Printed Circuit Board 101

The use of printed circuit boards in electronics has become integral. Typical PCBs have different passive and active components connected on the board. Glass fiber is commonly used to create the substrate. These are less expensive and specifically used for household electrical devices. Copper, on the other hand, is used to make the printed circuits which can be etched or plated on the substrate. To prevent oxidation, tin-lead is coated on the copper circuits.

There are different advantages and disadvantages of using a printed circuit board.

Advantages :

Compact Size

Printed Circuit BoardTypical PCB’s offered many electronic components. Without a printed circuit board, there is no way to connect all these components with wires. It is the most convenient platform to assemble electronic components efficiently and compactly. Because of its compactness, complicated and large electronic circuits are developed in small forms.

Reduced Electronic Noise

Printed circuit boards reduce electronics noise that can degrade performance. Electrical components are organized on boards through minimizing electrical current path lengths between them. This results in low radiation and electromagnetic waves.

Cheaper Mass Production

PCB’s are cheaper in terms of reproducing one design. All it takes is printing your design and etching it in a copper board. In addition, it is easy and simple to create. Multiple boards can be created at a time. Without printed circuit boards, it will be difficult to reproduce designs.

Ease in Repair and Diagnostics

A printed circuit board can be helpful in doing diagnostics. Its polarities and components are labeled. This label is convenient when installing and repairing components. Signal paths should be traced when performing diagnostics. It would be difficult to do if the traces are not well organized.

Minimal Erroneous Wirings and Short Circuits

Erroneous wirings and short circuits are less likely to occur because the board is embedded with copper tracks. Moreover, the circuits are designed using a computer. These are already tested for errors. You can use a software to design a board and test it before printing it.

Fixed Components

Since electrical components are held fixed by solder flux, they have immunity to movement. There are no loosed components. When devices are shaking or moving, you do not have to worry about electronic short circuits or component displacement.

No Inspection Needed

As mentioned earlier, printed circuit boards are designed on a computer. Thus, you do not need to further inspect on broken circuits. There is a high possibility that it will work.

Disadvantages :

Cannot be Updated

Once the printed circuit board is printed, it cannot be updated. You have to reprint the design again if you want to add parts. This process can be hassle especially when you will just add one component.

New Design for a Different Circuit

Since printed circuit boards are fixed, you cannot reuse designs. Different kinds of circuit have different designs.
Harm to the Environment

The etching process of PCB’s can harm the environment. This type of board may not be one of your options if you are environmentally friendly.

Difficult to Repair when Damaged

Once a PCB is damaged, for instance by overheating or a short circuit, it is impossible to repair it. Unlike in bread boards, damaged components can be removed and replaced easily.

Conclusion

There are several advantages and disadvantages of using a printed circuit board. These advantages include compact size, reduced electronic noise, cheaper mass production, ease in repair and diagnostics, minimal erroneous wirings and short circuits, fixed components and no need for further inspection. Disadvantages include inability to update and reuse designs for another kind of circuit, harm to the environment and difficulty in repairing components when damaged.

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