The Most Common Printed Circuit Board Abbreviations and Symbols

February 9, 2021 , in Blog

The PCBA: The heart of the communication age

Printed circuit board technology enables modern communication.

In describing the extraordinary times in which we live today many terms are used. These include the Space Age, Atomic Age, Digital Age, Information Age, or Industry 4.0. All of these would be correct; however, the Communication Age is probably more accurate. The ability to communicate or send and receive meaningful information is critical in virtually all aspects of life today. And PCBAs are the mechanisms by which we are able to communicate most effectively.

The building of PCBAs or assembled printed circuit boards also depends upon accurate communication between the board designers, vendors, fab houses, and assemblers involved in the process. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used printed circuit board abbreviations and symbols that form the language.

Common Printed Circuit Board Abbreviations

The listing in the table below includes terms commonly used for circuit board design, manufacturing and testing.

ABBREVIATION MEANING FOR PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARDS
ADC Analog to Digital Converter
AFE Analog Front End
AOI Automated Optical Inspection
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange
BGA Ball Grid Array
Bayonet Neill–Concelman Connector BNC Connector
CCA Circuit Card Assembly
CAD Computer-Aided Design
CAE Computer-Aided Engineering
CAM Computer-Aided Manufacturing
CAN bus (CANbus) Controller Area Network bus
CM Contract Manufacturer
CSP Chip Scale Package (Packaging)
DFA Design for Assembly
DFM Design for Manufacturing
DFN Dual Flat No-Lead (Package)
DFT Design for Testing
DIP Dual In-line Package
DPA Destructive Physical Analysis
DRC Design Rule Check
DUT Device Under Test
EDA Electronic Design Automation
EEE Electrical, Electronic and Electromechanical
ELIC Every Layer Interconnect
EMS Electronics Manufacturing Services
FPGA Field Programmable Gate Array
HDI High-Density Interconnect
HMI Human Machine Interface
HVTR High Voltage Arc Tracking Rate
IC Integrated Circuit
ICT In-Circuit Test
IDE Investigational Device Exemption

Integrated Development Environment

IoT Internet of Things
LGA Land Grid Array
LVDS Low voltage differential signaling
MOD Manufacturing-On-Demand
NPI New Product Introduction
NRE Non-Recurring Engineering
OCM Original Component Manufacturer
OEM Original Equipment Manufacturer
PCB Printed Circuit Board
PCBA Printed Circuit Board Assembly
PDN Power Distribution Network
PLC Programmable Logic Controller
PLD Programmable Logic Device
PTFE Polytetrafluoroethylene
PWB Printed Wiring Board
QFN Quad Flat No-Lead (Package)
QFP Quad Flat Package
ROSE Resistivity of Solvent Extract (Testing)
SCADA Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition
SDI Serial Digital Interface
SIP Single In-line Package
SMD Surface Mount Device
SMT Surface Mount Technology
SNR Signal-to-Noise Ratio
SoC System on a Chip
SOIC Small Outline Integrated Circuit
SOP Small Outline Package
TDR Time Domain Reflectometry
TQFN Thin Quad Flat No-Lead (Package)
TQFP Thin Quad Flat Package
TSOP Thin Small Outline Package
via vertical interconnect access

Although not exhaustive, the list above provides many common abbreviations that should help develop your boards. Additionally, it’s complemented by a common PCB terminology database that you should know and common symbols, as shown below.

Common Printed Circuit Board Symbols

Below is a collection of commonly used electrical symbols for circuit board design.

Electronic circuit symbols

Common PCBA symbols

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  • Virtual PCBA Contract manufacturing.
  • Rapid, accurate quotes.
  • DFM support from Day 1 of design.
  • Digital Thread Processing with real-time monitoring.
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It’s essential to know the correct terms, abbreviations and symbols in design checklist requirements for communicating effectively with your CM and ensuring your boards are built to meet your design intent. At Tempo Automation, the industry leader in fast, precise, high-quality prototype and low-volume turnkey PCBA manufacturing, synchronization between our process and your design objectives is a key to optimal development and high-yield rates.

And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM checks and enable you to view and download DRC files easily. If you’re an Altium Designer or Cadence Allegro user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software. For Mentor Pads or other design packages, we furnish DRC information in different CAD formats and Excel.

If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on printed circuit board abbreviations and symbols and how they are essential to PCBA development, contact us.

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