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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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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
(µm/m-°C)
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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Why is the MCPCB Widely Used in the LED Products?
Saturday, April 30th, 2022

MCPCB refers to metal core printed circuit board. It has a good performance in heat dissipation, so it is often used in LED products.

The advantages of MCPCB

Prevent overheating: 

LEDs tend to get overheated very quickly. If a metal core printed circuit board is used, it solves overheating by transferring the energy from one side to another.

Improve the material’s reliability: 

The MCPCB plays a key role in the elements that heats up overly at times. It helps to divert the heat from one side to another where the heat has vanished, which improves the product’s life, making it much more durable.

Adapt to a high temperature: 

Unlike the FR4 technology, the metal core printed circuit board can adapt to products with a high temperature, hence it proves to be very useful for LED products.

LED PCB

Why is the MCPCB widely used in the LED products?

Since it is well-known that the LED products will emit a lot of heat. Based on the advantages, the metal core PCB can transfer heat quickly and prevent overheating. And Aluminum PCB is mostly used in metal core PCBs, for they can operate longer than other metals and longer shelf life.

Moreover, metal core PCB has a high conductive ability, hence there remains ample space for maximum LEDs, which allows producing sufficient light and achieving high performance.

Therefore, based on the advantages of the MCPCB, it is the prior option of the material for the LED products.

So, this is the end of the 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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Differences in Structure——Aluminum 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 are the factors affecting cost of the MCPCB?
Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

Best Technology considers all the factors affecting the cost of MCPCB production while formulating final cost structure. Many customers contact us to know the factors which affecting the price. The factors are Size & Thickness, Number of layers, Cu Thickness, Thermal Conductivity, Surface Finishing etc.

Size & Thickness: Since larger boards require more material.

As you know, 1.6mm is the standard thickness, if you choose non-standar thickness (Thicker or thinner than 1.6mm), sometimes the price will need to increase, it depend on the layers of your MCPCB.

The different number of layers and manufacturer technology:It’s the main factor for affecting the manufacturing price, therefore the circuit board designing is done in such a manner that it comprises a minimum number of circuit layers. 

Thermal Conductivityis one of the most important performances of MCPCB, the higher the thermal conductivity is, the more expensive the price is. At present, the highest thermal conductivity we can provide is 8W/m.K, the commonly used thermal conductivity is 1-3W/m.K

Cu Thickness: The cost will be more expensive if the copper is thicker. We can provide 0.5 OZ, 1.0 OZ, 2.0 OZ, 3.0 OZ, up to 10 OZ.

Surface Finishing: The common Surface Finishing for MCPCB is HASL_LF, OSP  ENIG (The normal thickness of gold is 1u’’). ENIG is more expensive since the gold is expensive and it with good performance for protecting the surface from oxidized.

ENIEPIG is good for wire bonding (the normal thickness of gold is 3u”).

We always strive to formulate a competitive price structure for our customers, this enables to have a considerable reduction in the total prices and deliver superior quality services to them. If you would like to know more about MCPCB, please directly contact our sales Tammy

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What are the Differences between Double Sided MCPCB and Double/Two Layers MCPCB?
Friday, August 14th, 2020

Metal Core PCB are differentiated on the basis of their construction, which can be divided into following types: single layer, double/two layers, double sided, and multi layer. The double sided and double/two layers MCPCB are commonly used in advanced electronic circuits, some people may be confused about them due to their similar names. So in this blog I’d like to share with you the differences between the two types. 

Actually the main difference is the double sided and double/two layers MCPCB have different layout due to the positioning of the metal core.

Double/two layers MCPCB

As you can see the following stack up, the metal core is at the bottom, with two copper layers on top side, the dielectric layer is between the copper layer and the bottom metal base. In short, the conductor layers is in same side of the metal core. The components can only be assembled on the top layer.

double/two mcpcb stack up
double/two mcpcb

Double sidedMCPCB

As you can see the following MCPCB stack up, the metal core is in the middle of two conductor layers. There is also a dielectric layer between the metal core and a copper layer. The metal core and conductors are connected to each other through PTH (Plated Through Hole). The components can be assembled on both the bottom and top.

double sided mcpcb stack up
double sided mcpcb
Double sided MCPCB

Both double sided and double/two layers aluminum/copper core have the good heat dissipation, reliable performance at high temperatures and excellent thermal expansibility, according to our experience, for the same design, the heat dissipation on Double Sided MCPCB is a little better than Double Layers MCPCB.

The choice of the either type will depend on customer’s application requirements. If you are still confused about the two types and their benefits for your application, please feel free to contact Tammy (Email:sales9@bestpcbs.com), the Metal Core PCB International Sales in Best Technology.

Welcome to visit our website to learn more about us, we can provide different types of MCPCB in diverse specifications.

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What is SinkPad PCB?
Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

SinkPad PCB, also called Heat Sink or DTP (direct thermal path) PCB, it is a type of Copper base PCB used in thermoelectric separation application. It generally used for high power LED, the pad of LED touch the copper base directly, so that the heat generated by LED will dissipate quickly, which can achieve the best heat dissipation and conduction.

SinkPad PCB
SinkPad PCB

Thermoelectric separation technology is based on the higher heat dissipation requirements of high power electronic products, which needs to meet two basic conditions:

1.LED pad touches the base substrate directly.

It means we need to increase the path of the LED pad to the base substrate to accelerate the heat emission from the base material.

Two layers SinkPad PCB Stack up
Two layers SinkPad PCB Stack up

2.Higher heat dissipation substrate materials

Copper has a thermal conductivity of 401W/m·K, while aluminum has a thermal conductivity of 237W/m·K. Obviously, copper has better thermal conductivity because of its high density, high mass. Therefore, a SinkPad PCB usually means a SinkPad copper base PCB.

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Why do High Power LED mostly use COB light sources? What are the advantages?
Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

If we observe carefully, we will find that most of the high-quality surface light lamps in the market use COB light source, such as LED spotlights, Automotive, LED Backlight for LED TV, etc. What are the advantages of such choice?

Automotive
Automotive
LED Backlight for LED TV
LED Backlight for LED TV
LED spotlights
LED spotlights

First of all, we need to how the COB differ from the common MCPCB. “Chip-On-Board” Metal Core PCB is a type of MCPCB used in thermoelectric separation application. By using COB, the micro-chip (also known as “die”) directly touch the metal core where the heat dissipate, and electrically interconnect the trace of circuit board (wire-bonding) so that power supply can be provided.

Stack up
Stack up

Advantages of utilizing COB MCPCB over common MCPCB:

  1. High thermal conductivity(137W/m.K), High insulation, High pressure resistance
  2. High reflectivity: mirror aluminum≥98% (The reflectivity of Taiyo Soldermask used in common MCPCB is 75-80%, the highest is only 90%)
aluminum pcb
BAS15191
metal core pcb
BAS15192

Since the COB is packaged directly on the MCPCB, it’s easy assembly for high powers LED, direct heat dissipation through the substrate can not only reduce the manufacturing process and cost of the bracket, but also have the advantage of reducing heat dissipation resistance. So the spotlight produced by COB technology will be lighter, more flexible and able to realize more possibilities on the stage.

If you are also interested in COB, please feel free to contact me, I’m looking forward to communicating more with you.

You’re welcome to visit our website to learn more about us. https://www.bestpcbs.com/products/COB-MCPCB.htm

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Aluminum PCB LED Strip
Friday, March 20th, 2020

With the development of LED technology, LED power keeps increasing. This is closely related to heat dissipation. In order to resolve heat dissipation of LED with big power, aluminum-based copper-clad laminate is highly applied in led strip field.

Aluminum PCB(metal-based heat dissipation board) is a kind of unique metal-based copper-clad laminate. It has good head conductivity, electrical insulation and machining performance. Single-sided aluminum pcb consists of three layers of structures:circuit layer(copper foil), insulation layer and metal-based layer. Circuit layer requires large current-carrying capability, so we should use thick copper foil(generally 35um to 280um). The insulation layer for heat conduction is the core technology of aluminum pcb. It is general composed of special polymer filled with special ceramic. Small heat resistance, excellent viscoelasticity and anti-aging are all its advantages. And it is also able to bear mechanical and heat stress. Metal-based layer is the supporting component of aluminum pcb, and it needs to have high heat conductivity, so we generally use aluminum board, or copper board(which can provide higher conductivity). And it is suitable for regular machining such as drilling, punching and cutting. Techniques include gold plating, solder levelling, osp, ENIG, lead-free ROHS and so on.

single-layer-mcpcb-stackup
single-layer-mcpcb-stackup

Aluminum pcb is commonly seen in LED products and has two sides(the front side and the reverse side). The white face is used to solder LED pin, and the other face presents natural color. It is generally painted with thermal conductivity paste and then contacted with heat conduction part. LED aluminum pcb is mainly used in power amplified mixed integrated circuits for STK series, motor cycles, automobile and electronics field.

There are many kinds of aluminum pcb for led tube, which varies based on the length and width of led tube. Aluminum pcb for led tube is popular with people due to its good quality, and durable and energy-saving features.

led strip
led strip

Aluminum pcb for led tube can save electricity as high as 70%. The light intensity of 12W Led tube is equal to 40w fluorescent tube. The service life of LED tube is is more than 10 times that of general fluorescent tube. It can be free of maintenance. Also, there is no need to change LED tube, barratter and starter frequently.

Generally, fluorescent tube has high temperature inside and needs to be used for more than 10 hours everyday in most cases. This problems are perfectly resolved by aluminum pcb for led tube.

If you have any queries, comments or suggestions on aluminum pcb for led, welcome to leave your message.

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LED Lighting: MC-PCBs
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

LEDs are pretty hot nowadays! Not just the biggest tendency in lighting, but also require a lot of heat dissipation that standard PCB material just can’t handle. So what’s the solution? Metal PCBs. Standard PCB material typically has a thermal conductivity of 0.5 W/m K; which is not adequate for the current high intensity LEDs. With MCPCB materials you can increase the life of your LEDs with better heat dissipation.

What’s the thermal conductivity of MCPCB material?

Up to now, Best Technology has helped many customers with their MCPCB needs and have found the most common questions as shown below:

What is the most cost effective MCPCB?

How do you layout an MCPCB?

Can I get a different dielectric thickness between the metal and circuit layer?

Can I put plated through holes on an MCPCB?

Can I do more than one layer with an MCPCB?

How quick can a MCPCB be manufactured?

What Metals can be used?

The professional staff at Best Technology can help you resolve these questions and even more. Need help getting started? Contact us today.

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