At high frequency, AC resistance of a printed circuit board (PCB) winding becomes important and accounts for a large proportion of planar transformer losses. The winding is then influenced by both skin and proximity phenomenon, which makes the current distribution uneven resulting in an increased resistance. The study of improving AC resistance of a PCB winding has been tackled by many researchers. However, the lack of an overview and comparison among improvements has made it difficult to apply those methods to a specific winding. To overcome the above limitations, this paper investigates the pros and cons of three popular AC resistance optimizing methods: optimizing track width of a solid PCB winding, using multi-strands and using Litz style PCB winding. To verify the theoretical analysis, a total of 12 PCBs are simulated by finite element (FEM) and tested in the laboratory. Five criteria are analyzed, including skin resistance, proximity resistance, AC to DC ratio, total AC resistance and complexity are taken into consideration. The results of this study show that optimizing track width method has a significant improvement on AC resistance while the use of Litz PCB is effective for applications that need stable AC resistance in a wide frequency range. The use of parallel strands winding should be carefully considered as there is not significant benefit in both reducing the AC resistance and AC to DC ratio.
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