Q:

What are printed circuit boards used for?

A:

Quick Answer

Printed circuit boards route signals and power through electronic devices, providing both mechanical and electrical connections. Conductive pathways or tracks are etched onto a copper sheet to provide the basic layout of PCBs. PCBs are used in almost all electronic devices. They are sometimes confused with printed wiring boards, or PWBs, but unlike PWBs, PCBs have circuit elements manufactured into the nonconductive substrate of the board.

Know More

Full Answer

Before PCBs became widespread, electric connections were established through point-to-point wiring. However, as the wiring insulation aged and cracked, frequent failures occurred at wire junctions. Wire wrapping improved the durability and duration of these connections. As demand for electronics increased, the pressure to reduce the size and cost of products led to the development of the PCB.

PCBs are made out of various components layered onto each other and laminated together. The base material is usually fiberglass of various thicknesses. Cheaper versions use epoxies or phenolics, but the lower price tag comes at the cost of reduced durability. The next layer is a thin sheet of copper, followed by the soldermask. A silkscreen is not strictly necessary but allows users to attach labels to each pin or LED.

Designs for the modern PCB began in the early 1900s, though these methods would not converge until the 1980s.

Learn more about Computers & Hardware

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are microprocessors used for?

    A:

    Microprocessors are used in servers, desktop computers, laptops and mobile devices. They are popular in embedded devices, which traditionally use microcontrollers. Microprocessors were named to set them apart from larger processors used in the middle of the 20th century.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do I recover gold from circuit boards?

    A:

    Place the gold-plated parts of the circuit board into a container. Add two parts hydrochloric acid and one part hydrogen peroxide, which makes a weak 3 percent concentration. Leave the parts soaking for a week, stirring occasionally. The solution darkens, and the gold flakes off.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are computer processing devices?

    A:

    Computer processing devices are used to process data using program instructions, manipulate functions, perform calculations and control other hardware devices. They play an important part in the processing operations of a computer. Examples of processing devices include the CPU, motherboard, chip set, clock, battery, expansion slots, data bus, address bus and random access memory.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the main circuit board of the system unit?

    A:

    The main circuit board of the system unit is called a motherboard. It is also known as the main circuit board, system board or logic board in Apple computers. It is the foundation of all of the computer's vital functions.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore