PCB007 Magazine

PCB007-Mar2021

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48 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2021 Feature Article by Bob Neves MICROTEK LABORATORIES Electric vehicles encompass more than just automobiles. Trains, subways, ships, motor- cycles, scooters, skateboards, and even air- cra are now going electric. Electric vehicles have unique power needs that directly affect the manufacturing and reliability of the print- ed circuit boards (PCBs) used in them. Drive train and environmental control systems re- quire PCBs with the ability to process signifi- cant power to interact with and control them. Adding to the power needs of electric vehicles are the dozens of support, monitoring, enter- tainment, and safety systems that have become a part of the vehicle experience we expect. In combustion engines, power generated from fuel was used for all mechanical and elec- trical needs with a surplus of energy remain- ing. e elimination of the combustion engine has forced power to now be carefully managed and conserved as it all needs to be stored lo- cally and there is not much extra that can be wasted. e power used by an electrical system is equal to the current flowing through the sys- tem multiplied by the voltage drop across the system. is means that in order to obtain sig- nificant power for your electrical system, you can increase current, voltage, or some combi- nation of both. In addition, the energy storage systems on the vehicle must balance increases in voltage and current to maximize power dis- tribution. ese increases in current and volt- age create unique issues for the PCBs used in these high-power systems. Increased current requires thicker copper conductors while in- creased voltage requires more spacing be- tween conductors to prevent electrical leak- age. Increased power going through the PCB also generates heat, causing expansion which increases stress to the PCBs' via structures and can contribute to long-term degradation to its insulation systems. e desire for high reliability in our vehicle electrical systems has driven us to try to bet- ter understand the factors that affect the long- term interconnection and isolation reliability of the electrical circuits that comprise a PCB. Process Survivability, Reliability and Robustness Testing for EVs

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