The Simple Guide to Power Integrity in Power Circuit Board Design
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Learn More About Power Circuit Board Power and How It’s Maintained
While integrity typically refers to honesty and having a strong moral compass, integrity can also refer to the state of being whole or undivided. The latter definition is more applicable to PCBs, power board circuits. The circuits of a PCB and its voltage should be managed at all times to their required levels. Without power integrity, fluctuation can occur and disrupt the board’s performance, signals, and even give false responses.
You’ll waste time and money if you have to troubleshoot what’s broken in your PCB due to poor power integrity. It’s important to have a PCB designed with a good power delivery network (PDN) to ensure power integrity. Keep reading to learn more about how to maintain your PCBs and power integrity.
Power Integrity Basics
Power is constantly distributed to different components of a circuit board. Older circuit boards, such as a common integrated circuit device, only had a single power source. It was easier to provide power to the board, as it only needed one plane for power and one plane for ground on the layering of the board. Today’s PCBs are much more complicated due to managing the power and signal integrity. The main goal of an efficient power delivery network is to provide stable voltage references and distribute power to all of the devices with compliant noise and tolerance levels.
When devices on power boards were simpler with only one power source and ground setup, noise tolerances were not as strict. Excessive noise could easily be controlled with an extra capacitor. Capacitors were also favorable because their switching speeds did not cause issues as the current, high-speed devices do.
To have the best power integrity you have to understand how best to supply the power specifications of each device. Great power integrity on a PCB comes from understanding how the power will propagate through the power delivery network of the circuit board design. The PDN of the board includes the power supply, routing, power planes, ground planes, capacitors, and the devices themselves.
To increase the performance of your PCB and power integrity, you can invest in many different types of oscilloscope probes to monitor power levels. For example, a TPA10 Tek Probe Adapter is an automatic probe detection device that provides necessary power and offset controls to the attached probes. Probes such as the TPA10 Tek Probe can leverage existing probes, support a wide variety of other probes, and come with firmware updates.
High-definition oscilloscopes are optimal for measuring voltages signals and creating an electrical response signal. Oscilloscopes are typically used while designing, manufacturing, or repairing electronic equipment with voltage signals. Two popular types of oscilloscopes are the WaveRunner8208HD and the Tektronix MSO58. While similar, the WaveRunner outperforms the Tektronix MSO58 slightly. The Tektronix oscilloscope needs to enable high-resolution mode to be able to reach a 12-bit resolution. This is complicated by its limitations of 1 GHz and the noise is still very high.
Typically paired with high-definition oscilloscopes is a 3 phase power analysis software. The 3 phase power analysis software includes 1-phase and 3-phase measurements that have an intuitive, graphical user interface. The software can complete a static power analysis, dynamic power analysis, and Zoom+Gate. It also offers a harmonics analysis option, a 3-phase vector display option, and a waveform transformations option.
Why PCB Devices Matter
When you have a circuit board with strong power integrity, your PCB and power delivery network operations will run smoothly. There are many factors to consider, but once you have the correct devices hooked up, you’re on the right track.
Your strong power integrity and PCB will give you the ability to analyze the signal of your circuit board and your grand plane signal return paths. Designing your PCB and keeping up with the power integrity may seem daunting, but the high-quality results are worth the investment.