The single sided and double sided both serve the same fundamental purpose. They both work as the catalysts for electrical connections between components but there are some differences to set them apart.
They both have the same material makeup that is FR-4. It is a form of fiberglass which is mixed with epoxy. For better conductivity the FR-4 is layered with copper and coated in solder mask which gives it a professional finish.
A Short History
The modern technology was not here from the beginning and in the past Print circuit board manufacturers used to hand etch the boards. A concoction of chemicals was used by photo-exposing a design onto the board. To etch multiple layers on the board was impossible and this led to larger than necessary layouts.
Until the 1960’s large circuit boards were considered ideal however in 1980 the circuit board scene has changed. Electrical engineers preferred mount components and quad flat packages were becoming common. Print circuit board manufacturers were demanded to manufacture smaller and smaller boards. This was the time when double sided circuit boards rose.
Benefits Of Double Sided Circuit Boards
With double sided circuit boards there was no need to carry current to the components within the confines of a single piece of copper. The plated holes drilled between the layers we know as vias made switching the board sides easy.
These boards allowed creation of larger grounds and panels. However, there are certain reasons that single sided boards are still used. Circuits which requires a high amount of amperage through a trace are suited by single sided boards for safety purposes. Single sided are also much cheaper to purchase and often comes with a shorter lead time.
Applications Of Both Circuit Boards
There are some applications where placement of components doesn’t matter and costs are minimal then, printed circuit board supplier would advise a single sided board. For example, if there is a circuit involving LED and old-school timing IC that has to go inside a 3D printed enclosure which board will work best? Obviously a single sided because it is a very simple circuit hence demands for a simple solution.
Whereas, in the designs like interface boards to plug into USB port of desktop computer component placement is specific and several resistors, capacitors and ICs are used then double sided would be a smart choice. It will make the compact and components would be packed closer to each other. This will lower the production costs.
The examples elaborated how in certain situations single sided should be used while in others double sided would benefit. Although single sided boards have proved their worth and are still in use but with passing time their usage is becoming less and less.