Browse Definitions :
Definition

printed circuit board (PCB)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

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

Continue Reading About printed circuit board (PCB)

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Cool bit of trivia for those playing along at home: a Printed Circuit Board isn't actually green. It's the solder mask - the coating on top of the board - that's green. According to this FAQ it's used to prevent soldering errors / short circuits. This means a PCB can actually be most any colour: red, blue, heck even purple. Just thought that as a cool tidbit for anyone who reads through to the comments :D 
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

SearchSecurity

  • Payload (computing)

    The term payload, when used in the context of networking or telecommunications, is the data carried inside of a packet (or other ...

  • access control

    Access control is a security technique that regulates who or what can view or use resources in a computing environment.

  • ethical hacker

    An ethical hacker, also referred to as a white hat hacker, is an information security expert who systematically attempts to ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • virtual disaster recovery

    Virtual disaster recovery is a type of DR that typically involves replication and allows a user to fail over to virtualized ...

  • tabletop exercise (TTX)

    A tabletop exercise (TTX) is a disaster preparedness activity that takes participants through the process of dealing with a ...

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a data center.

SearchStorage

  • storage at the edge

    Storage at the edge is the collective methods and technologies that capture and retain digital information at the periphery of ...

  • Flash Storage

    Flash storage is any type of drive, repository or system that uses flash memory to keep data for an extended period of time.

  • optical disc

    An optical disc is an electronic data storage medium that can be written to and read from using a low-powered laser beam.

Close