Printed circuit boards, often abbreviated as PCBs, are the structural and functional base of most electronic devices. A PCB is a plastic board with glass reinforcement. Many different components can be connected to PCBs, including transistors, capacitors, inductors, and diodes. It’s important to consider the features and advantages of each type of PCB when deciding which to use for your product.
These boards consist of a single layer of base material or substrate covered with a thin layer of conductive metal. All the components and circuits are attached to the same side of the board. The simplicity of these PCBs makes them popular for many applications such as sensors, relays, and electronic toys. These PCBs are also less expensive for high-volume orders.
Both sides of these boards are covered with a conductive metal, allowing for more surface area on which to attach the needed components. With more circuits being completed in less space, double-sided PCBs provide intermediate complexity. This complexity makes these boards suitable for many industrial applications, including power supplies, instrumentation, vending machines, and HVAC systems.
Furthering the pattern of structural complexity, multi-layer circuit boards are constructed with more than two layers of conductive metal. More layers create more heat, requiring the structural consideration of insulation in your product. Greater complexity in the boards makes them more suitable for tasks of greater functional complexity. These PCBs are often found in medical equipment, data storage hardware, and satellite systems.
Circuit boards also vary in flexibility, in addition to layer numbers. Rigid PCBs, which consist of an inflexible base material, have less structural complexity. These rigid boards are more compact and easier to repair. A computer motherboard is a common example of a rigid printed circuit board.
Flexible, lightweight plastic can be used as a substrate for other boards, allowing them to bend and move. These PCBs are less dense and produce less heat. The flexible material is an added expense, but the trade-off is more flexibility in the design of the overall product.
Rigid-flex circuit boards are a combination of rigid and flexible PCBs. They consist of more than one rigid board connected by multiple layers of flexible circuits. The advantages of this c6/1ombination are lighter weight and streamlined designs.
When choosing which kind of PCB to use for your new product, you may want to talk to a PCB manufacturer, like Advanced Circuits. They can help you decide which type would best suit the needs of your project and your consumers.
The functionality, design, and cost of your product are all important factors in determining which circuit board to use. Because printed circuit boards are at the physical base of your product, the correct choice of PCB lies at the foundation of your product’s success.