Sierra Circuits, Inc., has launched the Trace Width Calculator. This tool incorporates a unique 3-in-1 feature to calculate the trace width, maximum current capacity, and temperature rise above the ambient for both internal and external layers. This calculator abides by the latest IPC-2152 standard.

Using this tool, a PCB designer can evaluate the following parameters:

• Trace width (W) – if the maximum current and the temperature rise above the ambient are given.

• Temperature rise (ΔT) – if the trace width and maximum current values are given.

• Maximum current (Imax) – if the temperature and the trace width values are given.

You can alter any two of these parameters to find the third one. This is the only tool that gives you this advantage.

Why should you use this tool?

Trace width calculation is critical for high-current PCBs. Hence, we need to know how much trace width is enough to carry that high current. Insufficient trace width may lead to trace burn, impacting the PCB functionality.

The other parameters required by this tool are trace thickness (Th), ambient temperature (Ta), and trace length (L). This trace current capacity calculator also calculates additional parameters such as resistance of the trace at ambient temperature, the resistance of trace at high temperature (Ta + ΔT), maximum voltage drop, and maximum power loss for a given trace length.

The default values of trace length and the ambient temperature are set as 1-inch and 25 degrees Celsius, respectively. However, these can be changed as required. This trace current capacity tool also lets you switch between different units as per your convenience.

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