PCB Info

PCB Design Flow:


PCB Terminology / Glossary

  • Annular ring – the ring of copper around a plated through hole in a PCB.
  • DRC – design rule check. A software check of your design to make sure the design does not contain errors such as traces that incorrectly touch, traces too skinny, or drill holes that are too small.
  • Pad – a portion of exposed metal on the surface of a board to which a component is soldered.
  • Panel – a larger circuit board composed of many smaller boards which will be broken apart before use. Automated circuit board handling equipment frequently has trouble with smaller boards, and by aggregating several boards together at once, they process can be sped up significantly.
  • Plane – a continuous block of copper on a circuit board, define by borders rather than by a path. Also commonly called a “pour”.
  • Plated through hole – a hole on a board which has an annular ring and which is plated all the way through the board. May be a connection point for a through hole component, a via to pass a signal through, or a mounting hole.
  • Reflow – melting the solder to create joints between pads and component leads.
  • Silkscreen – the letters, number, symbols and imagery on a circuit board. Usually only one colour is available, and resolution is usually fairly low.
  • Solder mask – a layer of protective material laid over the metal to prevent short circuits, corrosion, and other problems. Frequently green, although other colors (SparkFun red, Arduino blue, or Apple black) are possible. Occasionally referred to as “resist”.
  • Surface mount – construction method which allows components to be simply set on a board, not requiring that leads pass through holes in the board. This is the dominant method of assembly in use today, and allows boards to be populated quickly and easily.
  • Trace – a continuous path of copper on a circuit board.
  • V-score– a partial cut through a board, allowing the board to be easily snapped along a line.
  • Via – a hole in a board used to pass a signal from one layer to another. Tented vias are covered by solder mask to protect them from being soldered to. Vias where connectors and components are to be attached are often untended (uncovered) so that they can be easily soldered.
  • Blind via
  • A via hole that does not pass completely through the printed circuit board. A blind via from one side or another.
  • Buried via
    A via connects two or more inner layers but no outer layer, and cannot be seen from either side of the board.
  • CEM1 or CEM3
    PCB board materials, standard epoxy resin with woven glass reinforcement over a paper core, differing only in the type of paper used. They are less expensive than FR4
  • Component Side
    The side of a printed circuit board on which most of the components will be mounted.
  • Wave solder – a method of soldering used on boards with through-hole components where the board is passed over a standing wave of molten solder, which adheres to exposed pads and component leads.
  • Double Side PCB
    The pads & traces are on both sides of the board.