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How to Design Power PCB?


Power electronics circuits deliver and control high currents to drive loads like motors, heaters, or batteries. Designing robust, reliable printed circuit boards for power applications requires specialized layout techniques tailored for these unique demands.

This guide covers best practices for creating a power PCB including managing high currents, minimizing inductance, thermal design, safety, EMI control, and component selection. Following these techniques allows developing efficient PCBs that safely handle significant power levels. Let’s dive in!

Key Design Considerations

Below are some of the main considerations unique to power PCB design:

  • High current capacity – Use adequate trace widths, multiple layers, and vias to carry amps without overheating
  • Low inductance – Keep loops short and interleave supply/return paths to avoid voltage spikes
  • Noise isolation – Separate noise-sensitive analog and digital sections through partitioning and filtering
  • Thermal management – Use thermal relief and heatsinks to prevent components exceeding temperature limits
  • Safety – Design for proper insulation, spacing, fusing, and isolation to prevent hazards
  • EMI control – Contain noise emissions and immunity with shielding, filtering, and good signal routing practices
  • Reliability – Select robust components rated for continuous power cycling and transient stresses

Attention to these areas ensures an effective, reliable power PCB ready for the demands of real-world operation.

Accommodating High Currents

heavy copper pcb

Power electronics can supply hundreds or even thousands of amps in some applications. Traces must be robust enough to safely carry the expected currents without overheating.

Use Thick Traces

The first line of defense is selecting suitably thick copper traces based on the anticipated current. As a rule of thumb:

  • 10A: Use at least 0.5mm (20mil) traces
  • 50A: Use 1mm (40mil) or thicker traces

Consult ampacity tables to determine appropriate widths based on temperature rise, copper weight, and other factors. When in doubt, go thicker.

Distribute Across Layers

Use multiple board layers with entire planes dedicated to power distribution. This divides current to avoid overloading individual traces. Plated through-hole vias help conduct between layers.

Incorporate Thermal Relief

Add generous thermal relief cutouts around traces connected to inner plane layers. The additional exposed copper area helps dissipate localized heat buildup.

With careful high current handling techniques, PCBs can manage very high power levels without reliability concerns.

Minimizing Parasitic Inductance

In dynamic power circuits, parasitic trace inductance causes voltage spikes that can damage sensitive components. The layout techniques below help reduce inductance:

Use Short and Direct Paths

Keep traces short and avoid right angle turns or zig-zags which increase partial inductance. Use 45° angles when necessary along with curved traces.

Pair and Interleave

Route supply and return traces side-by-side to contain field loops. Interleaving these pairs further minimizes loop area.

Use Copper Fills

Fill unused board areas with copper fills stitched to the ground plane using closely spaced vias. This reduces partial inductance by preventing magnetic flux lines from looping.

Eliminate Loops

Avoid loop structures in high di/dt paths. Example: route traces for a buck converter output capacitor directly between joint source/load points instead of looping under device.

With careful layout, parasitic inductance can be minimized for clean and stable power delivery even during transients.

Partitioning for Noise Isolation

Power electronics with mixed analog and digital circuits should incorporate partitioning to contain noise:

  • Use ground and power planes to isolate analog circuits from noisy digital sections
  • Split planes in critical areas using isolation gaps and ferrite beads
  • Surround sensitive circuitry with guard traces to shield noise
  • Filter supply inputs and I/O lines to prevent coupling

Separation and filtering prevents mutual interference between high-speed digital logic and precision analog circuits.

Thermal Design

Many power components run hot and require heatsinking, airflow, and thermal management:

  • Use large thermal pads/polygons for heat spreading from hot parts
  • Incorporate thermal spokes and vias to conduct heat into inner layers
  • Connect directly to heavy copper regions, chassis, or heatsinks
  • Ensure sufficient air circulation around heat-sensitive parts
  • Use temperature resistant materials rated to withstand temperatures

This prevents parts from exceeding maximum junction temperatures even at high loads.


Switching Power Supply Design
Switching Power Supply Design

Designing for safety is crucial when working with high energy levels:

  • Provide sufficient spacing and isolation between high voltage nodes
  • Incorporate proper insulation materials and distance to user interface
  • Use protection devices like fuses and current limiting resistors
  • Allow safe discharge paths for stored energy
  • Follow all relevant safety standards for enclosure, spacing, insulation, etc.

Safety cannot be an afterthought – it must be designed in from the start.

EMI Control

Switching power electronics generate significant noise emissions. Containing EMI is key for passing regulatory compliance:

  • Use shielding cans and grounded copper regions to prevent emissions
  • Incorporate feed-through capacitors and ferrite beads to filter leakage
  • Follow sound layout practices for grounding, decoupling, and bypassing
  • Keep current loops compact with short tracks and returns

Meeting EMI requirements may require multiple PCB revisions, so plan ahead.

Component Selection

All components must be spec’d adequately for power applications:


  • High wattage resistors and inductors
  • Capacitors with high ripple current ratings
  • Fuses and varistors rated for fault transients
  • Common mode chokes for EMI filtering


  • MOSFETs, IGBTs, etc. for switches
  • Controllers suited for motor, battery, or other loads
  • Robust suppliers and conservative derating

A single under-spec’d component can compromise reliability, so avoid cutting corners.

Example Power PCBs

Below are examples illustrating some effective power supply PCB implementations:

Switch Mode Power Supply

  • Interleaved input and output paths to reduce inductance
  • Shielding can contains EMI emissions
  • Thermal relief aids heatsinking
  • Safety spacing used on high voltage nodes

Power Amplifier

  • Copper fills and chassis mounting manage heat
  • Large supply layer traces feed amplifiers
  • Analog and digital sections separated
  • Input and output filtering for clean power

Battery Charger

  • Low inductance charging coil traces
  • Layers allocated for power distribution
  • Thermal relief used around hot traces
  • Safety spacing on high voltage capacitors

These examples showcase effective power supply design techniques in action.


Designing robust power PCBs requires managing high currents, minimizing inductance, controlling thermal performance, mitigating EMI, and selecting appropriate components rated for rigorous operation.

Careful application of the layout, partitioning, filtering, heatsinking and component selection guidelines provided in this guide allows engineers to create reliable PCBs able to deliver stable power even in demanding electrical environments.

Well-designed power supply and conversion circuitry forms the bedrock enabling everything from consumer appliances to electric vehicle drives to operate as intended. Mastering power integrity principles is key for PCB designers seeking to provide robust platforms for power electronics performance.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are some good rules of thumb for trace width vs current capacity?

As a starting point:

  • 10A: 0.5mm width
  • 15-20A: 1mm width
  • 30A: 1.5-2mm width

Maximize use of inner layer planes to distribute higher currents.

What PCB materials work best for thermal performance?

Insulated metal substrate PCBs with aluminum or copper cores provide the best thermal conductivity. FR4 PCBs with lots of internal plane layers can also work well. High glass transition temperature materials withstand heat.

What causes ground bounce noise in power supplies?

Sudden current draws activate parasitic trace inductance, causing voltage drops across ground plane impedances. Proper decoupling and damping components help mitigate ground bounce.

How much should I budget for developing a custom power PCB?

For low complexity reference designs, $2,000-$5,000 is typical through prototyping. High complexity boards with extensive validation can exceed $50,000. Budget adequate time and review cycles to meet requirements.

What tools help assess power integrity?

The SI/PI tool suite – thermal modeling, power plane analysis, SPICE simulation, IBIS models, PDN assessment, etc. – helps verify power rail stability, thermal performance, EMI containment, and reliability factors.


Power supply design requires mastering specialized skills from high current layout to thermal management to EMI control to deliver stable, clean power to demanding loads. With diligent application of the techniques explored above, PCB designers can help enable the next generation of robust power electronics systems powering our modern world.

Do you Trust the Power PCB Design?

Different applications require specialized PCB customization for effective and safe use. The customization comes with specific features and design parameters. For instance, if you want an excellent hear distributor and conductor, you will go for an aluminum-backed PCB.

Power PCB is essential in ensuring that the board efficiently passes any amount of current without losing any power. Unlike other Printed circuit boards, which are generally utilized for low-power segments, the Power PCB should lead a lot of current without trading off effectiveness and losing power. The Power PCB is a reliable solution to the many problems facing power electronics.

Typically, the power PCB requires the capacity to carry a high current with low resistance. In this way, some converters need to manage noise generation and impedance because of the rapid exchanging of high streams, influencing the remainder of the digital and analog circuits.

In top voltage, the force PCB should incorporate fundamental safety features such as static discharge, power isolation, and earthing. IPC standards are there to ensure that manufacturers adhere to the safety policies and properly implement them.

PCB Power supply design guidelines

When discussing power, the need is generally to get a greater amount of it. When we were young, we wanted the space race to push the limits on building more powerful rockets, armies need more military power, the most powerful cars, and cities always need more electrical power for their populations. The objective of an effective PCB configuration is to give it clean force.

The PCB power supply plan needs to furnish the remainder of the hardware with perfect, continuous power. Design the PCB power supply, making less noise, and the noise created will be disengaged from the remainder of the plan.

PCB Design Considerations for Power Supply

pcb power supply

Depending on the functions of your PCB, it will require the ability to work. Ordinarily, this is cultivated with a locally available power supply. There are two fundamental categories of power supplies. They include:

Switch-mode power supplies (SMPS): They are more productive compared to linear power supplies. However, they are more intricate, and their switching noise can make EMI if care isn’t taken in their plan.

SMPSs are additionally separated by type: Non-isolated and Isolated. Higher-input voltages require the utilization of transformer segregation. Many secluded SMPS varieties are contingent upon their capacity and force rating, including full-bridge, half-bridge, push-pull, forward, and flyback. Non-detached SMPSs incorporate the accompanying sorts:

  • Buck-support: This SMPS contains both the buck and lift converters and will either venture down or venture up the yield voltage.
  • Boost: This SMPS steps up the voltage while stepping down the current.
  • Buck: This SMPS lowers the voltage while increasing the current.

Linear power supplies: They are genuinely straightforward and minimal expense to plan onto a PCB. They are utilized in frameworks where the power necessities are lower.

The configuration and type of power supply you wind up utilizing on your board should be intended to convey clean power with little to no noise. When planning the power supply on your PCB, you should consider the following:

  • Heat: A power supply will get hot, so ensure that you plan your inventory to scatter heat.
  • Noise: You should utilize the smaller bundles conceivably. Use the shortest routing, the best grounding strategy, and the most optimized and tightest component placement to diminish the opportunity of noise-making EMI for the remainder of the board.
  • Current: Your power supply will deal with a lot of currents. So ensure that you utilize satisfactorily follow widths and copper weight that can handle such current.

PCB power Supply Design Guidelines for Place and Route

Avoid potential risk to guarantee legitimate circuit activity, particularly when managing high-power PCBs, even though PCB design is challenging and exciting. As the size of electronic gadgets is consistently and continuously diminishing, we should consider the design aspects such as heat management and power supply. We will see a few rules that the creator can follow to plan a PCB that can support high-power applications.


The plan of high-power PCBs requires the utilization of materials with specific attributes. The first attribute is that it should be a good heat conductor. Customary materials, for example, minimal expense FR-4, have a TC of about 0.20 W/m/K. For high-power applications, where heat builds should be limited, it is desirable to utilize explicit materials, like the Rogers RT cover.

As well as utilizing materials that can deal with heat and power with low error probabilities, you should manufacture PCB utilizing thermal and conductive materials with fundamentally the same CTE. So any extension or constriction of the materials because of high influence or temperatures happen at a similar rate, limiting mechanical weight on the material.

Decoupling capacitor

When power rail is disseminated and divided among numerous board parts, it is conceivable that the dynamic segments create hazardous phenomena, for example, ringing and ground bounce. It can cause voltage drops near the part’s power pins. Use decoupling capacitors if you want to address this problem. One terminal of the capacitor should be put to the pin of the segment getting the force supply. Connect the other terminal straight forwardly to a low impedance ground plane. The objective is to diminish the impedance between the force supply rail and the ground. Decoupling capacitors go about as an optional force source, giving segments the current they need during every transient.

Solder mask

We use this technique to permit a trace to convey bigger current measures to eliminate the solder mask from the PCB. It uncovers the hidden copper material, which would then be enhanced with extra welds to build the thickness of the copper and decline the general obstruction in the current-conveying segments of the PCB. While we may view it as even more a workaround than a design policy, this method permits PCB follows to withstand more force without requiring an increment in follow width.

Thermal management

It is essential to adhere to ideal thermal management to guard every segment inside temperature limits. The heat produced by every piece is moved to the outside through the bundle and the association pins. The intersection temperature ought never to surpass the breaking point demonstrated in the producer’s datasheet. Lately, electronic segment makers have assembled thermo-viable bundles progressively. Indeed, even with these innovative packages, heat dispersal becomes progressively intricate as incorporated circuits’ size keeps on getting smaller.

The two principal methods used to improve PCB heat management comprise the insertion of thermal vias and the production of enormous ground planes. The primary method permits you to build the region accessible on the PCB for heat dissemination. These planes are associated with the upper or lower layer of the load up to amplify the heating trade with the general climate; in any case, internal layers can likewise be utilized to separate pieces of the force scattered by the gadgets on the PCB. Heat vias are used to move heat starting with one layer then onto the next layer on a similar board. They can coordinate warmth from the most sizzling spots on the board to different layers.

Component placement

It is significant to initially build up the situation on the PCB of high-power parts, like voltage converters, or force semiconductors, which are answerable for creating a lot of heat. You should not mount high-power components close to the board’s edges, as this causes heat to develop and a huge ascent in temperature. Profoundly coordinated advanced parts, like microcontrollers, PCB power amplifier, processors, and FPGAs, ought to be situated in the focal point of the PCB, taking into account uniform heat dispersion no matter how you look at it and subsequently a reduction in temperature. Regardless, you should never concentrate the power components in similar positions to stay away from the development of problem areas; rather, a straight sort game plan is best.

Positioning should begin with the power gadgets. Place its traces short and wide enough to take out excessive ground loops and noise. By and large, the accompanying principles apply:

  • Take good grounding measures
  • Place high power circuits away from sensitive circuits
  • Minimize the resistive voltage drops
  • Identify and reduce current loops

PCB design

One needs to consider the board format from the beginning phases of PCB improvement. A significant standard that applies to any high-power PCB is to decide the way followed by the power. The amount and location of power moving through a circuit is a significant factor in assessing the measure of heat the PCB needs to disseminate. The primary variables influencing the design of a printed circuit board include:

  • The density of components that populate the board
  • The material used for manufacturing the PCB
  • Amount of airflow affecting the board
  • The ambient temperature at which the board operates
  • Power level flowing through the circuit

Even though this need is less dire with the current apparatus, in the course adjustments, it is fitting to stay away from the right points, yet to utilize 45° points or bent lines.

Trace width and thickness

On a basic level, the more drawn out the track, the more prominent its obstruction and the measure of warmth to be disseminated. Since the objective is to limit power failure and guarantee high dependability and sturdiness of the circuit, the proposal keeps the traces that lead to high currents. To effectively figure the width of a track, realizing the greatest current that can go through it, creators can depend on the recipes contained in the IPC-2221 rules or utilize an online number cruncher to calculate the maximum current and width the track.

Planning PCB Power Supplies for Successful Manufacturing

You are planning an effective PCB power supply with these suggestions, yet you need the board to be produced. With the tight situation prerequisites of a power supply format, you need to work ahead with your PCB contract producer to guarantee they can construct your planning. If not, they should work with you to concoct a planning methodology to fulfill both the electrical and assembling prerequisites of the board.

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