Computer Electronic Boards Computer Circuitry
The heart of every modern electronic device is a printed circuit board (PCB). These are the foundations that support the mechanical structure and create the pathways of the many different signals that must be communicated constantly in order for all components to function properly. The conductive materials on these boards are what make it possible for everything from light bulbs to computers to work as they do.
How do circuit boards work have been around almost as long as the development of technology itself. They are essential in all electronics, from cell phones to alarm clocks and even the simple light-up toys your children play with. They are also what allow the complex communications that must occur constantly for any electronic device to operate, as well as the ability for devices to interact with each other in a way that creates emergent behavior.
There are many parts that make up a circuit board, but the most basic part is the copper layer. This is the metal that conducts electricity on a PCB, and it is commonly measured in ounces per square foot. A standard PCB is made of 1 ounce copper, while others that handle a lot of power may have 2 or even 3 ounces of copper on them.
On top of the copper is a protective layer called solder mask that gives the PCB its green color and insulates the copper traces from contact with other metal or solder. On the other side of the mask is a surface to which you can attach the electronic components to the board with solder. This is usually done with a solder paste stencil, which holds small balls of melted solder that can be dipped directly on the pads where you want to place your components. This allows the pads to be reflow soldered, which is the preferred method of assembly for most PCBs today.
In addition to pads and traces, computer circuit boards contain other components that are used to control the flow of electricity on the board. These include resistors, capacitors and diodes. Resistors apply a specific amount of resistance to the current, while capacitators store electric charge and release it when needed. Diodes block interference signals in the circuit, preventing them from disturbing the flow of electricity.
Once the individual components are all connected to the motherboard, the board can be assembled. A popular technique is to use a reflow oven to melt the solder, which will then form an electrical connection between the copper traces and the individual components. A common error is to leave a pad exposed after reflow soldering, which causes the component to be difficult to remove from the board.
It is important to recycle computer circuit boards, as they can contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment. If they are discarded in landfills, these chemicals can leak into groundwater, causing environmental problems for plants and animals. In addition, the process of recycling circuit boards uses less energy than mining and refining new materials.