One of the most amazing aspects of living in today’s high-tech world is the sheer amount of information at your disposal. All it takes is a connected device and you can find almost anything you are searching for.
This has led to a huge number of tech savvy consumers dabbling in everything from developing software to designing their own electronics.
However, no matter how savvy you are, there will always be that one smoking gun (no pun intended!) like an overheating circuit board that stumps you in your DIY ‘engineering’ attempts.
Take heart in the fact that high temperatures on PCBs challenge even the most experienced of electrical engineers, so you are in good company.
Even so, to make life easier, here are the top 4 causes of dangerously high temperatures on circuit boards to give you a place to begin troubleshooting.
1. External and/or Environmental Heat
One of the easiest problems to counteract would be external factors causing your devices to overheat.
You may need to search your environment to see what is causing your circuit boards to overheat, but sometimes it’s as easy as spotting that computer sitting in an area where direct sunlight heats it during the hottest part of the day.
It is vital to maintain safe PCB temp levels for a number of reasons.
Not only will your device or system fail in the moment, but continual or extreme heat could damage the board beyond repair.
2. Incorrect Placement of Components
If you are designing your own circuitry to be sent off to a manufacturer for a prototype, this may be one of the most difficult to overcome.
It may take several prototypes before spotting where the problem lies.
However, a good PCB design editor enables you to flawlessly design and run a circuit with the proper placement of components.
This may be a bit tricky, but the software is usually programmed to set off red flags in the most common errors in placement.
3. Improper Materials or Components
When designing or building a printed circuit, it is imperative to pay special attention to such things as thermal resistance, power dissipation, cooling techniques and temperature limits for each component as well as the materials used. Here is where the next cause of dangerously high temperatures comes into play.
4. Defective Manufacturing
You can design an amazing printed circuit, but unless you are etching and manufacturing the board itself, there is always room for error.
Most often, you will be outsourcing the actual manufacturing of the board itself, and if the manufacturer uses substandard materials, problems could arise.
Always choose ethical manufacturers with a solid reputation and you probably will be able to eliminate this worry.
You would be amazed at the huge number of other techies out there who are interested in designing their own consumer devices or gaming systems.
While electrical engineering is a lucrative career, more and more amateurs are building their own systems.
Whether you are designing circuitry for your own device or are entering the market as an entrepreneur, you will want to understand these problem areas that could cause your circuits to fail.