Once upon a time most electronic devices were quite cumbersome in size and filled with a confusing jumble of bulky components.
In order to function properly they required items that consumed a good bit of space such as resistors, capacitors, chunky vacuum tubes and a web of complicated wiring. Printed circuit boards completely changed the way the inner workings were set up and allowed for products to become more streamlined.
Early in the 1900s, people began filing for patents on the concept of PCBs, though no one created a fully functional device until the year 1943. With this successful creation, the technology quickly began to evolve and devices were produced with more compact and effective designs that functioned more efficiently and required less space. As time passed, improvements were made and today these boards are used to power items as complex as a computer as well as those as simple as electric razor.
They are built by beginning with a flat board, also known as a substrate, that is made from a substance such as fiberglass that has insulating properties. The surface is coated with a conductive metal into which the pathways by which the electricity will flow are etched, eliminating the necessity of bundles of wires. Other components are inserted into the holes that are drilled in the surface, and soldered in place for stability.
Versatility is one of the many things that make this type of circuitry very practical. They can be made in most any size required to power up even the smallest of devices since there is no need for tubes and wires. The compact design is only the beginning to the multitude of advantages that are gained by the use of this product.
They are also the preferred choice for power source because of their durable nature. The absence of glass tubing or looping wires eliminates the chance that something may be shattered or pulled off since all the necessary components are adhered to the substrate through soldering. The upside to this is that the board is not adversely affected by shaking and movement when inserted into devices which may be subjected to such actions.
Because most circuit boards of this type follow a uniform layout with all the main components being in the same place from one design to another, they make inspections and diagnostics much quicker and easier. All of the electrical trails are clearly laid out and labeled so it is easy to follow signal paths from beginning to end. This allows for any issues to be quickly located and rectified.
No tubes means that there is no annoying humming sound being emitted. Occasionally, interference from electromagnetic waves would cause some static-type noises to occur, but since these boards are planned to have each current follow the shortest possible path, radiation and disruption are minimized. This design was done with the intention of reducing exposure to performance degrading factors.
Modern day printed circuit boards offer numerous advantages, some in general, others specific to the devices in which they are placed. They are much more affordable to construct and take considerably less time and materials. Great strides have been made over the years that have allowed electronic technology to become more efficient and convenient.
This was a guest article by Jenifer Whitmire.
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