Why are Circuit Boards Green? Facts & Reasons.

The majority of printed circuit boards, or motherboards, that you see on the market are green. You have probably seen it in your laptop, tablet, smartphone, and, even this shade of green is also present in many other pieces of technology. But why are Circuit Boards Green in the first place?

Occasionally, you may find a red one (such as MSI) or a combination of black and grey (such as ASUS and Gigabyte), but mostly PCBs are green. Simply I searched on Google Images on “PCB” to verify that the dominant color is green.

Is it primarily green because it’s the safest color? Does it have an advantage over other colors? Or is there some reason? However, there are a few explanations for why green became the default color for such plates. Here, I will uncover those facts and reasons.

Why are Circuit Boards Green?

The first thing you should know is that the board itself is brown, and this green color on its base is a layer called solder mask. This layer comprises resins and pigments – an element that protects printed circuit boards (PCBs) from dust, humidity, and oxidation, preventing short circuits and solder errors.

Though design-wise not necessary, green has been traditionally used most often due to historical use by manufacturers. So, the origin of the use of the green color remains undetermined.

In the last generations of products, manufacturers decided to adopt alternative colors (black became very popular among motherboards and graphics cards, for example), so there is no technical restriction in current production lines.

Now only theory remains here; some explanations are given below.

1. Low Cost in Production

The reason may be as simple as this type of material in green color ended up being the one with the highest availability and lowest cost, which helped a sharp increase in productivity, making the plates’ production cheaper and becoming the standard without anyone knowing it.

Pigments for colors all have different costs. If some bean counter is looking at saving pennies on large volume production, they aren’t picking a color based on aesthetics; they prefer the cheapest protective coating, typically green.

Thus, green was one of the earliest traditional choices, just an arbitrary decision by one of the early designers, and remains one of the cheaper colors to produce. This same goes to PCBs or microcomputers like tablet, mobile, PDA, including laptops.

2. Green color reduces eyestrain

Some believe that manually inspecting circuits was a difficult task for workers and ended up making their eyes very tired, and they decided to use green to relieve eye strain.

It is believed that the color green can relieve eyestrain. This goes back to the earliest days of plate making. In the inspection line, workers had to check the defects with their own eyes, and green is not as tiring as other colors and eventually became associated with PCBs.

According to uxplanet.org, the green color is one of the most restful and relaxing colors for the human eye, which allows the engineer to be more precise and could reduce the error more than other colors.

Then comes a tradeoff between minimizing eye strain and higher contrast to white text, lower costs, and reduced errors thanks to green accuracy in the most compact areas of a circuit.

Other Explanations

The first electric circuits in the United States were most likely for military applications, and the stipulation that printed circuit boards be green might have been one of the requirements that the US military had to meet.

Another theory explains how the original solder masks used a base resin with a yellow-brown color that, when mixed with the material that hardened it, acquired a honey brown color that wasn’t very attractive and was also sometimes challenging to tell apart from rust.

That said, they started trying different colors until they found one much more visually appealing – green!

Does the color of the motherboard matter?

The motherboard’s color doesn’t matter nearly as much as its performance. However, some people might prefer a specific color to match their build aesthetic. If that’s something you’re interested in, then absolutely go for it! There are plenty of options out there.

But at the end of the day, what really importance of motherboard matters is its functions.

Final Words

So here concludes, Green has been a traditional industry standard for decades. Though no specific reason is given for choosing Green over other colors, green does have its advantages.

Nowadays, you might also see red, grey, black, or blue motherboards which are expensive due to more aesthetic looks. One can use them too. It’s not mandatory to use green color.

So, here the article ‘Why are Circuit Boards Green’ ends.

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