Calculate PCB Trace Current Accurately

Dated:2018-03-19      Popularity:1408

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One of the biggest mistakes made by new hardware designers is not to calculate or even consider the PCB trace current in the PCB design. When this happens on hardware designs that include high-current tracks, the result is usually overheating the PCB or damaging the tracks. This lead to expensive redesign and material waste.

Sometimes the problem of insufficient PCB trace width to handle large currents occurs where multiple traces of small currents merge into larger traces. It is easy for designers to ignore this because there is no single high-current component in the design. The result is equally as bad as overlooking designs with high current components.

Calculate PCB trace current and width

The correct way to approach a high-current design is to calculate the current value and ensure that the track width is sufficient. The wider and thicker copper tracks naturally have less resistance and can handle higher currents. On the other hand, a thin track that conducts high currents will cause a sharp rise in temperature.

A variety of PCB calculators are available online to help you assess whether your current design is adequate to handle PCB trace currents. These calculators typically require basic parameters such as trace thickness, length, and expected temperature rise to provide results. If the result shows that your trace width and thickness are insufficient, you must adjust accordingly.

Evaluate PCB Trace Current in Design Software

Although online PCB calculators provide designers with a quick tool to minimize overheating due to excessive PCB trace currents, designers should not rely on it. If you are designing a design with minimal error space, it is best to invest in advanced PCB design software with power analyzer capabilities. This will not only remind you that the parts are too thin, but will also provide you with a visual heat map of the entire PCB layout.

EPCB hope this article can help you a lot for your next PCB design.

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