Chapter 10

What the Heck Is That? Recognizing Major Features

When you open a modern electronic product, the apparent complexity may seem overwhelming. Even pocket-sized gadgets can sport a surprising complement of goodies inside. Tablets, smartphones, MP3 players and GPS units, for instance, are miniature computers, with RAM (random access memory), ROM (read-only memory) and a microprocessor. Some from just a few years ago even had hard drives, before flash RAM offered enough capacity to store gigabytes of data.

Older products, including those with double-sided circuit boards, usually had components only on one side. Not anymore! Thanks to the complexity and size of today’s gadgetry, parts are mounted on both sides. Components that stick up, ...

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