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TotalTemp Technologies Blog: Best Thermal Testing Practices on an Electronic Device

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TotalTemp Technologies - RF Caf

TotalTemp Technologies, Inc. is a manufacturer of temperature cycling and conditioning equipment

TotalTemp Technologies Blog: Best Thermal Testing Practices on an Electronic Device - RF Cafe

TotalTemp Technologies

San Diego, California – Why are Thermal Platforms a good alternative to traditional convection temperature chambers?

There are many reasons thermal testing on products is required.

Primarily to verify that the product will work properly in the environment (thermal and otherwise) that it is intended to perform. Sometimes, also to discover end-of-life issues for products, maximize performance or to weed out early failures that might result in product failures

For reasons primarily of simplicity and ease of use, the most widely employed method of forcing products to temperatures for thermal testing is a (convection based) temperature chamber.

According to laws of Thermodynamics, heat transfer (in and out of a product) is accomplished through one or more of the three following methods. Conduction, convection and radiation.

Convection, as in a standard temperature chamber, while considerably less effective is often used exclusively for the testing of thermal environmental testing. Technically speaking the heat transfer method is described as forced-convection or Advection (see equations there) where heat is transferred by circulating air past the source of heat and subsequently past the device under test. Employing a temperature controller sensing the air temperature with a setpoint of the desired temperature, temperature stability at various points can be achieved.

For completeness, Radiation should be mentioned as well. For most environmental testing applications other than thermal vacuum where convection or physical contact is not possible radiation is not the best choice. Temperature control by radiation is not as easily managed.

Hybrid Benchtop Chamber - RF CafeThe typical scheme of thermal test by convection works well enough for many applications but some of the limitations of chambers are as follows:

  1. Additional instrumentation is required to sense the product temperature if you really want to be sure if-and-when the device reached the required temperature.
  2. Heat transfer via convection is much slower than heat transfer by conduction (see equations there) resulting in extended test times to assure actual device temperature.
  3. Active loads are less readily managed with convection, again resulting in uncertainty of actual device temperatures
  4. Benchtop chambers are often larger than needed for the specific application resulting in cascading inefficiencies of time, lab space, and utilities.

Thermal Platforms as an alternative to chambers brings fast test times and efficiency of lab provisions (space, HVAC load, maintenance, electricity, cryogenic fluids when required). Platforms with advanced temperature algorithms can achieve temperatures quickly and efficiently by monitoring both the platform and device temperatures.

Thermal platforms have issues to be considered as well. First of all, for the promised great improvement in heat transfer, good thermal contact is required. Many electronic devices either already have a flat conductive surface or can be readily fixtured to provide a good thermal path to the device. If that is not the case, a traditional convection temperature chamber or Hybrid Benchtop Chamber; that is one that combines the benefits of convection and convection to achieve greater performance may be in order.

Please visit the TotalTemp Technologies website to read the rest of this article.

TotalTemp is happy help you find the best solution for your thermal testing requirements with helpful knowledgeable support staff.


About TotalTemp Technologies

The primary goal for TotalTemp is to maximize the combined 40 years experience we have in this highly specialized field and create a new, alternative, "Next Generation" Thermal Platforms and Temperature Testing equipment. Our Mission is to offer thermal testing equipment that best suits or customers’ requirements. For several decades there were only two real manufacturers for thermal platforms. It was no secret that the market demanded a new alternative with better service and lower costs. We heard you loud and clear and TotalTemp is here to fill that need.



TotalTemp Technologies
3630 Hancock Street A
San Diego, CA  92110
Phone:  1-888-712-2228
E-Mail:  Sales@TotalTempTech.com
Web:  www.totaltemptech.com



Posted February 7, 2020

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