What are Black PCBs?

What are Black PCBs? Why are they used?

PCB Fabrication 
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Editorial Team - PCB Directory

Aug 2, 2022

A Black PCB is a black-colored printed circuit board that uses a black solder mask. The Solder mask is a thin layer of polymer that is applied on a circuit board to protect the copper from oxidation and several other environmental factors like contaminants, dust, and dirt which might affect the overall performance of a PCB.

Why are Black PCBs used?

Low reflection of light:  Black is a good absorber of light and a poor reflector of the same. Hence, black circuit board materials are used in applications to minimize light reflection.

Difficult to Copy: Black PCBs feature copper traces that are difficult to spot while looking at them through the naked eye which makes them difficult to replicate by simply following the design traces. The board is also hard to copy given the high costs of production when compared to other types of boards. This is an important factor that makes tech giants like Apple, MSI & ASUS adopt black PCBs in their motherboard designs.

Visually appealing: Black is a visually appealing color that provides a luxurious feel to the overall look of the product.

Limitations of Using Black PCBs

More visible scratches: Scratches on Black PCBs are more visible compared to other lighter colors. This can cause the boards to look more worn out.

Hard to manufacture: Black PCBs need more light when tracing copper paths on the board. Manufacturers and designers find it difficult to work with black PCB boards because these routing paths are not easy to design and follow when manufacturing the board.

Black ink is slightly toxic and expensive –  Black Solder Inks are more expensive than the other inks that are used. Additionally, the chemicals used to create the black ink are more toxic than the standard green ink. The black inks are more troublesome to dispose of for wastewater treatment factories when compared with other types of solder inks.

Black PCB Boards are an excellent choice for boards that need to be visually appealing. PCB traces are difficult to spot which makes it harder to copy these boards. However, these boards are more expensive to manufacture in bulk and difficult to repair/maintain.

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