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Through hole technology and surface mount technology

Date Added: Feb 21, 2012
Author: Mark Lindsay
Category: Business: Business Services: Design: Industrial Design



There are two different methods by which the components on a printed circuit board are electrically connected to the circuits.



One is the older "through hole technology" and the other is the newer "surface mount technology." With through hole technology, each component has thin wires, or leads, which are pushed through small holes in the substrate and soldered to connection pads in the circuits on the opposite side. Until they are soldered the components are kept in place by the gravity and friction between the leads and the sides of the holes.



With surface mount technology, stubby J-shaped or L-shaped legs on each component contact the printed circuits directly. At the point of contact a solder paste consisting of glue, flux, and solder are applied in order to hold the components in place until the solder is melted, or "reflowed," in an oven to make the final connection. Surface mount technology eliminates the time-consuming drilling process and the space-consuming connection pads inherent with through hole technology although it requires greater care in the placement of the components. Today both technologies are used.



Two other types of circuit assemblies are related to the printed circuit board. An integrated circuit, sometimes called an IC or microchip, performs similar functions to a printed circuit board. But it is usually pointed out by experts who provide pcb design services that the IC contains many more circuits and components that are electrochemically "grown" in place on the surface of a very small chip of silicon.



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