Thermal management in printed circuit boards is becoming increasingly more important as the use of LEDs is now widespread across all industries. Due to availability of the preferred electronic LED current drivers and system constraints for a machine-vision application, the design dictated the need for a double-sided metal core printed circuit board (MCPCB). However, design information for this relatively new MCPCB offering is sparse to non-existent. To fill-in this missing information in the literature, experiments were conducted where LEDs were arranged on a double-sided metal core printed circuit board (MCPCB), and their impact on the board temperature distribution was tested in a static fan-less configuration where the first condition was at room temperature, 23 °C, and the second configuration was for a heated environment, 40 °C. Two MCPCB orientations were tested (vertical and horizontal). Additionally, several LED arrangements on the MCPCB were configured, and temperatures were measured using a thermocouple as well as with a deep-infrared thermal imaging camera. Maximum temperatures were found to be 65.3 °C for the room temperature tests and 96.4 °C for the heated tests with high temperatures found in near proximity to the heat sources (LEDs), indicating less than ideal heat-conduction/dissipation by the MCPCB. The results indicate that the double-sided MCPCB topology is not efficient for high thermally loaded systems, especially when the target is a fan-less system. The results of testing indicate that for fan-less systems requiring high-performance heat-transfer, these new MCPCB are not a suitable design alternative, and instead, designers should stick with the more traditional single-sided metal-back PCB.
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