I’ve produced a simple unregulated power supply PCB, consisting of:
- AC input terminals
- 4 rectifier diodes
- Filter/smoothing capacitors
- DC output terminals
Only when the PCBs arrived did I get the sinking feeling that the traces connecting the outputs of the rectifier diodes to the rest of the board (which consists of nice chunky pours) may be too thin for the current I need to drive. Doh!
What is the best/safest way to stress test one of these boards?
I’m happy to kill one of the PCBs in the process of stress testing.
If possible, I’d also like to spare the capacitors - during testing, would it be a good idea to leave the caps off? And of course I don’t want to jeopardize the transformer (a large toroid).
My idea is to build one of the PCBs (minus the big expensive caps) connect it to some beefy dummy resistors (pulling the desired current) and then to mains. Then wait and see if anything spontaneously combusts, or if the thin traces start melting.
Update: I’m not looking for assistance in determining the current handling ability of the trace, or for strategies to transfer heat/increase the trace width. For the sake of science, let’s assume it’s too thin. I’m looking for a general stress-test method to find the real world upper limit of what a PCB like this can safely handle.