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The Five Different Types of PCBs Available

by Andrew A.

If you want to build printed circuit boards, you need specialized equipment and knowledge of the materials required for the manufacturing process and routing strategy. More importantly, you need to understand the different categories of PCBs and their effectiveness in various electronic devices to perform the correct PCB routing. The printed circuit boards are usually classified based on the design specifications, application requirements, and manufacturing process. The consumer needs and requirements also pave the way for complex designs of PCBs. This post highlights different types of printed circuit boards available.

Single-Sided PCBs

The single-sided printed circuit board is the standard type used in most electronic applications. This type consists of a single conductive copper layer that is mounted above the substrate. All the electrical components and circuit continuity are established on one side of the board, and the circuit is visible on the opposite side. These boards usually come with large size because it has none conductive layer which means that the paths cannot overlap or intersect.

The single-sided boards are ideal for low-density designs. They are applied in low-cost electrical such as LED lighting boards, power supplies, calculators, and timing circuits. The advantage of these boards is that they are easy to design, manufacture, repair, and cost-effective.

Double-Sided PCBs

The double-sided PCBs are designed with a thin layer of conducting material like copper, mounted on both sides of the board. The circuit boards contain holes that allow the metal parts from both the top and bottom to connect. The technologies used in connecting the circuits are the through-hole and surface mount technology.

The through-hole technology includes installing lead components through the pre-drilled holes to the opposite side of the board. The surface mount technology is a process of placing the electrical components precisely on the surface of the circuit board. The single-sided boards are used on cell phone systems, UPS systems, power monitoring, and many more.

Multi-Layer PCBs

The multi-layer PCBs are designed with more than two copper layers. They contain multiple double conductive that is divided in equal numbers into both sides of the board. They are usually used in laptops, mobile phones, GPS trackers, medical equipment, tablets, and other complex circuit electronics. The boards come with a high level of design flexibility and are suitable for high-speed circuits.

Rigid PCBs

The rigid printed circuit board cannot be folded or twisted. The board base is designed with a solid substrate to provide more strength. Multiple layers are mounted on the board, including the copper layer, substrate layer silkscreen layer, and a mask layer which are adhered together with heat and adhesive.

Flex PCBs

This type of printed circuit board consists of many printed circuits that are mounted on a flexible substrate. These boards are usually built with polyamide, PEEK, or transparent polyester film. The printed components available on the flex boards are the same as those in the rigid printed circuit boards. They are used in LCD fabrication, automotive industries, cellular telephones, and complex electronic devices such as laptops.

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