Golden Gate Graphics logo

GLOSSARY of Printed Circuits

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

   SYMBOLS    A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z   

Pronunciation Key

Formerly known as

GLOSSARY of Printed Circuit Design and Manufacturing

This glossary has key terminology in use in PCB design and manufacturing, with a smattering of electronics. The definitions were chosen so that their context would likely apply to reading material encountered by a PCB designer. Therefore, many of these terms will have other meanings not given here. See recommended dictionaries below.

This collection of terms came about as I, a PCB designer, ran across words and acronyms in my field for which meanings were hard to find. As I tracked them down, I made them part of this glossary. If you are a PCB designer, then this glossary could be a good place to start when you find a need to look up the meanings of words related to printed circuits or electronics.

TOP       X

Index to terms on this page:

XLAT   XNet   XMC   XMII   XRF   xsignal   XSON   XYRS  

XLAT — translate, trasnlation or translator

  Page Index

XNet Cadence Allegro See xsignal

  Page Index

XMC — Switched Mezzanine Card

  Page Index

XMII — Cross-Wire (Two Wire Serial Management) Media Independent Interface. MII stands for Media Independent Interface, which is a component of Ethernet.

  Page Index

XRF [PCB Testing] X-Ray Fluorescence is an analytical technique that determines elemental composition. XRF analysis is used to test printed circuit boards (PCB), integrated circuits (IC), and individual electronic components. It's a quick, non-destructive, highly accurate analysis that can be conducted on solids, liquids, and powders.

It works on the process of ionization, meaning that the atoms within the sample material may ionize when exposed to gamma rays or other short-wavelength x-ray beams. XRF is able to determine elemental composition by measuring the secondary x-ray beam, being the fluorescent x-ray, emitted from the tested sample when it is excited by a primary x-ray source.
XRF Analysis - Sensible Micro Corporation

  Page Index

xsignal — Extended signal. Altium Designer - xSignal The capitalization of S in xSignal is a format used by Altium. In an xSignal, multiple nets can be treated as a single signal for the purpose of length matching. The simplest example is a net that starts on an IC pin, terminates on a resitor and then the signal continues from the other side of the resistor to another IC. The signal length is the first net plus the path through the resistor plus the second net. Using the xSignal mode, the designer can define this total path to be an xSignal. When there is a group of such signals, each having the pattern of IC1 pin x > resistor Rn > IC2 pin y and whose lengths need to be matched for signal integrity or high-speed design, the designer would use a design rule based on the xSignal lengths rather than the individual net lengths.
This allows the individual first nets to be different in length. The same goes for the individual second net lengths. Using xSignals enables one to meet any matched-length requirements of the design without having to match lengths of all of the first nets as a group and then all of the second nets as that group. Without xSignals, matching lengths would require more design time and PCB " real estate."

The above example is for the simplest possible situation. XSignals can wend there ways through multiple discetes and ICs. Altium Designer's xSignal wizard makes it easy to set up complex signal pathways for length matching.

In Cadence Allegro, this is called an "XNet" (extended net).

  Page Index

XSON — eXtremely thin Small Outline package No leads. E.G. XSON6 has 6 lands with axial symmetry with pin numbering in a dual in-line pattern.

  Page Index

XYRS — A file that provides numeric control for automatic component insertion.

The letters stand for:

  • X - axis coordinate
  • Y -axis coordinate
  • R - Rotation
  • S - Side
Aka "pick-and-place file." Referred to by Altium as a "pick-place file."

  Page Index

Alphabetizing Method

Terms that begin with a symbol or a digit are placed in the SYMBOLS page. Terms that contain digits within them 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 (/), dash (-) or plus sign (+), these are treated the same as spaces and ignored for the purpose of alphabetizing.

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 2022 you could still buy a great used copy online for $40 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.

Golden Gate Graphics in an official Altium Service Bureau
Golden Gate Graphics is an official Altium Service Bureau