A capacitor is a two-terminal device that can store electric energy in the form of charged particles. You can think of a capacitor as a reservoir of charge that takes time to fill or empty. The voltage across a capacitor is proportional to the amount of charge it is storing – the more charge added to a capacitor of a given size, the larger the voltage across the capacitor. It is not possible to instantaneously move charge to or from a capacitor, so it is not possible to instantaneously change the voltage across a capacitor. It is this property that makes capacitors useful on Digilent boards and in many other applications.
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.
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