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What are the Different Solder Mask Colors Available?

 May 03, 2018

Solder Mask

Solder masks lend identity and security to PCBs. In the previous post, the various types of PCB solder marks were discussed. This post furthers the discussion on the various solder mask colors available for consideration.

An Introduction to Different Types of Solder Mask Color Options

Solder masks also play a significant role in improving aesthetics of a printed circuit board. They are available in the following color options:

  • Green: This is the most popular solder mask option available for consideration. Due to its vast popularity, there is a misconception that PCB is always or mostly green. The PCB color code for green is #008C4A. Green color lends clarity to the printed circuit board, because white colored text on it will produce brilliant contrast, thereby enhancing readability. Also, the finish reflects less light, which helps reduce the glare. Thus, green is an important choice for printed circuit boards that demand thorough inspection.
  • White: The printed circuit boards covered with white solder masks are gaining popularity because they look clean in various environments. Although referred as brilliant show models, still white isn’t preferred due to its tendency to hide traces. Inspections of white printed circuit boards become difficult, if you are working with a single overhead light. These solder masks look particularly good with black silkscreens. The PCB color code for white is #ECECDF.
  • Yellow: The solder masks in yellow are capturing attention worldwide. Like many other new colors, yellow can easily meet different needs, such as style, cleanliness, and visibility. Even though yellow is a pleasant color, it has a major drawback – it has poor contrast with traces and silkscreens, thereby making it difficult for various standard applications. The PCB color code for yellow is #F6A624.
  • Blue: A blue solder mask is considered ideal for label heavy boards, because it provides a significant silkscreen contrast. This color is not as striking as green, black, or white, still, it is preferred due to the excellent aesthetic choice offered. Blue PCBs are ideal, if you are mounting them against an LCD, because it produces no sharp contrasting edges and bright background colors. The color code for the blue PCB solder mask is #4990E2.
  • Red: Today, many PCB manufacturers are keen to adopt red solder masks due to certain advantages offered by them. What are these advantages? Well, the red PCBs offer brilliant visibility, and contrasts are well-defined for traces, planes, and empty spaces. Silkscreens look brilliant against the red background. The PCB color code for red is #D0011B.
  • Black: Solder masks in black are equally popular as their white counterparts. These boards produce less contrast, and enable easy labeling of large components. However, the main downside is some component may catch the light, and produce a small shadow. This shadow makes tracing difficult. Black solder masks are not recommended in various applications, where high heat is involved, as it may discolor the silkscreen. Also, the black boards feature a mixture of cobalt and carbon, which may have small conductivity. The black solder mask is distinguished by the PCB color code #000000.

The choice of the color will entirely depend on your application needs. It is highly recommended to try a sample before settling for a new color choice. If unable to make a decision on the right color, you can always check with an industry expert. Accelerated Assemblies provides PCB solder masks in all the above-mentioned color options.

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