PCB is an acronym for printed circuit board. It is a board that has lines and pads that connect various points together.  Look closely at it.  Can you see the lines that connect some of the round circles?

In the picture above, the lines are called traces that electrically connect the various connectors and components to each other.

A PCB allows signals and power to be routed between physical devices. The different devices are the components that will be soldered onto the PCB, also commonly called the “board”.

Before the advent of the PCB, circuits were constructed through a process of point-to-point wiring.  Can you see this way could be inefficient, and problematic when wires moved? Remember that electricity is moving through the wires.

Image: Wire Wrapping from Wikipedia, Wikinaut

A PCB encapsulates (contains) the wire to protect the circuits within alternating layers of different materials which are laminated together with heat and adhesive so that a single object is created.

Image: Sparkfun
Image: Sparkfun

Solder is the metal that makes the electrical connections between the surface of the PCB and the electronic components. Being metal, solder also serves as a strong mechanical adhesive that allows electricity to pass through.

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