What is the difference between PCB and PCBA

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This article throws light on the printed circuit board, printed circuit board assembly as well as you will also know that what is the difference between PCB and PCBA.

What is a PCB or Printed Circuit Board?

PCB or otherwise called printed circuit board is basically a green coloured board which is used to electrically connect and support electronic elements with the help of conductive pads, traces, etc. It often serves as a backbone of any electronic design. With the passage of time, like many other things, it has become more and more sophisticated.

It was first used as a part of a radio set by a Scientist from Austria named Paul Eisler. Earlier it had only 2 layers, nevertheless now you can see up to 32 layers in the board. In the present, no electronic design can be imagined without the usage of the printed circuit board into it.

What is PCBA or Printed Circuit Board Assembly?

PCBA or otherwise known as printed circuit board assembly is basically a process which involves soldering electronic elements to a printed circuit board. A circuit board on which electronic elements are not assembled is known as PCB and after the electronic elements soldered on it, it is called printed circuit board assembly.


What is the difference between PCB and PCBA?

From the above-mentioned definition, I guess you have got the difference between PCB and PCBA i.e. a circuit board which does not have soldered components is called printed circuit board or PCB and once the circuit board gets soldered components on it, it is termed as PCBA or printed circuit board assembly.

Bear in view that circuit board assembly is not inevitably like circuit board fabrication. When you fabricated PCBs, it contains many processes which involve PCB design & in actually making the PCB prototype. When you make ready the board to be used in an electronic machine, the suitable components have to be incorporated by soldering them on.

The sort of components and the method of the assembly hinge on the sort of circuit board it is, sort of electronic components which have to be linked, and which electronic gadget the board is about to be incorporated too.

What are the methods used for PCBA?

There are 2 most common methods for printed circuit board assembly, which are as follows:

  • Through-hole technology: This method involves the implantation of apparatuses into the holes
  • SMT or Surface mount technology: SMT technology involves the installation of apparatuses on the outer planes of the circuit board.

Talking about the similarity between both the methods is that the apparatuses are implanted to the PCB using a metal solder with the help of electricity. The board capacity determines how the apparatuses need to be fused on the board. When it comes to fabrication more quantity of circuit board assemblies, it’s always recommended to utilize machines.


The placement of the circuit over the machine is conducted using wave soldering over and above utilizing a reflow oven. Placement of machine is conducted using bulk wave soldering. When you are talking about small scale manufacturing, one could always pick hand soldering.


Many times both the methods are required to be applied on a single assembly as some electronic components are accessible in through-hole sets, whilst others are just achievable in SMT packages. It proves resourceful when both methods are employed throughout the assembling method.

The through-hole implementation makes electronic parts tough just in situation they have some physical breakage. Nonetheless, it is considered great to employ the SMT or surface mount technique when you know that any damage is prone to happen.  The SMT method uses less space over the electronic board.

Why people prefer SMT over assembling techniques?

Surface mount technology provides a lot of crucial advantages on through-hole technology that involves compacter physical size with the same electrical function are less cost-effective with regard to raw material, have less unnecessary impacts and are swifter for automatic equipment to put. The key benefit of surface mount method is the real estate unharmed by not making holes through the board. That lets the board get more trace & thereby be smaller in size.

Surface mount method effectively impacts those comprised in development, repair, & transformation of electronics. This method equivalents are fast taking place of the through-hole elements because manufacturers swell their investment in this method manufacturing machine to get the advantages.

Surface mount technology provides a lot of advantages over leaded elements. These involve:

  • Surface mount method resistors are effortless to match together & effortless to solder as well as desolder. Not operating over both board sides all together eliminates frustration.
  • When employing RF signals, not needed effects in surface mount method parts are less as compared to parts.
  • When area is constricted, SMT equipment fit great on the spaces of VERO board & gets the capability to blend with designs which make utilization of leaded parts.
  • When hole making is a problem, this method makes this simple since you load & solder over the same side.

When all said and done, I am pretty sure you understand what a printed circuit board is and (PCBA) printed circuit board assembly and what the difference between PCB and PCBA is. Google to know more!

Otherwise you can read related information at Perfect Printed Circuit Board Design and Prototyping.

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