Through many years of experience in dealing with customers. I found that some customers can’t distinguish what is PCB and  PCBA. Some customers say that we need to provide a quotation for PCB when inquiring, and when we communicate in detail, I find that what the customer really needs is PCBA. This not only delays the communication time, but sometimes even delays the quotation. Today we will talk about what PCB VS PCBA , what is the difference between them, and how can we remember and distinguish them.

Definition of PCB and PCBA.

PCB (Printed Circuit Board), Name of it is printed circuit board or printed circuit board, it is an important electronic component, a support for electronic components, and a provider of electrical connections for electronic components. Because the way of producing is electronic printing, the name of it is “printed” circuit board. PCBA (Printed Circuit Board Assembly), which means that the empty PCB board goes through SMT.  Loading or the entire process of DIP plug-in, referred to as PCBA. This is a common way of writing in China, and the standard way of writing in Europe and America is PCB’A. Added “‘”, they call them as official idiom. 

The composition of PCB and PCBA.

Generally, we can divide PCB substrate materials into two categories: rigid substrate materials and flexible substrate materials. An important variety of rigid substrate materials is copper clad laminate. The material of it is reinforced material (Reinforcing Material), impregnated with resin adhesive, dried and cut.  Meanwhile, laminating into a blank and then covering with copper foil. Steel plate is also a kind of model. At the same time, Factory will finish it in the environment of high temperature and high pressure forming in a hot press. Semi-finished product will use more for the general multi-layer boards. In the production process of copper clad laminates it is same. There are many ways to classify copper clad laminates.  Phenol resin (XPc, XxxPC, FR-1, FR-2, etc.), epoxy resin (FE-3), polyester resin and other types.

General material

Common glass fiber cloth base CCL has epoxy resin (FR-4, FR-5), which is currently the most widely used type of glass fiber cloth base. Actually, we can divid it into two categories for the substrate materials for printed boards: rigid substrate materials and flexible substrate materials. PCBA is to mount on the basis of PCB, increase the part of the components. It is also increase the program according to the customer’s requirements. Among them, SMT and DIP are important production processes of PCBA.


SMT and DIP are both ways to integrate parts on the PCB. The main difference is that SMT does not need to drill holes on the PCB. In DIP, Factory will insert the PIN pins of the parts into the holes which finished by the last step. SMT surface mount technology mainly uses mounters to mount some tiny parts on the PCB. The production process is: PCB board positioning, solders paste printing, mounter mounting, and reflow Furnace and finished inspection. DIP stands for “plug-in”, that is, inserting parts on the PCB board. This is the integration of parts in the form of plug-ins. Factory will use this when some parts are larger in size and are not suitable for placement technology.

Testing of PCB VS PCBA

If you want to know the connecting effect of the PCB. Of course, it t is necessary to use a fixture tester or a flying probe tester to test. But if you want to see the function of the circuit board, etc., you need to do some reliability tests such as caf, immersion tin, slicing and so on. The testing methods of PCBA — ICT test, FCT test, aging test, vibration test, etc. PCBA test is a big test. According to different products and different customer requirements, the test methods used are different. The ICT test is to detect the welding conditions of the components and the on-off conditions of the circuit, while the FCT test is to detect the input and output parameters of the PCBA board to see if it meets the requirements.


In a word, the PCB does not have any components. PCBA is the electronic components that manufacturers need to solder and assemble on the PCB board. It will through SMT or plug-in processing after receiving the PCB as the raw material, such as IC, resistors, capacitors, crystal oscillators, transformers and other electronic components, after reflow soldering When we heat the furnace  at high temperature, a mechanical connection between the components and the PCB board will be formed, thereby forming a PCBA.The main production process is: sticking adhesive, plug-in, inspection, wave soldering, printing and finished inspection. By comparing the definition and composition of PCB and PCBA, we can easily distinguish between them. In addition, do you know what the differences are between them? Welcome to discuss more about the difference between the PCB and PCBA to help more customers more clearly for that.