Printed circuit boards are used in almost all commercially produced electronic devices, but what are they and what are the advantages of using one? A printed circuit board (PCB) is a small board that allows a series of components to connect to one another. They are usually created using a semi-conductive material such as fiberglass or resin and are flexible enough to bend (to some extent) without breaking. If you want to find out about some of the advantages of using PCBs then keep reading:
1. They’re Quick to Build
Compared to other types of circuit boards, PCBs take less time to build and connect the components. Since they were introduced a few years ago, manufacturing speeds have increased significantly. While it is possible to build a PCB yourself, it’s often easier and cheaper to purchase a ready made one. You can purchase PCBs from companies like Octopart.
2. They’re Small in Size
PCBs are unlike traditional circuit boards as they don’t require wiring in order to work. Instead, the components of a PCB are built using copper tracks. Using copper tracks makes the circuit board much less bulky and it can also save money on the wire too.
3. They’re Easy to Repair
Traditional circuit boards are much more difficult to repair than printed circuit boards. This is because all the polarities and electronic components on a PCB are clearly labelled on the board. This not only helps during the repair process, but it also helps during the installation process too.
4. Short Circuits and Tight Connections Avoided
As all the connections in a PCB are made using copper tracks and not wire, there’s less chance of a short circuit or loose connection occurring.
5. They Can Be Quieter
Unlike other types of circuit boards, which are noisy, PCBs are quiet. Although most PCBs do release some noise through radiation and heat, the noise created by a well-designed PCB is almost non-detectable. The main reason for this is because the path lengths between the components in a PCB are short. Therefore, fewer EM waves and radiation are produced.
6. They’re Less Likely to Break with Movement
One of the main advantages of using PCBs in electronic items is that all the components of a printed circuit board are fixed securely to the board itself. Solder flux is used to make sure that the components remain in place, irrespective of the movement of the board.
In the past, circuits were assembled by hand. This was an extremely tedious task that involved a lot of manual cutting, soldering, and trimming of wires. Manufacturing in this way was prone to error and was often an extremely slow process. Not only that, but the placement of wires in these boards varied from technician to technician meaning they were often hard to fix should any errors occur.
Thankfully, technology has now improved. Printed circuit boards are not only easier and faster to create but they also enable the creation of circuits with hundreds of components. This wouldn’t have been possible with a manual computer board.