# TO-220 case-to-sink thermal resistance

I'm using a KSC1173 TO-220 power transistor in a design, and I need to calculate the case temperature for the maximum average power dissipation, to see if the power dissipation falls under the temperature derating curve in the datasheet for a particular heatsink. Unfortunately I'm not sure what the case-to-sink thermal resistance of a TO-220 package is; it's not listed in the datasheet. I suppose it will vary somewhat with the type of heatsink and mounting used, but does anyone have a ballpark figure?

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If your data sheet dies not give case to sink thermal resistance (usually Rjc or similar) then change manufacturers - this is one of the most fundamental thermal parameters and ALL manufacturers 'worth their salt' will supply it. You can look it up for a handful of TO220 packages to get a feel.

Your comment about varying with heatsink suggests you don't really understand the subject. Finding one of the many many good tutorials on the net would be advised.

Thermal resistances are like electrical resistance - they can be added in series.Heat flows from junction to case outer, from case to sink (cia washer and thermal paste, and from heatsink to air. So you get

      Rthermal = Rjc + Rcs + Rsa

Trise jc = Rjc x Watts etc

Trise = Tjc + Tcs + Tsa


see prior paragraph for meanings.

• Rjc is specified by the device manufacturer.

• Rcs is set by thermal washer material, heatsink compound, pressure of mounting etc. It should be a minor contributor.

• Rsa is set by heatink design and size, air flow etc.

Temperature rise = Rja x Watts.

Search eg www.digikey.com for TO220 and look at a few Tjc ratings.

This datasheeet

gives an unusually large number of Rjc and Rja ratings for various package versions of the same part and is a good starting point. For the TO220 package Rjc is 2 C/W.

Rja here is from about 30 to 60 C/W but the heatsinks are "wimpy". Large heatsinks with fans can be around 1 C/W - much less with much care.

A well heatsunk TO220 can manage Tja = 10C/W without too much effort. But it can be far worse without due effort.

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Thanks for your reply. What I meant about the junction to case thermal resistance varying with the heatsink is that in addition to the factors you mention, some heatsinks have powder coatings while others don't, some like the Wakefield sinks I have here have extra mounting holes under the contact point between the case and the sink, etc. I would think these factors would also influence the case to sink thermal resistance to some small degree. –  Bitrex Jul 17 '11 at 2:58
The KSC1173 is a Fairchild part - I don't see the case to sink resistance anywhere on the datasheet here: datasheetcatalog.org/datasheet/fairchild/KSC1173.pdf unless I've somehow I've overlooked it. –  Bitrex Jul 17 '11 at 3:00
@Russell - I don't think you should change manufacturer because he does publish $R_{JC}$. Bitrex mentions differences in finishing (coating, holes), and in my answer I mention the mounting method (screw, clip). There's no unique figure for it. –  stevenvh Jul 17 '11 at 5:28