A recent article in RTC Magazine summed up the thermal management challenge best regarding denser and smaller printed circuit boards:
PCB thermal management has traditionally been seen as secondary to signal integrity. But due to tremendous evolution of power densities in transistors, PCB thermal management has now become a serious issue that must be considered early in the design.
Here’s some ideas to help keep your boards cool and to let them be designed to operate at their highest specifications.
1. Choose semiconductors with the best specifications for both electrical and thermal
2. Optimize the PCB Layout so that semiconductors being placed are not blocking estimated fan airflow movement across the board.
3. Have some distance between switching transistors and bulk electrolytic capacitors.
4. Reduce power supply temperature by creating large areas of copper with the overall power supply circuitry. Be aware that too much copper can be in-effective as well as detrimental to circuit performance because it contributes to electro-magnetic interference (EMI).
For more ideas and practical advice, check our our white paper, “The Effect of Compact PCB Layout on Thermal Management” and Nexlogic’s paper, “Thermal Management and Power Integrity in Tight Spaces”
Need help with optimizing your PCB thermally?Contact ATS we have services geared right to this specialty, read all about us at: ATS PCB Thermal Design Services or ATS PCB Thermal Design Services Case Study