Christie Printed Circuit Board Power Distribution Network Analysis

Eric Yam and David Effa
Case revision date: 
10 pages (Case Study)

Christie Digital is a global visual technologies company that manufactures a variety of display solutions for cinema, large audience environments, control rooms, and business presentations. Owing to the complex nature of the circuit boards used in Christie Digital products, the company is under constant pressure to improve cost and time efficiencies through design. Supplying a constant and stable voltage to power Integrated Circuit (IC) components at high frequencies is a common requirement, which carries the risk of unstable operation and/or component failure. Thus, Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) require a careful Power Distribution Network (PDN) design (Figure 1). Bypass selection and placement is critical to effective PDN design, and Christie Digital is investigating ways to apply these methods to improve the high frequency power network bypass strategies it uses in its complex PCB technologies.

Eric Yam, a second year Mechatronics Engineering co-op student from the University of Waterloo, was tasked with investigating the performance of various PCB mounted bypass capacitors, with the goal of improving the bypassing of high frequency networks for Christie Digital PCBs.

Simple power distribution network block diagram

Figure 1 – Simple PDN block diagram

Learning objectives: 

This case study explores the testing of bypass capacitor configurations with the goal of improving PCB Power Network Distributions. Students will use the engineering design process in the selection of a suitable bypass capacitor implementation. Students will utilize course concepts, provided data, and external research, to devise a set of criteria as a guideline, and arrive at a conclusion based on their analysis.

Key words: 
Power Distribution Network; printed cicuit boards; frequency networks; bypass capacitors
CEAB attributes: 
Problem Analysis; A knowledge base for engineering; Design
Module 01 – Case Study
Module 02 – Analysis of Bypass Capacitors
Module 03 – Methodologies for PCB PDN Improvement
Module 04 – Design Alternatives and Capacitor Evaluation
Module TN – Teaching Note

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