Printed Circuit Board 101

Our world now is a place where technology is necessary. Electronic devices can be seen almost anywhere, assisting a person in one way or another. People holding a cellular phone is a common sight; it can be one of the older generation models or the newest releases. Computers are also used for almost any task. These devices all work properly with the help of microchips and other components inside them. For them all to work together, they are connected using a printed circuit board.

A printed circuit board is a board used to connect the components of an electronic device to make it work. These boards are made from a non-conductive material and are etched with a metal pattern. The metal used is usually copper and is set in a pattern so that all the components that will be installed in it will be connected to complete an electric circuit.


You can see how the patterns work together on a circuit board by looking at the electronic wiring of a house. All of the outlets and switches are connected together by wires and with these switches, they can either make a light bulb work or any electronic device that you connect to it. The wires would then be hidden inside the walls so that they can be isolated and that no one will accidentally touch them. The circuit board patters are similar to a house’s electrical wiring, but instead of wires, a circuit board would use the metal that is etched onto it. This helps in keeping the connections organized and will prevent any disruption with the circuits.

The printed circuit board was first conceived during the 1850’s. Electronic components during that period were attached to wooden boards and then they would be connected underneath with the use of metal rods. The rods were then replaced with wires that were screwed to the bottom of the boards. The boards were eventually reinforced and wood was no longer used. The use of the circuit board made it possible to create devices which are safer and more compact.

Paul Eisler of the United Kingdom had a patent of etching an electronic circuit pattern from a copper foil to a glass base in 1943. This method of organizing electronic components was widely used when transistors were being used as well, and this made it possible to create better electronic devices.

During the development of the circuit board, there are a few methods of connecting the components; the Through-Hole Technology and the Surface-Mount Technology were the most common methods.

Through-Mount Technology would have holes drilled through the board where an electronic component can be placed. The component would have a lead part that will go through the hole and it will then be soldered into place either by hand or by machine. Surface-Mount Technology is simply about “stamping” the electronic component onto the circuit board. The board itself is prepared before hand for this kind of method. Surface-Mount Technology is commonly used nowadays because it can shorten the production time of electronic gadgets.

Designers have to consider the size of the electronic device and the number of components that will be attached to it during the designing phase of a printed circuit board. Planning the pathways in which the electricity will go through and the patterns that the copper foils will be etched onto the board is done here as well. The designer must ensure that all the pathways with the pattern will connect to each component and that none will be left behind or overlap with another. With this, some designs are made to allow the circuit board to be compressed even further, allowing the creation of small electronic gadgets to be possible.