Modern radio and navigation systems, i.e. multimedia systems, for automotive applications are highly complex systems with a large variety of mechanical and electrical components, modules and assemblies, such as frame brackets, front module with LED-backlight display, PCBs, drives, fan, connectors, heat sinks or tuner modules. The design of these automotive multimedia systems has to fulfill requirements from mechanical stability and thermal management to electromagnetic compliance. Therefore, the thermal design requires the interaction of mechanical, electrical and software engineers in order to achieve a thermal system solution, hence a multi-disciplinary design and optimization problem.
In this presentation we address thermal simulation as an integrated part of our design process for automotive multimedia systems. We focus on typical tasks and problems involved in the thermal design and address modeling requirements from chip to the complete system and beyond (dashboard) necessary for thermal analysis. The knowledge about critical temperature levels, heat and fluid flow or the necessity to implement a fan highly effects design decisions. Employed is the CFD-program FLOTHERM to simulate the three cooling mechanism conduction, convection, radiation. Such up-front simulations increase customer satisfaction and enable us to test and modify system and components as virtual prototypes before performing physical tests and building real prototypes. Due to a technically matured system, less time and money have to be spent as the number of tests/prototypes is reduced.