How Does a Printed Circuit Board Work?

by Michael M.

A Printed Circuit Board or PCB mechanically and electrically supports and connects electronic components, with conductive tracks or signal traces, ingrained from copper sheets, and laminated on a non-conductive substrate.

PBCs, like the China PCB, comprise a wide variety of electrical components, all of which play essential roles in the device to which the PBC belongs.

How exactly does Printed Circuit Board work?

Typically, the electrical components that make up the circuit are mounted on a non-conductive flat board. These components are then connected with traces, which are small pathways or tracks. The boards have holes drilled into them to secure each element and allow circuits on one side to be attached to circuits on the other.

The functionality of a PCB depends on its type. A single-sided circuit means that all the electrical components are mounted on one side of the board, and the other side has a single layer of conductive copper.

Double-sided printed circuits have electrical components mounted on each side, with a substrate, featuring a metal conductive layer on both sides of the board. Multi-layers have more than two copper layers, and the insulating materials are used to separate the layers of the PCB.

Components of a PCB

  • Resistors:

Resistors are used to resist the flow of current by dissolving electric power as heat. The process involves transmitting an electric current to produce a voltage that then dissipates electric energy as heat. They come in different types and are made with other materials, including; carbon, metal, or metal oxide film.

They are the most commonly used components in PCBs and the simplest for beginners to understand.

  • Capacitors:

Capacitors are used as a temporary holding point for electric charge, to release it when more power is needed in other parts of the circuit. It does this by collecting two opposite charges on two conducting layers separated by an insulating material.

  • Inductors:

When current flows through them, inductors store energy in the circuit board in the form of a magnetic field. They are usually wrapped around a magnetic core which comes in several sizes and shapes.

Inductors are used to filter or block out interference from signals and are commonly found in radio equipment.

  • Transformers:

Transformers transfer electrical energy from one circuit to another, with an adequate increase or decrease in voltage. As the voltage is transfer, the process it undergoes “transforms it.”

They are usually concealed and wrapped with two coils of wire. The coils of wire are the source coil-which is also known as the primary coil, and the secondary coil is meant for the second circuit where the energy transferred is headed.

  • Diodes:

Unlike the transformers, diodes allow the electric current to flow in one direction but not the other. They are used to block currents from flowing in the wrong direction to prevent potential damage to the circuit board and the device. Common diodes are LED- Light Emitting Diodes, which light up when current flows through it.


It has been established that PCBs are crucial components of any electronic device that facilitates the functioning of such devices. This article has discussed some components of the PCB and how they function.

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