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small circuit boards

Small Circuit Boards – How Small can a PCB be?

As technology advances, our gadgets get smaller. And as they get smaller, they require small circuit boards to work. There is no such thing as a standard printed circuit board. Each board is made for a specific item. That means that the board has been designed to perform a particular function inside an allotted space.

MCL engineers have been providing small PCBs for a variety of industries and needs for more than 10 years, offering competitive pricing and multiple domestic and offshore manufacturing options. We specialized in services that design for manufacturability, especially in the realm of your small printed circuit boards.

PCBs all have highly defined requirements, and our expert engineering and manufacturing team can turn your concept into reality or test an existing prototype to make sure it meets all tolerance needs. If something is out of spec, we’ll provide multiple engineered solutions that can solve your concerns while keeping you on budget and on time.

There’s nothing better than getting to market as quickly as possible with the right product. Our small circuit board services are designed to help you do just that.

Circuit Boards for Small Applications

The size of the board depends on your design. You can use computer-aided design software to create the circuit layout. That way you can easily reduce the size of the board. More often than not, the spaces between two electrical conducting paths are 0.006” or smaller.

The dimensions of the printed circuit board are based on the circuitry, as well as the enclosure that will house the PCB. It will also determine the heat sinks and fixed components of the circuit. With the use of the software, you can easily reduce the size of the board. You should consult with the manufacturer to determine the smallest size they can make.

The size of the circuit board depends on the available space of the enclosure. If you are designing a tiny gadget, then you need to use small circuit boards. But keep in mind that when you create a small PCB design, it will have small components as well. That could mean soldering them with a very fine tip soldering iron and a microscope or close-up glasses, especially if the holes have tight clearances.


Tips to Make Your PCB as Small as Possible

When designing a circuit, you should consider factors such as minimum trace width, minimum silkscreen width and text size, SMT minimum solder mask width, minimum solder mask clearance, minimum trace/pads/vias space, and the drilling and finish hole. These factors will determine the minimum size of the circuit board.

Always consider blind and buried vias carefully because they can create a significant impact on your design as well as engineering your PCB to be as small as possible. Vias connect traces between your board layers, and traditional options will decrease the amount of routing space that’s available on any board.

To keep routing space maximized and to avoid a larger board size, we recommend you look to alternatives. Blind vias connect external and internal layers with minimal spacing. Buried vias can connect multiple internal layers, but they do not reach out to an external layer. This limits the overall space requirement and can give you a more stable product.

You should also consider the spacing between the components. Making them too close with each other might not leave room for the routing of the traces. The more pins that the component has, the more space it will require. Proper spacing will also make it easier to solder the components on the circuit board.

In the same vein, components should stick to a general standard pin numbering design so everything is orientated equally, reducing the likelihood of mistakes during inspections and soldering. This can limit manufacturing concerns while helping you keep everything in mind as you reduce size.

Our expert engineers can also help you determine the proper width of lines based on the current used in your application. Larger width lines may take up more space, but will reduce the heat on your PCB relative to dissipation. Size lines based on current and keep your small PCBs running smoothly without the need for additional cooling support.


Circuit Boards for Small Applications

The continuous miniaturization of electronic gadgets has driven printed circuit boards to become smaller and denser and require more capabilities. Small circuit boards have become the norm, as more manufacturers use integrated circuit chips.

Small PCB industries and applications we serve:

MCL is a leading experienced small printed circuit board developer and manufacturer with an eye on industry tolerances and customer services. We offer a full one-stop-shop that can quickly adjust to meet any high- or low-volume demands you have for small circuit boards.

Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can move you from the prototype stage to mass production with a small PCB that’s designed right for your company. Plus, don’t forget to ask about our multiple pricing options to meet your budget.

PCB Glossary

  • Solder Leveling

    The process by which the board is exposed to hot oil or hot air to remove any excess solder from holes and lands.