A power circuit board (PCB) mechanically supports and electrically connects electronic components or electrical components using conductive tracks, pads and other features etched from one or more sheet layers of copper laminated onto and/or between sheet layers of a non-conductive substrate. Components are generally soldered onto the power circuit board to both electrically connect and mechanically fasten them to it.
Power circuit boards are used in all but the simplest electronic products. They are also used in some electrical products, such as passive switch boxes.
Alternatives to power circuit board include wire wrap and point-to-point construction, both once popular but now rarely used. Power circuit boards require additional design effort to lay out the circuit, but manufacturing and assembly can be automated. Specialized CAD software is available to do much of the work of layout. Mass producing circuits with power circuit boards is cheaper and faster than with other wiring methods, as components are mounted and wired in one operation. Large numbers of power circuit boards can be fabricated at the same time, and the layout only has to be done once. Power circuit boards can also be made manually in small quantities, with reduced benefits.
Power circuit boards can be single-sided (one copper layer), double-sided (two copper layers on both sides of one substrate layer), or multi-layer (outer and inner layers of copper, alternating with layers of substrate). Multi-layer power circuit boards allow for much higher component density, because circuit traces on the inner layers would otherwise take up surface space between components. The rise in popularity of multilayer power circuit boards with more than two, and especially with more than four, copper planes was concurrent with the adoption of surface mount technology. However, multilayer power circuit boards make repair, analysis, and field modification of circuits much more difficult and usually impractical.
At Deman Manufacturing we are power circuit board design experts, and can assist you in assembling a top-quality power circuit board catered to your specific technological needs. Our power circuit board designers will provide an in-depth analysis of your device's requirements to ensure your product has the support necessary to excel in the competitive tech market. We have access to all of the latest software and are well-versed in the best design strategies. Here's a quick overview of the process.
First, our designer will create the schematic. A schematic is a crucial step before designing the power circuit board itself and should never be overlooked. A schematic is like a roadmap for a circuit, containing a series of symbols that represent aspects of the circuit: switches, resistors, diodes, nodes, and more. This is also helpful later on for troubleshooting any issues with your power circuit board.
After the circuit design is captured in a schematic, it's translated into an electronic design automation (EDA) software package. The design has to be exported into an industry standard format (e.g., the Gerber format, the default “language” used to describe power circuit board components). The resulting file acts as a set of instructions for the production phase of a power circuit board.
Once you have a Gerber or CAD file, you can manufacture your power circuit board. The dimensions of the power circuit board —along with how many layers it will be, and all of the components are positioned, ground, and laid out, and signal traces dictated by the Gerber file. There are different requirements for different boards, so your power circuit board designer will be able to tell you whether you need surface mount (SMT), thru-hole, single- or double-sided fabrication, and more.
Finally, white-box testing will make sure your power circuit board is structured properly once it's been fabricated. The goal here is to test every possible output to ensure the power circuit board is functioning as the designer intended it to. Compared with black box testing, which only tests inputs and outputs without looking at the specifics, white box testing focuses on the each possible pathway of the power circuit board to make sure there are no failures.