Printed circuit boards are customized for a variety of different applications. Each application requires various particular design parameters and specific features. A good example is an aluminum backed PCB, which is widely used in LED applications to serve as a conductor and heat distributor.
Unlike a general-purpose PCB, which is widely used for low power components, the Power PCB has to conduct a considerable amount of current without compromising efficiency and without losing power. Power PCBs solved the issue of the large footprint of power electronics.
Usually, the power electronics circuit requires a low resistance path and high current carrying capacity. Some of the power converters have to deal with the interference and noise generation due to high-speed switching of high flows, affecting the rest of the analog and digital circuit.
The Power PCB design starts with calculating the trace width and maximum current threshold that the power PCB should handle. The Power PCB design should also include the appropriate material selection that can control the heavy components.
The board not only takes the weight, but it should also hold it in place with the maximum grip so that the blunt physical force in case of control knobs, high power relays, and heavy-duty cable connectors won’t damage the PCB.
The power PCB in the case of top voltage application should include necessary safety features like earthing, power isolation, and static discharge. IPC® regulates the safety features of the power PCB. Consumer electronics should consist of top safety features to ensure user safety.
The power PCB design is usually made of high thickness copper grater or equal to 2oz. But many cases demand a solder bridge to provide sufficient current-carrying capacity.
Spark gaps are typically included to prevent the circuit from damaging due to arks.