Printed circuit boards are electronic boards that have copper tracks. The boards are made of glass fabricated plastic. The copper acts as the wire which connects the components. Holes are drilled so that the components will be properly placed. They are also soldered for a stronger hold. The top side of the PCB is the component side and the lower side is the track side. Once the components are placed and soldered, the circuit will already run.
Now, printed circuit boards have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, it is still one of the most convenient boards to use.
Disadvantages of Printed Circuit Boards
There are four disadvantages of using PCBs. Since bread boards are also a type of electronic board, it would be easier to compare it to PCBs.
1. You need different designs for different circuits.
Unlike the bread board, PCBs are fixed. Once you have designed it for a specific circuit, you cannot use it for another kind of circuit.
2. Updating is not Possible
Once you have printed it, you cannot add parts. You should reprint the design over again. This is actually a hassle when you just need to add one component to test a specific circuit.
3. When Damaged, It is hard to repair
Once it gets damaged, for example a short circuit or overheating, it would be hard or impossible to fix it. Compared to the bread board, you can just remove the components and replace the damaged parts.
4. Etching of PCBs are sometimes harmful to the environment
There are chemicals used in etching that is harmful for the environment. If you are an environment friendly advocate, PCBs would be the least kind of board you may want to choose.
Advantages of Printed Circuit Boards
The disadvantages of PCBs are actually minor and not a big deal. There are actually more advantages than disadvantages. Here are those.
1. Short Circuit and Wrong Wiring is Minimal
Because the copper tracks are embedded on the board, there is a lower chance that there would be short circuits or wrong wiring. Plus, this circuit is already been designed on a computer which means it has been tested for errors. There are applications wherein you can design your boards test it before you print it.
2. No need to inspect it
As it was said on the previous point, since it is designed on the computer, you do not need further inspection. You will not have to worry about broken circuits. There is a bigger possibility that it will work than manually making the board. Printed circuits are very easy to use.
3. Components are Fixed
This makes the circuit board simple. No more complex wires attached all over the board. No more loose components. Everything is fixed and the components are easy to identify. Also, the maintenance of the components is easier because of the simplicity of its look.
4. Ideal for Reproduction
If you will be using a number of circuit boards of the same design, PCBs have a larger advantage. Uniformity of the design is a plus because it is printed from the computer. Every board will be exactly the same as the previous. In manually attaching the components without a guide like the PCBs, it would be hard to create something identical.
5. Cheaper with Mass Production
If you are going to reproduce one design, PCBs are cheaper. You just need to print your design and etch it in a piece of copper board. Plus, it is easy to create. You can create multiple boards at a time.
So, if you are wandering about what kind of board to use, PCBs have the cheapest, easiest and fastest manufacturing compared to other boards.