What Is a Printed Circuit Board Prototype?

printed circuit board prototype

A printed circuit board (PCB) mechanically supports and electronically connects electric components using conductive tracks, pads, and other features etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. Generally, they help currents get where they need to go. These boards act as a map to the device’s circuitry system.

Printed circuit boards have recently grown in popularity, the world market for PCBs reached nearly $60 billion in 2012, with almost two percent real growth over 2011, according to IPC’s World PCB Production Report for the Year 2012.

Simply put, most electronics depend on internal circuitry in order to delegate things like electrical follow and power issues to different components. Basically, the circuit board is the ‘headquarters’ of the device. It’s where everything is processed and sorted.

Printed circuit board prototypes serve as a foundation and mechanical support for electronic components. In general, they have non-conductive surfaces, populated with conductive pathways, signal traces, and electronic components as they are assembled in order to enable to flow of electrical current.

Typically, there are two methods used for assembling a printed circuit board, surface mount assembly and through hole construction.

A lot of precision is involved in their creation, and there are three major types of PCB fabrication; single-sided, double-sided, and multi-layered. Each printed circuit board prototype has its own use and must be the correct side to fit in its required space. Board designers use computer-aided design software to layout the prototype circuit board designs. Typically, the spaces between its electrical paths are 0.04 inches or smaller, and the location of the homes for component leads or contact points are also laid out in this process.

These components on the prototype PCB are electrically connected to the circuit by two different methods: the older “through hole technology,” and the newer “surface mount technology.”

The core components used in prototype PCB assembly can vary depending on how they will be used. Commonly, the conducting layers are made of a thin copper foil and the dielectric insulating layers are laminated together using epoxy resin. This is known as FR-4 glass epoxy where circuitry interconnections are etched into copper layers and produce multiple layer complex circuit boards.

If you are interested in learning more, contact the experts at Pentalogix today.