What Are the Different Types of Printed Circuit Boards?

The printed circuit boards are a self-contained base for holding electrical components used in all types of devices from computer to radar systems, radios, and home appliances. There is a lot variation in the types of boards which range from the simple to complex. Here are a few of the main types of printed circuit boards:

Single sided

The single sided boards are the least complex. They are built with all electrical parts attached to one side of the base material with the other coated with copper traces. Copper is the preferred type of metal because it is a very effective electrical conductor. Also, the thin layer of copper may be covered by a solder mask to give long-term protection. This board is preferred for the most basic items of electronics, and often the first type of board used by the at-home hobbyist. Even though they are the most cost-effective to manufacture, they aren’t the most commonly used because of the design and use limitations.

Double sided

The double-sided boards are the most typical option and built with components and parts mounted to both sides of the base material. This type of board is designed with plenty of holes to make it possible for the circuits on the each side to connect. There are two major types of connection methods which includes the surface mount technology and through-hole technology. The surface mount technology is the most complex and relies on soldering small leads on the board. This is the most efficient option and creates the lightweight board with great speed and the ability to perform multiple functions. The through-hole technology is slightly less efficient and is based on passing tiny wires through the holes on the board to connect the different components.

Multi layered

The multi layered boards are made up of several base materials which are separated by a small area of separation. The most common sizes include 4, 6, 8 and 10 layers. However, it is possible to manufacture the very large boards with a total of 42 layers or more. This type of board is the preferred option for the highly complex electronic circuits.

Rigid or flexible

Beyond the difference in usable sides and layers, the printed circuit boards can also vary in relation to its rigidity. The most typical type is the fiberglass base that is entirely rigid and gives no flexibility in movement. However, there are also the flexible boards in a plastic material that are intended to fit spaces that are inaccessible to the rigid alternatives.