Choosing Between Potting and Conformal Coating

Posted by Jake Hinojoza on Dec 1, 2016 9:00:00 AM
Jake Hinojoza

You can learn everything there is to know about parylene and other conformal coatings, but at the end of the day, that knowledge isn't useful unless it can be applied. When it comes to knowing whether to use conformal coating to protect printed circuit boards, it takes a little bit of research, a few big choices, and maybe a bit of help from the experts.

Your Choices

The protection of printed circuit boards (PCBs) is a delicate and important detail. There's a lot to consider; from environmental hazards to necessary longevity to overall goals, you need to be aware of every variable when making your choice, and that can be a lot to handle. To contribute to making things clearer, it's helpful to know a little bit about your options before you begin cementing the goals for your particular job. Potting and conformal coating are the two significant options for PCB protection, and since they both have unique benefits and uses, getting to know which choice is best for which needs can help you decide on your goals and enact the best possible protection.

The Details

Let our conformal coating experts explain the differences between potting and conformal coating, and help you decide what you need!

  • Option 1: Potting. Potting is the process in which a PCB is placed inside a shell, which is then filled with a liquid compound that protects the PCB. The choice of which compound to use can be complicated, because the wrong decision may create excess heat or strain that might impact PCB performance. However, when done correctly, potting has many benefits, like impact resistance and protection from vibrations. It also has decisive disadvantages--like inflexibility, problems with changing or repairing anything already in the shell, and other issues.
  • Option 2: Conformal coating. Conformal coatings are applied to the surface of the PCB and provide high levels of protection from environmental hazards, heat, friction, and more. They resist moisture and damaging chemicals, providing a long, reliable lifetime. Parylene is among the most trusted conformal coatings because it withstands environmental extremes without hindering PCB performance. Conformal coating has comparatively few downsides; while it is somewhat difficult to rework a surface that has already been coated, it's still much easier than in the case of a "potted" PCB.
  • The decision. At the end of the day, the real decision comes down to you, your needs, and your specific job. Whether you're still trying to cement exactly what your goals are or you're confident in where you need to go and just need help getting there, it can be helpful to contact the experts at this point.

Interested in conformal coating? Trying to decide between conformal coating and potting? Contact us today!

Topics: Conformal Coating Types