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.
In a PCB that uses through-hole technology, holes are drilled through the pads so that component leads can be inserted and then fastened (soldered) in place. In a PCB that uses surface-mount technology, component leads are soldered directly to the pads on the surface. Each set of pads (or holes) in the PCB is intended to receive a particular component. To identify which component must be loaded where, reference designators are printed on the circuit board immediately adjacent to the pads using a silk-screen process. A parts list links a designated set of pads to a physical component by describing the component and assigning it a particular reference designator. The reference designators guide assemblers and testers when they are working with the PCB. Many components must be placed into the PCB in a particular orientation. By convention, components that require a particular orientation have one lead designated as pin 1. On the PCB, a square pad or silkscreen indicator typically denotes pin 1.
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