Circuit Board Components

circuit board

The standard printed circuit board (PCB) is designed to serve two functions. It acts as a physical board upon which the various components can be added and held. It’s the structure upon which the circuit can be constructed. It also acts as the means to conduct the circuit as well. The copper layering allows for points to connect without the use of wires. The components are usually surface mounted onto the board and connected via solder to each other and to enact their function. The components that make all of our electronics are made of basic components mounted onto circuit boards. Here the major building blocks and what they do on the PCB.

circuit boardResistor

This component lives up to its name in that it acts as a way to resist the current flowing through it. It doesn’t just consume power; it limits and monitors the power. By using a resistor, it can manage the current that flows around the circuit board. A resistor is essential in controlling how power in the other components is received and ensuring that they don’t overload or get consumed too quickly. The most common form of the resistor is the current limiting resistor.

circuit boardCapacitor

Instead of looking at how the capacitor is a crucial component of the circuit board through its electric field, the easier way to understand it is to look at it as a battery. A capacitor can be charged and discharged just like a normal battery, except it can only store a very low capacity of charge. It runs out quickly in one burst, but recharges quickly again only to discharge its capacity. The common use of a capacitor is in time delays. It can also be used to filter out the noise of a circuit board. Combining capacitors can also target very specific functions, such removing the high-pitched frequencies of an audio signal.

circuit boardLight Emitting Diode (LED)

Everyone understands what an LED is, but as to the function on a PCB, not many understand why it is included on many of the electronics used every day. The LED acts as a visual way to know if a circuit is working. Think of how remote controls light up when a button is pressed, or a phone lights up, or a car turn signal. These are all LEDs mounted on a PCB.

Integrated Circuit Board(IC)

The integrated circuit is found on just about any complex electronic equipment being used today, it’s nothing more than a circuit that’s been shrunk down to a smaller component. When mounted on the PCB, it’s a circuit mounted on a circuit. It usually serves a specific function or has a task that it performs. Each IC comes with a datasheet for its purpose that specifies the pins and what function they serve.

There are many other components such as transistors, inductors, other highly specialized parts. The circuit board doesn’t have to be complicated once each of the basic components is understood and what function they serve. The knowledge helps to reduce the fear associated with electronics and the omnipresent circuit board.