How to Choose the Right Color for Your PCB

How to Choose the Right Color for Your PCB 

Green used to be thought of as the typical PCB colour. The availability of various PCB colours has increased with the development of technology and more inventiveness.

Every patched circuit is built on a printed circuit board or PCB for short. The PCB board is the most important and fundamental idea in electronics.

People frequently overlook making comments on this specific topic. But it's crucial to comprehend the fundamentals of PCB colour.

Understanding the fundamentals of PCB board and solder mask colours will be easier with this guide's aid.

The colour of the solder oil or solder mask depends on the colour of the PCB. It is made of lacquer that has been infused with colours recognised for hiding the traces of bare copper. The finished colour of the PCB, which is made of glass and epoxy, represents the solder mask. The protection of the circuit board from short-circuiting is one of the solder mask's primary uses.

For PCB boards, a variety of colours are available. A green solder mask is the common hue of printed circuit boards. However, the colour of PCBs is presently altering due to the introduction of many innovations and technological improvements. Most assemblers have been the driving force behind the rising use of PCBs in different colours instead of green in recent years.

The following are some justifications for selecting PCBs in colours other than green:

  • Using various PCB colours provides a clear indication of the revision changes to alert users.
  • Using colours other than green will either make things brighter or smaller. You should be aware that the transmission, absorbance, and light reflectance characteristics of assembly equipment are important.
  • Using distinct colours can assist prevent a variety of errors that might happen in a mixed construction. The ability to recognise meetings that don't include lead is another benefit of choosing different colour kinds.

White, blue, black, yellow, red, and other colours are among the palettes used to create PCBs. PCB colour codes are a familiar name for PCB colours. Modern PCBs come in a variety of shapes and colours. For instance, green epoxy is still used in constructing PC motherboards.

The performance of the PCB is unaffected by the colour of the solder masks. However, the board resolution will change if various PCB colours are used. For instance, red and blue colours, which have substantially less resolution than yellow and black, can be used to match the resolution of a green PCB. The fact that solder masks with clear transparency typically have high resolution should be recognised.

Introduction - Solder Mask

Different varieties of solder mask colours have been seen. A solder mask made of cobalt and carbon is black. Due to the carbon content, this particular solder mask is conductive. Although conductive layers are generated over the PCB's lines, they can be employed as a shield to protect the signals from various types of outside noise.

Additionally pricey is a black solder mask manufactured from cobalt combination. In the majority of LED applications, white PCB colour codes are included. A blue solder mask will be seen, which is typically utilised in LCDs. It is employed to prevent any systemic distractions.

The red PCB colour code is typically used to distinguish the board from other boards. To identify any specific part included in group assembly, the red PCB colour code is primarily used. Precision equipment like oscilloscopes, analogue resources, and bench multi-meters frequently employ red solder masks.

Numerous sources have shown that printed circuit boards like the colour green over all others. It is a result of the green colour's superior performance compared to other PCB colours. When it comes to soldering the component pitch, green produces superior outcomes. The colour green is frequently thought of as the standard for printed circuit boards.

One of the top nations in the world for invention and cutting-edge technology engineering is Japan. It has been observed that Japan uses the largest percentage of green printed circuit boards. Germany, on the other hand, has reportedly used non-standard PCB colours more frequently than many other nations and engineering sectors.

PCB Solder Mask Color Options Available

There are various factors that must be taken into account if you decide to choose printed boards. One of them is selecting the PCB solder mask's colour. Although green is the most often utilised colour, other colours including yellow, white, and black are all accessible and don't come with any additional fees. The issue is deciding which colour should be used because there are several colours available for the PCB solder mask. Do picking colours other than green have any benefits or drawbacks? The brief information provided below will assist you in selecting a solder mask colour other than the conventional green hue:

Red: Red solder masks typically have a bold, businesslike appearance. There is good contrast between the planes, spaces, and traces.

The contrast is less than it is with the green printed circuit board. If there are any problems, the board traces are examined at any magnification. It should be noted that silkscreen, which removes the flux residues, is known to stand up strongly against red backgrounds. Although red appears appealing, striking, and bold, green is still regarded as the finest.

Blue: The solder mask PCB colour blue is similar to the Arduino blue hue. The contrast between planes, traces, and empty space is less than that between red and green printed circuit boards. Magnification is said to be necessary and required for evaluating manufacturing flaws when using blue solder mask colour.

However, it should be noted that the solder mask and silkscreen contrast is rather good, which is a benefit of utilising blue. Therefore, if you are utilising a board marked "heavy," blue may be the best option for you in this situation.

Keep in mind that blue looks to be a great option if you don't worry about revealing off-board traces and want to match the solder mask colour with your Arduino.

Black: The PCB colour black is difficult to work with. The contrast between open areas, planes, and traces is negligible compared to other solder mask colours. For the observation of this board, very strong magnification is necessary. It is a nightmare to inspect since a slanted angle is required to create a shadow to look for traces.

The heat absorption of the black PCB colour during reflow is another issue. The black solder mask requires significant cleaning effort since flux stains are more difficult to clear off the board and eventually need steps.

One benefit of using a black solder mask is that it complements the silkscreen's contrast effectively. The distinction between silkscreen and pads is generally acceptable. The separation is obvious without the use of lighting or optics. Only gloss black is offered for now. For PCB prototypes, a matte black solder mask colour still has to be created.

White: You haven't encountered white solder masks yet if you believe a black solder mask is the most difficult to handle. A white solder mask is not useful, according to experiments. The contrast in the white PCB colour is considerably lower than it is in black. Even turning it to the light when checking does not improve the visibility of its traces. The white printed circuit board is too difficult to clean since the indications are difficult to spot. However, the silkscreen contrasts in white solder masks are identical to those in a black hue, suggesting that they function extremely well. We do not advise using the white solder mask when other factors are taken into consideration.

Yellow: Why designers and engineers do not choose the yellow PCB colour is surprising. In the yellow solder mask, there is too much contrast between the voids, traces, and planes. It closely resembles green. Therefore, this dark and coppery-coloured yellow solder mask is the best option for you if your printed circuit board has excellent routing and is a true work of beauty.

You may use a black silkscreen with a yellow solder mask instead of the white one since the contrast is better. It has been shown to produce fantastic benefits for your design and work. You'll also see that there are no cleanliness issues with the yellow solder mask. Depending on its exceptional performance criteria, yellow should be taken into consideration with the hues green and red.

Therefore, this is all about various solder mask colours. You will feel more at ease selecting the ideal colour for your subsequent job.

Try new solder mask colours including PINK, ORANGE, GRAY and even TRANSPARENT.