This is a living glossary of terms and acronyms encountered in the hardware/embedded world. Links are being added for further research.


3A: Auto-focus, Auto-exposure, and Auto white-balance.
3PL: Third-party logistics
AA: Active alignment (referring to camera modules)
AE: Auto-exposure
AF: Autofocus
AFC: Audio-frequency choke
AOI: Automated optical inspection, area of interest
AP: Application processor OR access point (wifi)
API: Application programming interface.
ATS: Automated test system, application test suite, Company: Automated Tooling Systems
AWB: Auto-white balance (balances colors on cameras)
B2B: Board-to-board connector
BLE: Bluetooth low-energy
Boost: Takes input voltage and increases it
BT: Bluetooth
BTLE: Same as BLE. Bluetooth Low Energy
BU: Bringup
Buck: Takes input voltage and reduces it
CA: Chromatic aberration, referring to a camera
CCC: Code change control. Process of thorough testing + review used to vet submissions at late stages in software projects.
CCM: Color correction matrix
CI: Continuous integration. Testing every source code commit to make sure it builds properly.
CM: Contract Manufacturer
CMF: Color, material, finish (ID, describes a design)
COB: Close of business, chip on board
COGS: Cost of goods sold
CPK: Complex process capability. A statistical measurement of a process's ability to produce output within the specified limits.
CTB: Clear to build
CV: Contrast value (camera)
DFM: Design for manufacturing
DFU: Device Firmware Upgrade

  • Generally: The mode for USB products where there is no firmware or software on the device, before any install OR it thinks there is no software (erased device)
  • USB Specific: a vendor- and device-independent mechanism for upgrading the firmware of USB devices with improved versions provided by their manufacturers, offering (for example) a way for firmware bugfixes to be deployed.

DIP: Dual In-line Package
DOA: Dead-on-arrival. Usually refers to new software versions not working or new boards having a flaw. This flaw is often catastrophic and renders the software/hardware unusable.
DOE: Design of experiments. Commonly used to mean "experiment"
DSP: Digital signal processor
DUT: Device under test
DVT: Design validation & Test (production stage)
ECN: Engineering Change Note (aka ECO)
ECO: Engineering Change Order (aka ECN)
EE: Electrical engineer[ing]
EIS: External image stabilization (camera)
EMI: Electro-magnetic interference
EMMC: Embedded multi-media controller
EOF: Cameras - End of Frame
ESD: Electro-static discharge
EVT: Engineering validation and test (production stage)
FA: Failure analysis
FAI: First article inspection. Measuring samples and comparing them to the specs/drawings.
FASY: Final Assembly
FATP: Final assembly, test, and packout. Follows SMA/SMT
FCT: Functional & Connectivity Testing. Checks MLB assembly.
FF: Form factor [enclosure] - actual product enclosure
FFC: Flat flexible cable.
Flex: Refers to a flexible printed circuit. Also known as FPC.
FOD: Foreign objects & debris. E.g. dust in a camera module or metal chaff in a sealed box.
FPC: Flexible printed circuit. Commonly known as a Flex
FPY: First pass yield.
FQC: Final quality control
FW: Firmware
GPIO: General purpose IO. A pin on a chip that can be manually controlled by software for any generic purpose. Contrasts specialized pins, like I2S, I2C, SPI, signals.
GRR/GR&R: Gage repeatability and reproducibility.
GSM: Global supply manager
Hot bar: Method of installing flexes to MLBs.
I2C: Inter-IC Communication. Electronic protocol using two wires to talk to a chip.
I2S: Inter-IC Sound. Electronic protocol used to transfer audio data (digital mics, codecs, speakers)
IC: Integrated circuit
ICD: Interface control document
ICT: In-circuit testing. Checks MLB assembly.
ID: Industrial design
IDL: Interface design language
IMU: Inertial Measurement Unit. Accelerometer, gyroscope, etc.
IO, I/O: Input/output.
IoT: Internet of things
IPC: Inter-process communication
ISP: Image signal procssor
IQ: Image quality
IQC: Incoming quality control
LOC: Lines of code
LSB: Least significant bit
LT, L/T: Lead-time. How long it takes to get a part made/shipped.
MAC: Media access control. Refers to an address.
MCO: Mechanical Control Outline
MCU: Main control unit. aka MLB or motherboard.
ME: Mechanical Engineer
MES: Manufacturing Execution System. AKA Shop floor system
Mfg: Manufacturing
MIH: Material in-house. Quantity on hand.
MIL: Master issues list
MLB: Main logic board - AKA motherboard
MMU: Memory management unit
MOF: Middle of Frame
MOQ: Minimum order quantiy. Minimum number of parts that can be ordered from a supplier.
MP: Mass-production (production stage)
MPM: Material PM
MPN: Manufacturer Part Number.
MPS: Master Production Schedule
MSB: Most significant bit
NED: Non-enclosed device. Usually a fully-functional device without a normal form factor enclosure.
NG: Not good
NPI: New product introduction
NTF: No trouble found
OC: Optical center
ODM: Original design manufacturer. Makes a product to spec that's rebranded and sold by another company.
OOBA: Out of box audit. Sampling of post-packout units to verify cosmetics, manufacturing process, functionality of devices.
OTP: One Time Programmable. Refers to chip settings that can only be programmed one time, e.g. chip fusing, PMIC settings.
OQC: Outgoing quality control
Packout: Manufacturing stage where shipping software is installed and the device is packaged.
PCB: Printed circuit board
PCBA: Printed circuit board assembly
PD: Product design
PE: Process Engineer (Mfg), Principle Engineer (Engineering)
PFOL: Product first offline. Review first production units onsite at company location.
PM: Program/project manager
PMIC: Power management IC
PMU: Power management unit
PN, P/N: Part number
Post-snap: After a form factor unit has been completely closed - assembly is finished.
PRQ: Post ramp qualification. A controlled production run done during MP (after ramp) to validate a change prior to converting full production to the new design. Often done to validate new part versions or alternate sources.
PT: Prototype
PTS: Camera/Video: Presentation time stamp, playback time stamp.
PTZ: Pan, tilt, & zoom (camera)
PVT: Production validation and test (production stage)
Ramp: Production stage where volumes are increased steadily until they hit MP levels
RBOM: Rest of BOM
RC: root cause, the primary failure leading to an issue.
RFC: Radio-frequency choke RI: Relative illuminance, referring to a lens.
ROI: Region of interest, return on investment
RPC: Remote procedure call
RTC: Real-time clock
RTOS: Real-time OS
RX: Receive
SDHC: SD (as in SD card) High Capacity
SDIO: Secure digital input/output. Electronics communication bus.
SDXC: SD (as in SD Card) Extended Capability
SFC: Shop floor control
SKU: Shop Keeping Unit, Stock Keeping Unit. Internally generated part numbers used to keep track of inventory/sales.
SMA: Surface mount assembly. Refers to putting parts on a PCB. After SMA, a PCB is referred to as a PCBA.
SMT: Surface mount technology. Also refers to the SMA + board testing process as a whole.
SN, S/N: Serial Number
SoC: System-on-a-chip. A complex processor with peripheral devices included in a single chip package
SOF: Cameras - Start of Frame
SPI: Serial peripheral interface [communication bus]
TAB: Tape automated bonding
T/C: Thermal cycling
TIL: Test issues list
TX: Transmit
WH: Warehouse
WLP: Wafer-level packaging.
WS: Working sample. AKA Prototype