There are multiple options for the material of capacitors. There are also different purposes for each material. The materials range from ceramic to Teflon. Although the materials are all different from each other they all have one thing in common. All of the materials are non-conductive.

Depending on the capacitor some are better for high frequency. Meanwhile, others are better suited for higher voltages. There are capacitors in the smallest electronics like calculators. Also, there are capacitors in large electronics like the NASA space shuttle.

Capacitors work like batteries in a circuit. Once a capacitor is charged it will have the same voltage as the battery that initially charged it. However, there is a difference between a capacitor and a battery. A capacitor can discharge its energy in a very short amount of time. Whereas a battery takes a longer amount of time to discharge its energy. Farads or even micro-farads are the units of the amount of energy a capacitor will store.

Here is an excellent video about capacitors from our friends at Techquickie:

Integrated Circuits (ICs)

Integrated Circuits

An IC can do the job of many different components. Due to its small size, it is surprising the amount of technology that it holds. The idea behind an IC is to take a complicated circuit with all of its components and connections and make it very small. Therefore, creating a single component that is small enough to fit into smaller electronics.

There is a large process when creating such a small part that contains so many smaller components. An integrated circuit, commonly referred to as an IC, is a microscopic array of electronic circuits and components. These circuits and components have been diffused or implanted onto the surface of a single crystal, or chip, of semiconducting material such as silicon.

Due to its small size, there can be a lot of challenges with an IC. The main issue when working with such small circuitry is it is very easy for small dust particles to impair an ICs function. Therefore, workers take extra precautions when assembling an IC. Some of these precautions include clean labs. These clean labs have special filters for the air to decrease the dust that could damage the IC. Also, anyone working on these components has to wear special protective clothing and enter the labs through airlocks.

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Switches are components that have the ability to go between conducting electrical energy and not conducting energy. Therefore, Switches control the current flow on a circuit board. This control is easier than having to go in by hand and cut connections within the circuit. These components are important to a circuit board that requires control of current flow.

There are also many different types of switches. Some of the types of switches include toggle, joystick, and pushbutton switches. Each of these types performs the same basic function of conducting and not conducting energy easily. However, each type of switch is structurally different which are described below.


toggle switchtoggle switches

A toggle switch contains an angled lever that goes in one or more directions. A light switch is a common type of toggle. Due to the way that a light switch holds its on or off position the circuit is either open or closed. There are also types of toggles that include a spring. This spring means that the lever will not stay stagnant in the switched position but will return back to a predetermined position.


joystick switches

A joystick switch contains a lever much like the toggle switch. However, the joystick moves in multiple directions. This is unlike the toggle switch’s movement of singular direction. Most recognizable is the joystick on a claw machine. The freeness of directional movement makes it possible to control the claw in any direction required.


green push button switchpush button switchespush me switch

A push-button switch is two position component. Just as the name would suggest a push-button switch works by pushing the button in and releasing it. There are also designs of push-button switches that when pushed in the button does not release until it is pulled out or pushed a second time. The most recognizable push-button are those on a television or sound system.

Our PCB Component series will continue on our blog.

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Resistors, Diodes, and Transistors

Resistors, diodes, and transistors are integral parts of a functioning Printed Circuit Board. Without them, a PCB would not be able to perform its tasks. Each of these components has a specific function.


Resistors Resistors    

Resistors are a part of a Printed Circuit Board. A resistor creates resistance in the flow of electricity. When calculating resistance the measurements are in ohms. An ohm is a standard for measuring electrical resistance.

Resistors have many different purposes. A resistor’s purpose includes the division of voltage. Resistors divide voltage when they are in series with each other. Another purpose of resistors is their way of generating heat. A resistor can generate heat by converting the electrical energy flowing through it to heat energy. The final purpose that we will describe is how resistors match and load circuits. Most of the output power is displaced as heat in the instance of a too low load resistance. However, if the load resistance is too high then the current will be too low to move energy to the load.

Here is an excellent video from


   Diode         Diode

Diodes only allow current to flow in a single direction. Also, diodes have two electrodes. The anode and the cathode are the two electrodes within a diode. An anode allows current to flow from an outside circuit. Whereas a cathode allows current to flow out in a polarized device. A cathode is also metallic.

A diode only works properly if a cathode is negatively charged in respect to the anode at the specified voltage. Therefore, when a cathode is positively charged the diode does not work at all. This will also happen if the cathode has the same voltage as the anode. It also occurs when its negativity is less than that of the forward breakover voltage with respect to the anode. The direction of the cathode is very important to the diodes functionality.


Transistor      Transistor

Transistors are three-terminal devices. This three-terminal device can regulate current or voltage flow while also acting as a switch for signals of the electronic variety. Semiconductors make up three layers of a transistor. Therefore, each of these layers can carry current. The material of a semiconductor is between that of a real conductor and an insulator. A transistor’s job is to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power and to regulate the current or voltage flow in a circuit and that is only possible due to the semiconductors.

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Printed Circuit Boards

Printed Circuit Boards

The History of Printed Circuit Boards

A wood material patented by William H. Mason called Masonite made up Printed Circuit Boards. Masonite is a wood that has gone through pressure molding and steam treatment. Bakelite, an early type of plastic also made up some of the very first Printed Circuit Boards. Finally, cardboard even made up some of the original boards.

In order to rivet flat wires onto boards holes needed to be drilled. These riveted wires created the first primitive form of the traces we know today. Therefore, using rivets as the spaces for component placement.

In the beginning, Printed Circuit Boards were only one-sided. Due to the components going through the boards by way of the rivets, there was no way to have circuitry on both sides. Circuit boards made it possible to condense electronic components into one place rather than have wires running all through an electronic device.

Modern Day Printed Circuit Boards

After the initial design of the single-sided circuit board, there were new developments. These new developments were to drill holes in the boards and then plate those holes with copper. The result of this copper plating is that you can now use both sides of the board.

Much like the circuit boards of today, there was printing on the boards of the past. They were able to use a printing press to place the images of the drawing pattern onto a zinc plate with a copper foil and then transfer those images onto the boards. This was the early stages of the pattern transfers that we know today.

Early on in the circuit board development, they did not solder dip their boards. However, in modern designs, solder dipping or wave soldering is very common. By using solder circuit boards, manufacturers can ensure the connections between the components and boards.

Here is a helpful video from Linus at Techquickie explaining how PCBs work:

For More Information: Go to our Circuit Board page.

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How often do we really think about the electric makeup of everyday objects? We use things every single day that contain printed circuit boards and we don’t realize it. We’ve collected a list of everyday objects that may surprise you by containing PCBs.

PCB is short for Printed Circuit Board. These boards are the object within electrical devices that connect all of the internal electrical components to each other. These boards contain electrical lines that conduct electricity, components, and solder. All of these things work together to make everyday items that we see and use run correctly.

5: PCBs in Digital Watches and Clocks

How many times a day do you check a clock or your watch to see the time? Think about the days that you look at a clock and think it must be lunch time only to discover it is only eight O’clock which is just five minutes after the last time you checked. On the days that you are checking your digital watch or clock multiple times do you think about what’s inside them to make them work? That watch you looked at at-least one hundred times today hoping it was lunch time has a tiny circuit board in it. The idea that inside a small sized watch is an entire circuit board with even smaller components is an incredible thought. With their smaller size, watches have even smaller components making them function the way that we have become accustomed to.

4: Washers and Dryers Using PCBs

If you didn’t have to wash your clothing by hand to have clean clothes for today you can thank a circuit board! Well, technically a few circuit boards because you used both a washer and dryer. Washers and Dryers are a convenience that very near everyone uses. They make our lives easier and take the hard work out of scrubbing those tough stains. Grandparents everywhere are forgetting the days of hand washing and having to scrub stains without fancy stain removers that we know and love. None of this would be possible without PCBs.  

3:  Fans, AC units, and Heaters 

                                        Related image  

Fans, AC units, and Heaters are very helpful with changing seasons. Who hasn’t gone to the movies on a hot summer day just to suck up some free air conditioning? Think of how different life would be without heaters in our homes and office. Furthermore, who hasn’t been grateful to hear the heating system kick on when temperatures drop to single digits.  No matter the temperature these helpful units of air adjustment keep us comfortable all year round and all because they have PCBs. 

2: Stereos

No one goes through an entire day without listening to music on some type of device. This includes home stereo systems, iPods, or CD players. Every day we set the tone for our mood by what we hear on the radio or what we plug our headphones into. All of these devices wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for PCBs. We would all be living in a very quiet place if it weren’t for the small circuit boards. These boards make them function the way we need them to.        

1:  Electronic Kid Toys


Kids love toys that make noise, the louder the better. Parents around the world have had to learn to tolerate listening to the same three versions of the wheels on the bus. The newer kids movies and shows circulate around songs. There is more chance of parents “misplacing” a child’s toy just to get some peace and quiet. These delightful moments of listening to the same song over and over again wouldn’t be possible without a PCB.

Check out our other blogs and our website to learn more!


 Soldering Printed Circuit Boards 

As we discussed in a recent blog post, Soldering Circuit Boards is a specialty at Falconer Electronics.  With decades of experience, our expert staff brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise with soldering printed circuit boards. In particular, hand Soldering Printed Circuit Boards which is a daily activity at our facility. 

Our customers love the convenience and flexibility of working with a domestic manufacturer. Especially since partnering with a U.S. based manufacturer drastically reduces costs and lead time.

Soldering Printed Circuit Boards

Outsourcing your printed circuit boards to a U.S. manufacturer provides a tremendous competitive advantage for your company. Low production runs are simply more cost effective with small quantities and short lead times. 

Our focus includes targeting small to mid-size PCB production. Working with our clients on creating prototypes is another area of expertise. Helping a client bring a prototype printed circuit board to life for the first time is always a thrill. 

Soldering Printed Circuit Boards for over 30 years brings a great deal of experience on what works well and what doesn’t. Below includes a list of tips as well as what to avoid when Soldering Printed Circuit Boards. 

 Soldering Printed Circuit Boards Tips 

 Properly soldering a printed circuit board is essential. Here is a list of healthy tips when Soldering Printed Circuit Boards: 

  • Solder the contact point precisely  
  • Use ROHS Compliant Lead-Free Solder (When possible)
  • Little solder joints
  • More heat
  • Do not over solder the joint
  • Lots of Hershey Kisses – Our staff equates a healthy solder joint will look like a Hersey Kiss (of course real Hersey Kisses are welcomed as well)
  • Good coloring – shiny silver
  • Eliminate dirt or particles

Bad Guys to Avoid When Soldering Printed Circuit Boards  

However, this list includes Bad Guys that our team works diligently to avoid: 

  • Solder balls
  • Solder wash
  • Visible flux residue
  • Cracking
  • Solder bridges 
  • Holes in the solder
  • Flux inhibiting test points
  • Do not overextend the component

These are just a few of the tips our team has accumulated over the years. If you would like to discuss outsourcing soldering printed circuit boards to a seasoned manufacturer, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you. Outsourcing your printed circuit boards to a trusted source is paramount. Our team strives for perfection when soldering printed circuit boards and wires. 

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post on Soldering Printed Circuit Boards. Continue looking for our series on soldering circuit boards.  

Also, to learn more about wire harness assemblies, check out our weekly “Wire Harness Wednesday” blog posts. 

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