Printed circuit boards

What Are Printed Circuit Boards?

A printed circuit board, commonly called a PCB, is a board, or plate for use within computers and other electronics. All but the simplest of electronic devices will have PCBs in them today. The board can hold chips as well as many other types of electronic components. They have conductive tracks on them, as well as pads and other features created from copper sheets and placed onto the nonconductive board. PCBs can have a single side, with just one copper layer, or they can be two-sided, with two copper layers. They can also be multilayer. When conductors are working on different layers, they are “plated through holes”. These holes are known as vias.

People of all levels of experience can benefit from using PCBs, and the other boards and tools mentioned throughout the article. They can help with the development of countless types of circuits for electronic devices. They can be a great learning tool for people to start understanding more about how electronics and circuits work. Whether someone is just learning and experimenting with electronics, or you are a professional, having the right boards and tools on hand is important. Learn about the different options you have and the items you might need.


What Are Backplanes?

Backplanes, sometimes called backplane systems, are groups of electrical connectors that are parallel to one another. Since they are parallel, the pins of the connectors can link to the same relative pins of the other connectors, and this forms a computer bus. They help to connect several printed circuit boards together. By connecting those PCBs, they assist in creating the overall computer system. It is possible to have either a passive or an active backplane.

A passive backplane doesn’t offer circuitry for buses. Necessary logic components would need to go onto daughter cards instead. Active backplanes have chips in them that can buffer the signals into the correct slots. Several different types of backplanes are available, including butterfly backplanes and midplanes.


What Are Motherboards?

The motherboard is the main circuit board on a computer. They feature connectors for attaching more boards and building a computer system, similar to backplanes. However, the motherboard contains far more. They will generally feature the central processing unit, BIOS, serial and parallel ports, memory, expansion slots, and controllers for peripherals. Some examples of these peripherals include the keyboard and the display screen.

Quite often, users are able to make additions to the motherboard for some upgrades. It might be possible to add more memory, and even to change out the CPU chip, which could make the computer much faster. In some cases, it might be necessary to replace an entire motherboard.


What Are Breadboards?

A breadboard, sometimes called protoboards, is the construction base used in electronics. People use these boards as a means to create prototypes of various types of electronics, simply to see if their design works properly. One of the benefits of breadboards is that they do not require any solder. They are also reusable, so users can create temporary prototypes. It makes it relatively easy to experiment with various types of designs for circuits. The boards on the market today are far better and easier to use than those from decades past were, which would sometimes require soldering. The breadboards on the market now are very user friendly, encouraging experimentation by hobbyists and professionals alike. Once the user is certain the design works, he or she will then be able to move on to an actual PCB with confidence.


What Is Breadboard Jumper Wire?

Breadboard jumper wire is the type of wire used with breadboards. It does not require solder, and it is possible to continue reusing the same wires. Users can find the jumper wires ready to purchase in sets, although it is possible to make the wires. While making the jumper wires might be possible for a small and quick project that does not require many of them, it can be hard for larger and more complex circuits. Buying the premade and packaged jumper wire sets is a much better option in those cases. Users can find bags of premade and cut wires ready to go for any application they need with their breadboards. Whether you are on a deadline or you simply don’t want to spend your day cutting and making jumper wires, buying a premade bag is a good option.


What Are Breadboard Jumper Wire Kits?

Users can also find premade breadboard jumper wire kits they can use as well. These types of kits will often include all of the different necessary wires for a project, although it might be necessary to buy several kits depending on the complexity of the design. The kits feature wires of different lengths, so make sure to know exactly what wires you are choosing. The kits are very handy, and they make even large projects easy since you will not have to take the time to create your own jump wires. The kits tend to have more wires included in them than the bags of wires have.


What Are Eurocards?

A Eurocard is a special type of format for printed circuit boards – they are the European standard. It is possible to use the cards and plug several of them into a subrack so they can work together. Single and double-sided boards are available, as is the case with the other PCBs available.


What Are Extender Boards and Adapters?

Extender boards and adapters have a unique role in electronics. The design of the extender boards makes it so they can plug into other circuit boards, and “extend” to an area that is easier to test. The boards and adapters are available in many different styles and architectures to accommodate a number of different types of boards. They can make the testing of many different types of units much easier, but it is important to choose the adapter or board that works with the project you need to test.


What Are Grounding Contacts?

When working with electronics, grounding is important as not to damage the circuits. The grounding contacts for PCBs can help to shield the electronics during creation and testing, to ensure that the circuit does not receive any damage. It is important to take care and caution with these boards, so find the grounding contacts that work best for your projects.


What Are LED Prototyping Boards?

Anyone working on an LED project should start their project using these prototyping boards. The boards come in a number of styles, and you can find round or hexagonal boards for experimenting. These are very different from the traditional PCBs, but they can make it easier to test LED lighting for certain types of projects.


What Are Matrix Boards?

Matrix boards come in many sizes and styles, and they can be a relatively easy way to create and experiment with LED lighting. The circuits you can make with the boards can allow users to create a number of different types of lighted designs, including letters and numbers. They can be just as fun as they are useful. Some of the common applications of this type of board include signs for elevators, at bus stations, and at the airport.


What Are Multibus II Boards?

Multibus II boards feature two different card sizes – 3U x 220mm and 6U x 220mm. The cards are larger than the Eurocards and they feature TTL gates as well as backplane connectors. They have been in use for more than two decades, and although they are not as common today as they once were, they can still be very helpful for a variety of different types of projects.


What Are PCB Covers?

These are covers for printed circuit boards. The covers are generally plastic, and they usually have an insulating coating on the inside and a conductive coating on the outside. The main purpose of the covers is to provide protection for the soldered side of the PCB. Covers are available in a number of different sizes so they can fit on various sized printed circuit boards.


What Are Photoresist Boards?

Photoresist is a type of light sensitive material, and it is in use in a number of industries today, including electronics in the creation of photoresist boards. It is actually possible to fabricate the PCBs with these types of boards by exposing them to UV light before they are developed with “half strength Universal Developer solution”, and etched by ferric chloride hexahydrate crystals. Through this method, which can be complex, it is possible to create high quality, specialized PCB boards. While they may not be the best solution for all PCBs, they can work well for certain projects.


What Are Plain Copper Ink Resist Boards?

The plain copper ink resist boards are another type of specialty board material used when creating high quality PCBs. They feature layered and untreated copper plated boards, as well as layers of glass cloth. It is possible to engrave on these boards to create a unique circuit board for your project. Some of the available boards have photoresist, while others do not. Whenever buying these boards, know what type of materials you will need for etching into the board, such as ferric chloride solution.


What Are SMD Soldering Exercise Boards?

Soldering can be a difficult skill to master for many people. Instead of practicing and learning with the more expensive boards, it makes more sense to use these types of boards for SMD standard and fine pitch soldering exercises. They feature a number of different types of components, which should be a good way to learn how to solder in a number of different situations when working with surface mount devices.


What Are Stripboards?

A stripboards is a name for a type of prototyping board used for many different types of electronics. They are rectangular and have a series of holds in a grid pattern. They will have copper cladding in one direction across the side of the board as well. The boards are available in a number of different sizes, but they have the same spacing for the holes, as it is the standard spacing needed for connecting a number of different types of devices.

They work similarly to breadboards, but they tend to be more cost effective. However, whereas breadboards are easy to reuse, these require soldering, and you can’t continue to reuse them as you can with the breadboards. Users should still be able to use the boards a few times. Since they are available in the same sizes as the Eurocard, many people who are developing for Europe will choose to use the stripboards for their prototyping.


What Are Surface Mount (SMT) to Through Hole Adapter Boards?

SMT stands for surface mount technology, and it is a way to create circuits where the components mount right to the surface of the printed circuit boards. This type of technology has replaced the through hole boards for adding components to circuits. One of the benefits of using the SMT components is that they are generally smaller than traditional circuits. Those who are interested in SMT components will find a number of options available.

Adapter boards are available as well, and these can help to adapt the older style boards you might be using right now to SMT. You may want to look into the viability of using these boards.


What Are Wiring Combs?

This type of wiring system is useful for a number of different things including prototyping and preproduction. They can also be useful to help repair and find issues with a device. They are easy to use and are available with a variety of different wires.


What Are Wiring Plates?

Wiring plates come in many different types and styles. The plates feature connectors for wiring in a variety of different grid patterns to help make it easier to assemble electrical circuit components. Various patterns and materials, such as epoxy glass and copper, are available for the wiring plates. Prototyping boards are available as well.