Archive for the ‘mcpcb’ Category

The Difference Between 2L MCPCB and Double Sided MCPCB

Monday, February 27th, 2023

In our last article, we know what a metal core PCB is, in this post, we will introduce what is the difference between 2L MCPCB and Double sided MCPCB. Please continue to read if you want to know more about metal core printed circuit board.

Today we will explain from these four contents as following:

  1. Stack up (structure)
  2. Heat dissipation
  3. SMD populate
  4. Manufacturing technology

Stack up of 2L MCPCB and Double Sided MCPCB

For a 2L MCPCB, the metal core is positioning on the bottom side of the MCPCB as a cooling carrier to the whole MCPCB, while the metal base of double sided MCPCB is located in the middle of two copper trace. In generally, some PTH (plated-through-hole) vias are needed to designed to connect the bottom and top traces.

Below are the stack ups of these two kinds of products, from the structure, we can easily distinguish which one is 2L MCPCB and which one is double sided MCPCB.

Heat dissipation of 2L MCPCB and Double Sided MCPCB

Due to the different structure of the two products, their heat dissipation performance is also different. The main reason is the heating of double-sided metal core circuits can be spread out through both top and bottom side, while the heating generate by SMD components of 2 layers circuit only can be dissipated through bottom (metal) side and the heat need to go down layer by layer. In addition to this, the dissipation of FR4 is not good than metal materials, so double-sided metal core printed circuits perform better heat dissipation performance than 2 layers MCPCB.

Surface mounted locations (SMD populate)

Nowadays, surface mounted technology (SMT) is widely used in printed circuit board industry, more and more designers prefer to populate electronic components of the circuit surface to achieve high density, stable electrical performance and high reliability. 2L metal core circuit boards and double-sided metal core circuits also show their different mounted locations in this aspect.

The populate location of a 2L MCPCB only available on copper trace side, that is top side. And a double-sided metal core PCB can mount components on both top and bottom side, because both of them exist copper trace on it.

Manufacturing technology

May somebody will curious about ‚ÄúAre these two products produced in the same process/technology?‚ÄĚ

The answer is obvious ‚ÄúNO, they have a different laminate process when fabricating.‚ÄĚ

Different with single layer MCPCB, double sided MCPCB requires an additional pressing step to laminate the thermal conductive layer and metal core together. But sometimes, some raw Metal Clad material vendor will supply board material which already laminated.

For 2 layers metal core PCB, due to it is made of a single MCPCB and a double-sided FR4 PCB, the first thing we should make a double sided FR4 PCB, then laminate the PCB together with the single MCPCB. But due to the thermal conductive layer (pure adhesive) is easy to overflow during laminating process, which will cause the poor adhesion and crack between metal core and FR4 PCB. In the meantime, to avoid such problem, an experienced operator is needed to proceed the laminated process. That is why the lead time and cost of a 2 layers metal core circuit is much longer and expensive.

This is the end of this post, if you still have some questions or difficulties about the metal core PCB, welcome to contact us at sales@bestpcbs.com, our professional sales team and engineering team will give you a best solution for free.

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Do You Know What a Metal Core PCB Is?

Saturday, February 25th, 2023

Metal Core Printed Circuit Board (short for MCPCB) is a technology developed to overcome the thermal limitations of the FR4 Printed Circuit Board. Different with traditional FR4 PCB, the PCB uses FR4 material as base core, while the base material of a metal core PCB is aluminum or copper. So compared with FR4 PCB, Metal Core is a better choice if your boards need to perform in high temperature environment.

What is metal core PCB?

A Metal Core PCB (MCPCB), also known as a thermal PCB or metal backed PCB, is a type of PCB that a metal material as its base for the heating dissipation part of the board. The thick metal is covering one side or double side of the PCB. The purpose of the core of a MCPCB is to redirect heat away from critical board components (such as LED or IC chips), and to less crucial areas such as the metal heatsink backing or metallic core. Base metals in the MCPCB are used as an alternative material to FR4 boards.

(Metal_core_PCB)

Same as FR4 PCB, the metal core PCB can be divided into Single layer MCPCB, Double layers MCPCB and Multi-layer MCPCB.

  • Single layer MCPCB

A single layer MCPCB is consist of a metal base (usually aluminum or copper alloy), thermal conductivity/dielectric layer and a copper trace layer, you can check below stack up for more details. Due to it only has one layer copper trace, sometimes we called it as one-layer MCPCB or single sided MCPCB.

(Stack_up_of_single_layer_MCPCB)

The single sided MCPCB can be used with surface mount and chip & wire components, and provides much lower thermal resistance than FR4 PCB. What’s more, the metal core provides lower cost than ceramic substrates, and allows much larger areas than ceramic substrates.

Meanwhile, superior heat dissipation and good durability of Aluminum of metal core PCB can greatly eliminate heat sinks or other some voluminous hardware for engineers or designers.

  • Double layer MCPCB

Double layers MCPCB (2L MCPCB) has two copper layers on one side of PCB, and metal core as a base core on the bottom side of whole MCPCB, so the components only can be populated on the top side, below is a structure of double layer MCPCB.

(Stack_up_of_double_layers_metal_core_PCB)

From the stack up of double layers MCPCB, we can see it consists of a single layer MCPCB and a double sided FR4 PCB, so it needs an additional pressing process to laminate the thermal conductivity and FR4 PCB. Compared with normal FR4, this structure needs more technology and experience on laminating of two layers together with metal core.

There are two layers copper trace on the surface of MCPCB, can we call it as double sided MCPCB like single layer MCPCB?

The answer is NO, because they have different structure and perform different properties. In our next post, we will show you the differences between double sided MCPCB and 2 layers MCPCB.

  • Multi-layer MCPCB

Same as FR4 PCB, for those copper traces more than 2 layers, we named them Multi-layer MCPCB. Its structure is same as FR4 PCB, but more complex to fabricate. Below is a typical stack up of a 4 layers MCPCB:

(Stack_up_of_4L_MCPCB)

Contrast with single layer or double layers MCPCB, multi-layer MCPCB can populate more components and achieve better performance in electronical performance.

Why Choose Metal core PCB?

Metal core PCB offers a great list of advantages when apply in a high-power application, below we listing some benefits of it:

  • Excellent heat dissipation
  • Lower thermal expansion than FR4 PCB
  • Dimensional stability than polyimide FPC
  • Great durability
  • Long lifetime
  • High utilization rate of space due to the heating can be transferred quickly
  • High strength and lightweight than FR4 PCB
  • Cost-effective

Where can we use Metal core PCB?

Metal core PCB can be used in high-power filed where requires fast cooling, good heat dissipation characteristics, the following popular applications may give you a guideline:

  • LED lighting
  • Power suppliers
  • Power conversion system
  • Automotive electronics
  • Telecom industrial
  • Photovoltaics
  • Semiconductors

With more than 16 years manufacturing experience, Best Technology is one of MCPCB supply leaders in Asia with good metal core PCB capability, we are so confident that we can provide you high quality, fast delivery and excellent one-stop service. Warm welcome to contact us if you have inquiries.

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Why HASL Surface Treatment Is Not Suitable For Sink Pad MCPCB?

Thursday, January 12th, 2023

Sink Pad MCPCB is a special type of metal core PCB (short for MCPCB), the working principle is through the sink heat pad solder direct to the metal substrate (commonly copper or alumina substrate), so people also call it as Thermal pad MCPCB. Sink Pad MCPCB is popular recently due to its excellent heat dissipation and thermal conductivity. Since the copper is easy to get oxidation, coating a metal film is good for protecting the surface, such as ENIG, ENEPIG or OSP. Lead-free hot air solder leveling (HASL) also is a kind of surface treatment, but why we don’t suggest to apply it? Let me explain with you.

Why is HASL not recommended?

  • Substrate

From the substrate aspect, due to the HASL process is to first dip the solder on the circuit board, then dip the solder flux in the melting, and finally blow off the excess solder on the printed board with the hot compressed air in the air knife through the two air knives, at the same time to eliminate the excess solder in the metal hole, so as to get a bright, smooth and uniform solder coating. Since most of customers prefer choose copper substrate as the base material (Aluminum core sink pad PCB thermal conductivity only could be 235 W/m.k, while Copper core sink pad PCB thermal conductivity could reach to 400 W/m.k). However, copper base is much heavier than alumina core, during the hot air knife scraping tin process, the copper surface is easy to be scratched and get damaged to affect the poor appearance and a short circuit risk. This is one of the reasons why HASL is not suitable for Sink Pad PCB.

  • Structure

From the structure of the Sink Pad MCPCB, the LEDs Chip Thermal Pads solder contact to the copper substrate directly, no dielectric between LEDs heat out pads and the Metal core. As you can see the stack up as below, what Sink PAD PCB laminate is pure film, the adhesion is not very good, so there’s a risk of delamination if do HASL (lead free).

  • Chemical

From the chemical aspect, due to the HASL (lead free) has the process of return the film, the potion will react with the copper chemically, which will bring the poor coating and poor adhesion, so we don’t recommend to use HASL on the Sink Pad MCPCB.

Advances of the Sink Pad MCPCB

  • Thermal conductivity 235 To 400 W/m.
  • Super good heat dissipation
  • Power LED junction temperature
  • Longer LED life
  • Most economical direct thermal path solution
  • Direct thermal path
  • Different structure can be made according different design needs

When can we use Sink Pad MCPCB?

With so many kinds of PCB types, when and where can we use the Sink Pad MCPCB?

  1. The copper metal core has high density, strong thermal conductivity and carries heat effectively. That means, it is possible to dissipate the same heat using a smaller sink-pad MCPCB, as compared to regular MCPCBs. So it is suitable be used in small applications which need to apply in high temperature.
  2. Very popular with high power LED mounting, sink-pad MCPCBs with their thermoelectric separation structure, can minimize the lumens depreciation of the LED, thereby prolonging the life of the LED lamp. Sink-pad MCPCBs are suitable for mounting high-power LED lamps and COB packaged LEDs. Moreover, manufacturers can tailor the sink-pad MCPCB to match the different design requirement needs of any LED.

Best Technology is a professional Sink Pad MCPCB manufacturer for more than 16 years in Asia, we have strong engineering team and specialized sales team can provide most suitable solutions for your applications in a very short time. What we can provide not only include single layer Sink Pad MCPCB, we also can produce 2 layers, double layer and multi-layer Sink Pad MCPCB. View https://www.bestpcbs.com/products/sinkpad-board.htm to know our capability about Sink Pad MCPCB.

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Why it is difficult to make different copper thicknesses on different layers for MCPCB

Friday, October 14th, 2022

With the development of technology, we need the MCPCB to be multi-layer. 1 layer MCPCB is not enough for making some high-quality precision equipment and products.

So now, 2 layers MCPCB becoming more and more popular.

Normally, we make 1OZ, 2OZ and 3OZ copper thickness for each layer for aluminum or copper core/base PCB. The thickness of copper for top and bottom layer are the same.

But recently, more and more customers want the MCPCB to be made with different copper thicknesses on top and bottom layer.

For example, they want 1OZ copper on top layer and 3OZ on bottom layer.

But we don’t suggest to do that, why? Let me do some explanations.

  1. Different copper thicknesses on top and bottom layer will increase the difficulty for production. Because we put the MCPCB into etching liquid to do the etching, we need to use film to protect one side from etching liquid, but if it can’t be protected well completely, it will be etching too, then it is rejected.
  2. Different copper thicknesses on different sided will cause the PCB twist finally if the stack up is double sided (See below double sided stack up)

But if the stack up is 2L (See below 2L stack up), the FR4 PCB is twisted then will affect the lamination for FR4 PCB and aluminum/copper base.

  1. Due to increase the difficulty of production, so the price will be increased too.
  2. Lead time will be longer than normal since the production process is much more completed.
  3. The reliability is not good.

Finally, it is better to do the same copper thickness for each layer for multi-layer MCPCB.

For knowing more knowledge about MCPCB, please email to sales8@bestpcbs.com

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Types of Metal Bases Utilized in MCPCB

Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

What is metal core printed circuit?

Metal core printed circuit board is abbreviated as MCPCB. And namely, the core or the base material of MCPCB is a metal instead of the traditional FR4/CEM1-3.

Types of metal bases used in MCPCB

The metal cores of the thermal PCB can be aluminum, copper and steel alloys. Apart from being cheaper than copper, aluminum is known for its good heat transferring and dissipation abilities, which is the most common used. However, copper is considered to be a better performer. So, why does the aluminum become the first choice for the material of the MCPCB?

Aluminum base—The aluminum PCB offers good heat dissipation and heat transferring ability. Since they are also light in weight, the aluminum core PCBs are widely used in LED products.

Aluminum Core PCB

Copper base—The copper core board features a better performance than aluminum. But customers will usually choose the aluminum instead of copper, for it is relatively expensive. Also, compared with the aluminum, the copper is heavier and involves a tough machining process.

Copper Core PCB

Various base metals and their properties

Metal Base MaterialThermal Conductivity
(W/m-K)
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion
(¬Ķm/m-¬įC)
Aluminum88-25125
Copper38617

Based on the table, it can be known that although the thermal conductivity of the copper is better than that of the aluminum, its ability of thermal expansion does not perform better than the aluminum.

Therefore, there are some reasons why the aluminum is the first choice for the material of the MCPCB, including the lower cost compared to copper, light weight, excellent durability and its heat transferring capabilities.

And these are also the reasons that the MCPCB is widely used in the LED products as we mentioned in the last article.

So, this is the end of this article. In case if you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us via email at  sales@bestpcbs.com. We are fully equipped to handle your PCB or MCPCB manufacturing requirements.

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Thermal Conductivity—Aluminum PCB vs Ceramic PCB Series 2

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

Last time we have talked about the structure difference between the aluminum PCB and ceramic PCB. So, based on the different structures, whose thermal conductivity is better?

We have known that a single layer aluminum PCB is made up of copper layer, dielectric layer and aluminum layer. Meanwhile, the dielectric layer is the decisive factor affecting the thermal conductivity.

Generally, its thermal conductivity ranges from 0.8 to 3.0 W/m-K, but can up to 8.0 W/m-K. So, in terms of heat dissipation, the aluminum substrate does much better than FR-4 substrate. And it is a good choice for LED lighting products with high power.

Aluminum PCB

However, the heat-conducting property of ceramic PCB is superior to that of the aluminum PCB.

Since ceramic itself is an insulating material with a great heat-conducting property, it does not need a dielectric layer. Therefore, the heat can be dissipated directly through the ceramic.

Because of its excellent performance in heat dissipation, it is particularly suitable for the lighting product with ultra high power and those products which have a high demand of heat dissipation.

Ceramic PCB

To summarize, clearly, we can know from the table below that ceramic PCB does better than aluminum PCB in terms of thermal conductivity and heat dissipation. And this is mainly because of the dielectric layer, which is related to the functions of bonding, insulation and heat conduction.

The better the heat conduction performance of the insulating layer, the more conducive it is to the diffusion of heat generated during the operation to the device, hence it will be more conducive to lower the operating temperature of the device. That is to say, aluminum PCB will be subject to the dielectric layer, while ceramic PCB will not be restricted.    

And, this is the end of the comparison of the thermal conductivity between aluminum PCB and ceramic PCB. If you still have any questions about them, please feel free to contact us.

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Differences in Structure‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒAluminum PCB vs Ceramic PCB Series 1

Monday, March 21st, 2022

It is supposed that we are familiar with both aluminum PCB and ceramic PCB. But if juxtaposing them, which one will be better by one tally? So, we are about to talk about some differences between them in terms of structure.

Aluminum PCB

Aluminum substrate namely uses aluminum as substrate, which has a good heat dissipation capacity. Generally, it is single-sided, and also can be double-sided while multi-layer aluminum PCB is a little bit hard to manufacture. Besides, a single layer aluminum PCB is made up of copper layer, dielectric layer and aluminum layer.

Structure of Aluminum PCB

Ceramic PCB

Ceramic PCB namely uses ceramic as substrate. Apart from the material, the structure is the biggest difference between ceramic PCB and aluminum PCB. Since ceramic itself is an insulating material, it does not need a dielectric layer. Its structure is as follows.

Structure of Ceramic PCB

Therefore, whether there is a dielectric layer is the main difference in structure between aluminum PCB and ceramic PCB. And dielectric layer plays an important role in thermal conductivity. So, what is the relationship between dielectric layer and thermal conductivity? And whose thermal conductivity is better between aluminum PCB and ceramic PCB?

We will talk about it next time. And if you would like to know the answer, please feel free to contact us, or you can continuously follow our blog site, we will keep updating more information about the differences between aluminum PCB and ceramic PCB on it.

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What is LED Thermal Management?

Monday, December 20th, 2021

LED lighting (Light Emitting Diodes) can provide more lumens per watt than incandescent bulbs, and the amount of light emitted does not depend on the size or shape of the bulb. It has significantly smaller footprint, higher efficiencies and lasts a long time.

One of the big challenges of LED lighting is LED Thermal Management, since around 70% of the electricity used by an LED becomes heat, and LEDs work best around room temperature, if the heat is not managed with some sort of thermal management solution, it can result in reduced efficiency in the LED, shorten the life of the bulb itself, and possibly causing damage to other components near it. In this context one of the best places to start with would be thermal management within the Metal Core PCB.

Thermal Management in MCPCB

If you are using LED power, there are chances that you would encounter problem at or above 80 watts. For example if you are considering application like the street lighting which might require up to 150 watts per lamp, led thermal resistance at such high power point would be a cardinal concern.

MCPCB can be created using a wide range of heat-dissipating materials without changing the LED component.√ā¬†From copper which offers better thermal conductivity to aluminum which is cheaper to specialized MCPCB using coated steel, ceramics or many other options.√ā¬†To address the LED thermal resistance issues and achieve optimum thermal management using LED, external heat sinks can also be used.√ā¬†This facilitates dissipation of exceptionally large amount of heat.

In√ā¬†fact on an average√ā¬†MCPCBs√ā¬†have several different shapes and degrees of heat dissipation profile.√ā¬†However the most challenging ones are no doubt the types in which the LED applications have to be stored in airtight enclosure to protect from the environment around.√ā¬†Thermal management in this case could be anything from air-to-air heat exchangers to using internal fans to even heat transfer via a series of conduction and convection alternatives.

Thermal Management of MCPCB

Thermal management is important for the electronic systems to encompass the processes along with the technologies.The main objective of thermal management is to ensure the temperature remains consistent for the functional and absolute maximum limits.√ā¬†The temperature exceeding the limit may cause destruction physically or may lead to a system failure.√ā¬†Therefore, MCPCB is essential because efficient thermal management increases the feasibility, enhances durability, and reduces the failure rates.

It also enables the high circuit density design for the users.√ā¬†Basically, thermal conductivity is a specific material from a property with the ability to conduct proper heat management as soon as it enters into the system.√ā¬†The conventional PCB share less thermal conductivity and also not capable enough to meet the increased demand for the thermal constraint required for high power dissipation PCB.√ā¬†The best alternative to solve this problem is the Metal Core Printed Circuit Board.

If you have any questions about MCPCB, welcome to contact Best Technology.

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What kind of MCPCB is suitable for your electronic project?

Saturday, November 13th, 2021

If you need a Metal Core PCB for your project, there are some different types can be selected, the selection of the MCPCB type depends upon the type of application and project you are performing. This blog will provide you information about the metal based PCB, which will also illustrate the construction, uses and distinguishing features of the MCPCB boards, hope it can help you to choose the most appropriate MCPCB for your subsequent projects. 

Types of Metal Clad PCB 

There are many different types of the MCPCB depending upon the type of base material, currently the most common metal used for MCPCB manufacturers are Aluminum, Copper and steel alloy. The selection of the base material depends upon the type and nature of the electronic project.

1) Aluminium core PCB

Aluminium is a better material that we can use for the core of a board. The reason is that it has high heat transfer capability. Moreover, it also shows the heat dissipation capacity to the maximum extent. Aluminium is also relavitively cheaper as compared to the copper material. Therefore, it represents the cheaper and better manufacturing of the printed circuit boards.

2) Copper metal core PCB

Copper is the best material for the core of MCPCB, since this material shows the best heat transfer capability. Moreover, this material is also fit for the excellent heat dissipation during the process. These features save the PCBs from the thermal issues.

The copper core PCB shows the best thermal conductivity as compared to other PCBs. The normal value of the thermal conductivity for these PCBs is 2.0W/mk. However, we can get this value of thermal conductivity up to 12W/mk in the case of insulating layer. Therefore, these types of the PCBs have the tremendous use in the high-power LED lights.

3) Stainless steel PCB

Another important material that has an excessive use in the metal core PCBs is the¬†Stainless steel PCB, which¬†also¬†can¬†provide better capability of connectivity and high performance, and it’s¬†more rigid than both aluminum and copper, but thermal conductivity is lower than them too.¬†

copper core & aluminum core pcb

Stack up of Metal core PCB

The stack up and construction of the MCPCB depends on the number of layers in the PCB. The PCB with the single layer, two layers and multiple layers have the different methods of stack and construction.

1) Single Layer Metal Core PCB

A single layer MCPCB consists of a metal base, Dielectric Layer, Copper Circuit Layer. The advantage is that it provides a better connection between components of the PCB, and it’s efficient at the heat dissipation in the high-power generator systems. These PCBs have the holes on the board for the mounting process of the electronic components. It can also have the screws around the chassis of the board for the arrangement of the components.

Single Layer√ā Metal Core PCB
  • Two (Double) Layers MCPCB¬†/ Double Sided More Core PCB

In some cases, there’s not enough space on the single layer PCB for the mounting of enough electronic components. So¬†we need to use the two layers¬†conducting material to resolve this issue.

Regarding the MCPCBs with two layers of copper conductor, there are two basic types, one is Two (Double) layers MCPCB, the other one is Double Sided More Core PCB, which depends on your demand of the mounting of the electronic components, the components can be soldered on both sides on Double Sided More Core PCB.

If you would like to know more details of the differences between Double Sided MCPCB and Double/Two Layers MCPCB, welcome to click following link.

Double Sided More Core PCB

3) Multi Layers metal core PCB

The Multi¬†Layers¬†MCPCB¬†have the more complex and integrated circuit/construction, which can be populated more components on the boards, put signal and ground layer into seperated layers, to achieve better performance in electrical performance. It’s best for heat transferring from electrical components to the chassis of the board. The use of these boards is tremendous in the digital and analogue devices.

Multi Layers metal core PCB

If you have any questions about MCPCB, welcome to contact Best Technology.

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About the “heat” problem in PCB & MCPCB

Monday, October 18th, 2021

For high-power products, the concept of “heat” is often mentioned, which is especially important in high-power products. It not only determines the service life of the product, but also relates to whether the product can work properly.

We will explain the “heat” problem in circuit board design from three aspects: the generation of heat, the impact of heat on the product and the “heat” in the system layout.

1. Heat generation:

Heat generation in a system takes several paths:

1) Power consumption of the component itself

2) Efficiency of power conversion devices

3) High frequency signal conversion heating

4) Power consumption of contact resistance and wire resistance during signal transmission

2. Impact of fever on products

The operating temperature of components is generally below 80 degree, and the operating temperature of commonly used capacitors and resistors is generally controlled below 50 degree. If the temperature of the system is not controlled, the following conditions may occur:

1) The temperature rise will cause the working parameters of components to change, resulting in the unstable working performance of the whole system.

2) Temperature rise will accelerate the aging of components, affecting the accuracy and life of components.

3) Temperature rise will cause circuit board deformation and poor connection of components.

General heat dissipation components arrangement

3. “Hot” considerations in system layout

1) Selection and layout of the chassis: choose materials with good thermal conductivity, such as aluminum alloy

2) Black heat absorbing material is coated inside the shell to enhance the function of radiation heat absorption

3) The shell is closely combined with the components with high calorific value to conduct heat dissipation

4) A large number of heating components should be placed at the edge of the plate to shorten the heat transfer path. Heat-resistant components should be kept away from light sources.

5) In the design process, the appropriate wire width and copper thickness should be selected, and the influence of wiring density on the current-carrying capacity should also be considered. Copper foil should be filled in the gap of the board surface as far as possible for heat conduction. The heat conduction hole can help effectively heat dissipation and reduce local temperature.

In the design of circuit board, how to effectively control the temperature of the system is a problem that must be considered.

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