Getting your PCB manufactured means getting to grips with terms you haven’t seen before. This can make getting the right service for you a difficult task. Our aim is to give you the knowledge you need to get you service you need.
A circuit with a continuous, variable signal. This is also known as an analog circuit. They can communicate information about the current, voltage and frequency.
This is a drawing showing the locations of components. This often includes the components reference designators on the circuit board.
This is a facility (or house) that attaches and solders components to a printed circuit.
Bill of Materials (BOM):
A listing showing all the components. This includes manufacturer part numbers.
The body is the electronic component without pins or leads.
CAD stands for computer aided design. This uses software to create or plot a design. This produces the printed circuit layout.
CAM stands for computer aided manufacturing. Software manufactures pieces by controlling machine tools.
These are files used in computer aided manufacture. Example types of data files include Gerber which operate photoplotters. NC Drill files which control NC Drill machines. Fabrication and assembly drawings which are pen-plotter files. These are often supplied to the manufacturer who use the file for design and manufacture.
Chip on Board (COB):
These constitute integrated circuits which are glued and wire-bonded.
Clad refers to a copper object on a printed circuit board.
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE):
The ratio of dimensional change of the PCB when the temperature changes. This is in reference to the original dimension of the board.
Any basic part in building electronic equipment. For example a capacitor or connector.
Components represented as decals are as a component library. This is a file used by CAD programs.
This is the connections between pins of components. This comes from the schematic within PCB CAD software.
This is a circuit which operates like a switch. It can make simple decisions based on logic. It’s used in computers and similar technology.
DIP stands for Dual in-line package. This is a type of housing for integrated circuits.
Dry Film Solder Mask:
This is a film applied to a printed board using photographic methods. It’s often used for designs which need a higher resolution.
This drawing aids in the construction of a printed circuit board. This includes board dimensions, location of drilled holes, sizes and tolerances.
This refers to the testing of bare circuit boards. The flying probe tests for shorts or opens on the board.
The standard base material a PCB is made from. It is a combination of woven glass fibre and epoxy resin.
The footprint is the space taken up by a component on the circuit board.
This image file format is the standard used in the printed circuit board industry. Photoplotters use these files.
IC stands for integrated circuit.
This measures the resistance a circuit has to a passage of current. Voltages that are applied in an alternating current circuit.
NC stands for numeric control. A NC Drill is a machine used to drill these very specific drill holes, specified in a data file.
A pin or lead with at least one wire connected.
This is an unwanted break which stops current flowing in an electrical circuit.
This is a terminal on a component. This can be using surface mount technology or a through-hole.
Panel refers to the material sized for fabrication of printed circuit boards.
Part often refers to a component.
Printed Circuit Board:
A printed circuit board, PC board or PCB is a non-conductive material board with conductive lines etched onto it. Components are mounted onto the board. When traces connect these together they form a working circuit or assembly.
Stands for plated through hole. This is a manufacturing process when assembling surface mount components to a PCB.
A route is the layout or wiring of a connection. It can also refer to the action of creating the mentioned wiring.
A schematic is a diagram which shows the connections and functions of a circuit.
A silkscreen is a layer of epoxy ink on a PCB that has component names and positions. This label aids the assembly process.
Surface mount devices. Components designed to solder on the surface of a PCB rather than through a through-hole.
Surface mount technology. This refers to assembly which solders SMDs to the surface of a PCB. This removes the need for drilling holes through it.
This is the base material of the PCB. It can be made of epoxy, metal, ceramic amongst others. This depends on the function of the PCB.
When a via is on both sides of the PCB – it is a supported hole. It’s plated inside the via. This is used for thermal or electrical conductivity for the hole.
This finish protects the copper layer on the board from oxidizing. This happens in natural environments.
This via uses dry film solder mask on both the pad and the plated-through hole. This insulates the via – guarding against shorts.
A through-hole is where a pin is designed and inserted into holes and soldered to pads on a printed board.
Trace or tracing refers to the width of a PCB’s wires.
This is a hole with a pad on the solder side, but none on the component.
A plated-through hole used to route a trace from one layer of a PCB to another.
VLSI is very-large-scale integration. This involves the creation of an integrated circuit combining billions of transistors into a single chip.
A panel is partially cut through. It’s often used to break apart panels of PCBs into single units.
In the context of electronics, it often refers to a conductive cable that transmits electricity or heat.