In electronic devices, printed circuit boards, or PCBs, are used to mechanically support electronic components which have their connection leads soldered onto copper pads in surface area install applications or through rilled holes in the board and copper pads for soldering the element leads in thru-hole applications. A board style may have all thru-hole parts on the top or part side, a mix of thru-hole and surface mount on the top side just, a mix of thru-hole and surface area install components on the top and surface area mount elements on the bottom or circuit side, or surface area install elements on the leading and bottom sides of the board.

The boards are also used to electrically link the required leads for each element utilizing conductive copper traces. The part pads and connection traces are etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. Printed circuit boards are designed as single sided with copper pads and traces on one side of the board only, double agreed copper pads and traces on the top and bottom sides of the board, or multilayer styles with copper pads and traces on the top and bottom of board with a variable number of internal copper layers with traces and connections.

Single or double sided boards include a core dielectric material, such as FR-4 epoxy fiberglass, with copper plating on one or both sides. This copper plating is engraved away to form the real copper pads and connection traces on the board surface areas as part of the board production procedure. A multilayer board consists of a number of layers of dielectric material that has actually been impregnated with adhesives, and these layers are utilized to separate the layers of copper plating. All of these layers are lined up and after that bonded into a single board structure under heat and pressure. Multilayer boards with 48 or more layers can be produced with today's technologies.

In a typical 4 layer board design, the internal layers are often used to supply power and ground connections, such as a +5 V aircraft layer and a Ground plane layer as the two internal layers, with all other circuit and element connections made on the top and bottom layers of the board. Extremely intricate board designs might have a a great deal of layers to make the different connections for different voltage levels, ground connections, or for linking the many leads on ball grid variety gadgets and other big incorporated circuit bundle formats.

There are normally 2 kinds of product utilized to build a multilayer board. Pre-preg product is thin layers of fiberglass pre-impregnated with an adhesive, and remains in sheet kind, generally about.002 inches thick. Core material resembles a really thin double sided board in that it has a dielectric product, such as epoxy fiberglass, with a copper layer deposited on each side, usually.030 thickness dielectric material with 1 ounce copper layer on each side. In a multilayer board design, there are 2 techniques used to build up the preferred variety of layers. The core stack-up approach, which is an older technology, uses a center layer of pre-preg product with a layer of core material above and another layer of core material below. This combination of one pre-preg layer and 2 core layers would make a 4 layer board.

The movie stack-up approach, a newer innovation, would have core material as the center layer followed by layers of pre-preg and copper material built up above and listed below to form the last variety of layers needed by the board design, sort of like Dagwood developing a sandwich. This technique permits the maker versatility in how the board layer densities are combined to satisfy the finished product density requirements by differing the variety of sheets of pre-preg in each layer. Once the product layers are completed, the whole stack undergoes heat and pressure that causes the adhesive in the pre-preg to bond the core and pre-preg layers together into a single entity.

The procedure of making printed circuit boards follows the actions below for many applications.

The process of figuring out materials, processes, and requirements to meet the client's requirements for the board design based on the Gerber file information provided with the purchase order.

The procedure of moving the Gerber file data for a layer onto an etch resist film that is put on the conductive copper layer.

The traditional procedure of exposing the copper and other locations unprotected by the etch withstand film to a chemical that gets rid of the vulnerable copper, leaving the protected copper pads and traces in place; newer procedures utilize plasma/laser etching instead of chemicals to eliminate the copper product, enabling finer line definitions.

The procedure of aligning the conductive copper and insulating dielectric layers and pressing them under heat to activate the adhesive in the dielectric layers to form a solid board product.

The procedure of drilling all the holes for plated through applications; a 2nd drilling process is used for holes that are not to be plated through. Information on hole area and size is included in the drill drawing file.

The process of using copper plating to the pads, traces, and drilled through holes that are to be plated through; boards are put in an electrically charged bath of copper.

This is required when holes are to be drilled through a copper location however the hole is not to be plated through. Prevent this procedure if possible due to the fact that it adds cost to the finished board.

The process of using a protective masking material, a solder mask, over the bare copper traces or over the copper that has had a Click here thin layer of solder applied; the solder mask safeguards versus ecological damage, offers insulation, protects against solder shorts, and safeguards traces that run in between pads.

The process of covering the pad locations with a thin layer of solder to prepare the board for the ultimate wave soldering or reflow soldering process that will happen at a later date after the elements have actually been placed.

The process of using the markings for component designations and element details to the board. May be applied to simply the top side or to both sides if components are installed on both leading and bottom sides.

The procedure of separating multiple boards from a panel of identical boards; this procedure likewise permits cutting notches or slots into the board if required.

A visual evaluation of the boards; likewise can be the procedure of inspecting wall quality for plated through holes in multi-layer boards by cross-sectioning or other techniques.

The procedure of checking for continuity or shorted connections on the boards by methods using a voltage between different points on the board and determining if a current circulation occurs. Depending upon the board complexity, this process might require a specially developed test component and test program to incorporate with the electrical test system utilized by the board manufacturer.