When it comes to fabrication, manufacturers have a choice between single-layer and multi-layer PCB stack-ups. Both have their scope of applications, strengths, and limitations. But all of those may not be obvious. Here, in PadPCB, we offer both PCB types of the highest quality, so we ought to provide extra details.
Let’s review single and multi-layer stack-ups so the difference is clear and you can choose a perfect fit for your projects.
To be precise, there are also double-sided boards, which hardly can be attributed to single-layer or multi-layer PCBs alone. Let’s assume those are the advanced versions of single-layer stack-ups and move forward.
Single-layer board is a most simple PCB that is made of a substrate laminated material (FR-4, Rogers, Teflon, etc.). It has components on one side only, and the conductor pattern on the other side.
Such boards are protected with solder masks and silkscreen layers. Copper serves as a conductive metal here. It transfers electrical signals across the board via the traces. PCBs may have a finish (for example, thin silver plating), but it’s optional. See an example in the image below.
In its turn, a multi-layer PCB can comprise multiple double-side layers, having components on the one side and insulation layers on the other side. It naturally comprises cores and prepregs coated with copper layers. These are connected with vias and holes. See an example in the image below.
Quick fact: The largest multi-layer PCB ever was 129 layers thick. You may choose any number of layers you want. But ones with odd numbers of layers are typically problematic in fabrication because of twisting and warping effects.
Here, in PadPCB, we offer standard 2 to 30-layer boards but are always willing to help you with customized concepts.
In essence, the main difference between single-layer PCB and multi-layer PCB is that the first is a substrate with components on one side while the second is a bunch of double-layer boards laminated together.
Let’s see what are the factors making you opt for single-layer boards:
These are mostly linked to their simplicity in production and use:
Unfortunately, such simple boards come with disadvantages you should consider before going for them.
What are the Benefits of Using Multi-Layer PCB?
These are mostly linked to the level of performance they promise:
|Factor||Single-Layer PCB||Multi-Layer PCB|
|Layers||Substrate layer only plus components and conductor patterns||Cores, prepregs, components, conductor patterns, insulation layers|
|Material||Substrate material (FR-4, Teflon, CEM, and others) plus copper plating||Substrate material (FR-4, Teflon, CEM, and others) plus copper plating|
|Cost||Such boards are priced much lower per unit||Such boards can be priced highly per unit|
|Reworking||Comparatively simple rework and repair||Complex rework and repair which is not always possible|
|Applications||Simple/affordable retail electronics. Radios, printers, LED lights, sensors, power suppliers, Solid State Drives (SSD), etc.||High-tech/expensive electronics for both retail and industrial needs. Satellites, GPS, broadcast systems, X-ray, computerized electronics, IoT.|
|Rapid prototyping and turnaround time||Short||Typically long|
|Manufacturing process||Fabricating substrate, copper coating, etching, silkscreening, soldering, finishing.||Fabricating substrate, copper coating, etching, silkscreening, soldering, laminating double-layer board together, finishing.|
It’s rather an abstract question “which one of the equally widespread types of boards is better?” The answer lies in your technical requirements. In case you manufacture any of the mentioned electronic types, you may opt for a perfectly matched board.
Alternatively, you need to consider these aspects to make a good choice yourself:
In case you are still unsure about what PCB type will meet your need, you may request a free quote from us. We’ll get back to you shortly with a detailed explanation.
Need any help with PCB or PCBA manufacturing? Contact us now.
PadPCB is a professional PCB solution supplier in Shenzhen, China. We help our clients with everything from PCB design to the final mass production….