[sdiy] PCB heat simulations?

Mattias Rickardsson mr at analogue.org
Wed Nov 13 22:08:49 CET 2013

On 13 November 2013 21:56, Ian Fritz <ijfritz at comcast.net> wrote:
> Not exactly what you are asking, but you could make a little chimney above
> your hot spot to move most of its heat away from the board.

That's one of the things I'm considering - not a chimney per se, but a
hole in another PCB placed above the hot component. The question is if
it helps much. If there is considerably more convection upwards from
the hot component, it will have effect to place the hole there. If the
heat & convection forces are spread more evenly over the PCB area, it
will have less effect, and other hole positions will not be better

Those are some of the behaviours that it would be nice to get a gut
feeling for. :-)

Anyway, thanks also to Achim for some good advice!


> At 03:08 AM 11/13/2013, Mattias Rickardsson wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> is there any good tool (or rules of thumb) when it comes to
>> understanding the passive cooling airflow around PCBs?
>> If I have a horizontally mounted PCB with some components that easily
>> reach far above ambient temperature, how can I know if there is a
>> convection going on above those components? If I knew that, I could
>> choose to design the surrounding construction in a suitable way for
>> the airflow - or if I knew that there is no convection I could skip
>> those thoughts altogether and focus on other means of heat transfer.
>> I googled a bit but never found a simple visualisation tool or other
>> simple rule of thumb of these *very* un-simple physical phenomena.
>> Given how complicated they are, I expect that a few advanced experts
>> are the only ones that can come close to understanding them, but
>> theory should have trickled down to some handy design rules after all
>> these years. For instance, if one of my 1 cm * 1 cm components are 50
>> degrees C and the rest of the PCB is at room temp, what happens with
>> the air above it? What temperature difference (or power draw) is
>> typically needed to give convection?
>> Any pointers are welcome! :-)
>> /mr
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