How to select the Color of PCB Solder Mask

2020-01-13 13:58Writer: qyadminReading:

pcb colors

      Tired of drab off-yellow or pale-green PCBs? For years, I’ve been trying to find color board stock to make my circuits more attractive. Finally, I was able to locate and buy black, red, and blue single-sided copper clad boards.
Yellowish-green (standard), black, blue, and red colored copper clad circuit board.
This isn’t paint, dye, marker, or silkscreen. The substrate itself colored.
      I would have purchased more colors. such as true-green, purple, pink, yellow, white, and clear. And, I would have preferred double-sided boards. But, many hobbyists prefer single-sided boards. when they etch PCBs at home, as it avoids alignment issues. reduces manual labor, and decreases etching time. So, no problem, I took the opportunity to. create a single-sided open-faced (no container) Sandwich robot.
Open-Face Sandwich robot with red PCB.
The results are beautiful.
       Here is a blue PCB. One side has copper traces and the other side is plain. As you can see, the board material is solid blue throughout.
Blue printed circuit board Blue single sided PCB with components
Both sides of a blue PCB. Left: Copper traces. Right: Components
Eagle-eyed readers may notice a couple of. interesting details on the component side of the board. First, there are some bare wires that act as second-side traces, due to a lack of copper on that side. Second, the DIP socket in the middle of the board is clear, not the usual black.
        Notice, as well, that I selected fancier trimpots. with yellow Phillips-head (crosshead) change dials. They are available from Digi-Key

pcb silkscreen colors

      Silk-screening requires  formulated inks. Often the silk screen colors offered are very limited (white or black only) . The standard colour is white. but you can also select red, blue, black, yellow, etc. At one time, PCB CAD software. allowed for a few standard fonts to  used in silkscreen layers.

pcb board colors

      The variety of colors  used for fabricating PCBs include white, blue, black, yellow, red and so on. Colors of PCBs is commonly referred to as PCB color code. Different modern PCB types have adopted specific colors.

pcb solder mask colors

   If you're up for selecting the imprinted boards. some guidelines need to studied into consideration. One of these is choosing the colour of the PCB solder mask. Though green is the most traditional color utilized but other colors like yellow-colored. white and dark, that are also available. that will not need any extra charges at the majority of the changing times. As there is an array of colors designed for PCB solder mask. the problem is which color must chosen and any kind of advantages. or drawbacks to choosing any color apart from green. Listed below is the tiny guide which will assist you in choosing different solder. mask color apart from standard green color:


  Red solder mask color is strong and professional. The contrast present between planes, areas and traces are very good.
  But to the green published circuit table, the contrast is leaner. Any magnification  utilized for inspecting the panel traces in case there is defects. It is to mentioned that silkscreen may stand against red history well as it cleans in the flux residues. Though red appears attractive, eye-catching and daring, green continues to considered the best.
  PCB color blue for solder mask resembles the same Arduino blue color. When compared with red. and green imprinted circuit planks, the comparison between empty areas, planes. and traces is low. In case there is blue solder mask color. magnification known as necessary and it required for inspecting the defects of production.
  But, it is usually to observed that the comparison between your solder mask. and silkscreen is quite high this is the advantage for using blue color. So, if you are utilizing a plank with the label - heavy then your right choice, in cases like this, might be blue for you.
  Understand that blue appears to be a great choice. if you would like to complement solder mask color with your Arduino. and you don't care about revealing board traces.


  Dark PCB color is difficult to take care of. The contrast between vacant areas, planes, and traces isn't lower. when compared with other solder mask colors, but it is non - existent. Very powerful magnification is necessary for the inspection of the table. Inspecting it is only a headache as it requires a tilted position for casting shadow to find traces.
  Another problem with dark PCB color is. its warmth absorption through the procedure for reflow. So far as cleanliness can involved, the dark solder mask needs hard attempts. because the flux  stains have a tendency to be harder on the panel. and finally need efforts so you can get removed.
  Among the benefits of a dark solder mask is that it's working well with the comparison of silkscreen. The difference between silkscreen and pads are about well. You do not need any light or optics to start to see the comparison as it seen. only gloss dark is available. Matte dark solder mask color continues to be to created for prototypes.


  If you believe that dark solder mask is hardest to take care of, then you never have seen white yet. Tests show that there is nothing good about white solder mask. White PCB color exhibits comparison that is even cheapest when compared with black. With regards to inspecting, even tilting it to light will not assist in its traces’ appearance. Cleaning the white published circuit plank is too much as traces are hard to observed. But, the silkscreen contrasts in white solder mask. will be the identical to that located in dark color which means that they work . Keeping because other guidelines, we don’t recommend the white solder mask.
  It is to the shock that why designers and engineers do not choose yellowish PCB color. The contrast between bare areas, traces. and planes is too much in yellow-colored solder mask. It is almost as identical to with green. If you involve some fantastic routing as well as your imprinted circuit table. is some cool masterpiece of design. then this dark and coppery coloured yellowish solder mask is a good choice for you. 


      Green is the most ideal solder mask color for printed circuit boards. This color ensures clear visibility of the components placed on it. The contrast between the traces, planes, and vacant spaces are very high on a green PCB. The color also offers the right contrast with the white legend. We provide green solder masks in glossy and matte variants.


      Black is one of the most unique solder mask colors, available with us. The color is available in both glossy and matte versions. Black solder mask used post the repairing process.


      This is one of the most expensive solder mask colors. A purple solder mask used for submarine printed circuit boards. We offer a glossy variant of the purple solder mask.

   As white silkscreen is not contrasting well. you may use dark silkscreen with yellow-colored solder mask. It's seen that it'll create positive results for your developing and working. Also, so about yellowish solder mask will not give any issues with cleanliness. Yellowish recommended along with green and red colors. dependant on its exceptional performance parameters.
  So, this focused on different solder mask colors. With regards to the guide talked about above. it'll get convenient that you should choose the best color for the next project. 

Green PCB , why most pcb is green

      Notice that you will come across PCBs that are yellow or blue in pcb colors. But, such boards are few. Let us, thus, ask ourselves why most of them are green in color.  Now it is important to note that the green looking circuit board may not actually be green after all. The green part forms the outer covering resin referred to as solder resist or solder mask. The mask has colored pigments which applied to the board. to protect the underneath traces from dust. and moisture. It is also aimed at controlling the flow of the molten solder.   
      The first possible answer is the simplest: Glass epoxy. a material used in the past to create solder masks, is green. Green became the standard the industry accustomed to. so even when solder mask coatings in different colors became possible. many manufacturers still opted for green. Solder mask materials that come in green now tend to be more cost-effective. because of its commonality. If you were curious, the fiberglass boards themselves have a grayish brown color. But, you will rarely see it in modern PCBs because of the protection. that solder mask coating provides.
      A second plausible reason involves military production methods for circuit boards. According to some sources, the United States military found green. to be the most effective circuit board color in every adverse situation they tested for. Thus, they made shades of green the required color for circuit boards. used for military purposes. Many manufacturers. who supplied circuit boards to the U.S. military also served other customers. But, these suppliers usually did most of their business with the military. so they had a surplus of green coating that cost their customers less money.
      The third potential cause for green PCBs’ popularity is. its contrast with the white text printed on a circuit board. and the board’s routing. To ensure top-quality PCBs, many manufacturers. still have employees inspect their products by hand. Green creates less eye strain and makes it easier to see every part of the PCB. Plus. line workers are now the most accustomed to green circuit boards. so they likely have an easier time scanning green PCBs than they do other colors.
      The 4th potential reason for green PCB’s has to do with the exposure rate of the green solder mask. There is more pigmentation in the darker color solder masks (blue, black, white). thus they need a higher exposure rate. Black and white solder mask will need the highest exposure rate. Selecting green solder mask will also allow the client to achieve tighter tolerances. on their design.
      The circuit board itself is plain, yellow or dull in pcb colors. But, the solder mask could come in many colors including black, white, red and blue. They could also come in more exotic colors. such as extravagant orange, matte versions, pink or purple. But this does not answer the question why most of them are green in color.
       Most of the solder mask oils manufacturers. prefer the green color since the chemical pigment used. influences the performance of the application. Thus the green mask believed to have superior properties compared to either blue. yellow or pink colors. Also, the available green solder masks can relied on to produce mask dams of about 0.1mm while red. can only produce 0.12 dams. while black and white can produce 0.15mm. Notice that the soldier mask dams are critical. since they prevent the formation of solder bridges

why pcb use different colors

       Green solder mask has long been the industry standard color. But, the solder mask color starts to change someday. Today there are a variety of available colors for soldermask. There is a growing use of colors other than green in the past several years. driven by assemblers. 
Here are some reasons for using different colors.
1) The more practical reason of using different colors is to. provide a visible indicator of revision changes to please the end-users.
2) The light reflectance, absorbance or transmission properties. will have an influence on assembly equipment. Applications can also generate a need for a color. other than green to produce the desired contrast or brightness.
3) Alternative colors have a great impact on identifying lead-free assemblies. helping to avoid mistakes in a environment.
      The solder mask color has no effect on the performance of the PCB itself. But, the difference between the colors is the resolution of the board will be different. Colors like red and blue match the green PCB in resolution. Black and yellow solder masks but have less resolution than green. and the clear solder masks have greater resolutions.
      Along with the general green, there are other colors such as red. blue, yellow, white and black available. If you need an alternative color, most of the manufacturers will charge for extra cost. 

solder mask colors of PCB


Green Solder Mask 

Green MaskThe green standard is still a common PCB solder mask option. because it allows everything to seen . White text on the green background has a high amount of contrast. and the finish isn’t bright enough to reflect too much light. so there’s a reduction in glare. Green is a common choice for boards that must inspected, plus some. may find it to be an effective method to highlighting high-quality craftsmanship. because the color does not get in the way of showing off the routing.

 White Solder Mask

White printed circuit board solder mask applications are becoming more common. because they can make a PCB look especially pretty in a clean environment. They make stunning show models in many situations. But, real-world applications can be more difficult . because the white solder mask hides traces very well. Inspection can become nigh impossible in some situations. especially if you’re in a room with only direct overhead light. One area where it does shine, but, is in the use of black silkscreens because of their stark contrast with white.

Black Solder Mask

Black solder masks produce  less of a visibility concern compared to white options. Contrast is minimal but labeling and large components are easy to see. The downside is that light may catch the component and cast a small shadow. making traces that much more difficult to see. Black PCB solder mask options are also not recommended because of the increase in heat. which may discolor silkscreen and make the board more difficult to clean. Like white, it’s a very pretty board to observe and can create a distinct visual. if you’re trying to highlight a capability of yours.

Red Solder Mask

Red boards are becoming a popular option. because they provide good visibility. and contrast for planes, traces and even your empty space. It’s less contrast than green boards. but will give a PCB a feeling of freshness when compared to stale industry standards. Silkscreens stand out well against the red.

Blue Solder Mask

Label-heavy boards should consider a blue liquid photoimagible solder mask. because of the significant contrast it creates with silkscreen. Traces can become much more difficult to see without proper lighting and magnification. so that’s the balance point for this blue option. Blue is often chosen for how it can look. It isn’t as striking as white or black. but it does provide a compelling aesthetic choice that implies complexity and craftsmanship. especially if you’re mounting it against an LCD. It is a little more likely to show dirt compared to some other colors.

Yellow Solder Mask and More

Many new colors are emerging, but they can be difficult to manage. Yellow is a pleasing color. but it contrasts with both silkscreens. and traces, making it difficult to use in any real-world application. Different colors will balance different needs, such as cleanliness, visibility and style. Always try a sample before running with your new color choice.


      Today’s PCB solder mask options also include new finish designs that don’t have to do with the coating material. but instead how it looks on the final board. Two of the most common options are matte and gloss solder masks for your next PCB design.
In the past, it’s important to note that these options were available to most PCB manufacturers. but customers rarely indicated a preference. so the final decision left up to that manufacturer. You should always consider the benefits of each option when making your decision.
The good news is that your board will not perform with a matte or gloss finish. From a pure solder mask standard setting, each will leave your board in the same place. That means aesthetics and some limited field use should guide your decision-making process.
A matte finish is duller, softer finish. This means it will not reflect a lot of light but can look washed out under a heavy light. You’ll also see more scratches with a matte finish. But, they appear darker and don’t have a true shine, making them easier to look at in more lighting scenarios. Matte finishes may make it easier for you to detect problems with a PCB.
The gloss finish option is a harder but lighter color that tends to reflect a little more light in the total. But, the details in the PCB are not lost as often in harsher light as they are in a matte finish. This means gloss solder masks show less wear, such as scratches. A gloss finish that is more reflective may make inspection more difficult.

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