Definition

printed circuit board (PCB)

Part of the Electronics glossary:

A printed circuit board (PCB) is the board base for physically supporting and wiring the  surface-mounted and socketed components in most electronics. 

In applications where fine conductive traces are needed, such as computers, PCBs are made by a photolithographic process, in a larger scale version of the way conductive paths in processors are made. 

Electronic components are typically placed by machine onto a finished PCB that has solder dabs in place. The PCB bakes in an industrial oven to melt the solder, which joins the connections. Most PCBs are made from fiberglass or glass-reinforced plastics with copper traces.

PCBs can be single-layer for simple electronic devices. Printed circuit boards for complex hardware, such as computer graphics cards and motherboards, may have up to twelve layers. PCBs are most often green but they can come in any color.

Other methods of PCB manufacturing include silk-screening and CNC-milling.

See a demonstration of building a four-layer PCB:

This was last updated in September 2013
Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • digital assistant

    - A digital assistant is an application program that can understand natural human language and complete electronic tasks for the end user. (WhatIs.com)

  • flash storage

    - Flash storage, based on flash memory, is used for data repositories, storage systems and consumer devices, such as USB drives, smartphones and solid-state drives. Flash-based storage is faster than... (WhatIs.com)

  • media center PC

    - A media center PC is a dedicated computer connected to the user's digital TV. The computer components are typically chosen for characteristics such as low power consumption, low heat dissipation, i... (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Electronics

    - Terms related to electronics, including definitions about electrical components and words and phrases about computers, laptops parts, digital cameras, televisions and home appliances.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About printed circuit board (PCB)Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.