Power Plane PCB: Essential Part of your Circuit Boards


As a circuit board designer, you are aware that power plane PCB has an essential role in your circuit boards. You will be able to understand its importance only when you know that it is a layer which distributes the current throughout the entire board. The current passes through this plane as well as other layers of the board.

Power planes are an essential part of circuit boards, but what exactly do they do? We’ve got the answers you need to make sure your next circuit board is up to snuff.

Introduction to Power Plane PCB

Introduction to Power Plane PCB

What is Power Plane in PCB?

Power plane is a conductive layer which is used to distribute power to all parts of the board. It can be found on both sides of a PCB, and it provides an electrical return path for current that flows through a circuit. The voltage and current levels on power planes are typically much higher than those provided by other components, such as resistors or capacitors.

The power plane is usually connected to a single point on the board, called a reference point or voltage source, which can be anywhere between 0V and 5V. All of the components then connect to this reference point and then supply voltage through their pins to whatever circuit they’re controlling or monitoring.

Power Plane in PCB

Power Plane in PCB

Why Use Power Planes?

Power planes are used in printed circuit boards (PCBs) to distribute power in a way that is similar to how water is distributed to different areas of a city. The power planes are used as a way to reduce the amount of current that travels through other layers of the PCB, which can lead to heat problems and electrical resistance issues.

When designing a PCB, it’s important to consider how much power will be needed by each component on the board. This information should be provided by the manufacturer of these components so you can calculate how much current will be traveling through each layer of your board. If this information is not available, you may need to do some research into what kind of power supply will be used with your product or how much current each part draws when it’s operating normally.

Types of Power Plane PCB

If you’ve ever wondered about the different types of power plane PCBs, we’re here to help. There 3 different kinds of power plane PCBs. These are:

Types of Power Plane PCB

Types of Power Plane PCB

Dynamic Planes

A type of power plane printed circuit board that uses frequency-dependent coupling to transfer power between sections of the board. This allows for more efficient power distribution and management than traditional static power plane PCBs.

Static Planes

Has a layer of copper foil that acts as the power supply for each layer of the PCB. The Static power planes acts as an electrical current source and helps to distribute current throughout the PCB.


It is used for circuit boards that only have one or two layers and that have a large area of copper on the bottom layer. The cutout design does not require a ground plane, so it can be used in any situation where you need to connect multiple components without using an additional ground plane.

Power Plane’s Advantage

Power planes are used to distribute electrical power throughout the printed circuit board. The advantages of using a printed circuit board power plane are the following:

Power Plane's Advantage

Power Plane’s Advantage

Greater Current Carrying Capacity

The power plane’s advantage over other layers of a PCB is that it has a greater current carrying capacity than other layers. This means that you can run more current through your PCB using the power plane layer than you could if you were using another layer such as an internal ground or signal layer.

Better Decoupling Between Circuits

The power plane is an important part of a printed circuit board because it provides better decoupling between circuits. This is done by separating the ground and power planes from each other.

The power plane carries all the high-current paths in the board, while the ground plane carries all of the low-current paths. When these two planes are separated, they provide better decoupling between the high-current and low-current circuits in your printed circuit board, which can help improve performance.

Shorter Return Paths

The shorter return paths of the power plane help reduce radiated emissions from the PCB. This is because shorter paths have less capacitance and inductance than longer ones, which reduces the amount of energy that is stored in the path.

In addition, shorter return paths reduce impedance changes caused by frequency-dependent variations in trace length and width. This helps maintain a flat frequency response across all frequencies, providing better signal integrity and noise immunity.

Tips for Designing Power Plane PCB

Power plane PCB is a type of PCB that has the power distribution on a common layer. It is used to distribute power throughout the circuit board and reduce the number of layers. To design a power plane PCB, you should follow these tips:

Tip 1 – Ensure Proper Symmetry

The first thing you should do when designing a power plane PCB is to ensure proper symmetry. When designing your PCB, you want to make sure that every component is facing in the same direction, and that all of the components are aligned with each other. This will help ensure that all of your components are properly placed and aligned, which will make assembly much easier for both you and your manufacturer.

Symmetry helps to keep the circuit balanced and prevents excessive current flow in one direction. It also ensures that the current flows evenly across the surface of the power plane PCB, which reduces heat distribution and improves efficiency.

Tip 2 – Use Cross-Team Layout Software and Tools

When you’re designing your PCB, you’ll want to make sure that the layout software you use is compatible with the tools used by all of the other teams. If not, then you will have to export each file and import them into another program, which can lead to mistakes. This is why cross-team layout software and tools are so important!

If you’re working with a team of designers, you can use cross-team layout software and tools to share information about your design. This will help you avoid mistakes and keep your team on the same page.

Tip 3 – Provide Multiple Domains

When you’re designing a power plane PCB, one of the best ways to get it right is to provide multiple domains. By doing so, you can make sure that your power plane has the capacity to handle all of the current that’s going to be running through it. You also want to make sure that there’s enough room for any surface mount components or larger components that may need to be placed on the board later on down the line.

Difference Between Power Plane and Ground Plane

Power Plane and Ground Plane are two terms that are often confused. They both refer to the same thing—a reference plane that is used to help locate an electrical component or circuit. However, there are some subtle differences between Power Plane and Ground Plane.

Power Plane and Ground Plane

Power Plane and Ground Plane

Power Plane Features

A power plane is another name for a large-scale distribution network within a printed circuit board. It’s an area of copper that provides power through multiple paths rather than just one like with a single trace. Power planes are used in high-speed circuits because they provide more paths for current flow than do single traces alone; this helps reduce inductance and crosstalk within these systems while also improving overall reliability through reduced impedance between different parts of an electronic device such as an integrated circuit or microprocessor module.

Ground Plane Features

A ground plane is an area of copper that is connected to the ground terminal on a circuit board (or computer). This copper area acts as a reference point for other components in the circuit, which can then use it as a ground source. Ground planes are usually found in digital circuits, where they’re used to provide DC power and ground for digital components. The larger the ground plane, the better it is at providing grounding.

Can a Power Plane be a Reference Plane?

Yes, the power plane can be a reference plane in a printed circuit board. To make this happen, you need to do some work. First, you must define a power plane and then connect it to other components on your board. After this is done, you will have created a reference plane for connecting components together with traces or vias.

Reference Plane

Reference Plane

What is PCB Power Plane Current Carry Capacity?

This is a number that represents how much current can be carried by a PCB power plane.

In the context of PCBs, a power plane is a layer of copper that runs through the center of the board and connects all the components together. This layer is usually connected to ground, and it’s what carries all of your components’ current.

The current carry capacity of your power plane depends on how thick it is and how much current each component needs to draw from it. The thicker your power plane is and/or the less current each component draws, the higher its current carry capacity will be.

How to Calculate PCB Power Plane Current Capacity?

PCB power plane current capacity is the maximum allowable current that can flow through a PCB’s power plane. It’s calculated by multiplying the power conductor’s cross-sectional area by its permissible current density and dividing it by the total area of the PCB’s power plane.

To calculate the power conductor’s cross-sectional area, you’ll need to measure its diameter with a caliper or micrometer. If it has a circular cross-section, you can also use your caliper to measure its circumference and then multiply that value by pi (3.14) to get its circumference divided into 2 equal parts.

Once you have these numbers, you’ll plug them into this equation:

Cross-section area = (Trace thickness x Trace width x 1.378 [Maximum current/oz/ft2]).

Calculate PCB Power Plane Current Capacity

 Current Capacity Formula

Why Use Large Planes?

In a printed circuit board (PCB), the most important factor in designing a circuit is to have a well-planned power plane. The power plane is a layer of copper that transfers power from one part of the PCB to another. It provides a common ground for all components on the same layer and helps prevent signal interference between them.

The size of your power plane can affect how much heat it can dissipate before failing, so it’s important to choose the right size for your project. If you use too small of a plane, you’ll run into issues with heat dissipation and power distribution; if you use too large of a plane, it won’t fit properly on your board.

Lower DC Resistance

The amount of power lost in a circuit is dependent on several factors, including the current and voltage of the circuit, as well as its resistance. When you have high resistance, it means more power will be lost in your circuit. On the other hand, if you have low resistance, it means less power will be lost.

The major reason why large power planes can help lower DC resistance is because they reduce the number of vias that need to be used in a circuit board. Vias are metal plugs that connect different layers of a printed circuit board (PCB) together; these are used to carry signals from one layer to another without having to use wires or traces on top of each other. The fewer vias there are in a PCB design, the less resistance there will be between those layers, which results in less power loss overall.

Larger Heat Transfer

As you know, heat is transferred from one object to another by means of conduction, convection, or radiation. Large power planes act as thermal conductor and help in transfer of heat from one part to another.

When using a large power plane, heat transfer is much more efficient than when using a small power plane. The larger surface area of the PCB allows more heat to be transferred from the copper layer to the air, which helps keep temperatures low during use.


Now that you know the general principle of power plane PCB, you will better understand its importance in your circuit board design. So it is recommended to take your time, consider different factors and make sure what kind of power plane PCB that perfectly fits your need.

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