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The Various Colors & Hues of PCBs

The Various Colors & Hues of PCBs

Jul 07,2017

When PCB boards were first introduced, they were green in color. This is because the solder mask on the PCB is green in color. In 1954, the US military at the National Materials and Procurement Center in Cedar Bluffs Virginia chose this specific shade of green for printed circuit boards. Thorough testing was conducted to check the right color and shade that would offset the white legend ink. These tests were conducted under demanding conditions to determine the right combination for PCBs. The color green was chosen as a standard military color.

Colored PCBs

Colors other than green are being usedas solder mask for PCBs. The cause and reason for this is detailed inthis section. During the PCB design process, the color of the soldermask is chosen. Contrary to popular opinion, the popular color of soldermask is clear. Other than this, red, blue, and yellow are some colorscommonly used as well.

Why Use Other Colors?

Colored solder mask is used to convey amessage internally. Color-coding PCBs can help in streamlining internalprocesses. Colorful solder mask can also be used for aesthetic purposes.When a board is going to be displayed in an application, extremeattention will be given to the color of the solder mask.

A popular example of this is the use ofthe right color shades for the PCBs used in Apple iMac computers. Sincethe computers were extremely trendy and displayed translucent bodies,the internal components like PCBs needed to be colored accordingly.

Green is still an extremely popularchoice for solder mask because the color has a calming effect on theeyes, and can be viewed clearly by most people. The color selected byyour organization should be such that it conveys a clear message to allthe people involved in the process of PCB design and assembly.

For example, a specific color can beused for all prototypes, another color can be used for PCBs undertesting, etc. This system ensures that the right message is being passedthrough minimal communication. Additionally, it reduces chances of anychances of miscommunication. In conclusion, any color that works for youand your clients should be used for the solder mask.

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