How Printed Circuit Boards Changed the World

Nowadays, technology is so advanced that it can often make time fly by without notice. Modern technological advances are giving people more reasons to live fast-paced lifestyles and faster ways of connecting with others around the globe. Cellphones, laptops, and the television: all these devices serve to give people the feeling of oneness with others who are living in cities located halfway around the globe. And these devices are fodder for techno-geeks who just love to find out how everything works and to find ways for constantly improving technology.

However, there is one thing that everyone seems to have taken for granted despite its role as a huge necessity for every device that gives people a speedy way to connect. That thing is the PCB or the printed circuit boards that lie at the very heart of every electronic device invented in the 21st century. These devices include everything you can ever think of, such as:

Gaming consoles like the PlayStation, the Xbox, etcetera, as well as the miniature versions like the PlayStation Portable or PSP.
Portable music players like the MP3, iPod, and many others.
Gadgets used for entertainment purposes such as portable DVD players, Blu-Ray disc players, tablets, the iPad, eBook readers, and so on.
Printed Circuit BoardsPrinted circuit boards have simplified the way electrical wirings are connected inside these devices. The PCB also provides mechanical support for all the different components that give all the devices listed above their own unique characteristics and their various multi-functional abilities. The mechanical support comes from the way that the circuit board conducts power or signals to the different components that make the device run. And what most people do not know is that anybody can assemble a PCB and its components at home.

A person who is interested in assembling printed circuit boards would first have to determine what his purpose for the PCB would be. This is because each electronic device has its own conductor pattern that corresponds to how the device is going to be used. He would also have to understand that there are 3 different types of PCB for him to choose from:

PCBs with only one conductor pattern printed onto the surface of a laminated copper sheet. These are often referred to as single-sided PCBs.
PCBs with two conductor patterns that are layered together on both sides of the same copper sheet. These are more known as double-sided PCBs.
PCBs that contain multiple conductor patterns on numerous sheets of double-sided plates. These are known as multi-layer PCBs.
The multi-layer PCB is the most difficult type of PCB to manufacture. This is because there are a lot of considerations that have to be remembered in order to ensure that the PCB would function as required. These considerations include the thickness parameter of each of the substrate layers, the ‘kiss’ pressure of the hydraulic press for printing the schematic design, and a lot of other tiny details that contribute to the usefulness of the resulting product.

The size and complexity of multi-layer printed circuit boards is the reason why it is quite impossible for people to assemble these at home as a hobby. A lot of equipment would be needed for the assembly, and the hobbyist would have to possess a keen attention to detail so that he wouldn’t make mistakes in attaching the components to the surface of the circuit board. One small mistake is tantamount to a totally defective PCB. Besides, multi-layer PCBs are also more expensive.

Always keep in mind that a defective single-sided PCB can easily be replaced without making a big dent on the budget, but replacing a defective multi-layer PCB can lead one to near-bankruptcy.

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