I am new to designing rugged + waterproof products. I am curious about how to dissipate heat when the electronics are running and the ambient environment is even hotter. It seems like the mode of heat transfer is limited to conduction through the shell and then convection with the ambient air. My product will be small (like GoPro), need to be outdoor in Dallas all day (37°F to 96°F), and be able to protect against dust and water submersion (IP67). I am concerned about where the heat will go and the thermal cycling as the device experiences ~30°F change daily.

From a design stand point, what options (material, geometry...) do I have to solve this problem?

  • $\begingroup$ Design so they need minimum cooling, like running a procesdor at minimum instead of 110% etc $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Jul 25 '20 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ Add heat-sink fins to the case $\endgroup$ – Jonathan R Swift Jul 25 '20 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ For Dallas you can expect temperatures of 20 F to 100 F ( these are not the recorded extremes). $\endgroup$ – blacksmith37 Jul 28 '20 at 14:30

Normally, you would mount a the heat-generating components of the PCB to a heatspreader, and then mount the heat spreader to the inside of a thermally conductive (aka metal) case, possibly with a heatsink on the other side.

If the ambient is even hotter than your device, you either need to do what a fridge does or use components rated for higher temperatures. Or a peltier, I guess.


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