Why most multi-layer circuit boards are even-numbered layers?

  • 2021-09-08 10:25:48
There are single-sided, double-sided and multi-layer circuit boards. The number of multi-layer boards is not limited. There are currently more than 100-layer PCBs. The common multi-layer PCBs are four layer and six layer boards. Then why do people have the question "Why are PCB multilayer boards all even-numbered layers? Relatively speaking, even-numbered PCBs do have more than odd-numbered PCBs, and they have more advantages.

1. Lower cost

  Because of the lack of a layer of dielectric and foil, the cost of raw materials for odd-numbered PCBs is slightly lower than that of even-numbered PCBs. However, the processing cost of odd-layer PCBs is significantly higher than that of even-layer PCBs. The processing cost of the inner layer is the same, but the foil/core structure obviously increases the processing cost of the outer layer.

  The odd-numbered PCB needs to add a non-standard laminated core layer bonding process on the basis of the core structure process. Compared with the nuclear structure, the production efficiency of factories that add foil to the nuclear structure will decrease. Before lamination and bonding, the outer core requires additional processing, which increases the risk of scratches and etching errors on the outer layer.

2. Balance structure to avoid bending

  The best reason not to design a PCB with an odd number layers is that an odd number of layer circuit boards are easy to bend. When the PCB is cooled after the multilayer circuit bonding process, the different lamination tension of the core structure and the foil-clad structure will cause the PCB to bend when it cools. As the thickness of the circuit board increases, the risk of bending of a composite PCB with two different structures increases. The key to eliminating circuit board bending is to adopt a balanced stack. Although the PCB with a certain degree of bending meets the specification requirements, the subsequent processing efficiency will be reduced, resulting in an increase in cost. Because special equipment and craftsmanship are required during assembly, the accuracy of component placement is reduced, which will damage the quality.

  To put it another way, it’s easier to understand: In the PCB process, the four-layer board is better controlled than the three-layer board, mainly in terms of symmetry. The warpage of the four-layer board can be controlled below 0.7% (IPC600 standard), but When the size of the three-layer board is large, the warpage will exceed this standard, which will affect the reliability of the SMT patch and the entire product. Therefore, the general designer does not design an odd-numbered layer board, even if the odd-numbered layer realizes the function, it will It is designed as a fake even-numbered layer, that is, 5 layers are designed as 6 layers, and 7 layers are designed as 8-layer boards.

Based on the above reasons, most PCB multi-layer boards are designed with even-numbered layers and fewer odd-numbered layers.

How to balance the stacking and reduce the cost of the odd-numbered PCB?

What if an odd-numbered PCB appears in the design? 

The following methods can achieve balanced stacking, reduce PCB manufacturing costs, and avoid PCB bending.

  1) A signal layer and use it. This method can be used if the power layer of the design PCB is even and the signal layer is odd. The added layer does not increase the cost, but it can shorten the delivery time and improve the quality of the PCB.

  2) Add an additional power layer. This method can be used if the power layer of the design PCB is odd and the signal layer is even. A simple method is to add a layer in the middle of the stack without changing other settings. First, follow the odd-numbered PCB layout, and then copy the ground layer in the middle to mark the remaining layers. This is the same as the electrical characteristics of a thickened layer of foil.

  3) Add a blank signal layer near the center of the PCB stack. This method minimizes the stacking imbalance and improves the quality of the PCB. First, follow the odd-numbered layers to route, then add a blank signal layer, and mark the remaining layers. Used in microwave circuits and mixed media (different dielectric constants) circuits.

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