A while back, I posed a question about using flood fill (AKA copper pours). I’ve been reading a lot about ground loops lately which brought me back to that original question.
Some people suggest segmenting your ground plane between analog and digital sections. Some people suggest segmenting the ground plane for individual critical ground return paths. The follow on to my original question is: On non-exotic designs does segmenting ground planes really help? There’s actually two questions, with the second being: At what clock speed does it make sense to start worrying about issues caused by ground return paths/ground loops? There are probably more questions. Those are just the two rattling around in my head at the moment.
Interestingly, though, when I wrote the original post, there didn’t seem to be a clear “most common” between pour and no pour PCBs. Today, I’d have to say that the majority of designs we see here at Screaming Circuits do use flood-fill ground planes, either internal or external.
You can solve ground and noise problems by just not hooking up power