Through Hole PCBs: An In-Depth Guide to Traditional Circuit Board Design

Through-hole PCBs remain an invaluable component in today’s electronics, thanks to their robust construction and ease of fabrication. Boasting superior strength and craftsmanship, through-hole PCBs offer unique advantages when applied for specific purposes. Let’s explore this incredible form factor further below!

1. Understanding Through Hole PCBs:

Through hole PCBs were one of the earliest forms of printed circuit board assembly technology. Components are mounted through holes drilled in it with leads connected electrically threading through those holes and soldered to pads on either side.

2. Key Aspects of Through Hole Technology:

Each through-hole component includes a leadwire that runs through an undrilled hole to form a secure physical and electrical connection. Reactive soldering provides unparalleled connection integrity; making this technique especially appealing when robust connections are essential.

3. Benefits of Through Hole PCBs:

Through-hole components are an enduringly popular solution, thanks to their reliable connections and ease of testing. Their increased durability makes them ideal for high-stress applications or those subject to extreme temperatures, making through-hole components perennial favorites.

4. Applications of Through Hole PCBs:

Through hole PCBs remain vital tools in designing bulkier components, like capacitors, coils, transformers and power semiconductors that need solid mounting solutions. Due to their added sturdiness they are frequently employed within military and aerospace sectors due to harsh operating environments which benefit from them.

5. Challenges and Solutions:

By understanding its limitations, designers can better select through-hole technology when its robustness and reliability outweigh its extra time and cost commitments.

6. The Future of Through Hole PCBs:

Even as surface mount technology and other techniques gain ground, through hole PCBs remain essential in today’s industry. Their longstanding reliability combined with resistance to environmental conditions make them indispensable in applications where durability and robustness are of the utmost importance.

through hole pcb


Through hole PCBs are an integral component of our electronic ecosystem, serving multiple critical applications. Even as newer technologies emerge, through-hole technology’s appeal remains in applications requiring exceptional reliability and resilience against harsh conditions. Understanding its intricacies is vital for any electronics engineer seeking to capitalize on its benefits when relevant. Through-hole boards ensure an enduring electronic ecosystem.


  1. What is through hole PCB technology?
    Through hole technology is a method for mounting components on a Printed Circuit Board (PCB). Components have lead wires that are inserted through holes in the PCB and then soldered to pads on the opposite side either by manual assembly or by using automated insertion mount machines.
  2. What kind of components are used in through hole PCB design?
    Through hole PCB technology is mainly used for components that need a strong connection to the board. These can include semiconductors, resistors, capacitors, and other components, particularly those needing to withstand physical stress or high power levels.
  3. Are through hole PCBs more expensive than surface mount PCBs?
    In general, yes. Through-hole components tend to be larger and the process of drilling holes adds to the manufacturing cost. Also, through-hole soldering is usually more time-consuming than surface-mount technology (SMT) soldering, making the overall assembly process more expensive.
  4. Why use through hole PCBs when surface mount technology is available?
    Despite being older technology, through-hole PCBs are often chosen for their good electrical connections and strong mechanical bonds. The components used are also typically more durable and can handle more environmental stress, which makes them ideal for use in military and aerospace applications or products that are subject to harsh conditions or rough handling.
  5. How are through hole PCBs assembled?
    Through hole PCBs are usually assembled using either a manual or wave soldering process. In manual soldering, a person solders the lead wires of the components to the PCB. In wave soldering, the PCB is passed over a wave of molten solder that adheres to the exposed metallic areas of the board, including the leads of the through-hole components.
  6. Can through-hole and surface mount technologies coexist on the same PCB?
    Yes, a single board can include both through-hole and surface mount components. This is known as mixed-technology PCB assembly.
  7. Can through-hole components be placed on either side of the PCB?
    While through-hole components are usually placed on the top side of the PCB, it is possible to place them on the bottom side based on specific design requirements. However, this could increase the complexity of the assembly process.
  8. How does through-hole technology affect PCB design?
    As each through-hole component needs a specific hole to be drilled into the PCB, the designer needs to consider the hole size, pad size, spacing, and layout during the design phase.
  9. Can through-hole components be easily replaced on a PCB?
    Yes, one of the advantages of through-hole technology is the relative ease with which components can be replaced if needed. Although it’s more time-consuming compared with replacing surface mount components, with the right tools and some experience, it is certainly feasible.
  10. Are there special testing procedures for through hole PCBs?
    Through hole PCBs can be tested using the same methods used for other types of PCBs, such as In-Circuit Testing (ICT), Functional Circuit Testing (FCT), and Automated Optical Inspection (AOI). These tests can verify whether the board was assembled correctly and is functioning as expected.
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