TotalTemp Tech Blog

That's just the way it is done...

Posted by John Booher on Aug 16, 2017 12:24:08 PM

Yes, we all have heard that or some similar version at least a few times over history.

...And understandably for many things.  Clearly, when there is work to be done, there are benefits to following tried and tested methods that are known to produce expected good results. 

It may be a cop out for not taking time to explain or re-think latest methods or it may be that there truly has been a lot of thought put in and a certain existing methodology really has merit above others.

Temperature testing in a chamber is "Just the way it is done"   That may be a good heuristic to follow, Or not.

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Topics: High Performance Thermal Testing, General

Thermal Stress Testing

Posted by John Booher on Jul 21, 2017 10:55:05 AM

Thermal Stress Test can mean a few slightly different things.  Thermal stress we are talking about here is a form of testing applied in the design phase or production of most  electronic devices when reliability is important.  It often is combined with other stresses such as power up, operation at the margins of power, humidity, vibration etc.

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Topics: High Performance Thermal Testing

Thermal Test Equipment, Fix it or Replace it?

Posted by John Booher on Jun 24, 2017 6:42:50 PM

Inevitability of Equipment Service

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Space Simulation with Small Portable System

Posted by John Booher on May 22, 2017 11:50:57 AM

Cost Effective Space Simulation :

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Topics: Space Simulation, Thermal Vacuum, T-vac

Bigger Benchtop Thermal Testing

Posted by John Booher on May 10, 2017 10:01:00 AM


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Topics: High Performance Thermal Testing, How to use thermal platforms, Advantages of Thermal Platforms

Product Testing Takes Too Long

Posted by John Booher on Mar 1, 2017 3:51:25 PM


Temperature control algorithm to expedite testing



Simple automation of thermal testing saves time and money



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Conduction v. Convection for thermal testing

Posted by John Booher on Jan 16, 2017 8:50:05 AM

Today we will briefly discuss the trade offs of heat transfer via conduction versus convection in regards to thermal testing.

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Topics: Whitepaper

Thermal Conductivity v. Clamping Pressure

Posted by John Booher on Oct 24, 2016 2:28:12 PM

How tightly to clamp devices to a heatsink or Thermal Platform?

 It is true that the more tightly you can clamp two surfaces together the better the heat transfer.  This is especially important if you are looking to transfer large amounts of heat from one device to another.

Courtesy: OverClockers

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Selecting Thermal Sensors: How big? How fast?...

Posted by John Booher on Sep 15, 2016 10:34:12 AM

How to choose an appropriate temperature sensor for thermal test:

Selection criteria of an appropriate temperature sensor for a given application can be detailed but it often does not need to be that complicated.  Two main points we are going to address today are sensor size and speed of response.  Prior discussions covered thermocouple v. RTD and in the future we will likely cover more of the environmental issues of temperature sensors such as temperature range and resistance to moisture or other abuse. 

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Topics: How to use thermal platforms

Thermal conductivity: Compound, Sil-pad or nothing?

Posted by John Booher on Jul 18, 2016 2:03:17 PM

Why use anything?        

Good thermal conductivity is important to the dissipation of unwanted heat from active power components and also important to the application of thermal platforms for testing electronics.

Perfectly flat, parallel and particle free surfaces might show better thermal conductivity directly pressed together, however some of the real-world realities generally prevent that best-case best performance. Here are a few reasons to use thermal grease:

  • Metal surfaces that appear to the eye to be perfectly flat, free of voids and parallel are usually are not. 
  • Electronics likes cleanliness, not all products can be built in clean rooms. A small unseen particle between two surfaces can easily prevent them from mating properly
  • Keeping even pressure on two surfaces is not always as easy as it might seem.  Keeping an appropriate amount of pressure on the two surfaces is important to transfer heat. Grease fills voids caused by uneven clamping pressure.

Thermal grease to the rescue?

So - given that close enough to perfect flatness, cleanlieness and parallelness is hard to achieve, thermal grease has been used for decades to improve the thermal conductivity between two metal surfaces. Much has been said lately in the world of competitive computing & overclockers about heat transfer thermal grease.  Generally the most important point is less is better.  there are articles and stories reporting varying levels of improvement in heat transfer from different grades of thermal transfer grease.  In general, what I have seen says that the quality of the grease can make some difference and the high end stuff is expensive but generally far from proprtionally better.    One youtube video even sugested Nutella, the food product worked about as well as many thermal transfer product. Well I'd say don't try that but is interesting that it could work at all, even as a short term solution. I am pretty sure over time it would shrink and prove corrosive to metals to mention a few. Properly applied thermal compound should have little risk of making a mess over the rest of the electronics or in general. This is also a good time to note that often electrical conductivity doesn't matter that much but depending on the application, some thermal compounds are specified to be electrically conductive and some are requires to be insulating. clearly you wouldnt want unwanted electrical conductivity on a circuit assembly.

Silpads to the rescue from messy grease.

Silpads and similar products are pretty much what the name says, silicone based pads used in lieu of grease and designed to be either electrically conductive or not based on the application. They compress siightly to fill in voids and are often reusable providing faster, more repeatable results. Silpads are a good solution for many heat transfer requirements.  Due to their generally thicker nature, they are generally slightly less thermally conductive than a very thin layer of thermal compound.  When it is important to maintain electrical isolation, they are often better than other alternatives. 

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Topics: High Performance Thermal Testing

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