5 Advantages of PCBs Over Point-to-Point Construction

Printed circuit boards, often called PCBs, have become one of the most common electronic support devices currently in use. In fact, as we discussed in our previous blog, “4 Pieces of Modern Technology That Wouldn’t Exist Without Printed Circuit Boards,” a lot of everyday items rely on PCB technology to run correctly.

PCB support is not the only electronic support option. Some individuals recommend point-to-point construction, often abbreviated to PTP, instead. However, despite these recommendations, PCBs are virtually always the smarter choice.

In this blog, we explain the differences between these options and discuss five advantages that a PCB has over PTP support construction.

The Differences Between PCB and PTP

As you may already know, PCBs are glass epoxy or copper boards with etched portions, pads, and tracks that allow for electronic components to be soldered to each other and to the board. Most PCBs are produced using an automated design check and manufacturing process.

PTP construction uses many of the same individual components as a PCB, but these constructs require that an expert make each of the connections necessary to complete the circuit. Once the connections are made, the construct is soldered together. Due to this manufacturing process, you may hear PTP construction referred to as “hand wiring.”

Because PTP is time-consuming, this method is only used in a few industries. For example, PTP is most often chosen for specialty items like instrument amps. In the case of amps, some musicians believe that there’s a discernable difference in the sound that goes through a PTP amp rather than a PCB unit.

While music taste, including taste in amp equipment, is entirely subjective, PCBs offer numerous advantages over PTP in most applications.

The Advantages of PCB

PCBs are currently the best choice in most situations where electronic support is needed. This strong trend results from the clear advantages that PCBs provide over other options. PCB advantages include the following.

1. Conscientious Engineering

In the PTP method, each support construct is created on its own. The quality of the design can vary dramatically according to who made the construct and whether or not he or she completed the circuit appropriately.

Because the PCB manufacturing process is largely automated, there is less risk of engineering flaws that could lead to failed prototypes or ineffective boards. Before a PCB is ever fabricated, the manufacturer inputs the specifications into software which runs extensive design checks to ensure the board’s optimal performance.

2. Consistent Performance

While PTP and PCB constructs have essentially identical purposes, both options do not show the same level of performance. PTP constructs often have individual quirks that can change the way the device they’re supporting performs. For example, a PTP amp may have a highly particular level of vibrato because of a PTP issue.

PCBs tend to offer more consistent performance because the connections are strong and machine-made. High-quality PCBs are more reliable over time than their PTP counterparts.

3. Cost-Effectiveness

Because PTP constructs require the skilled labor of an expert in both the design and fabrication stages, these electronic support devices are extremely expensive to produce. While PTP constructs have the benefit of accommodating repairs when needed, this initial cost is often not worth the end product.

PCBs are affordable to produce and even replace if needed. This low expense makes PCBs much more cost-effective, especially for companies who are concerned about manufacturing expenses hurting their profit margins.

4. Scalability

Any item made by hand is inherently difficult to mass produce, PTP constructs included. Fabricating a large number of PTP constructs, such as the amount necessary for a product launch and normal sales, requires complex logistics to obtain and retain the required expert labor.

The PCB manufacturing process is much more compatible with large-scale production. Once the design of the PCB has been approved, the automated fabrication system can produce many boards in the same time it might take for a PTP creator to complete a single support system.

5. Streamlined Production<

PTP manufacturing can involve a lot of trial and error. Prototypes can take a significant period of testing time to develop until they’re ready to be used because each issue must be individually diagnosed and addressed by hand.

While it’s possible for PCB design to take some time, the automated design checks used during the engineering process alert the designer to any potential issues so testers know what to look for. This intuitive design process means that PCBs are often ready to go into production sooner than PTP constructs.

When you’re considering how best to provide electronic support for a device prototype, remember the advantages listed above. In most cases, a PCB provides more reliable and cost-effective electronic support than any other option, including PTP.

For recommendations based on your device as well as dependable PCB design, engineering, and manufacturing, trust Streamline Circuits.