Load Card Testing with Airflow and Temperature Sensors

load card thermal testing
February 3, 2020 | Posted By: Alex Sargent

Board Mount Series Part 3: 
Load Card Testing with Airflow and Temperature Sensors

Note: Part 1 of our Board Mount Series – Airflow Measurement in Electronics outlines the importance of airflow management in electronics and presents F660/F662 PCB mount air velocity and temperature sensors.  

Thermal analysis is an essential part of the design of PCBAs (printed circuit board assemblies) for manufacture and operation. Thermal modeling provides designers with useful information, however it does have limitations. Designers and engineers obtain additional empirical thermal data using a thermal load board or load card to simulate an actual application PCBA. Typically, thermal load boards approximate the application PCBA mechanically and thermally, have a means to adjust power dissipation, and include multiple airflow sensors for thermal testing. Thermal load boards help to improve system performance and reduce development time of complex electronic assemblies.

Airflow Sensors with Instrumentation Solution for Thermal Analysis of PCBAs

load card testing with pc, c port, and usb sensors

A typical thermal load card or product evaluation PCBA is illustrated below. The load card includes multiple sockets to accept Degree Controls small footprint RFS300 board mount sensor heads for maximum positioning flexibility. The user plugs in RFS300s wherever they want to collect real time air velocity and air temperature data. 

Load Card with Board Mount & USB Air Velocity Sensors

usb airflow sensor diagram

Traces on the load card run from RFS300 locations to USB PCB edge connectors for direct connection to UAS sensors. The UAS sensors connect to a °C Port1200 or °C Port3600 data acquisition instrument, having 12 or 36 sensor channels respectively. The °C Port then connects to either a PC or local network switch via Ethernet, and Windows® based AccuTrac™ software collects air velocity, air temperature, humidity and barometric pressure data in real time. Optional UTS100 thermocouples can be added at any time to include case temperatures in the airflow studies. 

VIDEO: Thermal Load Board Air Monitoring Sensors

Consult with an Airflow Sensor Specialist

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About the Author

Alex Sargent

Alex joined Degree Controls, Inc. in 2018 bringing with him nearly a decade of experience with sensor technology and instrumentation. As Technical Sales Engineer he handles the sales of embedded sensors and consults some of the world's largest manufacturers on the use of these instruments.

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