In your everyday life, you do many things that involve the use of circuits or PCBs. The laptop you use for work, the phone that takes your pictures and records your videos for social media, the Smart TV that keeps you company during your lazy weekends — all of these gadgets and appliances run on PCBs, or printed circuit boards, that make it possible for them to work.
But did you know that you can make your own circuit board? You can either etch one yourself or you can look for a custom circuit design company or custom pcb design company to do it for you. Before you start to build your own circuit, you should first learn about what circuits are and how they work.
What is a PCB?
PCB stands for printed circuit board. It supports and links different mechanical and electrical parts of electronic gadgets, enabling them to function and run.
Typically, a basic PCB contains a number of components that serve as its vital organs. Like the human body, these parts take on a particular role that contributes to the unique features and qualities necessary for their intended purpose.
Some examples of PCB components are:
- Battery – This supplies voltage to the circuit.
- Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs – These allow flow of current in one direction and light up when that happens.
- Capacitors – These store electrical energy.
- Switches – These can be opened or closed to allow or block current.
- Transistor – This is a semiconductor device that amplifies power or charge.
Why are PCBs important?
A lot of people are not aware of how widely PCBs are used. Since their invention in 1936 by Viennese engineer Paul Eisler, they have played a key role in the creation of many other important tools and equipment that make our lives much easier.
Common uses of PCBs include:
- Commercial – switches, voltage regulators, and hydraulic systems
- Medical equipment – x-ray screens, heart rate monitors, CT scanners
- Home appliances – air conditioners, washing machines, microwave ovens
- Gadgets – phones, cameras, music players
How do you make your own PCB?
Using free or low-cost resources, it is possible for you to make your own PCB.
The steps for making your own PCB are:
- Decide what you want to build.
Do you have a circuit diagram in mind? Did you come across a circuit diagram online and want to recreate it? For beginners, simple ones- such as a blinking LED circuit- is a good way to start.
- Download PCB design software.
To draw your schematics, you need PCB design software. There are some online you can download for free.
- Draw your board.
With the help of your PCB design software, you can design your PCB layout. Once done, you need to run the design checker to spot any errors.
- Make your PCB.
Etch your circuit board at home if you are up for the challenge. Alternatively, you can use the services of a custom pcb design company or custom circuit design company and pay as little as $5 for multiple copies of your board.