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Electrical device in which the wiring and certain components consist of a thin coat of electrically conductive material applied in a pattern on an insulating substrate. Printed circuits replaced conventional wiring after World War II in much electronic equipment, greatly reducing size and weight while improving reliability and uniformity over the hand-soldered circuits formerly used. They are commonly used to mount integrated circuits on boards for use as plug-in units in computers, televisions, and other electronic devices. Mass-produced printed circuit boards allow automated assembly of electronic components, considerably reducing their cost.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on printed circuit, visit Britannica.com.