Circuit components are manufactured with exposed metal pins (or leads) that are used to fasten them to the PCB both mechanically (so they will not fall off) and electrically (so current can pass between them). The soldering process, which provides a strong mechanical bond and a very good electrical connection, is used to fasten components to the PCB. During soldering, component leads are inserted through the holes in the PCB, and then the component leads and the through-hole plating metal are heated to above the melting point of the solder (about 500 to 700 degrees F). Solder (a metallic compound) is then melted and allowed to flow in and around the component lead and pad. The solder quickly cools to form a strong bond between the component and the PCB. The process of associating components with reference designators, loading them into their respective holes, and then soldering them in place comprises the PCB assembly process.
Starting to make sense? These are the basics and may even seem obvious or intuitive to you, such as the wires and if they are connected. Whenever you determine your specific field of electrical engineering, you may see more complex diagrams and symbols. You’ll learn also that different countries use different symbols. For example, of the two symbols for resistors above, the first one is used in the U.S., while the second is used in Europe. You will also learn about the various symbols used for switches, other power supplies, inductors, meters, lamps, LEDs, transistors, antennas, and much more.
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