when designing PCB with altium, we have created a power plane but under the configuration of signal plane so we could divided the plane for different voltage we have. We have some vis that go to top layer of the pcb to power some components. In the power plane I was wondering if it would be better to keep power connection as trace/track or if it is better to have them under the form of surface plane made with polygon ? What are your opinion about it ? Is there any advantages / drawbacks having traces instead of plane or vice versa ?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just draw it in a way that makes sense? The only thing that matters is how easy it is to draw and if it produces the desired result.. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel May 13 '16 at 5:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ My question is about electrical consideration.... \$\endgroup\$ – chris May 13 '16 at 6:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ First, search the Altium documentation for the term split plane. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon May 13 '16 at 15:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did already, the question is not about how to use Altium but to choose an architecture on a board rather than another. I perfectly understand what is a polygon pour a split plane and a trace and how to implement them in Altium, the question is in which case is it better to have wide trace for power line rather than defining a polygon plane to conduct electricity.. \$\endgroup\$ – chris May 14 '16 at 3:59

The only reason this could be an issue is if your running logic or RF signals above 50 MHZ and are concerned about reflections. Reflections occur when you have sharp 90 degree corners in a trace or a plane. Cut corners at a 45 degree angle.

If it is a trace the length of the angle is 1.618 times the trace width. For planes you can use a polygon pattern to break up standing waves. Remember that the copper is already there and you are paying to have it removed.

Planes have a lower cost for that reason, plus the labor to run wide ground and power traces into tight places full of parts and vias. For best performance you should have software diagnostic tools to predict signal behavior before having the boards made.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am indeed working on RF pcb with Sub Ghz frequency... thank you for your answer \$\endgroup\$ – chris May 14 '16 at 3:57

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