5 Different Types of Printed Circuit Boards

May 30, 2018


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A printed circuit board (PCB) is a standard component in many different electronic gadgets, such as computers, radars, beepers, etc. They are made from a variety of materials with laminate, composite and fiberglass the most common. Also, the type of circuit board can vary with the intended use. Let’s take a look at five of the different types:

Single sided – this is the most typical circuit board and is built with a single layer or base material. The single layer is coated with a conductive material like copper. They may also have a silk screen coat or a protective solder mask on top of the copper layer. A great advantage of this type of PCB is the low production cost and they are often used in mass-produced items.

Double sided – this is much like the single sided, but has the conductive material on both sides. There are many holes in the board to make it easy to attach metal parts from the top to bottom side. This type of circuit board increases operational flexibility and is a practical option to build the more dense circuit designs. This board is also relatively low-cost. However, it still isn’t a practical option for the most complex circuits and is unable to work with technology that reduces electromagnetic interference. They are typically used in amplifiers, power monitoring systems, and testing equipment.

Multi-layer – the multi-layer circuit board is built with extra layers of conductive materials. The high number of layers which can reach 30 or more means it is possible to create a circuit design with very high flexibility. The individual layers are separated by special insulating materials and substrate board. A great benefit of this type of board is the compact size, which helps to save space and weight in a relatively small product. Also, they are mostly used when it is necessary to use a high-speed circuit.

Flexible – this is a very versatile circuit board. It is not only designed with a flexible layer, but also available in the single, double, or multi-layer boards. They are a great option when it is necessary to save space and weight when building a particular device. Also, they are appreciated for high ductility and low mass. However, the flexible nature of the board can make them more difficult to use.

Rigid – the rigid circuit board is built with a solid, non-flexible material for its layers. They are typically compact in size and able to handle the complex circuit designs. Plus, the signal paths are easy to organize and the ability to maintain and repair is quite straightforward.