extra components like resistors, active devices and capacitors to increase the functionality of that board and the device. An advanced PCB may also have resistors, capacitors and many other active components that help the electronic device to operate efficiently depending on what purpose it is being used for.

After the PCB has been completed, it is then attached to create a PCA, or a printed circuit assembly. This is normally done through in-hole construction, which means that the components are placed on pads outside of the PCD and then wired either mechanically or electrically to the board using a soldering iron. This helps to maintain the current while also ensuring that it is fixed on properly with no loose connections. The hole and surface construction must be done at the same time because some components can only be found in surface mount form and others can only be found with in-hole packages. Using both methods will provide strength if your component will undergo stress but if you believe that your component will go untouched then you might be better off using the surface mount technique as it uses up less space when compared to other methods.

Early PCBs date back to the late 60s and the first were created using a clear Mylar sheet and a photo mask. Rather than using the old style of design, in many of today's modern circuit boards the electronic design is completed on a computer and then a machine can produce all of the printed elements as well as lay in other electronic features like resistors, pads and even active devices. All of the fabrication data is fed through CAD software and the and put tools are then printed into copper patterns, Solder is applied by computer-aided programming, drill holes can be added and there is even automated optical inspection that will quality control each board.

When it comes to mass production quite often PCB’s are manufactured with the use of photo engraving or silkscreen printing. Photo engraving removes a UV sensitive coating to create the mask of the circuit board. This method is more commonly used for more fine work or high-resolution circuit boards.

Overall, PCB's can be used for a huge variety of purposes but understanding them is the key if you want a long lasting circuit board that has no loose connections or breaks in the current.