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thermal considerations for mobile dc-dc converters

Thermal Considerations for DC-DC Converters in Mobile Ground Equipment

  |   DC/DC Converters   |   No comment

DC-DC converters have made it easier for people to carry and operate sophisticated equipment in a mobile setting. Things like complex communication or transmission equipment can be placed inside vans and trucks and carted around wherever they’re needed. While these mobile DC-DC converters are convenient, they also present a number of design challenges.

Thermal design is a very important element of the converters. It has an impact on their performance and reliability. If you intend to purchase or even optimize your DC-DC converter performance, you need to pay attention to thermal design. Choosing the right converter can have an impact on the performance of the equipment.

How does Heat Affect The Converters?

Mobile environments aren’t ideal. Anyone who has sat in a car under the glare of the Australian sun knows exactly how hot it can get within a vehicle. Your equipment can easily overheat inside your van and the ambient temperatures can have an impact on your converters. If you want to avoid this, you need to carefully regulate the temperature inside and manage your equipment well.

You also need DC-DC converters with higher operating temperatures. Bear in mind that DC-DC converters generate their own heat. Whether you use an expensive, good quality converter or a poor quality one, it is going to generate some thermal energy. Unfortunately, this becomes a cycle.

The equipment, the converter, and the outside environment all contribute and increase the thermal energy within the van. As the van is a closed environment, there’s very little airflow to provide cooling. In essence, the van becomes a sauna and that heat has an impact on your converters. They need to operate at higher temperatures if you want higher MTBF or mean time between failures.

Are there any solutions?

If DC-DC converters are specifically designed to facilitate cooling, you’ll see a significant improvement in performance. There are a few things to consider when you design the converters:

  • What is the average thermal performance of that particular series of converters?
  • What might the maximum ambient temperature be?

This information would help you decide what level of cooling you might need. You can use a brick converter model that works specifically with the average thermal performance of the converter. You can also calculate the conversion factor by using a curve with output power plotted against temperature.

If you have this information and the maximum ambient temperature, you can use thermal impedance to determine what conversion factor you might need to cool the overall environment of the DC-DC converter. You can also calculate the values the heat sink would require to keep the converter casing cool. Unfortunately, thermal considerations have an impact on the effective design of the DC-DC converters. Designers need to find the right balance between practical design and thermal emissions. Efficient design would help improve the performance of the converters and increase their lifespan.

Despite all these problems, there are reasons why you should continue to use DC-DC converters. They efficiently regulate output voltage and improve the overall performance of the device the converter is supplying power to. The devices are smaller, sleeker, and more manageable because they don’t need to have as many components in them. You also get better battery management, which can make the device more efficient.

If you want to know more thermal considerations for DC-DC converters or custom made DC to DC converters and services, don’t hesitate to contact us at KaRaTec Power Supply Pty. You can give us a call at 612 9808 1127. You can also fill in this contact us form and we’ll reply as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading,
Karatec Power Supply Pty
612 9808 1127

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