PCB Design Glossary

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Passive Components

Passive components cannot provide power gain in a circuit.  Examples include resistor, capacitors, inductors.


A pin is a metallic component connector that is soldered to a pad.


Prepreg is short for preimpregnated.  It refers to an adhesive dielectric layer that contains thermally activated epoxy.

The cores and the prepreg are pressed tightly together in a hot-oil hydraulic press for several hours, permenantly binding the materials.


PTH stands for Plated Through-Hole.  This is a hole that is drilled through all layers of a PCB and then plated with copper.




Short for Reference Designator.  Every component in every schematic and board file needs a unique identifier.  These can be any alphanumeric character string, but the convention and best practice is to use a letter to indicate the component type and a number that is incremented with each successive component type. 

For example, three resistors on a board would be labeled R1, R2, and R3, even if they had identical values.

Common Reference Designators
Prefix Component
A Assembly
B Battery
C Capacitor
 D Diode
DS  Display
 F  Fuse
FB   Ferrite Bead
J  Jack
 L  Inductor
 MK  Microphone
 TP  Test Point
 U  Integrated Circuit
VR   Voltage Regulator
XTAL   Crystal
 Y  Oscillator


These components restrict current flow between two nets in an electrical circuit.  The amount of current is proportional to the potential difference between the two nets.  Resistors are passive components.

Royal Circuit Solutions

Royal Circuit Solutions and Royal Flex Circuits are companies in California that specialize in small-batch, prototype, and custom printed circuit boards.  Royal Circuit Solutions is the principal sponsor of this course.

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A schematic is a pictorial representation of circuit components and their connections.  Symbols used in a schematic can vary depending on the convention used and a designers preferences.


Serial Clock Line is the synchronous timing line on the I2C data bus.


Serial Data is the data transmission part of the I²C data bus.

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