PCB, PCBA, and soldering are not new terms in the electronic industry. As a matter of fact, they are one of the most important terms that you will hear quite often in the field. This article will give you a complete overview of these three terms and also about printed circuit board repair services.
Printed Circuit Board (PCB)
A printed circuit board, commonly known as PCB, is a circuit board made up of a laminate material. The major function of the board is to provide a base for the electronic components and to connect various components to each other. In other words, PCBs enable the electronic components to flow within the board while providing mechanical support to them.
Usually, PCBs are made with copper circuitry layered on top. The boards are made of a laminate material like fiberglass or composite epoxy. These boards have conductive paths that connect different components on PCBs. According to the predetermined PCB design, these paths are printed or engraved onto the board.
The most common PCBs are double-layered, single-layered, and multi-layered. Single-layer PCBs are the most basic sort of PCB, with a single layer of conducting material and a solder mask layer. Double-layer PCBs, on the other hand, have a layer of conducting material on both the top and bottom of the board, allowing them more flexibility and a smaller size than single-layer PCBs. Multi-layer coatings or conductors, as the name implies, have numerous layers of coating or conductors. Single-layer and double-layer PCBs are employed in simpler mechanisms, whereas multi-layer PCBs are utilized in more sophisticated mechanisms.
PCBs are used in the manufacturing of a wide range of applications, from the machinery of daily usage to complex ones like AI and so. Some of these applications are cell phones, laptops, computers, many home appliances, printers, radios, industrial equipment, radios, satellite system, telecom towers, pacemakers, and many more.
Now that we understand what PCBs are let us moving further and take a look at what PCBA is its components, and its uses.
Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA)
People are usually having confusion between PCB and PCBA and how the two are different. Printed circuit assembly or PCB assembly or PCBA is a PCB but with all the electronic components in place. This means while PCB is a blank board that has to be assembled, a PCBA is the assembled version. In the electronic industry, PCBA is also often referred to as the process where a PCB is assembled with the necessary electronic components.
PCBA is functional, which means it actually works. This is because of the elements assembled on the board. There are mainly two methods in which PCBs are assembled by technicians. These two methods are namely surface-bound technology and thru-hole technology.
Surface-mount technology (SMT) is the method of attaching electronic components to the surface of a printed circuit board (PCB) which allows the manufacturers to pack complicated circuitry onto compact parts. SMT is highly automated and adaptable, and it supports increased connection densities. And thru-hole technology is the assembly method that includes drilling holes in a PCB for the attachment of electrical components known as leads. This method is older than SMT, and it establishes a stronger link between the board and the components, resulting in more durable and dependable assemblies.
The electronic components that are used in assembling a PCB include transistors, resistors, inductors, diodes, capacitors, transformers, sensors, and more.
In general, the process which is used for connecting metal parts together to create a mechanical or electrical connection is known as soldering. Soldering is a standard method of joining electrical components and wires together. The technique is used for joining wires or connecting components to a circuit board (PCB). To avoid oxidation and enable better solder bonding to adjoin parts, copper is commonly coated with a thin coating of tin. Before attaching bare copper wires, they are frequently “tinned” by applying molten solder.
For electrical operations, many kinds of solder are utilized. Tin/lead solders and lead-free solders are the two major categories. Tin/lead solders have been used for many years due to their convenience of use. However, they are no longer in commercial usage due to the negative effects on individuals and the environment. Tin/lead solder is still available, and non-commercial users prefer it over lead-free solder because it is easier to work with. When using tin/lead (or led) solder, there are additional safety issues to keep in mind.
For commercial purposes, lead-free solder might be preferred. Various companies also provide printed circuit board repair services.
In the electronic industry, PCB, PCBA, and soldering are like the building blocks or fundamentals or the basics that everyone should know. It is essential to have detailed knowledge about these three if you’re looking forward to making a career in the field or even if you’re just interested in it.