Black PCB – everything you need to know
A printed circuit board with a black solder mask is referred to as a “black PCB” by its designation. PCBs can come in a variety of shades, among them green, red, and blue. This guide will discuss in detail what a black PCB is and where to use one. There are several justifications for using black for the PCB solder mask. The primary motive is to keep reflected light away, which may take a toll on the circuit’s operation.
What is a black PCB?As hinted in the introduction, a black PCB is a type of PCB with a black solder mask on its surface. The copper connections on the PCB are insulated by the solder mask. It helps to prevent possible damage to the board from reflective light. Due to their modern and aesthetic appearance, black PCBs are standard in electronics of this age. Their form can help develop designs that appeal to the eye. Aside from just the aesthetics, black PCBs are simpler to analyze, even when there isn’t sufficient lighting. Conventional green PCBs are a bit harder to study in low-light situations. Besides, black PCBs can resist corrosion easily.
Is black PCB good?Several advantages prove black PCB is an excellent option to use. Here they are:
- Improved readability – analyzing black PCBs under low lighting conditions is more straightforward than other PCBs, especially green ones. This helps to check errors quickly during troubleshooting. It can also be beneficial in future repairs and maintenance practices.
- Corrosion resistance – the fact that black PCBs are more resistant to corrosion than their green counterparts goes a long way to show their benefits. This makes them a good option for applications requiring effective corrosion resistance.
- Aesthetics – when it comes down to appearance, a black PCB beats all other PCB colors. This is because consumer electronics require a more attractive PCB option, and black PCBs deliver this.
Black PCB materialA black PCB, just like any other conventional PCB, shares the same materials. The typical materials include a solder mask (black in color), copper traces, and a composite material or fiberglass substrate. The substrate material guarantees the rigidity and strength of the PCB. Copper traces ensure the connection of components is possible on the board. Ultimately, the PCB and copper traces are protected by the solder mask. Aside from these primary materials, a black PCB may also have additional layers, such as the silkscreen. This layer’s prominent role is to identify components and print labels. Additionally, a solder mask overlay could be present to protect against the radiation from the soldering. Finally, a surface finish layer can help to boost reliability, durability, and corrosion resistance.
Black PCB coatingBlack PCB coating is the alternative name for the black PCB covering. It is an insulation layer on the surface of the board. It has several roles to play, including the following:
- Making the manufacturing process simpler by defining the boundaries of the copper traces on the PCB. It makes it easier for manufacturers to add components to the board during the assembly process.
- Boosts reliability. By reducing the chances of corrosion, the black PCB coating can help increase the board’s durability and reliability.
- Safeguarding the copper traces. The coating helps to prevent any chances of shorting to the copper traces and effects due to environmental factors such as moisture.
Black PCB solder mask
The black PCB solder mask is an insulation for the components on a PCB. It helps reduce short circuits and accidental contact cases and safeguards the conductor traces. A polymer material makes up the solder mask. It is typically applied to the PCB as a liquid. After curing, it becomes a solid protective layer.
The coloring of the solder mask is determined by the PCB’s construction demands and specifications. Black has a great contrast, which makes it simpler to understand the PCB layout.
Black PCB vs. green PCB vs. white PCB
PCB designers have different preferences and requirements when it comes down to colors. But among of the most typical PCB hues are white, green, and black.
White PCBs are preferred when designers seek a light color, primarily in consumer electronics. This is because they are clean and modern in aesthetics. Green PCB offers good contrast and are predominantly applied in aerospace and military applications. In addition, they have a high UV resistance. On the other hand, black PCBs have high contrast and are the best for visualizing the PCB layout. They also don’t discolor quite often.
Ultimately, choosing which color to use remains a matter of personal preferences and the designated application.
Black PCB applicationsThere are various applications to use a black PCB, including in consumer electronics, where they’re widely applied. Here are some of the ways to use a black PCB:
- Medical devices such as implantable devices and diagnosis equipment.
- Military and aerospace applications because they can withstand harsh environmental conditions.
- Automotive electronics such as infotainment and electronic control units.
- Industrial controls such as human-machine interfaces and programmable logic controllers.
- Consumer electronics such as tablets, laptops, and smartphones.
How to select the right PCB solder mask color?
Whenever choosing PCB solder mask color, there are a number of things to take into account. Some of these factors include the following:
The capabilities of the PCB manufacturer will determine the color of the PCB. Some manufacturers only have a few colors at their disposal. In addition, they may have unique process requirements for specific colors.
In the end, the desired appearance of the PCB can dictate the type of color to choose. For instance, a black PCB tends to have better aesthetics than other colors. On the other hand, other people may prefer a more conventional design, which will lead them to a green PCB.
The unique requirements for a specific application will decide the color of the PCB. For instance, a green PCB would be preferred if the application is in the military or aerospace sector.
The coloring will mainly depend on the PCB’s architecture. Black, white, and green colors are the most common for most PCB designs.
A black PCB is a type of PCB with a black solder mask on its surface. The copper connections on the PCB are insulated by the solder mask. It helps to prevent possible damage to the board from reflective light.
Several advantages prove black PCB is an excellent option to use. Here they are:
- Improved readability
- Corrosion resistance
- Medical devices
- Military and aerospace applications
- Automotive electronics
- Industrial controls
- Consumer electronics