A Guide to Different Solder Mask Colors

Today we discuss different Solder Mask Colors for PCBs. If ask any person with some knowledge of electronics to describe a PCB, and people probably describe it as a green-colored board that serves as the base in electronics. While this green color is the solder mask layer. It can be any color other than green.

What is Solder Mask Layer?

After PCB fabrication, the copper traces on the board typically face the risk of oxidation and corrosion due to environmental exposure. The most reliable way to prevent this and increase the life of the PCB is to provide a protective coating known as a solder mask layer.

The functions of the solder mask layer on the PCB board are shown:

  • Preventing the physical breakage of a conductor circuit
  • Preventing short circuit from bridge connection in the soldering process
  • Preventing the copper layer from oxidation
  • Prevent short circuit between conductive lines and solder joints when proceeding reflow soldering, wave soldering, and manual welding
  • Its high Insulating brings the possibility to the high density of PCB boards

Different PCB/Solder Mask Colors

Solder mask colors do not have any effect or impact on a PCB’s performance. Solder masks lend security & identity to PCBs, and their color represents the PCB’s finishing color. In recent years, assemblers have been using other colors rather than green to achieve contrast or brightness. Some assemblers also refer to colors of the solder mask as PCB color codes.

Why is green color mostly used?

Green is the most ideal solder mask color for PCBs. Green color ensures clear visibility of the components placed on it. The contrast between the traces, planes, and vacant spaces are very high on a green PCB. The color also offers the right contrast with the white legend. Green solder masks have the PCB color code #008C4A.

Red solder masks are another popular due to the contrast and visibility they offer for traces, planes, and no-copper areas. Red solder masks have the PCB color code #D0011B. Red also makes the PCB look bold and compelling. If the board is visible from the outside of a finished product, the red solder mask will bring a sense of freshness compared to stale industry colors. What’s more, red also makes the silkscreen stand out well and allows for easy cleaning of flux residues.

Blue solder masks have the PCB color code #4990E2. Most used Arduino boards contain blue solder masks. Assemblers of these boards use blue against the silkscreen to achieve high contrast. The color also enhances the PCB’s aesthetic appeal. It is even suitable for mounting on LCDs as it doesn’t produce bright background colors or sharp contrasting edges. However, blue’s contrast is shallow compared to green and red solder masks on a standard circuit board. You may need to use magnification to identify manufacturing-related defects.

White PCB color code #ECECDF, white solder masks are typically used for LCB applications. They can also make any artwork on the silkscreen layer stand out with high contrast of black printing. However, they have the lowest contrast of all PCBs on a general level – they’re hard to display correctly even under lighting. Cleaning them, too, requires a lot of effort as you need to remove the stains to make the panel look neat. As such, white solder masks are only used on a selective basis.

Black solder masks offer more visibility than the white ones, and while the contrast is minimal, they make it easier to see large components and labeling. Black also looks great on LCD back panels. When black is put on the background, the eyes aren’t distracted by the screen’s details. That said, black solder masks can cause an increase in heat, which can discolor the silkscreen (turning it into light brown during the reflow process). The assembler who opts to use black must place a temperature sensor on the board. The black solder masks are available in matte and gloss finishes. Black PCBs using the color code #000000.

Yellow achieves the same contrast between planes, no-copper areas, and traces as green, but its silkscreen doesn’t offer a high contrast with the board. The assembler can address the silkscreen issue through black silk printing, even though it might not bring the desired result. Yellow PCBs are easy to clean when it comes to light-colored residues. If you have certain routes to highlight, consider using a dark yellow solder board to capture attention. Yellow solder masks have the PCB color code #F6A624.

Purple is the perfect color choice for achieving a good contrast between the planes and traces on the surface. Purple solder masks are typically used for submarine PCBs. However, they’re not the best for displaying white silk printing. If you’re looking for a vibrant color to complement an immersion gold surface, purple might be a good option to consider – though it’s going to cost more than other PCB colors due to its unique and vibrant outlook.

You will get more color options. You can choose the color according to your application.

You may also like : 60/40 Vs 63/37 Solder – What are their Similarities and Differences

Does the Type of Solder Mask Finish Affect PCB Performance?

In a word: no. Whether your solder mask color is gloss or matte, it don’t affect PCB Performance.

The aesthetic is what should guide your solder color choice. Matte finishes are slightly softer and dull, so they won’t reflect a lot of light directly. They are also more susceptible to scratches than their glossy counterparts. However, they make it easy to identify PCB issues, as they appear darker and are easier to analyze in good lighting.

Glossy finishes tend to be harder but lighter, which helps them reflect more light. However, the PCB details aren’t as often lost in harsher light as in non-gloss finishes. Glossy colors also make the scratches less apparent. But you should steer clear of highly reflective gloss finishes as they can make inspection more challenging.

It’s worth mentioning that both gloss finish and matte finish cost almost the same and are subject to the same production process, so the choice is more about aesthetic than anything else.

PCBWay Colorful or transparent solder mask PCBs

PCB is one of the most crucial parts of any electrical and electronic devices. The quality of PCB determines the quality of all these devices. The modern technology makes possible the increasing miniaturization of integrated circuits, higher packing density and smaller layout dimension, hence the higher demands on PCB arise. PCBWay provides all PCB related services.

You can use PCBWay.com for Colorful or transparent solder mask PCBs.

Recently PCBWay has updated the service which can produce pink, orange, grey, even the transparent solder mask. Moreover, if people are interested in the Black core PCB, they can also provide.

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Recently changes by PCBWay

 

Please kindly click here for order https://www.pcbway.com/HighQualityOrderOnline.aspx

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  • Value for money – Good quality PCBs at very low prices. because they are not
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  • PCB & PCBA Under One Roof – PCBWay also offers Assembly service for our PCB customers.
  • Quality Assurance – We adopt most of the testing and inspecting equipment used in the industry, such as Flying Probe Tester, X-Ray Inspection Machine, Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) Machine.

For more information please visit official website of PCBWay.

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Hi, I'm Harshvardhan Mishra. Tech enthusiast and IT professional with a B.Tech in IT, PG Diploma in IoT from CDAC, and 6 years of industry experience. Founder of HVM Smart Solutions, blending technology for real-world solutions. As a passionate technical author, I simplify complex concepts for diverse audiences. Let's connect and explore the tech world together! If you want to help support me on my journey, consider sharing my articles, or Buy me a Coffee! Thank you for reading my blog! Happy learning! Linkedin

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