With respect to printed circuit boards, there are certain types that are useful for your electronic projects. These include 1-layer PCB, 2 layer PCB, 6 layer printed circuit boards and more. However, regarding PCB fabrication, the most common ones are 1-layer, 2 layers PCB, and 4-layer PCB.
Therefore there’s a need for you to know which of these you will be using before you start with the design of your PCB. Furthermore, you’ll need to know which PCBs are better depending on the project. This is because it determines the board structure’s complexity in the PCB industry.
Generally, multilayer printed circuit boards are useful in very complicated devices, while 1-layer or 2-layer PCB are for the simple ones. This is why PCB engineers prefer to work with multilayer PCBs because they offer great signal integrity. Furthermore, a 2 layer PCB is the most common of all PCB types. This is because of its ability to accommodate interconnects on each of its sides.
In this article, our focus is on the two layer PCB. We will also state the differences between a 2 layer PCB and a 4-layer PCB. Please continue reading to learn more.
What are the Benefits of the 2 Layer PCB?
These circuit boards are usually applicable in the computer and consumer electronics. They allow segments to have higher thickness as well as simplify tracks laying. Also, just like the standard printed circuit boards, the 2-layer pcbs are composed of substrate materials that are non-conductive. Furthermore, they allow higher thickness of the component.
This is happening because the designers have an additional layer that they want to add tracks to help interface these segments, thereby creating room for the mounting of components on the other layer or introducing additional functionalities closely.
Furthermore, another benefit of making use of the 2 layer PCB is its warmth distribution, which the additional layer offers. This is achievable by boring into the copper in order to create tracks, thereby sparing this additional layer, rather than deleting it.
What are the Applications of the 2 Layer PCB?
New and old designs feature similar many use cases. Differences in surface mount technology, extreme differences in temperature, immersion techniques, and solder masks are just some of the cases where the 2 layer PCB is applicable.
While the 2-layer PCB is useful in computers, they are also widely used in consumer electronics like smartphones, televisions, wearables, smartphones, and radios. Despite their usefulness in computers and consumer electronics, the two layer PCBs are useful in other areas such as medical equipment, telecommunications, industrial applications, aerospace and automotive industries, and lighting.
Differences Between a 2-Layer PCB and a 4-layer PCB
Comparing both the 2 layer PCB and the 4-layer type at macro level, it will be much easier to use the 2 layer PCB for your project because they offer better conduction, ease of use, and easy working support. Better still, it is advisable that you check both types on different important aspects one after the other as explained in the different sections below.
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2 Layer PCB vs 4 Layer PCB: Comparing their Stackups
It is easy to develop or demarcate the 2 layer PCB. This is possible because it has a simple design. Furthermore, the topmost and first layer is layer 1. This is because it plays a huge role in conducting the signal.
This layer is also referred to as a signal layer. Also, this layer is copper made and the copper layer’s thickness is around 0.0014 in. When making this layer, you will use around 1oz of copper. These values are typical when developing printed circuit boards having an eventual thickness of approximately 0.062 in.
Furthermore, in so many cases, a customization of the thickness happens in line with the design of the device. This is why there is a change in the parameters in line to these customized dimensions. Also, you can easily tell from a 2 layer PCB’s design that it’s very simple.
From the name, a 4 layer PCB is stacked up elaborately. It usually possesses a glass core or FR4 core on which two prepreg sheets would be fitted on the two sides length-wise. Then 2 copper sheets then enclose the prepreg sheets on the two sides.
Two copper sheets further enclose these prepreg sheets on both sides.
The layers present in 4 layer printed circuit boards are all interconnected at specific joints making use of soldering. In addition, the placement of these interconnects are done on the lower and upper outermost layers of copper.
Therefore, the stackup or design of 4 layer printed circuit boards is more elaborate in contrast to a 2 layer printed circuit board.
2 Layer PCB vs 4 Layer PCB: Comparing their Designs
The design of a 2 layer PCB offers a better surface area to PCB designers to house a conductor pattern. Because 2 layers are present, it has a surface layer that is twice that of a 1 layer PCB. Vias aid in allowing trace routing reaching the PCB’s other side.
Considering natural reasons, a design of a 4 layer PCB provides more and better surface area in contrast to those of a 2 layer PCB. Also, the 4 layer PCB’s design is more elaborate and more complex compared to the 2 layer type. The prepregs that attach in-between the lower and outer layers need pressure and heat application. These prepregs provide better insulation. This is because their design comes with a Dk value of 4.2.
To note the exact layers in a specific printed circuit board, the trick is simply counting the conductor patterns that are unique. These numbers are the same as the number of PCB layers. Therefore, in any design of 4 layer PCB, you can point the conductor patterns out quickly, which are usually four in number.
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2 Layer PCB vs 4 Layer PCB: Comparing their Functionality
With respect to the function, 2 layer PCBs don’t exhibit propagation delay. It becomes a simple thing to do when you define microstrip traces on a ground plane, because there is no hindrance as a result of the lesser layers present in the design.
Also, a 4 layer PCB’s functionality may reveal some issues with respect to the impedance or give some delays in the propagation, as this signal will have to handle more layers. Therefore, devices whereby this delay in signal doesn’t catch enough attention can make use of the 4 layer PCB. Furthermore, VCC layers offer enough heat resistance and insulation that ensures that these PCBs suit the devices that are useful for longer hours.
2 Layer PCB vs 4 Layer PCB: Comparing their Cost Factor
With respect to the design, 4 layer pcbs have more complexity. Therefore, it needs a higher expertise level as well as gaining more experience to be able to put together this type of design.
Also, the designers usually charge a higher fee to create a 4 layer PCB compared to what they will charge for the 2 layer type. Due to the elaborate design of the 4 layer PCB, it is very possible to achieve an extra reduction in the distortion as well as enhancing the propagation levels.
As a result of the high performance, which happens via better signal interference and integrity reduced to zero, the extremely high cost of the 4 layer PCB design seems justifiable to these developers. Since the4 layer printed circuit boards makes it easy for developers to be able to achieve great features in their devices, they don’t care about paying more to get this PCB type. They surely prefer to use it over the 2 layer PCB.
How Does the 2 Layer PCB and 4 Layer PCB Perform when Making Prototypes?
In the past, you could do prototyping manually. However, that is not the case today. Softwares such as Gerber, which makes the prototyping of the 2 layer PCB and 4 layer PCB very easily and quickly, exists today. Therefore, because you want to add more layers in a 4 layer pcb prototype, the process will not be more complicated in contrast to when making for the 2 layer pcb.
Furthermore, the design’s complexity doesn’t mean that the prototyping will be more problematic. This is because the entire process is made almost automated, thereby throwing any effort out from the stage of development.
Most times, businesses usually want to outsource the prototyping of their printed circuit boards to the experts. This is because these experts already boast of having an automatic setup to help in the design of all prototypes. Therefore, choosing an expert designer also ensures that getting the prototype is easy and on time. This will also be done without any errors no matter the PCB type you are developing.
These experts make use of some custom tools for the design to offer their prototyping services. Furthermore, they have working production lines, as well as instant online services for quotes and fast Gerber file uploads.
These great features permit users to possess both PCB types, without having to worry about any prototyping issues. So both 2 layer PCBs and the 4 layer type performs equally whenever people seek prototype development.
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Things to Consider before Making Your Choice Between a 2 layer PCB and a 4 Layer PCB
Making your choice between a 2 layer PCB and the 4 layer type requires that you consider some important requirements. Therefore, check the following to help you know when the 2 layer PCB or the 4 layer type will be useful or helpful.
Maximum Functionality Even in a Limited Space
The designing of a device requires you to decide the maximum components’ size that will be useful internally. Printed circuit boards, which have a smaller size and have enriched functions is the 4 layer PCB. Therefore, though these devices are compact they have great functions and you can design them better using a 4 layer PCB.
Devices with complex functionality
4 layer PCBs provide a great support for any device that can offer multiple and complex functionalities. This is why 4 layer PCBs make the most appropriate choice if you desire devices that wish to have innovative functions.
Better durability for the devices
4 layer PCBs ensure that devices have better durability. This is because devices having 4 layer PCBs have a better and more effective shelf life. This keeps performing like fresh due to these 4 layer PCBs robust functioning.
Affordability of these devices
To control these devices’ costs, you can use the 2 layer PCB to help in achieving this aim. Since this type of PCB doesn’t require a high cost for development, using the 2 layer pcb is great for any low budget device.
Developing Devices Very Quickly
If there is a need to develop a device very quickly within a very short notice then you can meet this deadline by making use of a 2 layer PCB. You can achieve this faster using a 2 layer PCB because its design is more straightforward, therefore rolling out the device will come faster.
Asides from all these factors, there’s a need to consider other factors like the density requirement, design of the signal flow, and operation frequency. These considerations also play a major role in defining the need to pick whichever you desire with respect to the comparisons between the 2 layer PCB and a 4 –layer PCB.
By now, you should understand what a 2 layer PCB is and the differences between the 2 layer PCB and a 4 layer PCB. Partnering with the right manufacturer will ensure you get the best services. We at RayMing PCB have professional engineers with vast experience that will help you realize your dreams regardless of your design’s complexity or requirements of your application. We will guide and assist you through the whole process. If you have any questions regarding this topic, please reach out to us immediately. We are always here to help you.