As a gadget builder, you know that electronic boards are a necessary component for any project. However, as more and more people opt for building their own gadgets, the market for electronic boards has become increasingly saturated. With so many different types and brands of boards available, it can be difficult to know which one is right for your needs. In this comprehensive buying guide, you will learn key things about electronic boards and the buying process itself, in order to make the best decision possible.
1. The Different Types Of Boards
An electronic board, simply put, is a circuit that helps to control and manage the flow of electricity in a gadget. There are a variety of different types of boards available on the market, each with its own unique set of capabilities. The most common types are outlined below:
- PCB – This type of board is used in a wide variety of gadgets, from drones and smart TVs to gaming consoles and more. Typically, printed circuit boards are made up of a series of copper traces that connect different electronic components together. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used for both simple and complex projects.
- FPGA – An FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) is a type of electronic board that is used to create custom circuits. FPGAs are unique in that they can be programmed to perform a wide variety of tasks, making them a popular choice for more complex projects.
- Arduino – Arduino boards are designed for hobbyists and beginners, and are perfect for simple projects. Arduino boards are easy to use and come with a wide range of features.
All of the different types of boards have their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is important to choose the right one for your project. However, the most versatile one on the market is the PCB.
2. Your Skills And Project’s Requirements
Before you buy an electronic board, it is important to consider your project’s requirements. What type of tasks will the board need to perform? What are the specifications of the components you will be using? How much experience do you have with electronics? Are you confident in your technological skills, or are you still a beginner? Once you have answers to these questions, you can start to narrow down your options. For example, if you are a beginner, you’re most likely working on a project that’s a bit more simple, say making a basic calculator. In this case, an Arduino board would be a good choice because it’s easy to use and has a wide range of features. However, if you’re working on a more complex project like building your own computer, you would need a board with more capabilities, like a PCB or an FPGA.
3. Factors To Look For
Now that you know what to consider when choosing a board, it’s time to learn about the different factors you should take into account when making your purchase. Of course, while knowing the basics components and factors isn’t always enough when it comes to choosing the right board, you don’t have to know everything either. Some of the most important things to look for include:
- The type of board
- The size of the board – sizes vary, so it’s important to choose one that’s the right fit for your project. The smallest boards are typically called “nano” boards, and they’re about the size of a postage stamp. Larger boards are usually called “mini” or “half-size” boards.
- The number of channels – most boards have a certain number of channels that dictate how many different electrical signals can be processed at once. If your project requires more channels than the board has, you will need to use multiple boards or find a board with more channels.
- The number of I/Os – I/Os (input/outputs) are the points where your components will be connected to the board. The more I/Os a board has, the more components you can connect to it.
- The type of chipset – this is the microchip that powers the board and dictates its capabilities. Make sure to choose a board that has a chipset that is appropriate for your project.
- The number of layers – layers are the different layers of copper that make up a printed circuit board. A board with more layers can handle more complex tasks.
- The type of connector – boards come with a variety of different connectors, so it’s important to choose one that is compatible with the components you will be using. A popular choice is the USB connector, which is compatible with a wide range of components.
Each of these factors can have a significant impact on your project, so it is important to understand what each one means before making a purchase.
4. Reading Schematics
Reading schematics is an important skill for anyone working with PCBs. A schematic shows you how to connect the components that make up a circuit and allows you to identify where each component should be placed on the board, as well as its specifications. It also lets you see if there are any incompatibilities between the parts you’re using. Schematics are usually drawn in a certain way that makes them easy to understand. The different symbols used in schematics represent different components, and the lines between the symbols show how the components are connected. Usually, the schematic for a board will be included with the board’s datasheet. Some universal symbols that you may encounter in schematics are:
- Resistors – these are represented by a squiggly line, and the value of the resistor is usually written above or below the symbol.
- Capacitors – these are represented by two parallel lines, and the value of the capacitor is usually written above or below the symbol.
- Integrated circuits – these are represented by a rectangle, and the name of the chip is usually written above or below the symbol.
- Switches – these are represented by a triangle, and the position of the switch (on or off) is usually indicated by an arrow.
5. Buy From Trusted Companies
When buying an electronic board, it is important to purchase from a trusted company. Not all companies sell high-quality boards, so it’s important to do your research before making a purchase. There are a number of different factors you can use to determine whether or not a company is trustworthy, including:
- The quality of their boards
- The number of complaints they’ve received
- The length of time they’ve been in business
- The reviews from other customers
Make sure to take all of these into account when making your purchase. The last thing you want is to spend your hard-earned money on a board that doesn’t work or that fails prematurely.
Building gadgets can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to use the right tools for the job. Electronic boards are one of the key components in any gadget-building project, so it’s important to know what to look for when choosing a board. With the information mentioned here, you should be able to choose the right board for your needs and get started on your next gadget-building project.