Types & Advantages of Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) For Electronic Engineers

In the world of electronics printed circuit boards or PCBs play a vital role in connecting the components and routing voltage. A PCB is basically a thin board built of fiberglass, epoxy or other laminate materials. PCBs are found in almost all electronic equipment from computer systems to radios and radars. Each PCB is built to a specific design that suits its function. The PCB has a number of traces which help to connect all the electronic components. Components are soldered onto the circuit board to keep them connected to it.

Types of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs):

First, we will discuss the major types of printed circuit boards. The structure as discussed before is highly variable from the number of layers to the metal used. There are three main types of PCBs.

1: Single Sided PCBs:

The basic of all PCBS. These contain only one layer of a substrate and a layer of copper or any metal. The conductors are on only one surface of the dielectric base of the PCB. They are used for simple circuits such as sensors and electronic toys.

2: Double Sided PCBs:

Double Sided PCBs have both sides of the substrate covered by a metal layer. Holes are drilled in the board which allows the parts to be attached and also interconnects the plates. These types of PCBs are used in a number of applications including mobile phones, amplifiers etc.

3: Multi-layer PCBs:

Multi-layer PCBs are PCBs which include more than two layers of copper. Many layers of substrate and insulating materials separate the layers. These layers are interconnected by pads or PTH (plated through holes). 

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Advantages of Printed Circuit Boards:

There are other alternatives such as breadboards or point-to-point construction, but PCBs are more widely used. The reason is simple enough, they have many advantages and so are preferred over other alternatives. Here are some advantages of PCBs listed below.


1: Compact size and saving of wire

PCBs can hold a large number of components. These components may be very small in size and therefore it would be impossible to connect them all through wiring. PCBs, help to not only connect all these components but also use copper tracks instead of wires, therefore, making it easier to hold small components and saving wire. Also, a large number of components can be fitted into a small circuit board hence making it compact. Therefore large circuit designs and complicated circuits can be designed into a compact form saving space.

2: Easily repairable:

If your PCB isn’t functioning correctly, it is very easy to repair the boards. This is because it is very easy to check and repair the components as all the polarities are labeled onto the board using silkscreen. This not only allows convenience in the building but the repair process too.

3: Saving Time:

The conventional method of making circuit boards involves a lot of time. But using the method of printed circuit boards it not only takes lesser time but is more convenient.

4: The components are fixed:

During the process of building the circuit boards, all the components are soldered onto the board fixing them properly into place. This is done by solder flux allowing no movement to occur that might dislodge the components.

5: Lesser chances of Short Circuits:

The connections are all made through copper tracks or conducting metal. Therefore there is a lesser chance of any loose connections that may result in short-circuiting of the board.

6: Little to no electronic noise:

The PCBs are built in such a way that the electronic noise is little to almost non-detectible. Any noise is released in the form of heat or radiation. A properly laid out PCB does not give out any noises. This is because the components are organized in such a way that the path lengths are very minimal and hence there is a lower amount of radiation and EM waves.

7: Lower cost:

Since most PCBs are built using computerized systems, you can save the layout of the schematic design and use it again and again as required. Therefore you can make several batches of identical PCBs at once saving time and money.   

8: Reliability:

PCBs are proven to be highly reliable. All throughout the building and the production process they are strictly checked for any errors. The whole procedure is fully automated and as a result, the product is more reliable.

Disadvantages of Printed Circuit Boards:

There are some disadvantages to using PCBs. For example, the PCBs aren’t suitable for use in conducting heavy currents since the high current will heat up the thin copper wires which can cause problems. Also during the process of soldering, there is a large risk of overheating if not properly overlooked.

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