EN3213 PCB Design for Power Electronics 8.0 credits

Konstruktion av mönsterkort för effektelektronik

In by far the majority of electronic products, the components are connected both mechanically and electrically by means of one or multiple Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).  PCBs not only allow an efficient production process for complex electronic circuitry, but enable compact design and superior integration of functionality as well. Therefore, PCB design plays a central role for the performance and reliability of electronic products. PCB design for power electronics is considered particularly challenging because of the diversity of types of circuitry required and their possible undesired interactions. Potential problems need to be recognized and countered at an early development stage of a project to prevent significant delays and cost increase later on.

The aim of the PCB design course is to provide essential skills for PhD students needed to successfully develop PCBs for their research projects in power electronics, and to provide them with a deeper understanding of the design challenges. The course is essential to students involved in development and experimental evaluation of power electronics.

  • Education cycle

    Third cycle
  • Main field of study

  • Grading scale

    P, F

At present this course is not scheduled to be offered.

Intended learning outcomes

After completion of the course the student shall be able to:
•    Perform PCB-design using a Computer Aided Design (CAD) software tool.
•    Define custom schematic symbols and packages using a CAD software tool.
•    Define automatic control of the design rules required for a customized PCB-design.
•    Calculate the required clearance and creepage distances for a custom PCB and understand the factors that impact these distances.
•    Calculate the required trace width for a customized PCB and understand the factors that impact the required trace width.
•    Apply the right type of insulation (basic, supplemental, reinforced, and functional) for different parts of the circuit.
•    Apply safety standards for laboratory equipment as well as other regulatory requirements.
•    Find component safety information from the regulatory bodies and to use it to comply with safety standards.
•    Use a line impedance stabilization network and an oscilloscope to test for conducted emissions.
•    Recognize potential EMC problems in a schematic design and take measures to counter these problems at an early stage.
•    Design grounding systems for mixed signal circuits, which include a mix of digital, analogue and power electronics such that harmful crosstalk is minimized.
•    Protect electrical inputs and outputs against electrostatic discharge (ESD).
•    Design a PCB such that it does not cause any problems with production.
•    Perform review to other PCB designs increase design quality and reduce debugging time.
•    Outline clear schematic diagrams, with the goal to communicate the design effectively and efficiently.
•    Choose a suitable type of PCB material / layer buildup for a particular schematic design.

Course main content

•    The use of CAD software for PCB design
•    Design rule settings, how to use them effectively and efficiently in a PCB program.
•    Identify potential challenges in the PCB production.
•    Clearance and creepage distances: what mechanisms set the required distance, how to calculate and what do the safety standards prescribe?
•    Insulation classes, which class to apply to different parts of the schematic.
•    Current carrying capacity and the required trace width for external / internal layers.
•    Conducted emissions for EMC standards, requirements and testing for requirements.
•    Grounding systems for mixed-signal systems.
•    EMC filters
•    X and Y capacitors, their use and applicable safety classes.
•    EMC filtering, matching filter impedance to the system by using right filter topology.
•    Common mode inductors: use and design.
•    Environmental conditions: types of classes, when and how to design for (conductive) dust and condensation.


Lectures, schematic design + review + feedback, PCB design + review + feedback


PhD students at KTH, PhD students from other universities


Presentation slides, handouts.

Required equipment



  • EXA1 - Examination, 8.0, grading scale: P, F

The course content is focussed on schematics and PCB design for power electronics. The project work is supervised by an external senior expert consultant from industry in order to make sure that a professional level of competence is achieved. The written examination focuses on the theoretical basis of electromagnetic compatibility and safety standards. Experience has shown that EMC problems can cause major delays in projects and the importance of safety standards should be self-evident.

The students are not only required to acquire the theoretical knowledge for PCB-design, but also master a new software package for PCB design as well as passing the PCB design project within the course. An average workload of 8 HP per course participant is expected.

Requirements for final grade

The examination consists of an approved project work and an approved written examination.

A completed schematic design and a completed PCB design are needed for passing the project work. Both shall fulfill the required safety standards, as well as having the right measures in place for fulfilling EMC standards. The written exam focuses on the fundamentals of EMC and safety standards.

Offered by

EECS/Electric Power and Energy Systems


Hans-Peter Nee <hansi@kth.se>


Course syllabus valid from: Spring 2018.
Examination information valid from: Spring 2019.