You may have an awareness of printed circuit boards, but that does not mean you are necessarily an expert in PCB assembly. If you need to construct a PCB, you can seek professional help from experts. But, you may want to attempt to construct a PCB yourself.
As a starting point, it helps to know more about what a PCB is. Let’s take a look at this in more detail and consider what terminology you need to be aware of.
Before PCBs came into existence, it was far more difficult to create a circuit board. Wiring took a lot of time and, on many occasions, wiring failed causing short circuits. This happened on a regular basis, as circuit boards aged.
PCB technology resulted from the need to improve the effectiveness of circuit boards, from a cost and performance point of view. A PCB consists of a series of different layers which are connected using heat and glue. The layers are all ultra-thin, as is a finished PCB.
The central part of a PCB normally consists of fiberglass. It’s this fiberglass that makes the PCB rigid. It’s possible to create the core of a PCB using different substances, but fiberglass is normally considered to be the most durable choice. Next to the core layer is a layer of copper, which normally weighs about one ounce for every square foot. In order to insulate the copper, a layer of solder mask is placed on top. It’s this solder mask that gives a PCB its overall color.
Of course, after constructing all of these layers, you still need to give detail to a PCB. In order to do this, it’s necessary to place a layer of silkscreen on top of the solder mask. This layer contains all of the letters and numbers that are necessary to provide the detail of the PCB. This gives people constructing and using a PCB a greater understanding of it.
If you are going to construct a PCB you will need to follow the instructions. This means that you need to understand the terminology that you are looking at. Here are some of the most common terms you will see.
Annular ring – A ring made from copper that surrounds a through a hole on the board.
Design rule check (DRC) – In order to check if you have successfully designed a PCB, you can carry out this software check.
Drill hit – The places on the board where holes should be drilled.
Pad – These are areas on a board to which components are soldered.
Panel – This happens when several boards are created at once. They are then separated in order to be used.
Knowing all of these terms should help you when it comes to creating a PCB. If you have any doubts about putting a board together, do not forget that you can always seek help from a professional.