Why are printed circuit boards important?

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Every day of your life, you probably use a bunch of different electronic devices.

Most people today have on average:

  • a smartphone
  • a portable PC
  • a tablet
  • a smart watch
  • a game console

All of these devices contain various internal components that ensure their operation and performance. Perhaps the most important feature is the printed circuit boardfirst invented in 1936 by Charles Ducas, an American inventor.

It is impossible to quantify the importance of printed circuit boards in today’s technology industry. But why are they so important? And what would we do without them? Let’s take a closer look at the main reasons:

Device functionality

First, circuit boards allow devices to function as intended. This is because they allow electronic components to connect and communicate via signal channels, traces, and traces.

For example, when you watch a YouTube video using your smartphone, powerful electronic signals are transmitted to the circuit board so that you can watch it without interruption. If the circuit were to fail, your smartphone would also fail and could be permanently damaged.

Design flexibility

Modern PCBs can be designed in a number of ways which is good for PCB engineers.

PCBs can be scaled down to ultra-small size when needed (like when they need to be designed for 40mm smartwatches). This is an invaluable advantage in an age where electronic devices of different sizes are constantly being created.

Why are printed circuit boards so reliable?

Printed circuit boards are reliable for a number of important reasons. Let’s go through them:

Duration

Printed circuit boards are extremely durable despite the fragile components (such as emitters) that make them up. When water is poured on an electronic device and the water seeps through the cracks into the circuit itself, there is always the possibility that the circuit will not suffer any damage.

How to seal circuit boards? It’s a good question. In general, the main method used for this purpose is « repotting ». Potting involves applying a protective layer to the circuit board. This protective layer is a water resistant compound that will not damage the circuit board itself.

The use of a water resistant compound is especially important for high voltage circuit board designs because if water comes into contact with the boards it can cause significant damage.

However, if the repotting process is not done properly, it can lead to structural problems and disturbances. For example, when a device is turned on, it may malfunction because electrical signals are not transmitted correctly.

Cooling characteristics

Have you ever used a device (like a smartphone) for several hours and noticed that it never heats up or gets hot? This is due to two factors:

  • A cooling fan (if any)
  • PCB cooling characteristics

The layers of metal added to modern circuit boards help prevent heat buildup and component damage. The devices can therefore function without interruptions, without being damaged or defective.

The layers of metal essentially function as an insulator. If you remove them, the circuit boards will heat up permanently and most devices will fail or be unable to function.

Also, heat sinks are usually screwed to the circuit board (or placed very close to it) to control any potential heat. Associated with A fan, this system can be very effective in keeping a device cool. However, cooling fans can usually only be added to larger machines. For example, if you have a iphone, you may notice that it often gets hot, as there is no room for a cooling fan. Instead, Apple relies on its circuit board functions to get the job done.

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