It was in 1825 when Charles Ducats of America first submitted a patent on a device that involves creating an electrical path on an insulated surface. It was indeed a great idea once put into action, for it could eliminate the bulky terminal strips, tubes sockets and wires inside electronic devices, thus eliminating the mess resulting from wires and cords inside the device. However, it was only in 1943 when a certain Dr. Paul Eisner in Austria began making the first operational printed circuit boards. This invention indeed made Ducat’s dream a reality.
Since it was made into a plan by Ducats in 1825, the material for PCBs could be made of anything from Bakelite to Amazonite to fiberglass or even ordinary pieces of wood. Holes were drilled in the material and flat wires were riveted onto the board. This is how circuit boards were first made for use in radios and gramophones. By 1947 double-sided PCBs were introduced in the market. Later on multilayer boards of as many as 100 stuck together were produced. Multilayer boards are simply glued or laminated double-sided PCBs with insulating sheets in between. It was in 1950 when other resins and materials were used as circuit board substrate. One thing is sure. PCBs have made connecting components or electronic devices simpler, cleaner and definitely cheaper.
Printed circuit boards are thin boards made of insulating materials with a metal coated surface either on top (single-sided) or both top and bottom (double-sided). Etches or marks are made in the metal using an acid solution, ultraviolet rays or machines. This etches created pathways for electricity to travel to. When PCBs were invented electronic circuits became smaller, compact and can be contained on convenient rugged board. Holes were drilled on the PCBs and these holes allow resistors and capacitors to be inserted and soldered through the boards. The number of holes depends on the number of connections needed by the device for which the PCB is created for.
The most important part of making a PCB is designing the layout. It is important to know where all the components are going to go. Remember that there is no standard layout for printed circuit boards. Each board should take into consideration where it would be used and it must be the right size to fit the required space. Computer-aided design software help board designers create the layout for their PCBS. Such software includes PCB, Liquid PCB or Shortcut.
PCBs are found almost everywhere. Almost every home and office electronic appliances contain PCBs. All computers, printers, televisions, stereos, amplifiers, synthesizers, digital clocks, microwave ovens, answering machines and even beepers, pages and mobile phones contain PCBs. Since the creation of PCBs, smaller and smaller electronic devices are created.
One prominent example of the use of printed circuit boards is found in our desktop computers. The computer’s motherboard, considered the heart of this machine, consists of a PCB. PCBs are also found in the computer’s RAM (Random access Memory), power supply, modem and video cards.
Printed circuit boards minimize electronic noise inside any device making it perform better than the usual. The way the board is organized leads to lower radiation and lower pickup of electromagnetic waves. It is also easier to repair or install an electric device with a PCB.
A good PCB is clearly labeled on the board making it easier to trace the signal paths, a necessary task when diagnosing errors in the electronic device.
Multilayer boards are simply glued or laminated double-sided PCBs with insulating sheets in between. PCBs have made connecting components or electronic devices simpler, cleaner and definitely cheaper.