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Knowledge database

  • BOM (bill of materials) – list, according to which the product’s sub-assemblies and components will be ordered.
    In electronics, the BOM presents a list of components used on a printed board.
  • Firmware – software of microcontrollers and microprocessors included in a device, ensuring its basic functionality. In simple appliances, such as a printer, central heating boiler controller or radio, firmware is usually the only application.
  • Hardware – electronic equipment, i.e. a complete device, composed of electronic components, PCBs, case and other mechanical elements. Hardware does not include software of microcontrollers and memory content of the systems, being part of equipment.
  • Lead-free soldering – tin or lead-free paste soldering; required in currently produced electronic products.
  • Lead soldering –  tin or leaded paste soldering; admissible (by a proper standard) only in some electronic products
  • Microcontroller – microprocessor system integrated in a single integrated circuit. Such a circuit includes microprocessor, RAM memory, FLASH memory, oscillators, counters, communication peripherals and many other components. The microcontrollers have usually much lower processing power than microprocessors, so they are used to build simple controllers and real-time functioning appliances (controllers for washing machines, microwave ovens, care engines, ABSs etc.), however, the microcontrollers are not suitable for the use in computers, tablets and smartphones.
  • Microprocessor – integrated circuit equipped with an arithmetic and logic unit, the basic task of which is to execute the program, composed of a set of instructions. The microprocessor can be equipped with small RAM (CACHE) memory and other modules supporting its operation, however, it never includes the program memory and has not so developed peripherals as a microcontroller. The microprocessors are used to build computers, servers, tablets and other appliances, which need high processing power.
  • Surface mount technology (SMT) – kind of assembly of electronic circuits on a printed circuit board. Electronic components intended for SMT (surface mounted devices, SMD) feature small dimensions.
  • Through-hole technology (THT) – kind of assembly of electronic circuits on a printed circuit board (PCB). Electronic components intended for THT are pulled through the holes in PCBs during assembly and soldered to conductive paths on the opposite side of the board than the assembled circuit.
  • Printed circuit board (PCB) – component made of insulating material with electric connections (so called pathways) and soldering points (so called pads), intended for assembly of electronic circuit. PCBs are designed with regard to developed electronic circuits and etched. The printed circuit is often the basic structural component for electronic devices. The circuit may be composed of single, double or multiple layers (with external layers). Electronic subassemblies on PCB are pulled through the holes in it (through-hole technology, THT), or mounted on the surface of the board (surface mount technology, SMT).
  • FLASH memory – one of types of ROM memory. This memory allows free data readout in any order, however, record is difficult. Every data record in Flash memory should be preceded by deletion of the whole sector, what creates the risk of lots of part of data. Each sector has a limited admissible number of records, after which it can be damaged (usually from 1000 to 1000000 cycles).
  • RAM (random-access memory) – memory in a form of integrated circuit, or based on integrated circuits. This memory allows free data record and readout in any order. RAM memory is usually faster in the system, however, that data stored in it are lost in case of power outage. It is used to store the current status of executed program, i.e. as data storage. In the DRAM type memories, the value of every bit is remembered in the form of a charge accumulated in the condenser. This charge can change automatically as a result of leak, so every cell should be refreshed (read and resaved) from time to time in order to recover it. Sometimes, to limit the power consumption by the microcontroller, or to speed up the program, the whole program or its fragment is copied from the non-volatile memory to RAM memory, but then, attention should be given to the fact that the content of RAM memory can be easily deleted, so it cannot be the only place, where the program is stored.
  • ROM memory – memory in a form of integrated circuit, which allows free data readout and does not lose the data in case of power outage. The data record to ROM memory is possible at the production stage, using programmers, or in a special programming mode.
  • Solder paste – paste used for soldering in the assembly process of SMD components.
  • Gerber files – file generated from the project of printed board, required by the printed board manufacturer to produce printed boards. The files store all necessary information on the board in every individual file in Gerber format.
  • NC Drill files – printed board drilling files – generated from the file of printed board.
  • Printed board – textolit or paper and phenolic board, on which a system of pathways (connections) is designed according to a circuit diagram. The printed board has additional requirements, which should be determined prior to ordering it:
    • laminate thickness
    • number of layers
    • copper thickness
    • solder mask
    • description of components on TOP and BOTTOM layer
    • kind of tinning
    • kind of mechanical treatment
    • peelable mask masking some holes (required sometimes in production process)
    • shaped holes
  • Multi-layer board – has the following layers:
    • top layer – TOP
    • middle layers – (mid layer 1, 2, 3, 4…) (quantity depends on device requirements)
    • bottom layer – BOTTOM
  • Contractual production of electronic modules – production of an article ordered by the customer as well as developed by the customer.
    It includes all the combination of cooperation with the customer; from product design according to the customer’s requirements, through development of documentation, preparation for production, production, control tests, packing and shipment.
  • Software – computer, smartphone, smart TV program, which has a direct contact with the user and ensures full appliance functionality. Software includes an operating system, applications, libraries and controllers. The user has usually a very large impact on software and may install, update and uninstall applications independently. Software is executed on the main computer or device microprocessor, while firmware is executed on the microcontrollers controlling its individual components.
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