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I need to design a LED module something similar to below.

enter image description here

Could anyone who is experience tell me if there is any SW (or tools) to determine how to place the LEDs to have a good and evenly distributed light output, and a SW to simulate the thermal behavior and decide how far they should be replaced from each others? If there is no SW for it, what are the thumb of rules to determine distances of the LEDs from each others (especially if all are not the same color LEDs)?

Second question, I have never done any design than FR4 board. What are the standards on aluminum boards (aluminium thickness, copper thickness, solder finish, etc). What Gerber files do I need to send to a factory (top layer, top silkscreen, holes, top solder paste, anything else)?

What are the considerations while preparing such module? Obviously all should be routed in a single layer. Is it good to have a ground layer for the unused area or is it better to etch and have aluminium to have a better thermal performance?

Do you have any suggested reference/document/application note to read to design LED module on aluminium board?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/28408/… When in doubt, asking your manufacturer is the best bet as far as what they require. I've never used a software for LEDs so don't know about that. The board I've worked on just required even spacing between the LEDs which is fairly simple to do. \$\endgroup\$ – I. Wolfe Feb 10 '15 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that manufacturing will be hard as well since the board acts as one big heatsink. Oven is required. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeroen3 Jul 11 '18 at 8:18
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As for Software, I do not know an answer. If you do not have any optics above the board, it really shouldn't matter that much. Just try to distribute them evenly.

As I. Wolfe already stated, your PCB manufacturer is your friend, talk to him. Out of personal experience, you should try to be as minimalistic as possible with aluminium PCBs. Thru-Hole contacts on an alu board cost a fortune. If possible, keep it on one layer (like in your example photo).

PS: if you have to fix your board with screws, be very careful with conducting lines around those screw- holes. The process of screwing will scratch the solder resist paint away and may result in unwanted short-connections between traces and the aluminium core.

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