If you’ve ever attempted to work on printed circuit boards, you may have experienced the frustration of staring at a part and not knowing what it is. Here’s our printed circuit board component tutorial, which includes information and details to assist you in identifying the various components on a PCB.
What is a PCB?
A printed circuit board is a framework that houses electronic circuitry made up of traces, which are embedded metal lines, and planes, which are bigger metal sections. Electronic components are soldered to metal pads on the top, bottom, or both layers of the board. These pads are connected to the circuitry on the board, allowing the components to be connected. A single layer of circuitry, circuitry on the top and bottom, or numerous layers of circuitry stacked together might make up the board.
Types of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)
Despite the fact that all PCBs have the same basic purpose, they come in a variety of designs and combinations to satisfy the needs of different applications. The following are the three most prevalent types of printed circuit boards:
1. Rigid printed circuit boards
Stiff PCBs are made from rigid fiberglass substrates and are therefore practical and affordable, although they are inflexible. They are easier to make and less expensive than their more flexible equivalents, but they are less versatile and difficult to fit into unique geometries or tight spaces.
2. Flexible printed circuit boards
Flexible PCBs have good bending and folding characteristics, allowing them to fit into tight and irregularly shaped places. Because of this, they are highly adaptable and can be utilized to package tiny electronic equipment. Furthermore, because they are very adaptable, the product does not need to be designed to work around the PCB’s limitations. When compared to rigid PCBs, they can withstand more heat.
3. Rigid-Flex printed circuit boards
Rigid-flex PCBs integrate the best features of rigid and flexible PCBs in one package. These PCBs, unlike the other two types of circuit boards, have all of the electronic interconnectivity concealed within the board, lowering the weight and overall size of the board. When ultra-light packaging is a must, they are a fantastic solution. They’re also more robust and dependable, with excellent strength and flexibility.
Step-by-Step Guide to Identifying Components
Breaking down work into smaller segments, like most things in life, makes identifying components easier.
Identify the purpose of the board
To begin, attempt to recognize the entire board. What is its purpose of it? Is it a motherboard, a daughterboard, or does it do something specific? Some boards have codes on them that will aid in this process. The DMCB board shown below, for example, is a DOS Main Control Board for a GE Mark V system. This is true of several GE board acronyms. They can assist you in completing the board application.
Identify the Components
After that, look for passive components such as capacitors and inductors. Don’t worry, we’ll provide photos later in this article. Then check for potentiometers and resistors. Typically, there will be an ohm measuring indication on these. Oscillators, transformers, diodes, and relays are among more easily identifiable components. Check to verify if the circuit board contains a fuse. Fuses are usually transparent or opaque tubes. After that, look for any batteries or transistors.
Look for any connectors on the board. Connectors are used to connect circuit boards together, as well as to connect the board to a larger system or external components. Finally, locate the board’s processor and other integrated circuits.
The Most Common PCB Components
The “ease” with which objects enable electricity to pass through them is commonly defined as resistance. Consider the differences between insulators and conductors: the former has higher resistance than the latter. Resistors can be built from a variety of materials and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Resistors constructed of carbon film in the axial style are the most prevalent (and highly recommended for beginners). Both ends of the rod have leads on axial resistors. Their bodies are adorned with various colored rings that signify the resistance value of the resistor.
Capacitors are devices that store electric charges for a short period of time. Consider them teeny-tiny batteries with even more teeny-tiny storage room. They can lose and regain full charge in a fraction of a second. Capacitors are widely employed for filtering as a result of this (where a backup source of energy takes over when the main source of power drops in order to not lose or reset data)
Capacitors on PCBs electrostatically store energy to be released later when power is required in the circuit. It collects opposing charges (positive and negative) on two conducting surfaces.
Induction is the process by which general transformers transfer electricity from one source to another. PCB transformers work in a similar way. By increasing or reducing the voltage, they transport and convert electrical energy between circuits. They regulate current in the same way as resistors do. The main distinction is that by “transforming” the voltage, they provide more electrical isolation than regulated resistance. A soft iron core and two or more distinct inductive circuits (called windings) make up a PCB transformer.
Although resistors are essential for current management, transistors are essential for all modern electronics. In fact, they can be thought of as the building blocks.
Transistors amplify charges rather than storing, regulating, or controlling them on the PCB.
The most popular type of transistor, the bipolar transistor, has three regions and three pins through which current flows and is amplified. NPN and PNP are the two types of bipolar transistors. Both have P-type and N-type regions and are made up of the base, collector, and emitter.
Returning to our city–PCB board analogy, diodes are the one-way streets on a printed circuit board. By allowing current to flow in one direction and prohibiting it from flowing in the other, these two-terminal components control and redirect energy flow. Typically, the flow goes from the positive to the negative terminal.
Diodes, like resistors, use electrical resistance to control energy flow. High resistance in one direction and zero resistance in the other effectively prevent electricity from flowing in the opposite direction, which could damage the equipment.
Theoretically, everyone understands what a battery is. Batteries are utilized by more than just electronic engineers and amateurs and are perhaps the most extensively purchased component on this list. People utilize this small device to power a variety of items, including remote controls, flashlights, toys, chargers, and more.
A battery on a PCB basically stores chemical energy and turns it into usable electronic energy to power the board’s various circuits. To allow electrons to move from one electrode to the other, they use an external circuit. This results in a useful (though restricted) electric current.
Integrated circuits are the brains of all printed circuit boards. Circuits are the power factories, not batteries, which are the source of energy. Thousands of transistors, resistors, and capacitors are packed into these small wafers. They can, for example, amplify, oscillate, and process energy in a printed circuit board as a result of this.
The two types of ICs are further defined by these technologies: digital and analog. The ideal option for novices is determined by the type of assignment to be completed. Computers and consumer devices frequently use digital integrated circuits. In audio and radio frequency amplification, Analog Integrated Circuits (also known as Linear) are commonly employed.
Crystal oscillators are programmable timers or clocks that produce electronic signals on printed circuit boards. They get their name from the fact that the frequency of an electronic signal or oscillation is determined by the resonance of a vibrating crystal.
They are linear passive components found in printed circuit boards. Inductors, like capacitors, are two-terminal energy storage devices. Inductors, on the other hand, employ a magnetic field to store energy, whereas capacitors use an electrostatic field.
Another well-known PCB component, second only to batteries, is the switch. Switches are purchased by a large number of people, not just engineers and hobbyists, for casual, everyday functions. They aren’t just for use on circuit boards. They’re found in kitchens, rooms, and remote controls, among other places.
Potentiometers are just three-terminal variable resistors. They manage energy in the circuit in the same way that resistors do. They’re called so because they control a device’s electric potential or voltage. There are two types of common potentiometers: rotary and linear.
How can I learn more about PCB components?
After reading this, if you still need more knowledge about your circuit boards, there are usually further resources available. Look for the accompanying guide if you’re working with a manufactured circuit board. On the internet, you can often find even earlier technological instructions. Use the search string “Inurl:pdf manual” and your search query to discover them.
If you require a guidebook for a GE IS200VCRCH1B board, Google “Inurl:pdf manual GE IS210JPDHG1A” or for GE IS200VGENH1B board, Google “Inurl:pdf manual GE IS200VGENH1B”. For Bently products like 330180-91-05, 330525-00 the 3300 series manual can be used.
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