When we think about printed circuit boards, most of us think of the tiny green rectangular boards that have minute parts attached to them. And while this is correct, they don’t have to be small green rectangles. In fact, they can also come in a range of other sizes, shapes and colors too.
Printed circuit boards are used to connect electronic components together. They are built with a range of materials (both conductive and non-conductive), and can be built to be flexible or stiff depending on your needs.
These types of circuit boards can be found in almost every electronic device in the world. Here are some examples:
1. Smart Phones and Watches
Both smartphones and smartwatches have printed circuit boards inside. PCBs in these types of devices are tiny in size and they are usually built out of narrow layers of laminated copper. The PCB in a mobile phone connects the external hardware of the phone to the technology on the inside.
2. Digital Cameras
Similar to smart watches and phones, the PCB in a digital camera is tiny in size. In order to combine digital technology and camera optics, most digital cameras have two layers of PCB inside, as well as a third layer of camera components. The PCB is used to transfer the picture you take onto the display screen on the back of the digital camera.
While most of the components of digital cameras are similar to what non-digitalized cameras use, the parts in a digital camera are more tightly packed together. This is why digital cameras can be made more compact than non-digitalized versions.
3. Microwave Ovens
Nowadays, most people in the U.S. own a microwave oven. However, it wasn’t too long ago that this kitchen essential was classed as a luxury item. And it came with quite a hefty price tag too. Microwaves were first introduced in the 20th century. Back then it would have cost you over $1000 to purchase a microwave oven with a PCB inside. Since then, microwaves have reduced in price considerably, but they still come complete with a PCB.
The PCB in a microwave oven does a crucial job. When an individual presses a button on a microwave, the PCB tells the microwave oven what you want it to do e.g. how long you want your food to be heated for.
If a microwave oven stops working, it’s usually the PCB that has broken. Unfortunately, now that microwave ovens are cheaper to buy, most people don’t try and repair them. However, PCBs are easy to change and can be purchased online from websites like Octopart.com.
From kitchen appliances to smartphones, electronics play a huge role in our daily lives. At the center of each of our electronics are PCBs. Printed circuit boards come in a huge number of configurations meaning they can be used for almost all electronic equipment. As the number of electronic devices continues to grow and develop across industries, the number of PCB applications continues to increase too.