A PCB, or printed circuit board, is a way to create a permanent circuit using conductive strips etched onto an insulating board. There are then pads and holes on the board to either surface mount or through-hole mount onto the board using solder. This replaces interconnecting wires of a breadboard. Advantages are its durability compared to breadboarding and its ability to be mass-produced. 

How are PCBs Made?

A thin sheet of copper is first laminated onto one side of the board. Through a variety of means, a protective coating is placed over the area of copper to be retained. The rest of the copper is removed with an acid solution or another manufacturing method like a laser. What remains are conductive pads and strips between which are placed the electronic components.

Adding Components

The components are installed on the reverse side of the board with leads brought through previously drilled holes. The leads are then soldered to the copper pads

PCB Advantages


Steps for Designing your PCB

The process of getting components arranged on a PC board is like working on an intricate jigsaw puzzle. The pieces to be fitted are the resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors, and so forth. Here are a number of rules to guide you in the placement of components.

Step One:

Follow the Schematic Diagram. The parts, when finally in place on the board and interconnected by means of the etched circuit, must correspond to the schematic.

Step Two:

Leads Should Be As Short As Possible and Straight. And as far as possible, leads should run directly from one component to another.

Step Three:

Avoid Crossovers Whenever Possible. In a circuit board, it is not possible for an etched wire to cross another without making a connection. If crossovers have to be made, simply run the "crossing" lead beneath a component.

Step Four:

Avoid Jumpers Whenever Possible. A jumper wire lifts one conductor off of the etched surface so that it can cross the other conductor.

Step Five:

A Hole For Every Component Lead. Do not forget to include a pad with a hole for every component lead.