Acquired Electronics360

Industrial Electronics

Power Distribution — To Route or to Plane PC Boards

14 December 2017

Power distribution on a PC board can come in a number of forms. The three most common methods are:

Source: Screaming Circuits Source: Screaming Circuits

● You can route power and ground

● You can use surface layer floods

● You can use internal planes

After component positioning, you’ll need to look at power and ground distribution. With a two layer board, your options are limited to individually routing power and ground, or using a polygon fill, also called a flood or pour.

For simple, low speed layouts, it’s common to route power just like any other signal. You’ll typically use a wider trace, which you can set manually, or with design rules. Drawing a polygon in the board shape, and giving it the same name as your power or ground signals may make the job easier. Keep in mind that you can end up with parts of a ground plane that are disconnected from the rest of the board. This is called an orphan. Some CAD error checks will spot such a problem and some won't.

If you have a four or more layer board, common practice is to designate one of the internal layers for ground and one for power. Doing so can leave more room for signal routing, can reduce EMI and can leave a cleaner looking, and easier-to-debug board. It also reduces the chances of having orphan ground or power areas.

Duane Benson is the Chief Technology Champion at Screaming Circuits, a prototype PCB assembly electronic manufacturing company in Canby, Oregon

Powered by CR4, the Engineering Community

Discussion – 0 comments

By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and Terms of Use.
Engineering Newsletter Signup
Get the Engineering360
Stay up to date on:
Features the top stories, latest news, charts, insights and more on the end-to-end electronics value chain.
Weekly Newsletter
Get news, research, and analysis
on the Electronics industry in your
inbox every week - for FREE
Sign up for our FREE eNewsletter


Date Event Location
12-16 Aug 2018 Vancouver, Canada
11-13 Sep 2018 Novi, Michigan
27 Sep 2018 The Reef, Los Angeles
03-05 Oct 2018 Boston, Massachusetts
26 Oct 2018 Old Billingsgate
Find Free Electronics Datasheets