There is no questioning the fact that we live in a society that is dependent upon electronics. One of the unsung heroes in the majority of the electronic items that we use is the printed circuit board, also known as a PCB. These handy devices not only make it possible to produce the electronics that we use, it also makes mass production possible and can automate many of the working factors of the electronics that we use for both efficiency and speed. What are printed circuit boards and what are the more common devices that make use of this electronic miracle?
If you were to take apart any electronic item, such as your computer or a cell phone, you would find a thin board on the inside which is made of an insulating material. The surface is coated with metal, typically on the top and bottom. In the metal surface, etches are generated automatically which produce a pathway that makes it possible for electricity to travel from one component to another. Those various components are mounted to the surface of the board with solder.
Before we discuss the specific electronics which commonly make use of the printed circuit board, it's important to understand that they can be found in almost any location. Regardless of whether you are talking about your cellular telephone or if you are talking about a kitchen appliance, it is likely that they take advantage of what PCBs make possible. PCBs can be fabricated in order to produce almost any benefit imaginable. That being said, here are some of the most common uses for the printed circuit board.
Computers - Although it is not likely that you have heard about a printed circuit board being inside of a computer, you have likely heard of a motherboard. In actuality, they are one and the same. The motherboard is the heart and soul of the computer, allowing all of its functions to take place seamlessly, quickly and conveniently. There are also other PCBs that are located inside of the computer, such as those that handle specific processes within it. These can include the cards that are separate from the motherboard, such as the sound card, video card, modem and the power supply. PCBs also control the function of the memory of the computer (RAM) and allow it to be accessed as needed.
Cell Phones - It doesn't matter if you use a smartphone or one that isn't quite as up-to-date, it is also going to make use of a printed circuit board. PCBs allows for millions of calculations to take place within the cell phone every second. Not only can it allow you to access data, such as checking your email or text messaging, it also decompresses and compresses the VoiceStream so that you can have a conversation.
As technology continues to move forward, there is no doubt that printed circuit boards will play a large role in the future of the electronic items that we use. They will continue to produce faster, more efficient results and will allow technology to keep up with our ever-growing demands.
"Bare Board PCB Fabrication", Heritage Global Partners, http://www.hgpauction.com/pcb-manufacturing/
"What is a Printed Circuit Board", Business Gross, http://businessgross.com/2013/06/12/what-is-a-printed-circuit-board/