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Electronics news

Hot-swap PCBs

A hot-swap PCB is designed to replace an old PCB with a new one without removing power.

This distinguishes it from a typical PCB, the installation of which requires disconnecting power and cables, replacing, connecting cables and restoring power to the system.

Specialized boards use additional components to protect both the board being inserted and the powered system to which it is connected. Hot swap controller circuitry carefully sequences the steps required to safely remove and safely install the board.

Ground is connected first, then the power rails are disconnected and gradually turned on, allowing for careful current control. When the board is removed, the sequence is reversed.

Built-in latches secure the PCB, and connectors have extended pins to control staged connections. Status indicators confirm the success of the hot swap.

To determine if this board supports hot-swapping, look for electronic latches to secure the PCB, as well as rugged connectors and extended interface pins for gradual mating and unmating of pins when power is applied. Hot-swap PCBs also include control circuitry that manages safe sequencing logic.