Temperature in power supplies rises due to both environmental factors as well as heat generated by the components themselves. There is heat from semiconductors such as transistors, ICs, switching devices, from transformers, inductors and resistors.
The amount of heat varies from one power supply to another and may be a factor of design, power capacity and load. Natural convention is adequate for removing the heat away from smaller power supplies and equipment; however, forced cooling is required for larger supplies.
Thermal problems become an issue when the power supply is placed in an enclosure with no airflow or in self heating equipment enclosure. Overheating will also occur if intake and exhaust vents are in the wrong places. This causes the warm air to continue getting hot due to reheating without being exhausted to the exterior as required.
The best way to ensure heat is dissipated properly is to locate the intake at the bottom and the exhaust fans at the top. In addition, ensure the fan rating is adequate for the enclosure.
When the devices are operated within their safe limits, the power supply delivers the intended power, however, if this is the thermal capacities are exceeded, the components starts deteriorating and eventually fails if operated under excess heat for long. The advanced supplies and electronic equipment have a form of temperature control in which the equipment shuts down when the component temperature exceeds the safe limit.
Devices used to protect against over...
... middle of paper ...
... such that the input is reduced until the temperature comes down. In some designs, the increased temperature increases the resistance such that the current in order to reduce the temperature. In this condition, the circuit may operate at lower power as designed and its output will reduce accordingly. This happens in computer systems and leads to reduced performance such as slow operations.
Some voltage regulators such as LM 117, LM 137,LM 123 and others have inbuilt thermal protection which monitors the IC temperature and shuts it down when it exceeds the safe level. Most of these will turn off at temperatures above 170 degrees Celsius, hence preventing damage that may result from the high temperatures
Thermal protection ensures that components such as ICs, regulators are not destroyed by overloads, or over-temperature conditions arising from inadequate het sinking.
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