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Matte Finish vs. Gloss Finish in PCBs

Matte Finish vs. Gloss Finish in PCBs One of the final decisions you may make when it comes to your printed circuit boards is whether to go with a shiny solder mask, also called a glossy finish, or to opt for a matte finish. PCBs function equally well with a glossy finish or a matte finish, so this decision is not critical. In many cases, those ordering PCBs will leave this decision up to the fabricator, who will typically choose a gloss finish by default. Jump To: What Is a Glossy Finish in PCBs? | What Is a Matte Finish in PCBs? | Benefits of a Gloss Finish on a Circuit Board | Advantages of a Matte Finish on a PCB | Why Choose a Glossy Finish Over a Matte Finish? | Reasons to Choose a Matte Finish Over a Glossy Finish | Learn More About PCB Specifications For information purposes, and to help you decide whether or not

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Guide to PCB Grounding Techniques

Jump To: What Is a Ground? | Grounding Terminology | PCB Grounding Techniques | What to Remember When Grounding | Ensure Everything Is Attached | Keep Your Ground Layer Whole | Minimize the Use of Series Vias | Have a Common Ground Point | Partner With Millennium Circuits Limited Guide to PCB Grounding Techniques Grounding is a critical concept for any electronic circuit and any system dealing with an electric current. Everything from the electric grid to a home to a printed circuit board (PCB) has a ground. PCBs are critical to the functioning of nearly all electronics, and each PCB needs proper grounding to function correctly. People use the term ground to describe various concepts. In this article, we’ll discuss these concepts, the importance of ground in a PCB and the different methods one can use for grounding in a PCB. What Is a Ground? A ground is a conducting body that acts as an arbitrary node of potential voltage and a common return for electric

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PCB Testing Methods Guide

Jump To: Why PCB Testing Is Necessary? | What Is Being Tested? | Types of Testing Methods | In-Circuit Test (ICT) | Fixtureless In-Circuit Test | Functional Circuit Test | Boundary Scan Testing | Design for Manufacturing (DFM) | Design for Assembly (DFA) | Design for Test (DFT) | Design for Supply Chain (DSC) | Choose Millenium Circuits PCB Testing Methods Guide The last thing any designer wants is to discover last-minute that their product is faulty. Electronics of all types, even if they’re properly designed and meticulously built, are prone to problems. Many electronics come out of the prototype stage with plenty of bugs and issues for their designers to troubleshoot. However, when something is left unnoticed until the product is out in the field, it can mean huge problems for the company. It’s for this reason that testing electronics is so important, especially for PCBs. Why PCB Testing Is Necessary Testing is a crucial part of the development cycle for PCBs. Conducted throughout the production cycle, PCB testing can help save

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Guide to PCB Gold Fingers

Jump To: What Are Gold Fingers | How Are Gold Fingers Used | Gold Finger Specifications You Should Know | PCB Gold Finger Beveling | How Gold Fingers Are Changing the World   In today’s computerized and mobile-activated world, signals are sent between numerous devices. For each command to be enacted, communication must be made between two or more circuit boards. None of this would be possible without gold fingers, which serve as the connecting contacts between motherboards and components like graphics or sound cards. The technology used to transmit these signals and commands is a huge leap forward from earlier electronics, which typically consisted of separate modules that were difficult to bring into communication with one another. With gold fingers, the processes of one circuit board are immediately read by the main processing board. The processes associated with this advanced technology extend across all corners of the public and private

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Flex Circuit Materials and Construction

Flex Circuit Materials and Construction We can use flexible circuits in a variety of applications. They can safely bend into small and complicated electronics, making them suitable for modern devices like smartphones. They absorb shock and vibration easily in high-stress applications. Rigid-flex circuits combine standard circuit board construction with flexible design for situations that require more durability. Have you ever wondered about the materials and layouts involved in the creation of these versatile PCBs? This blog post will provide a quick overview of common materials and constructions in flex and rigid-flex PCBs. Materials Used in Flex Circuits While most standard PCBs have a fiberglass or metal base, flex circuit cores consist of a flexible polymer. The majority of flex PCBs have a polyimide (PI) film as a substrate. PI film does not soften when heated, but it stays flexible after thermosetting. Many thermosetting resins like PI become rigid after heating, making PI a

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Aluminum vs. Standard PCBs

Aluminum vs. Standard PCBs In PCB creation, every material counts. Circuit boards with aluminum cores (aluminum PCBs) have different properties from boards without metal substrates (standard PCB’s). These two popular board types power a variety of commercial and consumer electronics. Will an aluminum or standard PCB suit your project best? The answer depends on your intended application. What Are Standard PCBs? Standard PCBs use a dielectric and copper as their most prominent metal consist of different layers of material. They feature a substrate, or base, made from fiberglass, polymers, ceramic or another non-metal core. Many of these PCBs use FR-4 for the substrate. This fiberglass material has a relatively affordable price and moderate durability. Additional layers of copper, solder mask and silkscreen make the board conductive and outline component locations. These layers may appear on one side of the base, both sides or in a multilayer stackup. You can find standard PCBs used in

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Single-Sided vs. Double-Sided vs. Multilayer PCBs

Single-Sided vs. Double-Sided vs. Multilayer PCBs When you read information about PCBs, you may see the terms “single-sided,” “double-sided” and “multilayer” used often. The circuit board industry uses these categories to determine the complexity of a board’s structure. Each type of PCB has different price points and uses. With a basic understanding of PCB production, you can discover the capabilities of these board compositions. Single-Sided Boards A single-sided PCB is simple and affordable to produce. The manufacturer begins with a base core material, such as fiberglass (FR4), which the core has a layer of copper on it. This copper material makes the board conductive and allows electricity to flow through. Then, they add a solder mask that insulates the conductive copper sheet below. Finally, they cover the rest of the layers with a silkscreen print that indicates the location for each part. When creating a single-sided board, the manufacturer adds

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Benefits of Multilayer PCBs

Benefits of Multilayer PCBs PCBs power many industries and devices in our society. As our technology develops, so does our need for different types of PCBs. As you choose between a single layer and multilayer PCB, the options might seem overwhelming. It’s important to understand the pros and cons of each option before you invest in a new PCB. Here are some of the benefits of purchasing a multilayer PCB over a single layer design. What Is a Multilayer PCB? First, it’s important to understand what a multilayer PCB is and how it is manufactured. A single layer PCB has one layer of conductive material. You’ll find a conductive wiring pattern mounted on one side of the board and components on the other. Single layer PCBs are commonly used in simple devices since none of the wires can cross for the circuit to work correctly. A double-sided PCB is similar,

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What Are Copper-Filled Vias?

What Are Copper-Filled Vias? Printed circuit boards would not function without vias, the conduits that transfer signals between PCB layers. During PCB production, the manufacturer adds a layer of copper to the board substrate. This copper layer not only makes the traces conductive but also connects each PCB layer between the holes drilled into the board. The manufacturer can then leave the vias as-is and use the copper plating on its own to transfer signals. However, for added capacity, they can also fill the plated through holes with another conductive material. To create a copper-filled via, the manufacturer fills the through holes with epoxy resin and copper. The extra materials add cost to board production, but copper-filled vias make a PCB more suitable for certain applications. Copper-filled vias also feature capabilities that other conductive fillings do not provide. This guide explains the primary purposes of copper-filled vias and how they can enhance

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How to Audit a PCB Supplier

How to Audit a PCB Supplier Before choosing a PCB supplier, companies should make time to audit their options. This information-gathering process will help you stay on top of the competition and offer a quality end product. Discover how to evaluate potential suppliers for your PCBs and other electronics in this guide. What Is an Electronics Supplier Evaluation? An audit of electronics or PCB suppliers involves qualitative and quantitative assessment to determine if the supplier meets the customer’s standards. Most audits happen before doing business with the supplier, but some companies conduct regular audits even after making an agreement. Every business has its own approach to assessing potential and current suppliers, but they all have the end goal of ensuring they will get a quality product. These evaluations happen throughout all links of the supply chain. For example, at MCL, we evaluate the PCB manufacturers we work with before adding

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PCB Glossary

  • Traveler

    The list of instructions describing the board, including any specific processing requirements. Also called a shop traveler, routing sheet, job order, or production order.