PCBs are undeniably common today. You may know about it or even choose to overlook it, but you cannot live without it. It’s like the aglet in your shoe laces – you can’t tie a shoelace without an aglet, same as how you can’t operate a device without a PCB.
PCB is short for Printed Circuit Board. If you don’t know about it, it is just that little thing that powers your phone, tablet, laptop, mouse, car, electric fan, desktop, keyboard, TV set, stereo, watch, iron – need I say more? No, it’s not a battery, it’s a circuit board. If you are familiar with the motherboard of a computer, then it looks just like that.
Some PCBs are smaller than others depending on the size of the device where PCBs will be used. Depending also on the PCB fabrication, a certain PCB may be more or less populated than the other or could last longer or shorter.
PCB fabrication is the process in which a PCB is made. It is a complicated process which involves many steps that have their own processes and methods and so on. The question is, now that all’s fabricated and done, after it has been protected and packaged, what next?
Well first it must be sent to consumers or to the store; there it will be used or sold to different manufacturers that make electronic devices. Big-time manufacturers may order straight from the PCB fabricators so what’s left in the store to buy is a generic design used for general purposes and not for a specifically special purpose such as an innovative smartphone; but this is just what the average Joe needs.
If you are holding your laptop right now, chances are that below both your palms are at least two assembled PCBs running and transmitting current all throughout your device which makes it run. It’s like a set of capillaries in your body.
Your phone has it too. If you open it up, take the screen out and the keypad as well, you are bound to see it, usually collared green since it is the colour of fiberglass.
One of the uses of a PCB is that it makes organizing wires and components easier and can compress them into one small, compact board, thus reducing the size of the device which uses that. Imagine if Paul Eisner hadn’t innovated for the discovery of a printed circuit board back in the 1930s, then probably we’d be stuck to showing off our large phones in public and living by the motto “the larger, the better.”
PCB, once assembled, is so easy to connect and install in your computer if you are tweaking, repairing or building one. Depending on how the PCB fabrication is done, it may take a child to do it.
There are so many possibilities to be done with a normal PCB. If it underwent good PCB fabrication, it will last for a very long time even after your computer already broke down. But just in case the PCB is short-lived and went ahead of its device, you can still make perfect uses of it too. A motherboard, for instance, can be a very nice plaything for a child – a futuristic Netopia of sorts, a big megacity in the palms of his hand. He can be Godzilla to the motherboard – now how much fun would that be?
You can decorate an old PCB to any hard surfaces, and even to your wall! You can cut out sections you think are artistically great and use them as decorations for your wallet, your mirror, your space suit. You can also stripe the gold or nickel or whatever-mineral plating off and sell them, or you can sell the entire thing yourself to get your money back! Unleash your creativity; it surely is not as limited as the electricity that runs back and forth in a typical printed circuit board.