Heavy Copper Power PCB
Printed circuit boards are essential components in today’s high-tech electronics. While standard PCBs are used in more straightforward gadgets, heavy copper power PCBs are ideal for applications that require high current and temperature tolerances.
The thicker copper layers of heavy-copper PCBs offer many benefits, including reduced layer count, low impedance power distribution, and smaller footprints. Read on to learn more about designing for these specialized boards.
Increased Current-Carrying Capacity
The additional thickness of copper on a Heavy copper power PCB allows it to carry more current and achieve better thermal distribution, making it easier for manufacturers to fit a larger number of switches into a smaller product size. It also improves mechanical strength at connector sites and makes it easier to accommodate exotic materials, reducing the likelihood of circuit failure caused by thermal stress.
Depending on the design, a Heavy copper power PCB can also have increased thickness in the plated hole sidewalls. This is achieved with specialized etching and plating processes that ensure straight edges and minimal undercutting. This is critical to prevent thermal strain from forming in the substrate and the circuit board due to differences in the coefficient of thermal expansion between copper and the dielectric material.
Increasing the thickness of a copper circuit board can also improve its conductivity. This is because a thinner layer of copper can be more difficult to work with than a thicker one. With the proper etching and plating process, you can create a PCB that has the exact copper thickness required to match the desired conductor width and maximum current-carrying capacity of your design.
Better Thermal Management
The copper traces on PCBs carry current and generate heat. The length of the trace is one factor that affects its resistance and power loss. A wider and thicker trace has less resistance and thus dissipates less heat. The other factor is the material it is made of.
Using heavy copper PCBs with high-speed traces means that the circuit board is able to dissipate more heat and reduces power loss. This improves the reliability of the circuit board and makes it safer to operate. The thicker copper also increases the mechanical strength of the board, particularly at connector sites.
In a conventional PCB, low power electronics are kept on separate layers and interconnected with thick copper jumper wires. This method reduces the number of layers and Heavy copper power PCB the size of the board. A heavy copper power PCB can integrate both low and high-power electronics on a single layer, making the design much more compact.
This is possible because of advanced etching and plating techniques. Using these processes allows the fabricator to create powerful copper features with straight sidewalls and minimal undercutting. The fabricator can use differential etching and step plating to create a smooth, even surface for the traces. This method is not restricted to only heavy copper traces and can be used for standard circuits as well. However, the designer and fabricator need to discuss manufacturing tolerances based on schematics and PCB design drawings and their capabilities before hybrid articulation.
Increased Mechanical Strength
Heavy copper power PCBs offer a higher mechanical strength at connector sites and in plated holes. This feature helps protect the Heavy Copper Power PCB Supplier board from excessive heat that can cause failure in high-current applications. The high thermal conductivity of these circuits also improves their ability to dissipate heat, thereby ensuring that they can withstand recurrent thermal cycles during manufacturing and assembly.
The use of heavy copper can help to reduce the overall product size of a printed circuit board. It can also increase the current-carrying capacity of a printed circuit board by reducing body effects and enhancing current flow. These benefits have made heavy copper circuit boards ideal for larger home appliances and other devices that require greater currents.
When designing a heavy copper power PCB, it is important to take into account the thickness of the copper plating. This thickness must be compatible with the layer count, component size, and material requirements. Also, the copper weight should be sufficient to achieve a desired current density and achieve good thermal distribution.
The design of a heavy copper PCB requires a greater level of collaboration between the designer and the fabricator. The fabricator must be able to accommodate the increased copper thickness of the board, while maintaining an adequate etching margin. This can be achieved by utilizing advanced plating and etching processes that will keep the copper edges straight, and prevent undercutting.
The ability of Heavy copper power PCBs to support frequency to high current, elevated temperatures and recurrent thermal cycling that can ruin a regular circuit board in seconds is one of the primary reasons they are so popular in a wide variety of applications, including military and aerospace products, electrical vehicles charging systems, motors and power storage. The increased current-carrying capacity and better thermal distribution offered by the thicker copper layers on these boards also allows them to be more compact than standard PCBs, allowing for smaller product sizes with a lower weight.
To achieve the benefits of a Heavy copper PCB, you must use specialized etching and plating techniques. Longer traces increase resistance and generate more heat, so you will need to choose a dielectric material with a low coefficient of thermal expansion to avoid cracking. In addition, you will want to choose a copper weight that is appropriate for your application.
Depending on your project requirements, you may want to consult with your PCB fabricator before choosing a Heavy copper design. They will be able to offer recommendations about track and gap spacing, current-carrying capability and best practice guidelines. They will also help you calculate the copper thickness needed to support your circuit. In many cases, a thicker copper layer will also require a different substrate pair to account for the difference in thermal expansion between the copper and the PCB laminate.