It is evident that Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is a core electronic component but majority of people from diverse fields do have an idea of what it is. It is because of the wide use and essentiality of PCBs in each and every electronic devise that is been used today. For even the simplest of devises like an energy saver might to a very complex design of an airplane or bioengineering machineries, the need of a well designed and structured PCB remains persistent and equally vital. For those who have a vague idea about the purpose and functionality of a PCB, it is a board or slice that holds the entire circuitry of the devise together and ensures the proper flow of current within the circuit. As the complexity level of the devise increases, the density of components and the intricacy of the PCB also increase. At beginners’ level, it is important to understand the basic steps of PCB designing and PCB assembling to get an idea of the core designing principle, and factors that drive the level of complexity of the PCB design.
The first step is of drawing the circuitry on any relevant software or manually to get an idea about the size of the board. The more the components, the bigger will be the size of the PCB and this is one important consideration before the fabrication step is performed. The board is made up of copper which is a conducting material. Only one side of the board is copper coated and the other is plane, where the components will be placed. After the drawing is completed, ten it needs to be put onto the circuit board. The term printed circuit board is coined with the concept that the circuit is not manually drawn on the circuit board but is printed with the help of dedicated machines to ensure accuracy and fineness of the drawing. At beginners level however, it can be either printed by using a circuit printout on the glossy paper or drawing the circuit manually by a permanent board marker.
The design is then transferred to the PCB by providing heat to the paper. A simple method of this is by using an electric iron and pressing the paper in the conducting side of the PCB. The next step after transferring the circuit image is of etching, where the copper plate is watched with a solution of Ferric Chloride to rinse out copper from the exposed area, keeping behind just the copper covered with the circuit image. So now only the defined portion of the board, where the image is placed can conduct and the rest acts as an insulator. All the components are now mounted on the board and soldered by the use of soldering iron and soldering wire. Soldering should be done very precisely to the legs of each of the component so that no component is short circuited with the other, as the soldering wire used is of aluminum which is conductive in nature. After mounting and soldering is done, the PCB needs to be tested with the voltmeter to check continuity and flow of current in the circuit.
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