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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       V

Index to terms on this page:

Valuable Final Artwork  
Valuable Final Product   vcc   vdd  
vector photoplotter   vee   via   VLSI   VQFP   vss  

Valuable Final Artwork — A term used in " Streamlined_PCB_Design :"   Artwork for electronic circuits which have been laid out and documented in forms perfectly suited to the photo-imaging and numeric-controlled tooling processes of printed circuit manufacture. It is termed "final" because it has been thoroughly checked for errors and any corrected as needed and is now ready for manufacture without further work by the PCB designer. It is valuable because it could be exchanged with a customer for money or other support. Abbr. VFA. [Based on " Valuable Final Product."

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Valuable Final Product — Something that can be exchanged with other activities in return for support. The support usually adds up to food, clothing, shelter, money, tolerance and cooperation (goodwill).... A valuable final product (VFP) is valuable because it is potentially or factually exchangeable. The key word in this sense is EXCHANGEABLE. And exchangeability means outside, with something outside the person or activity. A valuable final product could as easily be named a VALUABLE EXCHANGEABLE PRODUCT. [L. Ron Hubbard, March 25, 1971, "Valuable Final Products."]

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vcc or VCC or Vcc — A name for a power net meaning "voltage collector," usually +5V for TTL circuits.

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vdd or VDD or Vdd — A name for a power net meaning "voltage drain," usually implying a more positive voltage.

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vector photoplotter — (also "vector plotter", or "Gerber photoplotter" after Gerber Scientific Co., which built the first vector photoplotters for commercial use)  It plots images from a CAD database on photographic film in a darkroom by drawing each line with a continuous lamp shined through an annular-ring aperture, and creating each shape (or pad) by flashing the lamp through a specially sized and shaped aperture. The "apertures" are thin trapezoidal pieces of plastic which are mostly opaque, but with a transparent portion that controls the size and shape of the light pattern passing through it. The apertures are mounted on an " aperture wheel " which can hold up to 24 apertures (or 70 on certain models). The lamp and aperture wheel are fixed, and the table holding the film is moved in x and y dimensions (on small photoplotters), or vice versa (on very large photoplotters). A numeric datum sent to the control circuit of the photoplotter is either a D code or an X and/or Y dimension in inches, to the nearest thousandth. If it is a D code equal to D10 or above, the message tells the wheel to rotate the corresponding aperture location into position in front of the lamp. .  Gerber photoplotters, if set up by an experienced craftsman, are well-suited for printed circuit artwork generation. Compare with laser photoplotter , which is faster, more accurate and has largely replaced the vector photoplotter.

There are still vector photoplotters in use. Some manufacturers take advantage of the large bed size of the largest Gerber photoplotters, roughly the size of a full-sized billiards table. This enables the production of very large photoplots. An example is Buckbee-Mears, which makes large antenna boards, and the USGS (United States Geological Survey) which has used them in map-making.

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vee or VEE or Vee — A name for a power net meaning "voltage emitter," usually -5V for ECL circuits.

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via — Feed-through. A plated-through hole in a PWB used to route a trace vertically in the board, that is, from one layer to another.

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VLSI — Very Large Scale Integration.

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VQFP — Very thin Quad Flat Pack.

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vss or VSS or Vss — A name for a power net meaning "voltage source," usually implying a more negative voltage and often equivalent to Ground or GND.

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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.