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GLOSSARY of Printed Circuits

by John Walt Childers, IPC-CID, Founder of Golden Gate Graphics

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Pronunciation Key

Golden Gate Graphics in an official Altium Service Bureau

Golden Gate Graphics is an official Altium Service Bureau

Terms that contain digits are alphabetized as if the numeric characters were spelled in English.

Terms with two or more words are alphabetized "dictionary style." They are alphabetized as though the spaces between the terms have been removed.
   If there are other characters in the term, such as a slash (/), these are treated the same as spaces and ignored for the purpose of alphabetizinig.

TOP       T

Index to terms on this page:

TAB   TEC   tented via   TDR   terminal  
terminal block  
test coupon  
thin film   through-hole   thru-hole   TQFP   trace   track   Trillium   TTL  

TAB — Tape Automated Bonding.

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TEC — () noun  [] ThermoElectric Cooler, a type of active heat sink used on CSP's. Also called Peltier thermoelectric cooler, it depends for its function on the Peltier effect.

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tented via — a via with dry film solder mask completely covering both its pad and its plated-thru hole. This completely insulates the via from foreign objects, thus protecting against accidental shorts, but it also renders the via unusable as a test point. Sometimes vias are tented on the top side of the board and left uncovered on the bottom side to permit probing from that side only with a test fixture.

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TDR — Time Domain Reflectometer, a device which a board house can use for measuring characteristic impedance of a conductor on a printed board, thus insuring an accurate build for controlled impedance.

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terminal — A point of connection for two or more conductors in an electrical circuit; one of the conductors is usually an electrical contact, lead or electrode of a component.

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terminal block — a type of header to which wires are attached directly instead of by means of a connector plug. Each wire is inserted in a hole in the terminal block , and then anchored by means of a screw.

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test coupon — An area of patterns and holes located on the same fabrication panel as the actual PCB, but separate from the electrical circuits and outside the board outline(s). It is designed to reflect the technology used on the PCB, such as smallest plated-through hole size, any blind or buried vias, etc. It is cut away from the panel and can be embedded in a clear plastic to prepare it for destructive testing.

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thin film — A film of conductive or insulating material, usually deposited by sputtering or evaporation, that may be made in a pattern to form electronic components and conductors on a substrate or used as insulation between successive layers of components.   [Graf]

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through-hole — (Of a component, also spelled "thru-hole"). Having pins designed to be inserted into holes and soldered to pads on a printed board. Contrast with surface mount.

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thru-hole — Same as through-hole.

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TQFP — Thin Quad Flat Pack. Essentially the same as a QFP except low-profile, that is, thinner.

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trace — Segment of a route.

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track Trace.

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Trillium — A company that makes DUT or ATE systems.

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TTL — Transistor-Transistor Logic. Also called multiple-emitter transistor logic.  A widely used form of semiconductor logic. Its basic logic element is a multiple-emitter transistor. TTL is characterized by fairly high speed and medium power dissipation.   [Graf]

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Example Printed Boards

Click for Examples of PCBs designed by Golden Gate Graphics

References and Dictionaries

Modern Dictionary of Electronics by Rudolf F. Graf

This is the best, most usable dictionary for electronics, because its definitions help you grasp the terms and therefore the subject. Lesser dictionaries define electronics terms with even more difficult technical jargon, leading one into endless "word chains." Not this one.
You can buy the Modern Dictionary of Electronics new or used via the Internet.

Graf, Rudolf F. Modern Dictionary of Electronics. Newnes, 1999.

The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, 2nd Edition

You need a big, comprehensive dictionary. Get this one. Despite being a big dictionary, The Random House has great definitions, quick to grasp.

Although out of print, as of 2020 you could still buy a great used copy online for $30 including shipping or possibly for much less. Two versions are available of the 2nd Edition, Unabridged:

I have no idea what the difference is for the deluxe edition, but there seem to be fewer copies of it available in 2020 than the regular edition. I'm sure they both have the same set of definitions. My copy has both ISBNs listed in the front matter, and it is the regular edition.

Flexner, Stuart Berg, and Leonore Crary Hauck, editors. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language. Unabridged, 2nd Edition, Random House, 1987.