Types of Printed Circuit Boards Part 1
In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed Printed Circuit Boards – their history, and their common applications and uses in various industries. We even took a look at what the world would look like without Printed Circuit Boards. In this post, we’ll look at the five major types of Printed Circuit Boards.
By way of reminder, a Printed circuit board – also known as a circuit board assembly – is a self-contained board that has electrical and electrical components interconnected on it, typically adhered to the board in various configurations. Found in a wide assortment of electronics, Printed Circuits Boards typically have a layer of conducting material that is deposited on the outside of an insulating board (substrate), where solder is used to hold the components to the board or boards.
Printed circuit boards come in a variety of configurations, each one having a different application and value.
In this post, we’ll look at the first two design types; in our next post, we’ll take a closer look at the other 4 types:
Single Sided PCB’s
Around since the 1950’s, these PCBs have just one layer of the substrate, with one end coated with a thin layer of copper or other conductor material, best suited for low-density designs. The components are typically soldered to the single layer board, with a solder mask on the peak of the copper layer, and a silkscreen coat applied to the top as well.
The benefits of single-sided PCB’s is that they typically are lower cost, with a low-density design to support a more simple framework. They have a lower probability of manufacturing issues than the more complex designs.
Though they are simple, they can still be used in very complex devices, such as relays, timing circuits, sensor products, surveillance equipment, calculators, camera systems, radio and stereo equipment, and LED lighting.
Double Sided PCB’s
Double sided PCB’s, also known as double-sided plated thru circuits, are typically used in higher technology applications. In this design, both sides of the board’s substrate have a metal conductive layers, with components and elements attached to both sides as well. The holes from one side of the board allow circuits on one side to attach to circuits on the other side. Thus being a more complex design than a single sided PCB.
There are two basic types of double sided PCBs: those with through-hole technology and surface mount technology. The through-hole technology involves small wires (leads) which share fed through the holes and soldered to its matching component.
Surface mount technology involves small leads that are soldered onto the board. Allowing many circuits to be complete in lesser space than with through-hole technology.
Double sided PCB’s can execute more functions and at faster speeds than through-hole technology.
The benefits of double sided PCB’s includes a lower cost design for the increased circuit density and an intermediate level of circuit complexity. The board size is also typically smaller, especially for those using surface mount technology.
In our next post, we’ll take a look at the other 3 major types of PCB Assemblies.