Skip This Book

I’ve had a chance to peruse a copy of the PCB 101 Handbook recently self-published by Dan Beaulieu and Bob Tarzwell.
I sort of wish I hadn’t bothered. 
The book (not to be confused with the Printed Circuit Board Basics book that my company has published through the years) is littered with grammatical errors and typos, which make it harder to read than it should. But it took me until the second paragraph of Chapter 1 to locate the first blatant error. 
Here’s what the authors claim:

Some historians give Paul Eisler of the United Kingdom era 1943, the first patented of a method of etching the conductive pattern, or circuits, on a layer of copper foil bonded to a glass-reinforced, non-conductive Bakelite base.

Wrong on so many counts. Dr. Eisler was an Austrian citizen working in the UK. Moreover, the first patents describing “printed wire” were issued in 1903 to German Albert Hansen. Hansen’s idea, as explained here by Ken Gilleo, described a construction consisting of flat metal conductors on paraffin-coated paper; in short, the first flex circuit. A decade later, Arthur Berry filed a patent for an etched metal circuit. Even before the turn of the century, many photolithography concepts were described and used; future inventors borrowed liberally from those ideas when it came time to apply metal to a non-conductive substrate.
Throughout the first few chapters (which is all I could bear to read before reaching for massive doses of Tylenol), Messrs. Beaulieu and Tarzwell appear to borrow liberally from Printed Circuit Board Basics. Normally  I would find their IP theft offensive, but their spelling and grammar is so atrocious, it dulls the senses. It’s almost as if they ran our book through a misspell check.
I could go on, but I won’t. Save your time and money. Read Gilleo’s work (it’s free), peruse your old copies of Printed Circuit Board Basics, or grab Clyde Coombs’ Printed Circuit Handbook. All are infinitely superior resources.
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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow