Standard vs. Custom Circuit Board Design

pcb design softwareCircuit boards provide support for any system they're placed in. Whether it's a life-saving surgical tool or a powerful machine used at an engineering firm, circuitry is a foundation for numerous other hardware components. Since this component is so vital and so popular, multiple options have been presented by circuit board design companies. Circuitry is available in many popular standard configurations, but custom boards have also become a popular option for different reasons.

The Basics of Standard Circuit Board Design

circuit board designStandard boards are usually made from FR-4 laminate or another similar type of material. Most of the plating finish used in the industry is lead-free HAL, and board thickness can range from .301’ to .125’. Green and white are typically the solder mask and legend colors respectively, and a combination of SMT or Thru-Hole assembly design is usually offered.

Why Standard Board Designs Are Popular

Standard boards are designed to be holistic and slightly above average in their capabilities. This means they are great for a number of common functions and can be a great buy in many situations. Though not as capable as their custom counterparts, these types of boards are often more affordable as well.

The Drawbacks of Standard Boards

circuit boardWhile standard printed circuit board design may be more affordable, they are typically not as powerful as custom options. But this goes beyond their lesser capabilities and extends more into their longevity. Even if a board is robust enough to hold up over time, it may lack the expandability needed to support newer hardware.

The Basics of Custom Circuit Boards

Custom circuitry is much more varied regarding design. A variety of laminate materials may be used including polymide and aluminum cladding. A number of plating finishes may also be used including nickel, OSP, and immersion silver. Various thicknesses are also available as are multiple color options. Custom boards also commonly come with controlled dielectric and impedance.

Why Custom Boards Are Gaining Popularity

Custom circuitry has become popular as more people need to support unique hardware and facilitate complex operations. Common in the industrial and commercial sectors, custom circuitry is often found in the workplace. Particularly, these boards are popular in the fields of engineering, IT, medicine, and aerospace.

Drawbacks of Custom Circuitry

cheap pcbCustom circuitry is the type of product that most people purchase after quite a bit of research. Making a custom board without a direct need for one can often result in a person getting unnecessary features and ultimately paying more than they need to.

Which Option is Superior?

The choice between custom and standard boards is based largely on preference. Depending on what the buyer is looking for, they may find that one option suits their needs better than the other. Those who want to perform standard functions and save a bit of money may be better going with a standard board. Those who need to handle complex operations and support unique hardware may find a custom board is a better fit.