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Author: Daniel Kidd
What do printed circuit boards do?
Circuit boards, also known as printed circuit boards (PCBs), are an integral part of modern electronics.
They are small, simple-looking bits of equipment that do a very important job - they ensure products work.
Broadly, circuit boards serve two functions. One, they act as a physical base for housing the components of an electronic device – the wires, chips and plating.
Second, circuit boards are the connecting hub of an electronic device – whether it\'s a television, radio, computer or smartphone.
They support and electrically connect the components of a device. In the real world, this means that when you watch the television, listen to music on a stereo or back up data on a computer, you have a printed circuit board to thank for that.
What are the advantages of PCBs?
PCBs have helped to make electronic devices cheaper to make, cheaper to buy and easier to use.
At one time, vacuum tubes were widely used. These control electric current through a vacuum in a sealed container. It meant that all the components of an electronic device were connected together by being soldered to each other, or to terminal strips and sockets.
This process did the job, but it was expensive, tricky and what\'s more, took up a lot of room.
Printed circuit boards have solved this problem – making connecting components simpler and cheaper. They\'ve thus helped drive down the cost of electronic products and led to their uptake all over the world.
Where are they used?
Everywhere! Pick any electronic appliance in the office or home and it will have a printed circuit board in it.Computers, microwaves, mobile phones, printers, TVs and stereos (to name just a few), all use printed circuit boards, all the time powering away the central components of a device.
What is PCB assembly?
PCB assembly can be seen as another stage in the overall manufacture of circuit boards. After the PCB is made, the electronic components must be attached to form the device proper.
There are two types of PCB assembly – through hole and surface mount. Through hole sees component leads inserted in holes, whereas in surface mount the parts of an electronic device are placed on pads on the outside of the circuit board.
There are a number of companies in the UK providing PCB assembly, plus a range of other services, including conformal coating, PCB cleaning and testing services.
PCBs – small but perfectly formed
While there are plenty of electronic components attracting attention in the industry today, the humble circuit board is often overlooked. But without them, we wouldn\'t have the devices we have.
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