Most people take printed circuit boards for granted, not knowing their significance. From basic appliances to medical devices, printed circuit boards are needed to operate them. Several components and equipments are used in making these boards. It takes time and effort to finish one board. Unfortunately, electronic consumers usually ignore this fact. The design and assembly is a bit complicated. If you’re planning to make your own circuit board, you must know the basics first.
Printed circuit boards are comprised of printed traces made of copper metal and a non conductive board. The electrical current passes through the electrically conductive traces on the PCB. It will be redirected to several components mounted on the PCB. All electronic components are responsible for regulating the flow of electrical current. They prohibit the electrical current to pass through non conductive constituents. In this case, resistors, transistors and amplifiers are functional.
A lot of technical industries make use of printed circuit boards. PCBs can be used to operate semiconductors of computer microprocessors and sensors of airplanes. The military also incorporates PCBs in missiles and rockets. Almost all kinds of electronic gadgets make use of PCBs. Experts use PCBs to market the smallest possible circuit device. For instance, a small circuit device for dogs called a microchip implant is now available in the market. As modern technology evolves, the industry relies on PCBs to make advanced products.
The board does not conduct electrical current. Only the printed pattern has the ability to conduct electricity. This pattern indicates where should the current pass. Usually, the printed pattern is made of etched copper. In etching copper traces, the copper sheet must be of the same size with the substrate. Epoxy is used to paste the copper sheet on the substrate. Afterwards, the etching machine will cut out the excess copper sheet. As a result, the pattern is already covered with a copper sheet. Since the substrate is non conductive and the pattern is conductive, the electrical current will only flow along the copper traces. This etching process is also called the subtraction method.
Another way of printing pattern on the PCB is silkscreen printing. In this process, a silkscreen printer prints the pattern over the non conductive substrate. It uses an electrically conductive ink. In this case, you don’t need to subtract conductive materials from the board. The pattern will be exactly printed on the substrate. As a result, the flow of electricity will be directed by the conductive ink.
PCB assembly pertains to the specific arrangement of components on the printed circuit board. Diodes and resistors are usually used in radio and wing sensor PCBs. Other PCBs use magnetic and heat-sensitive materials. To prevent the components from overheating, heat-resistant materials are covered with a two-layered plastic on both sides. Leads are one of the most important components of PCBs for they serve as conduits. They connect the PCB to other circuit devices. For instance, the leads of a radio’s PCB can be connected to the PCB of an amplifier. Once the lead is connected to another lead, the electrical signal can freely pass from one PCB to another. For high-quality printed circuit boards, manufacturers use gold etched marks for the pattern.
Circuit boards can be done by anyone at home. However, large production of circuit boards must be done by a licensed company. You can make one from time to time and collect them. Making your own printed circuit board requires several materials. Soldering iron is the most useful tool. This is used in attaching components to the board. You will also need a multimeter in testing components after assembling the board.