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Ruchi Gupta




28 Jul 2016

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Published on: 17 Oct 2016 by ruchigupta

A history lesson on printed circuit board design

Printed circuit board – this term may be new to you, but trust us when we say that printed circuit boards, or PCBs have been around for many decades now. From calculators to radios and even certain smartphones – all use one or the other variant of PCB as a primary component. It really is an integral part of an electronic device, and is home to all the other components that help to run the device effectively. Today, we will talk about what PCBs are, and how these circuit boards actually work. We will talk about the origin history of PCBs and analyze their evolution. So read on to find out more.

In the year 1936, an Australian scientist by the name of Paul Eisler invented the very first printed circuit board. His original design was aimed at the manufacture of radio sets during those times. The US military adapted and patented the technology during World War II as a part of their radios and other communication gear. In the post world war period, the US government permitted the commercial use of PCBs, which opened the doors for several electronic companies to use the PCB technology in supercomputers, radios, telephones, etc. In those times, businessmen made use of the point to point structuring concept to make business and manufacture a whole lot easier.

Wire traps were the prime component of PCBs during those years, coupled with the smart usage of turret boards and various other components. Before the technological advancements we see nowadays in modern  circuit board design came into effect, wire leads were quite common, especially the ones attached to the holes on the PCB. This concept of through-hole construction was extremely popular in the 50s till the beginning of the 70s.

Dip soldering came into effect soon after, patented by two army officials, and became vital concept quite quickly among PCB manufacturers and designers. In many board variants, dip soldering is still used for manufacture, which gives testament to how good an idea it actually was. Although a widely popular concept, there are certain limitations or disadvantages of using this concept. The entire process of making holes and soldering the wires takes up a lot of time and energy, which can be a major disadvantage for the speed of manufacturing.

In today’s modern world, PCBs with surface mounted components are in demand, as they are small in size, and fit into any small and medium sized electronic device. New ideas and innovations have completely changed the way PCBs are designed and manufactured nowadays. In today’s world, a well planned printed circuit board design can make our lives a whole lot easier.

Usually made with non conduit as well as conduit materials, are used in almost every electronic device we use nowadays. Microwaves, washing machines, calculators, computer mouse, keyboards and even certain smartphones use PCBs. So with a 70 year long history, the importance of PCBs does not seem to be ebbing in the near future. So hold on to your hats and watch out for more technological advancements.

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