PCB Power-What to Note about

While it is true that many connectors are designed to carry both data and power, quite a number of them are specifically designed to provide power to electronic devices. PCB power connectors are designed to not only give power to the devices but also connect them. They come in different sizes, but we shall only pay attention to the most common ones.

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1. PCB Power Supply

PCB power supply is embedded on a board and designed to allow for fast switching of power circuits. It will enable high-performance regulators in battery-operated devices such as laptops and cell phones. PCBs power supply has an efficiency of over 90% and can be used in low and high loading conditions. PCB powers supply needs to be handled with extra care compared to other ordinary PCBs. They are developed with additional circuitry upgrade to compensate for accuracy. The PCB power supply can provide power ranging from 1 to 1,000w. They come ready to be mounted on your final system.  Come in a triple, dual, and single outputs and may have a voltage range of between 3.3V to 24 V. They can be applied in audio communication, medical, and industrial usage.

2. Power PCB

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They could be designed in both open frame and encapsulated versions and have a high power density that makes them suitable for various applications. They are preferred because they save on space. PCBs mount power supplies are specially designed and do not require heat sinking. Also, they do not require EMC or filtering and are ideal for applications used in areas with many vibrations. Some PCBs feature a led indicator, do not consume power when there is no load, and have an output voltage. They also feature protection against overload, overvoltage, and short-circuiting.

3. Power Plane PCB

Power plane PCB are continued paths that ensure the return of power without delay or noise. It reduces impedance which is a good thing, especially in the case of high-speed performance.

 The Dos and Don’ts of Power Plane PCB  

 1. It is important to consider the cut-outs and the holes in the plane. If handled carelessly, they end up breaking the plane. This can lead to an increase in loop areas.

 2. If you must use buried planes, ensure that you tune them to the +Ve plane.

 3. Ensure that you place traces between the pins when making holes

 4. The plane can be broken along the holes if you do not want to have a long slot.  

PCB power planes provide free routing on both the bottom and the top layers. It means that you don’t need to use your middle planes for routing. However, it is possible to use the power plane for routing. Notice that the current will return to the path with the lowest impedance. The reason is that since the way has a low resistance, it allows the current to flow back easily. However, things may be different when dealing with higher frequencies. The nearby power plane may influence the capacitance of a trace.

4. Power Supply PCB

The power supply PCB kit makes it easier for you to add control to the power supply. It is mounted onto the power supply terminus to make it more convenient. The output terminal comes with two sets of terminals where one of them is powered when switched on. The other set can be turned on digitally using a microprocessor.  

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5. Conclusion

Notice that highly experienced individuals should only use the PCB power supplies in using high voltage. The reason is that PCBs are exposed to live voltage which could be dangerous. Consequently, the user must check the terminal orientation.

6. External Knowledge

6.1 Barrel Connectors

They are used in consumer devices that can be connected to the power supply through AC wall adaptors. The adapters come in different power ratings. Thus, consumers require barrel connectors to help them connect power to smaller projects. There are two types of barrel connectors: the female barrel and the male barrel. Female barrel connectors save on energy since the pin is shorted when there is no plug inserted. On the other hand, the male barrel will mostly be found at the terminals.

6.2 Male Barrel Plug

It can be attached to the power supply because it comes with a sleeve connection. It has three characteristics; the inner diameter, the outer diameter, and polarity. The sleeve connection can easily be crimped for strain relief. The sleeve diameter is the most common.

6.3 Molex PCB Power Connectors

Molex PCB power connectors are used in computers and carry a lot of currents. In most cases, they carry up to 11 A. Thus, they are suitably deployed in projects requiring much power. They are commonly used in 3D printers and may be used to connect various system circuits. They could have both the female and the male pins. The connectors are tightly fitted, so they may not be suitable in areas where connections will be regularly changed.

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6.4 PCB Connectors

Notice that there are thousands of PCB power connectors to choose from, depending on your needs. Some of the common ones include FFC/FPC, PCB, IDC, and many more. These PCB power connectors are compact to maximize space, are easy to operate, and provide contact assurance. They are suitably deployed in areas where space is limited.  They can be deployed between receivers and transmitters because they can transmit both power and data and are resistant to the harsh environment. PCB power Connectors can transfer both voltage and current.

However, it is necessary that you strictly adhere to the specifications. Manufacturers recommend them for power applications because they can carry varying voltage and current specifications. The other reason is that some of the connectors may have some conductors exposed, and this could cause accidents. Also, it ensures that audio connectors make it difficult to accidentally plug power into the audio input, which could damage sensitive components.

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Emma Lu
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