Terminology

Terminology 2017-03-07T09:38:24+00:00

Here is the list of the most essential terms used within the electronics producing industry. The list is grouped into Components, Electronics Production and IPC.

TermGroupDefinition
AnodeComponentsThe positive lead of a polarised component
Axial leaded componentsComponentsA component with one lead exciting from each end of the body, like arms
Ball Grid ArrayComponentsor BGA, a component from the array family with bottom terminations shaped as balls
BGAComponentssee Ball Grid Array
CathodeComponentsThe negative lead of a polarised component
ChipComponentssee Integrated Circuit
Chip componentComponentsA component package with metal terminations on either end. The body is usually made of ceramic. Mostly resistors or capacitors
Circuit breakerComponentssee Fuse
Coaxial cableComponentsA cable consisting of an inner conductor, surrounded by an insulating layer, a shield and covered by an insulator. Coaxial means that the inner conductor and shield are at the same geometric axis
ConnectorComponentsA device to join electrical circuits
ContactComponentsA piece of electrically conductive material in a switch, relay, circuit breaker or connector used for establishing an electrical connection
DiodesComponentsAn electronic component that only allows electricity through one way.
Fine pitchComponentsa SMD component with a lead pitch less than 0.625 mm
FuseComponentsA device used to protect an electric or electronic circuit. When the current exceeds the capacity of the fuse it melts and opens up the circuit
Gull Wing LeadComponentsA component termination in the shape of a “L” where the toe of the lead faces outward, away from the component body
ICComponentssee Integrated Circuit
Integrated CircuitComponentsa collection of electronic components on a small flat piece of semiconductor material, usually silicon
J-Lead ComponentComponentsA SMD component with leads formed like the letter “J”, these components are also called PLCC’s
Lead pitchComponentsThe distance of the center of one lead of a component to the center of the next lead
LEDComponentsLight Emitting Diode – A type of diode which emits light when current is flowing through it.
MELFComponentsAbbreviation for Metal Electrode Face, a round SMD component with metal terminations on both ends
MicrochipComponentssee Integrated Circuit
PLCC’sComponentsAbbreviation for Plastic Leaded Chip Carrier, see also J-Lead Component
Polarity (component)Componentsa component with a positive and a negative connection
PotentiometerComponentsA variable resistor whose value can be changed by sliding a contact or turning a shaft
Push button switchesComponentsA switch that is closed (allowing current to flow through) when pressed down and open (not allowing current to flow through) when it is not pressed.
QFNComponentsAbbreviation for Quad Fine pitch No-Lead, leadless quad packages soldered directly on the PCB, generally with a central thermal pad and peripheral terminations
QFPComponentsAbbreviation for Quad Flat Pack, a SMD component with Gull-Wing leads exciting all 4 sides of the component body
Radial leaded componentsComponentsA component with one or more leads extending from the bottom of the body, like legs
ResistorsComponentsAn electronic component that reduces current flow and reduces voltage level within a circuit. Resistors come in various strengths denoted by “Ohms” the larger the Ohm value the higher the resistance.
SMDComponentssee Surface Mounted Devices
Solid wireComponentsA wire with only one conductor
Stranded wireComponentsA wire where the conductor consists of several strands wrapped together
Surface Mounted DevicesComponentsComponents that are mounted directly onto lands that serve as mounting points
SwitchComponentsA device to open or close a circuit
TerminalComponentsA metallic device used for making an electrical connection
TransistorsComponentsA semiconductor used to amplify, oscillate or provide a switching action of electronic signals
Variable resistorComponentssee Potentiometer
ACElectronics ProductionSee Alternating Current
Alternating CurrentElectronics ProductionA current that changes polarity periodically
AnalogElectronics ProductionDevice or process in which data is represented by physical quantities that change
Annular ringElectronics ProductionThe circumferential copper ring completely surrounding a hole
Assembly ProcessElectronics ProductionThe entire process and all steps involved in attaching components to a substrate
Base materialsElectronics ProductionThe insulating material upon which a conductive pattern may be formed
Blind viaElectronics ProductionA via that connects an external copper layer to one or more internal copper layers
Buried viaElectronics ProductionA via that is “buried” in the PCB, connecting only internal layers
CircuitElectronics ProductionIndividual electronic components connected together allowing electricity to flow through them.
Cold solder jointElectronics ProductionA solder joint which is caracterised by a grainy appearance resulting from insufficient thermal energy introduced into the solder connection. Cold solder joints are a reliability risk.
ConductorElectronics ProductionA conductive path in a conductive pattern
Contact angleElectronics ProductionThe angle of contact between the metallic base metal and the molten solder. In general a small contact angle is preferred.
Crimp connectionElectronics ProductionA solderless electrical connection used to terminate stranded wire by deformation of a wire/contact thus creating a gas-tight connection
CrimpingElectronics ProductionThe process of forming a crimp connection
DCElectronics ProductionSee Direct Current
DelaminationElectronics ProductionA planar separation between layers within a PCB
Design ProcessElectronics ProductionThe entire process and all steps involved in the design of an electronic product
DewettingElectronics ProductionA wetting mechanism where a part of the solder pulls back at solidification and only a thin layer of solder maintains on the surface
DigitalElectronics ProductionElectronic technology that generates, stores and processes data in terms of two states; positive and non-positive
Direct CurrentElectronics ProductionA current that maintains constant polarity
Electrostatic DischargeElectronics ProductionThe rapid transfer of a static charge from one object to another
ESDElectronics Productionsee Electrostatic Discharge
Eutectic alloyElectronics ProductionA binary alloy with a composition such that all elements melt and solidify at the same temperature
Flush cutters (snips, dykes)Electronics ProductionHand tool used to cut extra wire often used after completing a solder joint when the extended leg is no longer needed.
FluxElectronics ProductionA chemical agent used for cleaning, wetting improvement and protection of a solder connection.
FR4Electronics ProductionCommonly used base material for PCB’s, composite material of woven fiberglass and an epoxy resin binder, FR says it is flame retardant
IMCElectronics Productionsee Intermetallic Compound
Intermetallic CompoundElectronics ProductionFormation of a intermetallic layer as a reaction from a metallurgical process, i.e. the soldering process.
LaminateElectronics ProductionA product made by bonding mulitple layers of material
LandElectronics ProductionA metallic structure on the PCB surface to which components are attached
Lead-freeElectronics ProductionA material e.g. solder that contains no lead (Pb)
Manufacturing ProcessElectronics ProductionThe entire process and all steps involved in producing a PCB from its individual materials
MeaslingElectronics ProductionA localised separation of fibre bundles at fibre bundle intersections within a PCB, usually visible as white squares within the PCB structure
non-eutectic alloyElectronics ProductionA binary alloy in which the elements melt at different temperatures
NonwettingElectronics ProductionThe inability to wet a surface with solder, see also Wetting
Ohm’s LawElectronics ProductionV = IR – A famous electrical equation that denots the relationship between Voltage (V), Current (I), and Resistance (R) in a circuit.
PadElectronics Productionsee Land
PCBAElectronics Productionsee Printed Circuit Board Assembly
Plated-through HoleElectronics ProductionA metalised structure formed in a PCB by a plating process where a base metal is deposited inside drilled holes, thus connecting external and internal layers of copper foil.
PlatingElectronics ProductionChemical or electrochemical deposition of metal on a surface
PrepregElectronics ProductionShort for PREimPREGnated fibers, meaning a fabric reinforcement (e.g. glassfiber) pre-impregnated with a resin, usually epoxy
Printed Circuit Board (PCB)Electronics ProductionA board that has traces and pads connected together to create a circuit. Electronic components are soldered onto a PCB to add capabilities.
Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCBA)Electronics ProductionA PCB populated with electronic components
PTHElectronics Productionsee Plated-through Hole
Reflow profileElectronics Productionsee Time-Temperature Profile
Reflow solderingElectronics ProductionSoldering method in which the assembly to be soldered passes through a convection oven system
RepairElectronics ProductionAction on a nonconforming product to make it conform to form, fit and functional attributes -but will not meet all drawing requirements. It may involve materials and processes that are not specified by the controlling drawing. Unlike rework, repair can affect or change parts of the nonconforming product (IPC-T-50K)
ResinElectronics ProductionA natural or synthetic organic compound consisting of a noncrystalline or viscous liquid substance
ReworkElectronics ProductionThe act of reprocessing non-complying product, through the use of original or alternate equivalent processing, in a manner that assures compliance of the product with applicable drawings or specifications (IPC-T-50K).
RoHSElectronics ProductionAbbreviation of Restriction of Hazardous Substances
RoHS directiveElectronics ProductionAn European directive in which the use of some substances are prohibited from use in products sold on the European market
RosinElectronics ProductionA resin derived from a conferous tree used as a basis for flux, also known as Colophony
SACElectronics ProductionThe general abbreviation used for a solder ally consisting of Tin, Silver and Copper.
SilkscreenElectronics ProductionLabeling and other pictures that are present on a printed circuit board. Usual denote where components should be placed, version of the board, manufacturer, test points and other useful information.
SMTElectronics Productionsee Surface Mounting Technology
SolderElectronics ProductionMetal alloy with a low melting point which allows it to be used to create connections between electronic components.
Solder jointElectronics ProductionA connection made by soldering
Solder padElectronics ProductionArea of exposed metal on a printed circuit board where the connection to a component is made.
Solder pasteElectronics ProductionA mixture of solder powder and flux used for certain soldering applications
Solder resistElectronics Productionsee Soldermask
Solder sucker (Desoldering pump)Electronics ProductionA hand tool which is used to remove solder from a printed circuit board. The solder must first be melted then the desoldering pump is used to lift it from the printed circuit board.
Solder traceElectronics ProductionPath of metal inside a printed circuit board which connects different parts of the circuit.
Solder Wick (Desoldering Braid)Electronics ProductionBraided copper wire absorbs solder, used to remove excess solder.
SolderingElectronics ProductionA method of joining two metals with another metal with a lower melting point
Soldering IronElectronics ProductionHand tool used to heat solder and create a solder joint usually on a printed circuit board.
SoldermaskElectronics ProductionA heat-resisting coating material applied to areas of a PCB to prevent solder to be deposited upon these areas
Surface Mounting TechnologyElectronics ProductionAn installation method where the components are mounted directly on the surface of a PCB
Thermal ProfileElectronics Productionsee Time-Temperature Profile
Thermal schockElectronics ProductionRapid temperature change (can lead to damaged components or solder connections)
Through viaElectronics ProductionA via that connects the external layers and maybe also internal layers, it passes all the way through the PCB
Through-Hole TechnologyElectronics ProductionA technique where components are placed and soldered in holes in the PCB structure
THTElectronics Productionsee Through-Hole Technology
Time-Temperature ProfileElectronics ProductionA complex set of time/temperature related data to characterise a soldering process
TinElectronics ProductionThe main element in most solder alloys, also known as Sn.
Tin WhiskerElectronics ProductionMicroscopic tin fibers growing from the surface of pure tin surfaces, caused by compressive stress in the metal
TinningElectronics ProductionCoating with solder
TombstoningElectronics ProductionThe situation where a leadless component has only one termination soldered due to tilting of the component
TTPElectronics Productionsee Time-Temperature Profile
ViaElectronics ProductionInterfacial connection between layers of a PCB to carry signals between layers
Wave solderingElectronics ProductionSoldering method in which the assembly to be soldered passes through a bath of molten solder
WettingElectronics ProductionThe ability of a liquid to form an interface with a solid surface
Wetting angleElectronics ProductionThe angle of the wetted solder and the base surface
A-600IPCsee IPC-A-600
A-610IPCsee IPC-A-610
IPCIPCAssociation Connecting Electronic Industries, global trade organisation
IPC CertificationIPCCertification based on a training program established by IPC
IPC EssentialsIPCOnline training course to enhance knowledge of IPC standards, the standards development process and how standards can be used on the factory floor
IPC StandardIPCDocument published by IPC
IPC-6012IPCQualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Bare Boards published by IPC
IPC-7711/7721IPCDocument published by IPC on rework, modification and repair of Electronic Assemblies
IPC-A-600IPCDocument published by IPC on the Acceptability of Printed Boards (PCB)
IPC-A-610IPCDocument published by IPC on the Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies (PCBA)
IPC-A-620IPCDocument published by IPC on the Requirements and Acceptance for Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies
J-STD-001IPCDocument published by IPC on Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies