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Several pros and cons of PCB copper plating
2021-10-11
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Author:Kavie

Copper coating is an important part of PCB design. Whether it is the domestic Qingyuefeng PCB design software, some foreign Protel, PowerPCB provide intelligent copper coating function, then how to apply copper, I will share some ideas with you Share together, hoping to bring benefits to colleagues.


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The so-called copper pour is to use the unused space on the PCB board as a reference surface and then fill it with solid copper. These copper areas are also called copper filling. The significance of copper coating is to reduce the impedance of the ground wire and improve the anti-interference ability; reduce the voltage drop and improve the efficiency of the power supply; connecting with the ground wire can also reduce the loop area. Also for the purpose of making the PCB as undistorted as possible during soldering, most PCB manufacturers also require PCB designers to fill the open area of the PCB with copper or grid-like ground wires. If the copper is not handled properly, it will Whether the gains or losses are rewarded or lost, is the copper coating "the advantages outweigh the disadvantages" or "the disadvantages outweigh the advantages"?

Everyone knows that under high frequency, the distributed capacitance of the wiring on the printed circuit board will play a role. When the length is greater than 1/20 of the corresponding wavelength of the noise frequency, an antenna effect will occur, and the noise will be emitted through the wiring. If there is a poorly grounded copper pour in the PCB, the copper pour becomes a tool for spreading noise. Therefore, in a high-frequency circuit board, do not think that the ground wire is connected to the ground. This is the "ground "Line", must be less than λ/20, punch through holes in the wiring, and "good ground" with the ground plane of the multilayer board. If the copper coating is handled properly, the copper coating not only increases the current, but also plays a dual role of shielding interference.

There are generally two basic methods for copper coating, namely large-area copper coating and grid copper. It is often asked whether large-area copper coating is better than grid copper coating. It is not good to generalize. Why? Large-area copper coating has the dual functions of increasing current and shielding. However, if large-area copper coating is used for wave soldering, the board may lift up and even blisters. Therefore, for large-area copper coating, several grooves are generally used to alleviate the blistering of the copper foil. The pure mesh copper coating is mainly used for shielding, and the effect of increasing the current is reduced. From the perspective of heat dissipation, the mesh is beneficial (It lowers the heating surface of the copper) and plays a role of electromagnetic shielding to a certain extent. However, it should be pointed out that the grid is made up of traces in staggered directions. We know that for the circuit, the width of the trace has a corresponding "electrical length" for the operating frequency of the circuit board (the actual size is divided by the actual size). The digital frequency corresponding to the working frequency is available, see related books for details). When the working frequency is not very high, perhaps the role of the grid line is not very obvious. Once the electrical length matches the working frequency, it will be very bad. You will find that the circuit does not work properly at all, and signals that interfere with the operation of the system are being emitted everywhere. So for colleagues who use grids, my suggestion is to choose according to the working conditions of the designed circuit board, and don't cling to one thing. Therefore,high-frequency circuit board have high requirements for multi-purpose grids for anti-interference, and low-frequency circuits have circuits with large currents, such as commonly used complete copper.

Having said that, we need to pay attention to those issues in copper coating in order to achieve the desired effect of copper coating:

1. If the PCB has many grounds, such as SGND, AGND, GND, etc., according to the position of the PCB board, the main "ground" is used as a reference to independently pour copper, digital ground and analog ground. It is not necessary to separate the copper pour. At the same time, before the copper pour, first thicken the corresponding power connection: 5.0V, 3.3V, etc., in this way, multiple deformed structures with different shapes are formed.

2. For single-point connection of different grounds, the method is to connect through 0 ohm resistors or magnetic beads or inductance;

3. Copper pour near the crystal oscillator. The crystal oscillator in the circuit is a high-frequency emission source. The method is to pour copper around the crystal oscillator, and then ground the crystal oscillator separately.

4. The island (dead zone) problem, if you think it is too big, it won't cost much to define a ground via and add it in.

5. At the beginning of the wiring, the ground wire should be treated the same. When routing the ground wire, the ground wire should be routed well. You cannot rely on adding vias to eliminate the ground pins for the connection after copper plating. This effect is very bad.

6. It is best not to have sharp corners on the board (<=180 degrees), because from the perspective of electromagnetics, this constitutes a transmitting antenna! There will always be an impact on others, but it is big or small That's it, I recommend using the edge of the arc.

7. Do not pour copper in the open area of the middle layer of the multilayer board. Because it is difficult for you to make this copper clad "good ground"

8. The metal inside the device, such as metal radiators, metal reinforcement strips, etc., must be "good grounding".

9. The heat dissipation metal block of the three-terminal regulator must be well grounded. The ground isolation strip near the crystal oscillator must be well grounded. In short: if the grounding problem of the copper pour on the PCB board is dealt with, it must be "pros outweigh the disadvantages". It can reduce the return area of the signal line and reduce the electromagnetic interference of the signal to the outside.