If you are up for selecting the printed boards, some parameters require to be taken into consideration. One of them is choosing the color of the PCB solder mask. Though green is the most traditional color being used, other colors like yellow, white, and black, which are also available, do not require any extra charges. As there is a wide range of colors available for the PCB solder mask, the problem is which color needs to be selected. Are there any advantages or disadvantages to choosing any color other than green? Given below is the small guide which is going to help you in choosing different solder mask color other than the standard green color:
Green PCB board can relieve fatigue regarding visuals. As green does not require enhanced efforts in inspection, workers prefer to use them. Less review of green printed circuit boards leads to a less tiring job. Also, it is reported that human eye sensors are sensitive to green color. It is mentioned prior that the PCB color of green has a higher contrast, making it suitable for identifying the board traces and residues quickly.
It has also been seen that the green solder mask is superior to other solder mask colors. The green solder mask consists of different excellent properties compared to additional solder masking colors. This color produces good results with solder mask dams and plays its role in manufacturing integrated circuits.
The red solder mask color tends to be bold and professional. The contrast present between planes, spaces, and traces is quite good.
On the contrary to the green printed circuit board, the contrast is lower. Any magnification is used for inspecting the board traces in case of defects. It is to be noted that silkscreen is known to stand against red background well as it cleans up the flux residues. Though red looks attractive, eye-catching and bold, green is still considered the best.
PCB color blue for the solder mask resembles the same Arduino blue color. Compared to red and green printed circuit boards, the contrast between empty spaces, planes, and traces is shallow. In blue solder mask color, magnification is considered necessary and is mandatory for inspecting manufacturing defects.
However, it is to be noted that the contrast between the solder mask and silkscreen is relatively high that is the plus point for using blue color. So, if you are using a board with the label – heavy, then the right choice, in this case, might be blue for you.
Remember that blue seems to be an excellent choice if you want to match the solder mask color with your Arduino, and you do not care about showing off-board traces.
THE Black PCB color is tough to handle. The contrast between empty spaces, planes, and traces is lower than other solder mask colors, but it is non – existent. Very powerful magnification is required for the inspection of this board. Inspecting it is nothing more than a nightmare as it needs a tilted angle for casting a shadow to find traces.
Another problem with black PCB color is its heat absorption during the process of reflow. As far as cleanliness is concerned, the black solder mask needs hard efforts because the flux stains tend to be harder on the board and eventually require steps to get removed.
One of the advantages of a black solder mask is that it works well with the contrast of silkscreen. The difference between silkscreen and pads is pretty much okay. You do not need any lighting or optics to see the distinction as it is visible. Currently, only gloss black is available. Matte black solder mask color is still to be designed for prototypes.
If you think that a black solder mask is the hardest to handle, you have not seen white yet. Experiments show that there is nothing good about a white solder mask. White PCB color exhibits contrast that is even lowest as compared to black. When it comes to inspecting, even tilting it to light does not help in its traces’ appearance. Cleaning the white printed circuit board is too hard as hints are hard to be seen. However, the silkscreen contrasts in white solder masks are the same as those found in black color, which implies that they work very well. Keeping in view other parameters, we don’t recommend the white solder mask.
It is to the surprise of why designers and engineers do not pick yellow PCB color. The contrast between empty spaces, traces, and planes is too high in the yellow solder mask. It is almost as same as green. So if you have some fantastic routing and your printed circuit board is some hard work of art, then this dark and coppery colored yellow solder mask is the right choice for you.
As the white silkscreen is not contrasting well, you can use a black silkscreen with a yellow solder mask. It has been seen that it will create excellent results for your design and work. Also, you will see that the yellow solder mask does not cause any problems with cleanliness. Yellow should be considered along with green and red colors, depending upon its outstanding performance parameters.
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