Power PCB Design
Printed circuit boards are customized for various applications. Each individual application requires a variety of special design parameters and specific features. Unlike general purpose PCBs which are widely used for low power components, power PCBs must conduct large amounts of current without affecting efficiency and losing any power.
Power PCB can solve the problem of bulky footprint of power electronics. Often, power electronic circuit requires low resistance paths and high current carrying capacity. Some power converters must deal with the interference and noise caused by high-speed switching of high currents which may affect the rest analog and digital circuits.
Power PCB design starts with the calculation of trace width and the maximum current threshold that the power PCB should handle. The power PCB design should also include the appropriate material selection that can handle heavy components. Not only can the board withstand the weight, but also can be held in place with maximum grip so that the control knobs, high power relays and heavy-duty cable connectors can not cause serious physical stress on the PCB. Power PCB especially in high voltage applications should include the necessary safety features like grounding, power isolation and electrostatic discharge.
IPC regulates safety features of the power PCB. Consumer electronics products should include the maximum security features to ensure the safety of users.
Power PCB design is usually made of high-thickness copper grater or equal to 2oz. However, in many cases, a solder bridge is required to provide sufficient current carrying capacity. Spark gaps are usually included to prevent circuits from being damaged by sparks.