A printed circuit board or PCB is the primary building block of every piece of electronic device in the world today. People who have, at one time or another, experienced taking apart an electronic device to see what’s inside are already familiar with what a PCB looks like. For those who are still unsure, the PCB is that flat board (the color is usually green) that functions as the heart of the device. It normally has an alien-looking design printed on the surface with various wires and stuff connected to the designs.
However, one thing that most device owners don’t know is that the designs on the PCB’s surface often varies according to the purpose for which the it would be used. This purpose is often determined during the initial stages of the PCB fabrication process, even before the design is permanently printed onto the board. This requires the availability of a schematic diagram that serves as the blueprint for the placement of each component onto the board.
Understanding the basics of the PCB fabrication process, specifically the schematic diagram, is the first for people who want to make a living out of mounting the components on a printed circuit board. Schematic diagrams are often done in such a way that would be difficult for non-electronics experts to decipher. People who want to understand how PCB fabrication works just have to understand that the graphics on a schematic diagram have three basic components:
1.BT – this stand for Battery Terminal. This is the part of the circuit board where the battery terminal would go. There should be additional symbols on the diagram, such as a positive sign on one end and a negative sign on the other, to imply the direction the battery should be facing – so that the positive and negative terminals can be connected to the correct components.
2.DS – this stands for Display or a Lamp. This is usually a component on the board that lights up to imply that the circuit is connected correctly. It could be an LED bulb in a flashlight or just a teeny-tiny red bulb on the circuit board. It plays an important role especially during the testing stage of the PCB fabrication process because it is the primary indication of whether the wires and all the other components were mounted in their proper places and are connected to the correct connections.
3.S – this stands for the switch. Simply put, it turns the circuit on or off.
The wires that connect these components are often illustrated with a black line going from one point to another. In more complex diagrams, the lines are broken on certain points to illustrate that the component would not be connected on that point or to the component that would be placed there.
Any electronics engineer would understand that a diagram that only has the components above printed on it could be the diagram for a flashlight or any other simple light-emitting device. There are many other graphics that can be added to a schematic diagram according to the complexity of the finished product. This probably means that the diagram of a multi-functional phone is probably filled with so much jargon that could the head of any non-electronically versed person swim in confusion.
There are two ways of copying the schematic diagram onto the fiberglass-and-copper circuit board for the next stage of the PCB fabrication process. One method is by first drawing the design onto a computer program and the printing the finished design onto the board. And the other method involves attaching the actual components onto the circuit board with the help of a breadboard.