electroviews logo
  • Home |
  • Jargon Buster
hybrid col masthead

Jargon Buster

The jargon buster is a user-friendly encyclopaedic guide to some of the most commonly used terms. Identified in alphabetical order, each piece of industry jargon is accompanied by a description and full definition.

Please submit any jargon not covered on this page to our editors for inclusion in the Jargon Buster.

Jargon Description Jargon Buster
0201 A passive component package size Component Dimensions: 0.6mm x 0.3mm. This case size has limited use today by electronic designers in products where space is limited and component density is high. e.g. mobile phones. Provides an interesting challenge for both capital equipment manufacturers and electronic manufacturers alike.
0603 A passive component package size Dimensions: 1.6mm x 0.8mm
0805 A passive component package size Dimensions: 2.0mm x 1.25mm
1U A rack unit. One rack unit is 1.75in (44.45mm) high.
1206 A passive component package size Dimensions: 3.2mm x 1.6mm - most commonly used where space is not at a premium
3D Modelling   the process by which complex mathematical models are used to generate 3D representations of products.
BGA Ball Grid Array A semiconductor device which has solder balls on its underside rather than leads.
CAD/CAM Computer aided design and Computer aided Manufacturing  
CAE Computer Aided Engineering The generic name given to software used within the electronics industry to help design new products
CEM Contract Electronics Manufacturer A company which manufactures another company's products on a contract basis. This is sometimes known as "build to print" or even colloquially "Board-Stuffing".
COSHH Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Using chemicals or other hazardous substances at work can put employee's health at risk. This law requires employers to control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health.
Dielectric Material An Insulator A dielectric material is a substance that is a poor conductor of electricity, but can efficiently support electrostatic fields.
E-mech Electro-mechanical Assembly This is the name given to the process of assembling non-electronic components with the PCB assembly as well as the generic name given to the types of components used within this process.
Eddy Currents Electro-Magnetism Effect Currents induced in a ferromagnetic core as a result of changing magnetic fields. Eddy currents can sometimes be used to perform a useful task such as damping of movement. Laminates are used to prevent eddy currents, which cause physical and electrical resistance in a transformer, therefore loss of power.
EMS Electronic Manufacturing Services A company which manufactures another company's products on a contract basis. This is sometimes known as "build to print" or even colloquially "Board-Stuffing".
Flux The primary purpose of flux is to reduce/remove metal oxides from the surfaces of printed circuit boards to be soldered, and to act as a mechanism for removing other dirt/debris.
Free Issue Supplied Free of Charge This is where a customer supplies some (e.g. expensive or design critical parts) or all of the component parts to the contractor.
Guarding In Circuit test term Guarding involves earthing the components around the 'component under test' allowing for a much more accurate test measurement to be taken.
Hysteresis Electro-Magnetism Effect If ferromagnetic material is magnetised in one direction, it will not relax back to zero magnetisation when the magnetising field is removed. It needs to be driven back to zero by a field in the opposite direction. The lack of recoverability back to zero magnetisation is called hysteresis and it is related to the existence of magnetic domains in the material. Once the magnetic domains are reoriented, it takes some energy to turn them back again and hence power losses.
Integrated Circuits A generic name for the family of semiconductors.
MDA Manufacturing Defect Analyser A piece of test equipment enabling a PCB assembly to be tested for solder shorts opens, and a limited amount of component values.
N-Type Semiconductor - Where n stands for negative This type of semiconductor has an extra electron in its lattice which is not required and is free to move through the structure to function as a conduction electron.
OEM Original Equipment Manufacturer A company which designs, (sometimes manufactures) and distributes its own branded products.
P - Type Semiconductor This type of semiconductor in which electron holes enable electron movement is called a p type semiconductor where p stands for positive.
Passive A type of electronic component Passives are used throughout electronic systems to provide the functions of resistance, capacitance and inductance. Passive components are widely used in most electronic designs. Unlike Active components, passives do not amplify or switch signals and also do not need power to be applied to them to make them work
Platen In Circuit Test Fixture The flat bed of an in circuit test fixture through which test pins probe the unit under test through designed drilled holes.
QFP Quad Flat Pack A semiconductor packaging format. The component has a square body will an equal amount of gull wing leads on each of the four sides. e.g. QFP160 is a 160 pin quad flat pack device.
Rendering   3D Rendering is the process of producing an image based on three-dimensional data stored within a computer.
RMA Rosin Mildly Activated - Fluxes
RoHS Restriction of Hazardous Substances The RoHS Directive stands for the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. This Directive bans the introduction to the EU market of new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants. The RoHS Directive and the UK RoHS regulations came into force on 1 July 2006.
Rosin Rosin or colophony is a naturally occurring product that is extracted from pine trees. The composition of rosin varies, but a typical formula is C19H29COOH.
Silicon Chips A widely used lay-mans name for Semiconductors
SOIC Small Outline Integrated Circuit A semiconductor packaging format. The number of leads being denoted as follows:-Where SO16 represents a 16 leaded SOIC.
Takt time A lean manufacturing measure The rate we need to manufacture at to satisfy customer demand.
Test Pads PCB pads These are solder pads specifically designed into the circuit to allow test engineers access to the particular parts of the circuit at board level test.
Transformer An Electrical Component A transformer is an electrical device used to convert AC power at a certain voltage level to AC power at a different voltage, but at the same frequency.
Valence Electrons Atomic Particle Electrons in the outer orbital surrounding an atom.
Vias PCB technology Via refers to a pad with a plated hole that connects copper tracks from one layer of the board to another. Since it is not used by component leads, it is generally a small hole and pad diameter.
VCD Vertical Centred Distance Used to describe axial insertion machines which insert through-hole passive components into printed circuit boards.
WEEE EC Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) This directive aims to minimise the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment, by increasing re-use and recycling and reducing the amount of WEEE going to landfill. It seeks to achieve this by making producers responsible for financing the collection, treatment, and recovery of waste electrical equipment, and by obliging distributors to allow consumers to return their waste equipment free of charge. e.g. recycling of refrigerators etc.