What is a Single Layer PCB?

Posted on 2020-07-11

Single layer PCB board contains only one layer of conductive material, which is most suitable for low-density design. Since the late 1950s, single-sided PCB boards have existed, and still occupy a dominant position in the global market in absolute numbers. Single-sided printed circuit boards are easy to design and quick to manufacture. They are the most cost-effective platform in the industry. Like Led Lighting products, most LED PCBs use a layer of PCB, Fr4 or aluminum material.

What is a single layer PCB?

Single layer board, sometimes called single-sided board, have components on one side of the board and conductor patterns on the other side. They have only one layer of conductive material, usually copper. The single-layer board includes a base layer, a conductive metal layer, then a protective solder mask and a wire mesh. You can find single-layer boards in many simpler electronic devices.

Single layer PCB material:

Fr4, CEM1, CEM-3 are normal, and the metal core material is also very popular with single layer PCB.

Advantages of single layer PCB

Single layer PCB has several advantages over other board types, including:

Lower cost: Because single layer PCB is simpler than double sided and multi-layer PCB. Therefore, less resources, less time and less expertise in PCB design and production are required. This makes them cheaper. If a single panel can be used without sacrificing quality and performance, most people will do so because of economic advantages. When it comes to single layer and multi-layer PCBs, lower cost is one of the significant advantages of single panels.

Simpler design and production: A single side panel is relatively simple and common. This means that most designers can design them easily, and most manufacturers can build them without problems. Compared with multilayer printed circuit boards, the design and production process will be easy and produce consistent positive results. Due to its simplicity, almost all PCB companies can produce single-layer boards.


Mass production: The ease of producing these plates means that you can order these plates in large quantities without problems. Because higher quantities will lower the price of each board, bulk ordering is one of the best ways to get the most value from a single-sided PCB.

Short delivery time: single-layer boards can be manufactured quickly because they are simple and they require fewer resources than multilayer PCBs. This makes them ideal for situations where PCBs can be quickly obtained even in mass production.

Disadvantages of Single layer PCB

Despite their cost advantages and other advantages, due to their limitations, single-layer boards are not the right choice for every project, including:

Simple design: The simplicity of single-layer boards is one of their greatest benefits, but it is also a big limitation. For more complex devices that require more components and connections, a single layer cannot provide enough space or power. If the wires cross each other, the device will not work properly, so it is important that the circuit board has enough space to accommodate all the devices. More complex designs cannot be applied to single-sided PCBs.

Slower speeds and lower operating capabilities: The limited number of connections on these circuit boards also affects their power and speed. These less dense designs are not as robust as designs with more circuits and lower operating capacity. They may not have enough power for certain applications.

Larger size and higher weight: To add functionality to a single panel, you need to expand its size instead of adding another layer, just like you can use a multilayer PCB. You can use multiple separate boards, but a multi-layer board may handle the same requirements. Increasing the size or number of circuit boards in the device will also increase the weight of the final product.


Decide whether you need a single layer or multi-layer PCB

To determine whether you need a single-layer or multi-layer PCB. You need to consider the needs of the project and the type that best fits them. Ask yourself these five questions:

Q: What level of functionality do I need?

A: If it is more complicated, you may need multiple layers.

Q: What is the maximum size of the circuit board?

A: The multi-layer circuit board can install more functions in a smaller space.

Q: Is durability a priority?

A: If yes, please use multiple layers.

Q: What is my budget?

A: For a more modest budget, a single-layer circuit board works best.

Q: How fast PCB do I need?

A: Compared with multilayer printed circuit boards, single-layer printed circuit boards have a shorter lead time.

You also need to deal with more technical issues related to requirements. For example, the operating frequency, density and signal layer you need. Determining the answers to these questions will help you determine whether you need a board with one, two, four, or more layers.

Application of single layer PCB

These circuit boards have become popular choices for various electronic products due to their low cost and relatively easy production. Although multilayer circuit boards are catching up, electronic circuits are becoming more and more complex. But single-layer circuit boards have historically been the most common type. They often appear in devices with a specific function and do not need to store large amounts of data or access the Internet, but this is not always the case. Although single-sided PCBs are relatively simple, they can still be used in very complex devices:

Power supplies, relays (automotive and industrial), timing circuits, sensor products, LED lighting, radio and stereo equipment, packaging equipment, monitoring, calculators, printers, coffee makers, vending machines, solid state drives, camera systems.

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