Working with a printed circuit board would mean dealing with a lot of terms that may sound very confusing and intimidating. Here is a short guide to the most common and useful ones:
The annular ring is the copper ring that surrounds a plated through hole.
The DRC or the design rule check is a software that checks the PCB for any errors. Traces that are too skinny or incorrectly touch, and drill holes too small are some of the errors that a drc checks, preventing any potential catastrophes.
Drill hits are places on the pcbnet.com design, which indicate the places where holes are supposed to be drilled. Some poorly manufactured boards may have inaccurate drill hits due to the use of dull drill bits.
A finger refers to the metal pads exposed along the board’s edge. This is used to form a connection between 2 or more circuit boards.
Mouse bites refer to the alternative to a v-score (partial cuts through a printed circuit board that allows the board to easily snap along a line) when separating boards from larger panels. To create mouse bites, clustered drill hits are made on the board surface to create a weak spot.
A plated through hole refers to a hole on the surface of the board surrounded by an annular ring. This ring is plated all the way through both surfaces of the board. This can be used a connection point for through-hole components, a mounting hole or as a via through which a signal passes through.
A pogo pin refers to a spring-loaded contact. This is used in creating temporary contacts for programming or testing purposes.
A reflow refers to melting a solder in order to make joints between the component leads and the pads.
A silkscreen refers to the symbols, images, numbers and letters on the surface of the board. Resolution of the silkscreen is often low and in white.
A slot is a term used for any hole made in the board that is not in circular. These slots may or may not have any plating.
A solder paste is a small ball of solder, which is suspended in gel medium. This is applied to the mount pad surface with the aid of a paste stencil. This is done on the surface of the board before all the components are attached. The solder within this paste melts during the reflow process. This will create mechanical as well as electrical joints between components and pads.
A pad is a section on the board surface with exposed metals where components are soldered.
A paste stencil refers to thin metal or plastic stencil lying over the surface of the board. This allows the deposition of solder paste only in specific areas during an assembly process.
A solder pot is a pot that is used for quick hand soldering of printed circuit boards that have through-hole components. The pot often contains small molten amounts of solder. The printed circuit board is quickly dipped into this and the solder joints are left on all of the exposed pads.
A solder jumper is a small blob of solder that is unintended and unwanted, which connects 2 adjoining pins on the component.
A surface mount is a manufacturing method allowing for simple setting of components on the board, without the leads passing through the holes on the board.
Thieving refers to the gridlines, hatching or dots of copper that were left on the surface of the board, where there are no traces or planes are present. This would reduce etching difficulty because there isn’t much excess copper that needs to be removed.
A trace refers to the continuous copper path found on the surface of the printed circuit board.