On 03:47 PM 2/20/2002 +1100, Ian Wilson wrote:

>How do others interpret the following terms?
>PCB (printed circuit board)

Printed circuit board, ie, FR4 or other base material(s), etched and/or plated with a 
very thin layer of metal to form an electrical circuit. Specifically, one that has 
already undergone the etching and/or plating process, and may or may not have been 
populated (stuffed), as opposed to PCB material (which would be the FR-4 or similar 
material, pre-plated or otherwise.

>PWA (printed wiring assembly)

I personally view PWA (used to describe the almost universally accepted "PCB") as an 
anachronism, a left-over from the days when computers were devices that resembled 
small power plants.

The ONLY time I have heard a term like PWA that made sense to me was when I was first 
investigating the purchase of a prototyping machine for my work at NASA, and stumbled 
on a company which had a process for producing MCMs and the like, which used(s) a 
plotter type machine to deposit suspended conductive materials (gold, silver, etc.) 
and non-conductive materials onto a substrate, which was subsequently baked to off-gas 
the carrier and form a "stable" circuit of gold, silver, etc... I believe the company 
originally created the tools for making precision resistors, but began selling the 
fabrication machinery as well, desinged in part thru a DARPA effort to protect 
critical military components from obsolescence. That is, printed wiring is just that, 
it is printed onto a substrate. (My take)

>What term(s) do you use for the assembled PCB?

Generally, either "board" or the "working" name of the finished assembly (what they 
do) (soundcard, KHz-rate spark generator, motherboard, tuner, transmitter, ignition 
timer, 8-chan diff amp subassembly, servo amp, 18-118A, etc., etc.), though 
generically, I would still refer to all of them as PCBs, whether bare or 
populated/"stuffed", but that's just me. PCBA or printed circuit board assembly is 
basically a generic form, though I would personally only rarely use that particular 


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