At BVM we frequently have customer requests for a "simple box" pc solution.
...."After all it's only bent metal."
All very true but the enclosure and power supply are an essential part of the finished system and can cause serious isses after a project goes live if not taken into account up front. The customer's priority is usually on the selection of the CPU, size and type of storage and I/O requirements.
All well and good for a large rack mount system with plenty of space, forced air cooling and oodles of power from an ATX power supply but for a fanless embedded system a lot more factors come into play.
As with any system the CPU must have enough grunt to achieve the task in hand. This dictates the Total Dissipated Power (TDP) and is usually a compromise between performance and heat dissipation and available power. This in turn, together with the choice of peripherals dictates the cooling requirements and power supply choice for the system.
If the system is to be truly fanless heat needs to be extracted by conduction or convection. Knowing the required temperature differential between the CPU and ambient air temperature the properties of the heatsink can be calculated. This can take the form of a solid metal (copper or aluminium) block, a finned heat spreader or perhaps a heat pipe transferring heat to heatsink on the outside of the enclosure. Whichever method is chosen a design customised for the purpose and able to remove the heat from the CPU, and possibly the chipset, to the outside surface of the enclosure is required.
At BVM we are experienced in taking a simple desktop prototype used as a proof of concept for the application and creating a truly rugged fanless system appropriate for the end use environment whether deeply embedded in a machine tool or standalone in an outdoor environment.
At BVM we like to make life easier.
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