Printed circuit boards are one of the most significant pieces of tech underpinning modern technology. PCBs make it possible for individuals and businesses to produce circuit boards much more easily than ever possible in the past. They consist of a series of passive and active components, connected by copper tracers that are etched into the board itself when it is printed.
There are numerous advantages to PCBs over the old methods of producing circuit boards. Below are some of the most important ones.
5 Important Advantages of Printed Circuit Boards
1. Compact Size
Printed circuit boards make it easy to cram a relatively large number of components into a small space. This is one of the defining differences between a PCB and the old breadboard-style circuit boards.
Whereas in a breadboard type circuit, the components are connected by external wires, the components in a PCB can be connected by copper tracers that are etched directly into the structure of the board itself. These tracers don’t just save space but are also much less prone to failure than a physical wire.
With the components themselves also becoming miniaturized in recent decades, the space savings of a PCB compared to a breadboard circuit are significant.
2. Software Availability
There is now a whole range of PCB design software available online. You can also find a plethora of tutorials teaching you how to best approach the pcb design and make the process. Anyone with an interest can start learning how to design and make PCBs – you don’t need to have any prior knowledge or skills.
3. Easy to Diagnose and Repair
No matter how simple or complex the PCB you’re working with is, if it fails, you will have a much easier time identifying the problem than you would with an old-style circuit board. Unlike a breadboard, which components are added on to, a PCB can be designed to have labels etched into the board showing where each component goes. This makes it simple to trace signal paths and diagnose any issues.
4. Save Time
This is one of the reasons that PCBs have been so revolutionary for the field of consumer electronics. Designing and manufacturing PCBs is much faster than assembling a traditional circuit board. Because the process can be automated, PCBs can be mass-produced, and because the tracers are etched into the board itself, the entire manufacturing process is easily automated from start to finish.
5. More Robust
A physical wire is much more likely to break or fail than a copper tracer is. While a wire can be replaced and a tracer usually can’t, this difference is offset by the fact that a large number of PCBs can be produced quickly, cheaply, and easily. In some cases, a new PCB will cost less than a replacement wire.
With so many PCB schematic design tools available online, anyone who wants to teach themselves about basic circuit design and manufacture can do so with relative ease. PCBs are far more versatile than the breadboard-style circuits of the past, and it’s really amazing what even a hobbyist can produce on their own these days.