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PCB Thermal simulation

Cata , 06-29-2018, 04:39 PM
Hello everyone,

Does anyone know if is it possible to simulate the thermal performance of the PCB with Altium ? (if yes, can tell how ? )

Thank you for your time !
robertferanec , 07-02-2018, 12:04 AM
Do you mean doing some thermal simulations with PDN Analyzer or some other features / plugins? I think, I have seen people using mechanical CAD systems for thermal simulations and air flow. I have not really seen anyone using Altium for that.
Paul van Avesaath , 07-02-2018, 01:01 AM
There is no thermal solution within altium. I can suggest the same as robert because the PDN analyzer gives you some information of were hotspots can be.
but it does not take into account if there are components heating up. so if you want to know if your PCB can sink enough thermal into the pcb with lets say an CPU (with exposed pad) or PSU then it is not possible.

best way I have found is making a mock up putting in resistors at the key locations (simulating calculated power consumption). and doing temp testing the "old fashion way" either with temp sensors or Flir camera, also if you are using or planning to use airflow as cooling, make sure it is present in the "simulation"
it really gives a good idea on how the end result will look without spending a crazy amount for thermal analasys by third party companies.
robertferanec , 07-02-2018, 04:53 AM
Wow, I didn't know this is also a way. Good tip, thank you @Paul van Avesaath
Cata , 07-02-2018, 02:56 PM
Paul, I thought of a simulation package before building an actual PCB and linking the software to your exact PCB, but good tip anyway.

ANSYS SIwave + Icepack gives a way where you can insert your PCB designed in Altium directly into their software and simulate it... but who has the money for that ?
Here is a demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0SO...C8M5KMfEyjvStB
Paul van Avesaath , 07-02-2018, 03:35 PM
I have seen those.. I had company visit that could do this for me.. Cost were starting at 6k for the bare minimum and that was with me supplying the frame data too.. So after some discussion and back and forward with that company it ended up costing us around 10k 😭.. But you get a very very good simulation... This method cost around 1k for the pcb and dataloggers.. Still a lot of money though..
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