Advantages of PCB against wire and component connected without board

Let's go over all of the advantages of PCB that were discussed in an earlier blog. 

1. Reduce the complexity of a connected wire compared to a separate wired connection.

Whenever we are connecting or making any circuits, there are a number of connections to perform circuit functionality. A certain number of wires and components should be linked together through joints. Hence, when we are separately (without a circuit board) connecting such components and wire through joints, it becomes a bunch of unorganised wire and components. I have drawn the circuit for reference in Fig. 1, which shows the complexity of the circuit when we connect it without a board. The circuit shown in Fig. 1 is not a working circuit; it is only provided for reference to demonstrate the complexity of the wire connections to the component without a board. In addition, I included two SMD (surface-mount device) ICS in the circuit to make it more complex. Manually soldering SMT components to wire or on board is always difficult. We will learn more about SMT components in future blogs.

Wired connection without a printed circuit board - PCB GLOBAL DESIGN
Fig.1: Circuit without a printed circuit board (connected wires and components only)

On the other hand, whenever we are connecting a number of wires and components using the printed circuit board, we are more organised with component placement and wire (wire is in the form of a track on the PCB). Hence, the complexity of our circuits is reduced, and we can easily organise all the components and wire on the PCB while we are preparing the circuit layout. Referring to Fig. 2, a two-layer circuit board has copper or track present on both sides of the PCB as well as a via connecting the two layers. Fig. 2 depicts the circuit layout, which will be ready to print on a board to perform circuit functionality and will look the same after being produced on boards.

PCB Layout from schematic or basic wired circuit. - PCB GLOBAL DESIGN
Fig.2: Printed circuit boards layout

2. Save Space

As shown in Fig. 1, when we have a large number of wires and components, we cannot organise a circuit well. They take up more space compared to the circuit on the board. On the other hand, we can use as many wires and components as we want on the printed circuit board (refer to Fig. 2). For more complex circuits with larger wire connections, we can use multilayer PCBs (i.e., 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, etc.) to save space. We can make PCBs with 32 or more layers; this depends on the supplier's manufacturing capability and product requirements. In general, 2, 4, 6 and 8-layer PCBs are popular in the multilayer PCB category.

3. Reduce error in the connections.

Whenever we are connecting wires and components without a board, there is more chance for an error as an unorganized bunch of wires and components confuses the engineer or person who is working on the project. Printed circuit boards are less prone to errors because their layout is completed with CAD software. There are multiple CAD software programmes on the market that offer solutions to avoid errors via software algorithms.

4. Easiness of tracking errors on connections

If anything is connected incorrectly after connecting all those wires and components without a board, it is extremely difficult to track errors. On the PCB, we can easily track an incorrect connection by including a test point in the circuit. However, most errors in PCB layout can be avoided because many CAD software programmes include circuit simulation plugins.

5. Open and short tests can be easily tested.

PCB manufacturers and testers can easily use probe testing to check open and short tests on printed circuit boards. Also, we can provide testing points on printed circuit boards; it is possible to test open and short boards.

6. Mechanically support electronic components and wire.

As we all know, electronics components can be as small as a chip resistor or as large as a computer motherboard cooling fan. Moreover, there will be a heavy heat-shrink component on the boards. As a result, we can easily provide support for such components and fix them with screws and other mechanical hardware while using a PCB.

7. Easy to move.

A PCB is just a board with printed wire on it. They can easily pack and move.

8. Provide electric safety.

We are more organized with wire and components on the PCB, so there should be no possibility of any connection moving and causing a short circuit. Moreover, we can provide electrically isolated ink on wire printed on circuit as well as we can isolate the pad of the nearest component using that ink to avoid shorts.

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