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LED thermal management - Is your board overdesigned?

There's a good chance that your LED board is overdesigned.

Here's why: if you are using an Rja (junction-to-ambient thermal resistance) from a datasheet, that value probably applies for a single layer board. But most boards are multilayer, so your LED board is cooler than you expect. As you can see from the figure, internal ground and power planes have a big impact:

Single layer vs. multilayer
Single layer board vs. multilayer board

There are many other factors that affect cooling. Component spacing is also important, as you can see from this comparison:

Spacing affects LED temperature
Spacing affects LED temperatures

The Sauna thermal simulation program lets you accurately predict temperatures for your LED board, with the correct number of layers, thermal vias and exact component placement. In this way you will avoid wasteful overdesign, while ensuring that cooling is adequate to achieve your reliability goals.

Sauna's library includes 40 standard LED packages, covering a wide range of automotive, industrial and consumer lighting applications (user-defined packages are also possible). And Sauna is more than just a board modeling program. You can also model boards bonded to heat sinks or within an enclosure. Transient and duty cycle problems can also be handled. And these great features are available at a moderate price.

Easily model a variety of LED components
Easily model a variety of LED components and configurations

The next step

The best way to learn about the Sauna program is to try the free evaluation package. You can request the evaluation package here.

If you want additional information on Sauna features, try one of these links:


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