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in this article, we talk about why PCB copper traces should still be plated, and we’ll overview a lot of plating materials and plating strategies.
All traces found on external PCB layers (as adverse to inside layers) have to be covered from the facets. If left unprotected, the copper will oxidize and deteriorate, making the circuit board unusable. An glaring visible signal of corroded copper is its color—it might be green. One famous example of copper oxidation is the Statue of Liberty. PCB copper plating—often known as copper coating, copper finish, and surface conclude—has two fundamental features: (1) to protect the uncovered copper circuitry, and (2) to supply a solderable surface when assembling (soldering) add-ons to the PCB. a variety of PCB copper plating alternate options exist, and every incorporates its own advantages and disadvantages.
hot air solder leveling (HASL), is commonplace because the tried-and-true copper plating system. This manner works through dipping a board in molten solder after which leveling it off with a sizzling air knife, hence its identify.
HASL is prevalent for being the inexpensive class of PCB surface finish, for being largely accessible, and for being very low-budget. different advantages of using HASL include being in a position to effectively rework the copper finish, proposing a protracted copper conclude shelf lifestyles, and serving as an incredible choice for via-hole and/or better SMT accessories for your PCB. although, you could run into complications if your board makes use of either SOIC or small SMT add-ons.
some other negative aspects include having uneven surfaces, possible solder bridging, plugged or reduced plated through-holes, and, of path, HASL uses lead, so this choice isn’t potential for tasks requiring RoHS-compliance. if your task does certainly require RoHS-compliance, you could should believe using lead-free HASL. Lead-free HASL is a method similar to HASL handiest with out the lead, notably the tin-lead solder. materials used, in vicinity of the lead, are tin-copper, tin-nickel, or tin-copper-nickel germanium. although this lead-free HASL system is a cost-effective one which offers RoHS compliance, it’s comparable to the typical HASL system in the experience that it’s not most beneficial for smaller accessories.