New Power Map Feature: Simplified Modeling Made More Accurate

6 June, 2019


Previously, 6SigmaET could model the distribution of additional power to the top and bottom of a PCB to represent additional power from small, less important components without having to model them explicitly. This feature is useful as it can reduce the computational expense, but still produce accurate thermal simulations.  

In order to properly model the PCB power distribution in this way, the user would have to model the main components and add more power to the PCB to represent the power generated by the remaining low power components. This additional power would simply be applied uniformly.
6SigmaET’s new feature—the Power Map—makes it possible to add that additional power to the top and/or bottom of the board and specify exactly where it is applied.

Tool Overview

The Power Map feature empowers the user with more thermal modeling options to represent their design. For example, power could be concentrated in areas to represent heat from components whose geometry you do not wish to model (e.g. the geometry may not be significant to model but the power dissipation is). It could also be used to represent joule heating in traces or perhaps even heating from electromagnetic effects.

In short, the Power Map is a grid of numbers that represents the location of power for a given shape. 

How-To: Thermal Design of PCB with Power Map

In the following example, the Power Map feature will be used to concentrate power in specific areas of the PCB to represent additional components. First, add a “Heat Source” object to a PCB by right clicking on the PCB in the model tree and selecting “Heat Source.” Next, select “Power Map” in the Heat Option tab (as illustrated below).


Figure 1: Heat Source Property Sheet>Heat>Heat Option>Power Map

You have the option to either input a map directly into ET or import one as a csv file. 


Figure 2. Input data directly or select a csv file when using the Power Map feature

After doing so, the Power Map feature will map the corresponding data points to the PCB. In the following image, the heat is distributed according to the selected csv file. You can see distinct red areas where power has been concentrated to represent a component. 


Figure 3: Represent heat from components whose geometry you do not wish to model explicitly with the Power Map feature 

Realistic Thermal Simulation

The Power Map feature provides a more realistic representation of the model than the previous method of applying power uniformly to the top and/or bottom of the PCB, while still maintaining the advantage of lower computational expense and faster solve times. If you would like to learn more about 6SigmaET, the industry’s fastest growing thermal simulation software for cooling electronics, check out our blogs that highlight electronics thermal analysis features that accelerate the thermal model design process: Accelerating the Thermal Process with Enhanced CAD Integration and/or Mixed Mode PCB Layers to Accelerate Design.


Blog written by: Matt Evans, Product Engineer & Danielle Gibson, Technical Marketing Writer