The backbone of any consumer electronic product is the circuit board, where all components perform most of the device's fundamental functions. If you want to begin dabbling in electronics, then the basic circuit board is the best place to start.
- Get all the materials you need. Depending on the type of system you're building, the kind and number of components you need will vary. But for this guide's sake, the basic electronic parts should include an integrated circuit (IC), the PCB board, capacitors, potentiometer and resistors. Sometimes transistors can be used. Keep the ICs in the conductive foam until they are ready to use to avoid damage to the circuit.
- PCB Design. Again, depending on the type of system you are going to implement, you're going to have to design the flow of the circuit on the PCB. This entails creation of a circuit diagram, which will show the positions of the different components on the board. Some manufacturers sell pre-made PCB for various purposes, but for maximum flexibility and manageability, designing your own circuit will be very beneficial.
- Add components one by one. PCB production is done in layers. This is to ensure that the components are placed in their proper positions and orientations. Place the ICs first on the circuit board, taking careful notice of putting their pins through the hole and their proper orientation (the latter is very important because your system won't work if you fail to place them correctly). After putting the ICs in place, solder the pins at the other side of the board to keep them in place. Next, add the resistors. You won't have problem with their orientation since resistors can go both ways. The most important thing to keep in mind are the colors embedded on them, because they represent the measure of the resistors. Put the correct colors of resistors in their proper place. Following the resistors, add the potentiometer in its right position on the board. Some circuits may not need this anymore. After that, add the capacitors as necessary to your design and system. Be careful again with the capacitors because they are polarized-they can only be inserted one way.
- Soldering. After the assembly of the different components and soldering them one by one in place, check the underside of the circuit board and examine the solder joints carefully. Make sure that no two joints have melded together, and that they are smooth and shiny. In the same manner, look for any joints that have too little solder or leads that have not been soldered at all, and apply the necessary repair.
Remember that circuit boards are as flexible as your wardrobe, because mixing and matching different components can produce different results. Try to experiment on newer and faster parts to see how they affect your entire system. Recent developments in technology are always aimed at improving the functions of devices, constantly changing the usage of circuit boards every single day.