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44 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2022 Feature Article by Zachariah Peterson NWES Of all the different boards a designer can create, a high voltage PCB design can be com- plicated and requires strict attention to safety. If not laid out correctly these boards can be safety hazards or can fail to function on first power up, leaving a designer with wasted time and effort. In the best case, the board will func- tion reliably for a long period of time thanks to correct layout practices. High-voltage PCB design can be as complex as any high-speed digital design. Boards for high voltage systems can be space constrained and they carry important safety requirements. ey also need to be highly reliable to ensure they will have a long life when run at high volt- age and current. With so many design demands on high voltage PCBs, layout engineers need a complete set of design tools to help them sat- isfy all design constraints. Considerations in High-Voltage PCB Designs High-voltage circuit boards are normally used in power systems, such as in power gener- ation, conversion, or distribution. ese tasks may involve a range of voltages, and the PCB for this equipment must accommodate a range of power levels simultaneously. Here are a few of the points that need to be determined before starting any high voltage PCB layout: • Maximum voltage level: e maximum voltage level in the board will determine the relevant safety standards that need to be obeyed and the distance between conductors in the PCB layout. • AC vs. DC power: DC power systems are more dangerous than high voltage AC systems. However, high-power AC systems may still need isolation to protect the user from dangerous currents. • Power topology: e topology of a power system also determines safety, as well as the components that are used to build circuits for the system. Different topolo- gies will have their own design and layout rules to ensure stable power and prevent noise from reaching downstream circuits. • Operating temperature: e operating temperature will be a major determinant of reliability and will depend on the power dissipated in conductors and components A High-Voltage PCB Design Primer

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