Tinning/thickening PCB traces for less resistance - diyAudio
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Old 17th November 2013, 04:50 AM   #1
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Default Tinning/thickening PCB traces for less resistance

A quick-n-dirty way to reduce the Ohms seems to have been getting some interesting attn. on popular YouTube DIY EE channels. Apparently, for not a whole lot of extra effort, the "trick" -- which may be old news to some of you -- seems to really (measurably) work....

EEVblog #317 - PCB Tinning Myth Busting - YouTube

EEVblog #317 - PCB Tinning Myth Busting - Page 1

Does putting solder on high current PCB tracks help? - YouTube

What I'm more curious about is, of course, SQ. But also, which topological traces would likely benefit the best (e.g. pwr traces) ... best bang for the work. And might some exotic solder (silver, etc) be "best" bang for the $$? Or is it simpler/cheaper to Eagle it right (or spend the $$ for heavier-gauge PCB trace when you place your fab order)?
But what if you're still in the "profession" of scrapin' by ... i.e, moddin' vintage gear for an (honest) livin' ? So you gotta make the most of ol' Magnavox and Yamaha CDPs. Errrr ... that's why I switched to plumbin'
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Old 17th November 2013, 04:55 AM   #2
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This FLIR-based video seems to indicate SLIGHTLY better heat dissip. with the thickened trace:
Solder on PCB tracks - thermal test - YouTube
"I got banned from a Hi-Fi forum. And I liked it."
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Old 17th November 2013, 09:41 AM   #3
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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This used to be done regularly in the past because of the scarcity of heavier weight copper laminates, now in the commercial world it is only used on the cheapest of products. Due to the fact its not very easy to control the process and the decline in wave soldering most products will be designed with the correct base copper weight PCB's to carry the required currents and dissipate heat.
For DIY its a solution but there are better methods, such as copper bus bars that you solder on., or maximise the amount of copper for a high current node using a copper pour (this is effective for low frequency, high frequency or high switching such as a SMPS requires thinner traces and minimum co0pper to minimise any noise coupling and EMC problems.
The first thing is to check the track width required and one of the best and most used tools is this (for example a 0.5mm trace will carry 1.3 amps at 10deg C temp rise):
Saturn PCB Design - PCB Via Current | PCB Trace Width | Differential Pair Calculator | PCB Impedance
A good all round calculator for PCB design.
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