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Elector PCB's - thermal relief for ground plane connection

The electronics enthusiast's product design cycle

Elector PCB's - thermal relief for ground plane connection

Postby bkcjones » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:34 pm

I am not a PCB designer but as a design engineer my designs were laid out by an expert PCB designer. Often these were multi-layer PCB designs with power and ground planes. I have bought a couple of Elector kits recently and had some trouble when soldering the ground connection of many components. Looking at the board closely, it appears that they are designed on double sided board to keep the cost down but "infill" the ground across the board. Looking closer reveals no thermal relief pad for the ground connection and the soldering iron heat is "sucked" away by the infill copper. My iron was a little old so I bought a new 60W one hoping my iron was to blame. Nope, it still doesn't make a good joint even with heat applied for quite a while, probably too long for some components. I thought that the use of thermal relief pads for ground connections to a plane was standard practice, but not for these Elector board designs. I am very disappointed by this as it makes it very difficult to solder the board without worrying about over-applying heat to some components. I would be most interested in other builder's experiences with this and if there are any comments in case I am doing something wrong. Thank you.
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Re: Elector PCB's - thermal relief for ground plane connecti

Postby shadders » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:40 am

I use an 80watt soldering station and for small components such as surface mount resistors and capacitors, it copes ok. For surface mount IC's, the designed gaps between a plane and pad means that the ground connection is smaller and soldering is not an issue.

For plate through holes - for capacitors and resistors, for example, then it is a problem in many cases - so i purchased a large soldering iron - not sure about the wattage - but the bit size is large, and this has enough latent heat such that when connected to the pad, the solder flows acceptably.

There does seem to be an issue with this website - the front page is not updating with posts on the sub forums, so this means your posts did not appear until today.

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