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Old 1st Jul 2019, 12:07 am   #1
1100 man
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Default When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

Since the advent of printed circuit boards, as far as I'm aware, PCB tracks have always been known as, well, 'tracks'! I've certainly always referred to them as such.

Gradually, though, over the last couple of years, the word 'trace' seems to have crept into use. Where did that come from?

It's almost as bad as hearing circuit diagrams referred to as 'schematics' and seeing resistors drawn as rectangular boxes rather then a zig zag line!

I don't doubt older folk had similar horrors when their 'condensors' suddenly changed into capacitors!

And don't get me started on 5 band resistor colour codes- a 10K should look like a 10K....

I must be getting old!

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Old 1st Jul 2019, 12:38 am   #2
rambo1152
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

When did old military radios become "boatanchors"?

When did radio amateurs outside the US sphere of influence begin to call themselves "Hams"?

When did breadboards exclusively become those plastic perforated things?

When did everything vaguely to do with networking become a "Hub", even though the term was long ago assigned to a particular type of networking device.
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 12:44 am   #3
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

I still draw zigzags, have pcb's with tracks, but condensers were always fitted to distributors, and capacitors to the radio.

I can't pronounce "schematic" either, so still have circuit diagrams, or as the lady in the printshop
called them "maps" when I took oversize papers there to get scanned and copied.

T
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 1:00 am   #4
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

We always called the collection of tracks 'the print'.

And I've noticed that components are no longer swapped or changed, but 'swapped out'. Likewise, connecting a point on the circuit to ground is now 'grounded out', rather than just grounded or earthed.
I think these are American expressions that have somehow taken hold.
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 2:00 am   #5
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

They became 'traces' when they became so narrow as to be but 'traces' of their former self.

I suspect someone just decided to call tracks something else and it just caught on, probably someone from 'the younger generation'
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 9:20 am   #6
kalee20
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

You could also ask, when did a printed-wiring board become a printed circuit board?

But mine have always had tracks on (not traces), although sometimes I tell people that I'm using nice thick tracks rather than nice wide tracks (and if I really want thick tracks I use 2oz. copper).

Yes, I sometimes include a breadboard area on a PCB layout, (but it's a 0.1" matrix of holes, not a space to mount a wooden plate with thin nails hammered in for anchoring components).

I do label my transistors Q1, Q2, etc on my circuit diagrams, and I've labelled the charge-storage, AC-coupling things C1, C2 for condenser-1, condenser-2 and nobody's ever noticed! (Though in speech and text I do refer to them as capacitors.)
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 9:54 am   #7
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

It's not only electronics that attracts neologisms. My least favourite examples are 'coding' for programming and 'makerspace' for workshop. Many of these terms become popular on the internet among people who only interact with others of the same age and background, and are then popularised by tech journalists.
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 10:16 am   #8
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

"Technology journalists", please!
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 10:36 am   #9
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

They're just different words for the same thing. I have two up-to-date PCB layout software packages in use on my PC at the moment. The low-cost one (Diptrace) refers to them as 'traces', and the eye-wateringly expensive one (Altium Designer) refers to them as 'tracks'. I don't think the price has too much to do with the terminology, though!

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Old 1st Jul 2019, 11:10 am   #10
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

I really don't have a problem with all of this. Language, and common usage terms, moves on and always has done. I couldn't care a hoot whether traces/tracks schematics and so forth have entered the language - provided there is clarity.

Interestingly, the very clearest manuals were for Tektronix gear. And they just use the term "Diagram". The relevant section of the manual is titled "Diagrams and Circuit Board Illustrations". Not a circuit diagram or schematic to be seen.

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Old 1st Jul 2019, 12:04 pm   #11
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

I've always called the individual conductive lines 'traces' because back in the days when we produced them by hand we did indeed trace the layout using tracing-paper [or 'Izal' toilet-paper if you were a poor student like me!] as part of the process.

I similarly refer to a collected set-of-PCB-traces as a "Mask" since it's used to mask-off the parts where you want the copper to remain during etching.

[Language evolves. I find it annoying when people talk of a newly-released "film" [the thing has almost certainly never been anywhere near celluloid-stock at any point in the production/distribution-process], or a "mixtape" when they mean a playlist.]
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 12:17 pm   #12
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

Yes! Thankyou, Andy!

'Swapped out' REALLY grates on me

Not as bad as "Can I get....", instead of "Please may I have....", though!
I could go on.....!
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 1:54 pm   #13
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

We all have our pet peeves (having said I don't give a hoot...). Mine is the leading "So..." at the beginning of a sentence - usually by an interviewee on the radio.
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 2:12 pm   #14
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

Yes I've noticed that...I was watching 'Pointless' (quiz show) the other evening and when several contestants were asked what they did for a living they started with 'So'. 'So I'm a student.....' . 'So I'm a pharmacist....'

Somehow it grates on me...…!
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 2:27 pm   #15
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

I'll hold my hands up and admit I've never come across "traces": then, it's not the first time it's taken the UKVRRR forum to alert me to current developments...

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
I find it annoying when people talk of a newly-released "film" [the thing has almost certainly never been anywhere near celluloid-stock at any point in the production/distribution-process]...
But what else to call them? Movies? Well, the images do in general move, but so do those of just about every TV series, documentary, outside broadcast etc.. All things considered I'm as comfortable with "film" as with "album", which in musical contexts of late hardly ever signifies anything remotely like this one.

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Old 1st Jul 2019, 4:09 pm   #16
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

In the same context as 'film' which has been created totally digitally, I am always amused by the word 'footage'. Feet of precisely what, please?

Andy
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 4:17 pm   #17
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

At home we always ask if there's anything on 'the tube' this evening, having owned an LCD television for about ten years!
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 5:21 pm   #18
Craig Sawyers
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

We have the saying "Warm the tele up, mother" usually in my native Geordie. The domestic joke being that it a 55" OLED that is 5mm thick.

But we do go back to the era where it was no joke, and the turret tuner valved 405 line TV did have to be warmed up a number of minutes in advance of watching something.

Craig
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 5:51 pm   #19
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

Rambo1152 thank you, I didnít realise that Military Comms were called boat anchors. Some time ago I was in communication with a forum member when he was going on about boat anchors, and I genuinely thought he was talking about boats, Iím from a nautical background.
Cheers
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Old 1st Jul 2019, 6:47 pm   #20
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Default Re: When did PCB tracks become 'traces'?

So....schematics, amperage, plate, tube, parted out etc aside...When I was in the R&TV servicing trade we always called it the print...."check the print hasn't lifted...check the print for cracks, bridge the print with some TCW" etc.

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