It is advisable that before designing a printing circuit board, first decide that which one is required single-layer or multi-layer. The single-layer and multi-layer both used in various everyday devices. It is depend on you that how you use it. The multi-layer pcb is used in complex devices and single core is used in simple ones. In this article we will see the difference between single-layer and multi-layer and also discuss that which is suitable for your project. If you want to buy pcb then India Circuit is Leading pcb manufacturer in India.
What is the difference between Single-Layer and Multi-Layer?
Main difference between single-layer and multi-layer PCBs is in their names. A single-layer PCB has only one layer of base material, generally known as substrate, multi-layer PCB have multiple layers. Before starting discussion let’s see the primary types of PCB boards and how they works.
Single-layer boards known as single-sided boards which have components on the one side of board while conductor pattern on opposite side. The copper is commonly used as conductive material in the board. A single-layer board is comprised with substrate layer, a conductive metal layer and after that a protective solder mask and silk-screen. The single-layer boards are seen in many simple devices.
It is generally known as double-layer or double-sided board. A double-layer has more layers than single-side but less than multi-layer. Double-sided PCBs have one substrate layer. Difference between them is double side have layers of conductive material on both side of substrate.
Circuits and components are connected on both sides and connected through below methods:
– Through-Holes: In the through-holes technique there are small holes drilled through the board that wires, known as leads, are fed through and soldered to the correct component.
– Surface Mounts: In this PCB uses leads soldered directly to the board. The board is itself a wiring surface for components which saves the space.
A multi-layer PCB is made with three or more double-sided boards stacked on top of each other. The multi-layer PCBs have many boards as per need and the largest build till date had 129 layers thick. The board have layers in even numbers like four and 12, odd numbers may cause problem of warping and twisting post-soldering.
Every substrate layer in multi-layer board has conductive metal on both sides. The boards are joined with special kind of adhesive and there is also an insulating material between each board. The solder mask is on outer edges of multi-layer board.
There are paths and known as vias, to conduct layers to each other. These paths have three groups namely:
– Through-Hole: It is go through every layer of the board.
– Blind: Connects an outer layer to an inner layer.
– Buried: Connect two inner layers, render them invisible from outside.
A multi-layer board is seen in complex devices which have more connections.
Advantage Single-Layer PCB
Single-layer PCBs have many advantages than other boards. It is depends on need of your project and this make your PCB of choice.
The price of single-side PCB is lower than double side and multi-side PCBs as it requires less resources, less time to design and manufacture and make it less expensive. If the performance is achieved by single-sided pcb without sacrificing the quality, it is the first choice of people because of economic perspective. When we talk on the cost of single-side and multi-layer the cost is main benefit of single-side board.
Simple Design and Production
As the name this board have only one layer or side and it is easier to design for designers and also most manufacturers can make them without any problems. As the design and production is easy compared with multi-layer printed circuit boards and have continues positive results. Due to easy process of design and manufacturing almost every PCB manufacturer can build single-layer PCB.
You can order single-layer boards in higher numbers without any problems. The higher number reduces the price per board and the bulk order makes it cheaper for buyer.
Less Manufacturing Time
A single-layer PCB can made easily and quickly and required less resource than multi-layer PCBs. This ability makes them the choice for quick assembles even with high numbers.
Disadvantage of Single-Layer PCB
Single-layer board have benefit of low price and other benefits but it is not suitable for every project as it have some limitations.
Simple design is one the main advantage of single-layer board but it is has some limitations. For complex devices that have high number of components and connections the single layer doesn’t have enough space or power to accommodate components. The complex designs are not appropriate for single-layer PCBs.
Slow Speed and Low Operating Capacity
Single-layer board have limited number of connections and these affect the power and speed of board. The single-sided boards are not as strong and circuits have low operating capacity. These boards have not enough powers for some applications.
Large Size and high weight
For adding more components to increase power need to expand the board or simple add the layer, as we can do with multi-layer PCB. For adding more components required more single-layer boards and the multi-layer PCB can do with only one board. If we increase the number of boards it also increases the product’s final weight.
Single-sided PCB: Pros and Cons
If even a single-side PCB is enough for you but before that you have to fulfil the requirement of your project and if the single-layer have capabilities to complete the process. The single-layer boards are enough for simple devices as these boards have low price and manufacture in less time. The single-side PCBs are not suitable for complex projects as they don’t perform well.
Here are the Pros and Cons of single-layer PCBs.
– Low Price
– Simple design and production
– Large production capacity
– Short Lead Time
– Simple for complex projects
– Low operation capacity
– Slow Speed
– Large size
– High weight
Is single-sided PCB right for you? If it is suitable for your application, it is good to use.
Single-Side PCB Application
Single-layer PCBs are using in various electronic devices as they have low cost and easy to be manufacture. Multi-Layer PCBs makes electronic device more complicated and single-sided is the most common using type. Single-layer PCBs are used in devices has only one function only and don’t have to store more data or access the internet but this is for all applications.
Single-layer PCBs are used in household items like coffee makers. LED lights, printers, radios and calculators have single-sided PCB. Storage devices like solid state drives often run on single-sided PCBs and also used in components like power supplies and various types of sensors.
Multi-Layer PCB Advantage
When we talk about multi-layer PCB, it is designs for various applications. Some applications required multi layers. Here is some more benefits of multi-layer PCBs.
Useful in Complicated Projects
Devices that are complex and have more circuits and components required multi-layer PCB. If there is requirement of more circuits in single board solve by adding layers. When adding more boards require sufficient space for connections and make it suitable for advanced devices. The devices that have multiple uses and also have advance features like Smartphone that have high level of complexity.
As the name multi-layer PCB required more planning and high production processes, as they are high quality boards than others. For designing and manufacturing required high skill and advanced tools than for simple ones and in output there is a high-quality product. Multi layer designs have advance controlled impedance and electromagnetic interference shielding for better performance.
Multi-layer pcb have increased circuit density and because of this it is more powerful than less complex designs. The multi layer pcb have high operating capacity and runs on higher speeds and it is required for advanced devices and increase the performance.
As the multi-layer PCB has multiple layers the board is thicker than single-sided pcb and this gives more durability. Another reason is add functionality with additional layers is preferred to increase the dimensions of single layer. This added durability makes multi-layer boards are long lasting.
Compact Size and Low Weight
With maximum durability the multi-layer still have small size and low weight. As there are layers stack on top of each other, you can minimize the size with maximum functionality. With the small size there is also low weight. If we want all the functionality of multi layer in single layer, required very large board. It is possible to use multiple single-sided boards to work like multi-layer but it take larger space and also increase the weight.
Single Connection Point
Multiple PCB components required multiple connection points. But the multiple layer PCBs are designed to work with only one connection point and with simple electronic device also reduce weight. It is better to use one multi layer board than more single-sided boards.
Multi-Layer PCB Disadvantage
Multi-functionality and other improved features of multi-layer boards come with a price. The high price and other features may not be suitable for every project.
Design and manufacturing of multi layer board is more expensive than one or two layer board. For manufacturing multi-layer boards require more resources, more time and more skill which increase the price.
Design and Production Complications
Designing and manufacturing process of multi-layer boards are more complicated process than single-layer boards. For multi layer manufacturing, required highly skilled designers with advance specialized equipment’s. While manufacturing you will face difficulties in process if don’t have enough resources available.
A specialize manufacturing process, every manufacture cannot make them. It is hard to find the right company for manufacturing, designing or repair a multi layer board. If the board require repairs, it is also hard to find technician who can repair them.
Long Lead Time
Multi layer board require more time to manufacture than single-layer board. It is also important that all the layers have to be secured to each other form one board from many layers. These processes took time and increase the lead time. If you want to manufacture multi layer board quickly, it is not possible. It is very costly and time consuming process if you want to change design.
Multi layer PCBs are very reliable but if anything happens the repairing is very difficult or sometime impossible. If there is a problem with an electronic component or if the board itself get damaged, it is hard to find problem because it is inside layers and the vias is not visible from outside. The more number of components on board make repairing difficult and very time consuming.
Pros and Cons of Multi-Layer PCB
Is multi-layer pcb is appropriate for your device? For more functionality and advantages, you will have to pay more. Compare advantages and disadvantages to choose multi layer PCB. Here are the pros and cons of multi layer PCB.
– Able to handle complex functionality
– High Quality
– Maximum power, operating capacity and speed
– More durability
– Small size and less weight
– Single connection point
– High Cost
– Complicated design and manufacture
– Long lead time
– Complex repairs
Applications Multi Layer PCB
With advancement in technology, multi-layer PCBs are more common in today’s electronic devices. To minimize the size of electronic device require multiple layer of circuit boards. The use of multi layer PCB is increasing more and more as the device have more functionality and complex capabilities.
We can find multi layer boards in computer components like motherboards and servers. Devices like laptops, tablets, smartphone and smartwatches uses multi-layer boards. Devices like smartphone uses 12 layers.
Devices are less complicated than smartphones and less complex for a single-sided pcb used between 4-8 layers. The household items like microwave and air conditioners which uses multi-layer technology.
Medical devices also run on pcb with more than three layers and have reliability, small size and lightweight. The multi layer PCB boards uses in X-ray machine, heat monitors, CAT scan and many other applications.
The automotive and aerospace industries are using electronic components that are durable and lightweight and the multi-layer PCB is perfect for it. These parts have to withstand with wear, heat and other conditions as it is used in on board conditions, GPS systems, engine sensors, headlight switches.
Multi layer PCBs are also used in industry also. The modern day machines have computerized components like sensors, controls. The equipment needs functionality, reliability and durability as there are harsh conditions in facilities.
Multi layer PCBs are used in military applications, weather analysis equipment, alarm systems, atomic accelerators and in other devices.