An IC board is a type of printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) that contains integrated circuits (ICs) mounted on the board. Typically, you solder an IC to the surface of the PCB assembly and wires attached to it. This article will tell you everything you need to know about IC boards. It includes identifying common ICs found on boards, their applications, and what types of damage can happen to them.
How do IC boards work?
IC on boards work using components and connections. Depending on the requirements, they come in different sizes and forms. But, most contain several interconnecting wires that link the components together.
They also require mechanical support for the wires that link components and those that go outside to meet other devices. The board can provide the support or an outer frame that holds those internal wires and those external ones.
In most cases, IC boards have contact pathways that keep the components from being electrically connected. It is usually the case with outer frames as well as the board. Imagine a circuit without these pathways, and it will be hard to imagine how they work at all.
The main thing to remember about IC boards is that they contain several connections. These links connect link various components together. They require mechanical support, both internal and external, to function properly.
Types of IC boards surface mounts
It is a system of the most modern electronics where you mount the different elements on a common base. So, one can easily remove and place them anywhere on this base and move it around.
It is the type of board where you mount six or more chips on each side, but not immediately next to each other, but of course, they are just adjacent to each other.
We use this method when you mount only four or five chips. They are all located on the same side of the board and not one next to the other.
The method we attach all chips directly to a substrate allows us to connect them to the outer circuit by using conductive areas that run along their sides.
Mechanisms of IC boards
The main reason for using IC boards is to offer a stable and durable base for devices, such as semiconductor components, which need to connect.
We use IC boards for installing these devices or components. Also, we use them for making connections between two integrated circuits since they are the main reason for connecting these devices.
We install IC boards to link components that we may operate by using a single power supply instead of several power supplies. It is to link devices that we cannot change if something goes wrong with them. The main purpose is not to change its operational parameters at any cost.
Purpose of IC boards:
With today’s modern technology and modern electronic devices and components, the use of IC boards has become part and parcel of almost all electronic systems, especially when we speak about small or medium-sized electronic systems.
The only difference is that in some circuits, there is no need for using IC boards. Since they are already complete and complete, they need to look for new ways to improve them is to introduce new components or elements.
Can we use IC boards for producing consumer products? Yes, IC boards are compatible with consumer products.
We use these boards in modern electronic appliances because they come in smaller sizes that are compatible with various small electronic devices. This feature allows the use of them in special kinds of appliances that millions of people can use worldwide, which was not possible before the invention of electronics.
However, the main reason is that the IC boards are very cheap, so consumers can easily introduce these devices.
Can you use IC boards for industrial products? Certainly, IC boards are now used in industrial products as well. Most of these components are not dependent on each other now, so they do not affect the rest of the system if one fails.
Microcontroller Application Areas
A microcontroller is a small computer chip (IC) designed to control machines’ speed, direction, and other mechanical tasks. We use microcontrollers in industrial, medical, automotive, consumer products, robotics, and other electronics.
The heart of any machine is its microcontrollers; this is where all the significant electrical signals come from and go. We also use the microcontrollers for anything in the machine function. A manufacturing line may use a microcontroller to signal when to start the next circuit, while another may use one to help with the assembly process. The most common application areas are in the following:
- Automation – We can use these components in many forms of machines. It includes assembly lines, packaging lines, printing machines, and robotic devices. We can integrate them into automated equipment or directly wire them into the machinery itself.
- We use industrial Control in industrial control systems. It includes automated control systems, industrial robots, and factory automation.
- Medical – We use ICs for medical equipment such as X-Ray machines, Endoscopes, and blood pressure machines. Company physicians use them for small patient monitoring systems or send them to the machine’s manufacturer to integrate them into it.
- Mechanical – These are usually found in assembly line equipment like robotic arms, conveyors, and pick/place units (aka robotic hands).
- Vacuum – We usually find them in specialty machines for maintaining or servicing vacuum systems, such as vacuums used in warehouses or food processing plants.
- Test – We use them in measuring instrumentation equipment, test chambers, temperature control devices, and other measurement instruments.
- Misc Electrical – We find them on the back of electrical equipment that requires large amounts of power to control equipment like fans, lights, and electrical gates.
8. Industrial – We use them in industrial applications like forklifts, industrial robots, and industrial computers.
Application of ICs on PCBs
ICs are usually embedded with leads to attach to the circuit board. Three main types of application patterns that we can find on the circuit boards:
- Surface Mount – This is the most common type of application used for most ICs. We usually find them on equipment where space is at a premium, such as printing machines, medical equipment, packaging machinery, etc. We can find this type of circuit board with any IC on it.
- Through Hole – This type of PCB usage is not as common as surface mounted, but we use it in more complex PCBs requiring lots of IC connections, usually on less space-critical equipment.
- Hybrid – This type usually uses a mix of both through-hole and surface mount connections to the IC.
Common IC parts:
- Ceramic: These parts contain ceramic and are usually found in small and medium devices (5mm and larger).
- Thin Miniature Metal-Can: We can attach these parts to Integrated circuits integrated circuit using wire leads or fine solder bumps. We use them for power amplifiers, voltage regulators, DC-DC converters, oscillators, etc., where size is critical.
- SMD: Small Surface Mount Device. We commonly find these devices in logic or memory circuits.
- Through-Hole: We typically find these parts in large devices (5mm and up). We use them mostly in device chassis, power supply units, and output circuits of MOSFETs, Op-Amp chips, etc., where space is at a premium.
- BGA: Ball Grid Array. We use these parts for components that require the highest reliability and performance, like computers, digital TVs, etc. BGA’s can be anywhere from 25 to 500 micrometers in size.
- Flip Chip: These parts are usually small components (5mm and up). We typically use them in devices like D/A converters, memory circuits, microprocessors, and microcontrollers.
- QFP: Quad Flat Pack. We find these components in the most complex devices in electronics, like cell phones, computers, etc.
- CSP: Ceramic Small Package. We use these parts in complex devices like cell phones, computers, etc., where space is premium or needs to be very small but still contain many components.
- LCC: Low Profile Surface Mount Device
A PCB must go through four steps:
There are different types of designs like custom design and standard design. When designing a PCB, it is normal for engineers to choose one of the two. However, in some cases, they also need to use both methods. For example, when designing a circuit board with soldered components, they need to use standard design since they are using soldered components, all of which have standard designs. It is only in the case of custom design that engineers need to use it.
If an engineer uses both methods, he must know how to work with both since they are both different. So, he must know which tools are essential in each one of these steps. He must also learn how to use each tool for completing the design process. An engineer can work with them in a certain way or another depending on his knowledge about the tools and their functions.
To use a design tool, an engineer must first know how it works, and then he must look for a good user guide that will reveal the correct ways of using these tools. After that, he should start working with it.
A PCB designer usually uses a CAD system to produce the designs of boards. These CAD systems are generally very powerful, and they can produce incredible results. The main purpose of using CAD systems is to design the board and then send them to manufacturers.
How do I install IC?
An IC contains leads and leads pinout. Also, it is very useful to spend some time learning about the various leads before installing the IC. A lead contains an internal connection that connects to another pad on the PCB or another device.
Leads are usually connected to the IC’s pins using solder but can also connect through wire bonding or wire-bonding pins via metal plating onto the leads.
Sometimes, as an alternative, we can attach ICs to the PCB utilizing epoxy or resin.
The first step should be to prepare the PCB and other equipment, such as power supply modules and conduits for connection. The second step should be choosing and designing the IC and connecting components and wiring (other ICs or parts on the PCB or devices like diodes). The last step should be to attach all components and connections with solder.
IC boards installation process
- Read the instructions carefully before beginning the exercise to ensure that you understand them well and do not leave anything out when preparing for assembly or application.
- Use the proper tools when soldering. We should use a soldering iron with a temperature between 220 and 260 degrees Celsius since the higher temperature can damage electronic components and materials in many ways, including causing excessive heating in terms of causing insulation breakdowns or thermal shocks.
- Be careful not to scratch the leads by using something like a metal tweezer, which can cause the leads to break off or get damaged.
- Do not touch the pins with anything that can cause static electricity (e.g., hairdryer).
- Make sure that you do not get anything (i.e., solder, flux, etc.) on the contacts of the IC; otherwise, it will get damaged and become useless after some time.
- Do not leave any excess solder on the leads, as it can cause a short circuit or cause problems with the operation of the device.
- Do not bend, twist or expose ICs to excessive heat, moisture or humidity during installation and use.
- After attaching an IC, do a test run before using it in another device or circuit to ensure that everything is working correctly.
Types of damage to common ICs
Two main types of damage can occur to ICs on PCBs – Physical Damage and Electrical Damage. However, many other types of damage to ICs do not strictly fall into either category (e.g., misapplication, inappropriate handling, etc.).
Physical damage includes circuit board flexing caused by flexing flex. It results in the flexing star points (small metal pins connecting between the board and the IC) breaking or bending.
Electrical damage affects the solder bond between the leads of the IC and the PCB pads. It can cause an open circuit or short circuit. Short circuits are usually bent leads connecting to other pads, while open circuits have broken leads.
You should take special care should when handling ICs since they are very sensitive to mechanical shock. The reason being is that an IC is very fragile and small, so it can easily get damaged if dropped or hit by debris.
ICs themselves are sensitive to certain chemicals. For example, one can damage some ICs by exposure to solvents. Be careful not to put them in places where they can get exposed to chemicals.
We should use care when installing the IC on the circuit board. Firmly press them down onto their pads with your index finger or thumb after you have applied flux to the pads and leads of the IC.
Some ICs contain ceramic packages, and we should handle them with care. They are very fragile and can easily break if dropped or struck by debris.
Some ICs contain polysilicon package and can break if looked at directly. It happens because the package will heat up significantly.
You should take care when handling these types of ICs as they can easily get broken or broken off during handling and overheat and potentially become damaged due to excessive heat.
Choosing a suitable IC board
The main reason for using these boards is to link components that may want to operate using a single power supply instead of several power supplies. It is to link devices that we cannot change if something goes wrong with them. The main purpose is not to change its operational parameters at any cost. In addition, IC boards have different designs that depend mainly on the size of the components they will include and how easy they are to use or manufacture.
A PCB designer must be knowledgeable about these designs since they are the ones that will help them to select the best one for creating the PCB. After considering this, he must also know how each design works.
However, to use these designs properly, an engineer needs to analyze all options first and then make correct choices. When an engineer chooses a certain design over another one, he needs to know how it works and other designs’ features.
In addition, the manufacturing process of each design is also essential when choosing a certain type of design. In this way, an engineer can select the most suitable one that is easy to manufacture. We highly recommend that he consider all things before deciding on a specific type of design.
The first step is to choose the best design for an IC board. After that, he can go to the second step, choosing how he will manufacture the board.
All these steps are quite necessary, so the engineer should know them well. Also, he should learn how to implement them correctly.
Things to keep in mind
- To do the IC board design, first, you should take some time to think about the whole system that will include this board. Then you can start to consider different kinds of designs that we can use for this purpose.
- After considering all these points, you must start with one of these designs based on your choice. You should start producing the designs with CAD systems.
- In the end, your design is ready for manufacturing to prepare all these files for manufacturing process production.
IC board manufacturing process
Choose the best design for an IC board
The first step of producing an Integrated Circuit board is to choose the best design for it. To make sure that everything will be fine, we recommend that you consider all details before deciding. You can consider the type of components you will use, the number of these components included in the design, and how much space each component will need. When you have all these factors in your mind, you can make a good choice.
Selecting a PCB manufacturing company
After creating a PCB design suitable for creating a particular product, a PCB designer must now decide how to manufacture this board. You must make this decision carefully because there are different choices. The main factors that you should consider when choosing this manufacturing company are the types of manufacturing processes they use, their production capacity, and the cost of their services. Having a global manufacturer such a RayMing PCB and Assembly will help ensure that your product will be up to standard since you are contracting them for an assembly job.
Selecting each design to manufacture
When the PCB designer selects a certain design, he must know the manufacturing process. This process is quite essential. Otherwise, he may choose the wrong one for this product or create problems in its production. These problems can occur when he does not consider the entire process of the board’s manufacturing process. If this happens, he will make mistakes in his design and its production.
Selecting suppliers for components
After selecting the PCB manufacturing company and designs, an engineer must establish a list of suppliers for components. Then, he can ask them to provide him with what he needs in his design.
Establishing an assembly process
After receiving all components of the product, an engineer must establish an assembly process to test the functionality of this product. He must also test the boards to see if the manufacturing process is correct and working fine.
The last step of producing an IC circuit board is checking all aspects of the component’s design. This step is quite essential because it will help the engineer to use this product correctly.
To choose a suitable design for creating a specific product, an engineer should consider all factors relating to its manufacturing.
The essential components needed for any electronic system, such as an IC board, come from manufacturers worldwide. Almost every producer is selling printed circuit board designs which you can find in several online shops.
Nowadays, there are also specific boards that you can find, designed especially for the main parts of specific electronic systems and not just for general use.
There are many different characteristics of printed circuit boards that differ between the various models. It makes it very important to consider what you need before buying any of these boards. Because no matter how many features it has, if they are not necessary for your specific purpose, you will just be wasting your money.