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Your trace width and density will help you ensure that your device can comply with the IPC-2152 standard. Sizing your conductors to meet an appropriate temperature rise demand and vice versa requires accurate calculations, followed by precise routing on your PCB. This where design rules and power delivery analysis in your PCB help ensure that your device can meet this important industry standard and will operate within a designated temperature range.
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A fully unified, heavily rules-driven PCB design package with power delivery analysis tools.
Just like many other products and processes, industry standards define important design requirements that ensure reliability and interoperability between devices. The trace width and current in your printed circuit is related to the temperature rise you can expect to see in your device. In order to meet the IPC-2152 standard, you’ll need to properly size your conductors for a specific temperature rise and current in your traces.
The IPC-2152 industry standard defines requirements on trace dimensions in your printed circuit board for various operating temperatures. This new standard summarizes the relationship between current, trace cross-section, copper weight, and temperature in your printed circuit board. If you intend to comply with this industry standard, you’ll need to determine the appropriate trace width that satisfies a certain operating temperature.
Determining the appropriate trace width for a particular temperature limit, current density, substrate material, and layer count is not an easy problem. This is why we have industry standards that include appropriate trace sizes for these different situations. You can easily calculate your trace widths from standards, or you can exploit internal design rules in your PCB software.
Once you determine the appropriate trace size for your circuit board as a function of current density, you need to enforce that size during design. You’ll need PCB design software that enforces integration between your routing tools and design rules. This allows you to place multiple traces with the required cross-section automatically, rather than manually defining every trace on the board. You’ll be more productive and more accurate within your PCB design flow.
Your design rules should enforce the trace cross-section, spacing, and copper weight you need to meet the temperature requirements listed in IPC-2152. Defining the required trace dimensions in your PCB design software as design rules saves you time when routing and verifying your device. Your design software should enable quick trace routing by interfacing directly with your design rules.
Design rules for trace widths in Altium Designer
Once you’ve sized your traces in your PCB and you’ve finished your layout, how do you go about verifying your device works as designed? Sure, you could order a quick prototype board, assemble it with off-the-shelf components, and test it against the published IPC standards as soon as you finish the design. Looking through your board’s current capacity, characteristic impedance, magnetic loop, ground plane, and thickness can be cumbersome.
But there is one step you should consider taking first in order to diagnose potential power and thermal problems. Enter power delivery analysis into your design flow. Since the temperature in a PCB is proportional to power consumption from IR losses, an accurate calculation of IR losses throughout your PCB can help you determine whether your PCB is likely to need a redesign.
The IPC-2152 standards sets a recommended conductor cross-section and weight in order to control temperature at a specific level for a given current. If you size your traces around these specifications you’ll still need to verify your device. This is where power delivery analysis comes in. A great PDN analyzer gives you a visualization of power consumption throughout your device and shows you the thermal demands in your PCB.
Your design software should also allow you to define constraints on your trace size, spacing, and even length tolerance into your routing tools. This makes it easy to remain productive during design as your routing and layout tools will place traces that meet these rules automatically. You can rest assured that your design meets the IPC-2152 standard.
Power delivery network analysis in Altium Designer
Since temperature rise in your PCB is proportional to power consumption throughout your device, you need an analysis tool that tracks IR losses and power consumption throughout your PCB. Whether working through flexible or flex circuits, a rigid-flex circuit or trying to manage circuit boards so they can get to PCB manufacturing quickly, you’ll want solid design rules structuring in place to keep your printed circuit board running.
The power delivery analysis tool in Altium Designer gives you 2D or 3D visual representation of power distribution in your device, allowing you to gauge thermal demands throughout your PCB. When your analysis results are included in the same interface as your design tools, you can incorporate your analysis results into your design rules. Your other design and interactive routing tools work off of your design rules, allowing you to properly size your conductors to meet industry demands.
Altium Designer brings these critical design and analysis tools in a single package. Rather than moving between separated modules with different workflows, your power delivery analysis tools interface directly with your layout, giving you the ability to gauge the thermal demands in your device within a single interface. This helps you size conductors on your board with the goal of meeting critical industry design standards.
A unified design platform brings these design and analysis features together in a single program. You’ll only find integration between your design rules, thermal analysis, and power analysis in a unified PCB design environment. Powerful analysis tools integrated directly into your PCB design software will help you ensure that your design meets critical industry standards.
New design software comes with its own learning curve, and you might need support once you get started. With Altium Designer, you’ll have access to the AltiumLive forum, webinars, and podcasts with industry experts, and a thorough knowledge base. Other companies leave you on your own; Altium Designer provides all the support you need to design successfully.
The best design, power analysis, and rules checking features will ensure that your device operates within the right temperature range and can comply with critical industry standards. Only Altium Designer supplies you with all these tools in a single software package. These tools work together within a rules-driven design engine, and all your tools are integrated into a single platform. Forget about using an unvalidated calculator, try Altium Designer.