Printed circuit boards are the basic components of any electric device and computer system. It is like their very own skeleton as the other components are laid up on them. However, as varied as these electric systems’ functions are, there are different types of printed circuit board (each with its own PCB assembly process). It is crucial to know what type you should use for a certain function or system. Let’s see below the different types there are and when they are best suited to use.
Single-sided Printed Circuit Boards
These are the most basic type of printed circuit boards. These contain just one conductive layer, usually copper foil. As such, they have restricted use since this causes them to have low densities. However, these are of low costs and are best used for either simple products or products to be reproduced in high volume.
Double-sided Printed Circuit Boards
Double-sided printed circuit boards would be the most common type of printed circuit boards. They have the ability to cross paths from top layer to bottom layer, thus, increasing, in a great manner, the design’s flexibility. This type also causes an increase in circuit densities. Relatively, this type of board is low cost (requiring a rather simple PCB assembly process) and allows intermediate level of circuit complexity.
Multilayer Printed Circuit Boards
These still have a double sided configuration, however, they further increase the complexity, as well as density, of printed circuit board designs, since they have added additional layers on their top and bottom ones. You can reach up to almost thirty layers in this multilayer printed circuit board configuration. These allow production of very dense and highly complex designs. More often than not, these layers are used to supply the circuit with power and even reduce the electromagnetic interference, or accidental jumpers, emitted by designs.
Aluminum Backed Printed Circuit Boards
Typically used in high powered applications, aluminum backed printed circuit boards are the optimal solution to issues concerning thermal heat dissolution. They consist of thin circuit layer laid and adhered to thick aluminum backing in such a way that they become thermally conductive. This makes them capable of keeping high power components cool even under heavy loads. Aluminum backed printed circuit boards are commonly found in high power LED products and switching power supplies. They also offer high levels of mechanical rigidity and even low levels of thermal expansion.
Rigidified Flexible Printed Circuit Boards
Rigidified flexible printed circuit boards allows a portion not made to be bent to be protected while still allowing flexibility to majority of its portions. You don’t need two different types of board as you can use this as basis for your design. They come in more lighter and can even fit into tight housings than the other types of printed circuit boards. So if your design is three dimensional and you’d want to use a single board, this is the way to go.
Flex-ridged Printed Circuit Boards
These allows interconnected flexible printed circuit boards to be connected to a rigid multilayer printed circuit board, permanently – through a unique PCB assembly process. These are typically used when the you want to uncomplicated a complex design by including the flexible interconnected printed circuit board in the fabricated one. Therefore, using this type of board allows the complete design to be ready soon after they are received from fabricator. Like rigidified flexible printed circuit board, they can also be used for creating three dimensional designs having multiple rigid and flexible sections.
There are many types to choose from and making the decision of which to use is very crucial — not to mention exhaustive. Luckily there are available services that provide you with ready to use printed circuit boards, or can even purpose built one for you. Some services can also be reached online, such as Imagineering Inc., making it easier for you to get your PCB assembly done — instant and high quality!