Printed circuit boards, primarily known as PCBs, are dominantly present in our technological society. You will undoubtedly find a printed circuit board in cars, computers, industrial machines, and many other electronic products. However, manufacturers tailor numerous printed circuit boards to suit their various purposes. This article looks at one such printed circuit board called LED PCB. Read on to learn more.
What is an LED PCB?
Firstly, LED is an acronym meaning Light-emitting diodes.
LEDs on a PCB board
Now, these LEDs are mounted onto a LED printed circuit board, and it is through the LED PCB that the diodes are light.
Since the working of LEDs tends to produce a large amount of heat and can't be quickly cooled traditionally, they require a means to release the excess heat.
This excessive heat dissipating method could be a heat sink or a particular material like aluminum.
Hence manufacturers prefer using aluminum (metal core PCBs) to make LED PCBs mainly because they constitute a thin thermal conductive dielectric material.
The dielectric material enables the aluminum PCB to dissipate heat quicker than the typical rigid PCB board.
LED devices mostly employ a surface-mounted design in their packaging. Nevertheless, since the SMD only supports a single LED, we need more light. The circuit board links numerous LED components to produce adequate light.
LEDs on a stripe
The LED Lighting Industry
Like all other industries, the LED lighting industry has evolved continuously to become a popular lighting solution.
However, the industry also has its fair share of benefits and challenges:
Benefits of LED lighting
- Longer life cycle – on average, an LED light can provide you with up to 25000 hours of use. Their lifespan is 23 times longer than the standard bulb, thereby saving you money and the hassle of installing a new bulb.
- Highly efficient – a standard incandescent light bulb uses more than 90% of energy in heat production. Whereas an LED only produces 20% heat energy; as a result, they spend more energy lighting your home than heating.
- Compact- due to their small size, manufacturers can use LEDs in applications of various sizes like traffic lights, sockets, and more.
- Mercury-free- LEDs do not have mercury, making them environmentally friendly.
- Reduced power consumption- averagely, when you switch from an incandescent light bulb to an LED, you cut power consumption by 90%
The challenges of LED lighting
- High-temperature production- LEDs consume up to 20% of electricity in heat production, which dramatically affects the LED lifespan.
- Light color- the color an LED produces depends on the working temperature, thereby limiting LED light usage.
Types of LED Printed Circuit Boards
Different LED Circuit Boards types work well on various applications.
LEDs on a PCB
Hybrid LED PCB
A hybrid circuit board constitutes a base metal (mostly aluminum) and a non-thermal material (FR4). Hybrid LED PCBs are rigid and inexpensive.
Aluminum circuit board
Single-layer LED PCB
A single-layer LED PCB Board contains only one layer of the copper conductive substrate.
Manufacturers use copper to make the metal layer because copper is a good conductor.
Single-layer LED PCBs are easy to design, affordable and versatile.
Flexible LED Circuit Boards
As the name suggests, this type of PCB Board is highly malleable.
Since you can twist a flexible LED PCB in various directions and even fold it, they are more preferred than a rigid PCB.
Multilayer LED PCB
A multilayer LED PCB consists of several copper conductive layers between insulators. Copper-plated holes interlink these layers.
Also, the materials stay together with the aid of a powerful adhesive.
A simple multilayer LED PCB contains only four layers; however, some used in complicated tasks can have 50 layers.
Rigid LED PCB
A rigid LED PCB constitutes solid materials that also function as substrates.
Rigid LED PCBs are commonly used in applications that require the LED PCB to constantly stay in shapes, such as computers and remote controls.
Also, rigid PCBs come in various forms, for example, single, double, and multilayer LED PCBs.
Factors to Consider When Designing a LED PCB
- Heat management
- Trace routing
Let us scrutinize these factors closely;
The materials you use need to work together to serve three essential functions; conductor insulation, heat dissipation, and effective LED component connection.
Most LED circuit boards use aluminum as the base layer, and it is on this layer that the other PCB electronic components sit.
Circuit board with LEDs and other electronic components
After the base layer, we have a thermal insulation layer made of polymer that guards the board against mechanical and thermal destruction.
As the circuit functions, it produces heat, which the thermal insulation layer absorbs and subsequently transfers to the base layer. The base layer then dissipates the heat.
Some PCBs have a ceramic base and thermal heat sink for increased heat transfer capabilities.
Aluminum heat sinks
Next is the circuit layer constituting copper circuits arranged according to the LED PCB Board design.
Manufacturers call this structure design an insulated metal substrate (IMS).
LED PCBs produce a large volume of heat; hence, thermal management is critical to increasing your device's lifespan.
A printed circuit board
Therefore, your design needs to include heat sinks and aluminum cores (Aluminum PCB) for effective heat dissipation.
Above all, consider the Light-emitting diode placement and component positioning as they affect heat release and heat circulation.
Accurate trace routing reduces overheating, short-circuiting, and circuit cross-talk. Also, consider the mounting hole spaces for effective functioning.
The circuit board's finish safeguards the circuit layer while ensuring adequate component soldering locations.
You can choose a finish depending on your project needs and budget.
Types of LED Used in PCBs
Surface mount LED alias Integral point LED
The surface mount LED has a production process similar to surface mount technology. Both systems' designs entail affixing the LED at the lower circuit base.
Also known as Single point LED. The block LED has numerous purposes because of its textured surface and magnificent light diffusion.
The Advantages of LED PCB
- Long lifespan
- Highly efficient
- Water and dust resistant
- Wide variety of applications
- Lowers costs of operation
- Reduced power consumption
- Easy to incorporate
- Maximum design flexibility
The Application of LED PCB
- Consumer lights
- Medical Equipment
- Consumer electronics
- Street lighting
- Automotive industry
- High growth plant lighting
Problems often Encountered in LED PCB Assembly.
LED PCB Board assembly may seem simple, but it is far from it, as there are problems you will encounter, such as material selection and current control.
However, you can quickly get over these hurdles.
Current PCBs are smaller and have more layers than their predecessors, thus enabling them to work longer while producing less heat. Working with a company that is a leader in LED PCB manufacturing will allow you to exploit all the advantages of LED PCB.
OurPCB has handled led lighting from the infancy stages of this technology. Our experienced and caring support team is eager to hear your LED PCB requirements; contact us for high-quality PCBs at competitive prices.