What is LED PCB Board?

A LED PCB board is a printed circuit board (PCB) that is specifically designed to house and connect light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Unlike traditional PCB, LED PCBs are specially designed to provide electrical and thermal management. This is important because LED are sensitive to heat, and excessive heat can cause the LED to fail or degrade over time.

The LED PCB board is designed to dissipate the heat generated by the LEDs, ensuring their longevity and performance. In this article, we will explore what an LED PCB board is, how it works, and its various applications in the field of lighting and electronics.

Basics of LED PCB Design

LED PCBs for electronic devices come in various types, depending on what applications you need them for. You may get dozens of combinations of construction materials and PCBs assembled in different ways. Let’s review what are your options here:

Core Construction

As you may already know, laminate materials used in PCB productions impact the end board performance. That’s why they are always your first consideration. Here are some of the core options you may choose from:

  • FR-4. This material is probably, the most common one. It’s simply a glass-reinforced epoxy laminate sheet. It’s flame retardant and water resistant. FR-4 offers a good strength-to-weight ratio, high tensile strength, and appropriate durability and flexibility. 
  • Teflon. Teflon a kind of plastic material without any particular resistance. But it’s extremely flexible and compatible with high-frequency applications. Still, it offers good physical strength, temperature stability, and a great strength-to-weight ratio.
  • Metal. Metals such as copper, iron, aluminum, and others also may be used as cores. They allow the usage of Surface Mount Technology (SMT) and provide exceptional mechanical durability. 

At all times, the choice of the core material depends on the operational environment of your future PCB and its intended use. 

Aluminum LED Circuit Board

Aluminum circuit boards are fairly widespread. As detailed above, these are sort of metal-core PCB having an aluminum alloy base (aluminum, magnesium, and silicon). Aluminum LED PCB comprises the following layers:

  1. The base layer that includes an aluminum alloy sheet.
  2. The thermal insulation layer that comprises a ceramic polymer that absorbs mechanical stresses and helps heat dissipation.
  3. The circuit layer that has copper circuits etched on it in accordance with a particular LED PCB’s circuit design. 

But more than that, Aluminum PCB boards have several variations, depending on the aluminum alloy used. Here are these types and their short characteristics:

  • Flexible aluminum. Such a type of flexible, aluminum-based LED circuit board is made of aluminum, polyimide resin, and ceramic fillers. They help to achieve superior flexibility and insulation. These PCBs are perfect for microelectronics.
  • Hybrid aluminum. This group of PCBs features a base aluminum metal fused with non-thermal materials. It helps to achieve cost reduction and rigidity increase. 
  • Multilayer aluminum. Such a LED circuit board has more than two layers made of conductive dielectrics. They help to achieve higher performance without compromising heat dissipation. 

Those are variations of aluminum boards only. Other cores are presented with numerous different LED PCB types. 

Assembly Methods

There are three technologies for PCB assembly commonly available on the market:

  • Through-Hole Technology (THT). This method allows for constructing PCBs with the use of pin-through-hole components inserted through pre-drilled holes. 
  • Surface mount technology (SMT). The working principle of the next method is mounting components directly onto the PCB surface with solder paste.
  • Mixed technology. Complex PCBs cannot be constructed with only one of those two methods used. That’s through both through hole and surface mount technologies are often combined to achieve the maximal outcomes. 

A wide variety of core materials, aluminum PCB types, and assembly methods allow for ordering the perfect fit LED PCB. 

Get an idea of what LED PCB may look like in the image below:

What Are the Benefits of Using LED PCBs in Electronics?

LED lighting is a technology that is at its own level. The solution is favored by every manufacturer for an array of reasons, some of which are listed below:

  • Lower power consumption. Compared to even light bulbs or incandescent lights, LED lights are six times more energy efficient. Switching your regular lighting to LED-based one can reduce energy consumption by as much as 80%. 
  • Longer life span. LED lights have a prolonged life span compared to traditional means of lighting. A single LED-based light bulb can serve for more than 25,000 hours. 
  • Fewer energy losses. LED lights release only 20% of energy as heat, while 80% left is converted into lighting, which is four times more effective compared to incandescent light bulbs. 
  • Compact-sized. LED lights go in various sizes, so you can always choose ao options that would be as small as you need them to be.
  • Don’t contain Mercury. Unlike traditional means of lighting, LED lights don’t have the Mercury that is proven to be toxic.

Actually, LED lights can barely be compared to other means of lighting, as they outperform most available options in a number of ways.  

The Applications of the LED PCB

Here are some examples of the most common LED applications:

  • Consumer electronics. It’s frequent that LED PCBs are used for the manufacturing of smartphones, TVs, tablets, and other similar devices due to their ability to transfer heat. 
  • Consumer lighting. From flashlights, spotlights, and lanterns to solar-powered lighting, you may find LED PCBs in any of such consumer-centered devices.
  • Telecommunications. Here, LED indicators and displays are used for their long life and ability to transfer heat, similar to as with consumer electronics. 
  • Transportation industry. It’s frequently that LED PCBs are used in indicator lights, brake lights, tunnel lighting, and others street lighting that can be seen anywhere.
  • Medical industry. Hospital lighting and lighting tools for medical examinations are often produced with the use of LED PCBs. 

Considerations for Designing an LED PCB

Here are several worthwhile aspects to consider before proceeding with LED PCB manufacturing or ordering:

  • Component placement. Connectors, resistors, thermistors, and other components should be placed at a suitable distance between each other to not cause the accumulation of heat and not to interfere with its dissipation. Take into consideration the shortest distance between components (creepage) and the clearance.
  • Material. There are multiple PCB materials available on the market. Carefully consider your PCB requirements to choose the one that serves your purposes better.
  • Thermal management. If the energy doesn’t dissipate, it may cause damage to the PCB. That’s why the addition of vias and heat sinks is nearly due in the manufacturing of LED PCBs. 
  • Circuit pattern. Make sure that there is no error in the circuit. Traces should be consistent. Monitor the flow of current to find out whether it contributes to the optimal heat dissipation or it is not. 

Having a well-thought-out PCB design is already half the battle. That’s got left it to approach a reliable PCB shop. 

Final Word

LED PCB boards play an important role in the design and manufacture of high-performance LED-based products, and their popularity is expected to continue to grow as LED technology continues to advance.

Should you need engineering and manufacturing assistance — contact PadPCB, claim your free quote, and get some of the market-best LED PCB manufacturing services. 


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