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76 votes
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Why don't we make CPUs with 1000s of layers to make use of space in the third dimension?

The two killer reasons are yield, and heat. Yield. Every time you do a process step, you get less than 100% perfection. Let's say you get 99% perfection per step. In a process with 20 steps, you would ...
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51 votes

Why hasn't my LED burned out by now?

Properly designed, built and used, today's LEDs have incredibly long lives and the wearout mechanisms are not catastrophic in nature, so instead of using incandescent lamp MTTF statistics, a ...
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46 votes
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Why am I cooking MOSFETs?

Your problem is the gate drive voltage. If you look at the datasheet for the STP16NF06, you'll see that the 0.08 Ω Rdson only applies for Vgs = 10 V, and you're driving it with only (a bit under) 5 V, ...
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40 votes
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Is DC heating faster than AC heating?

When you say 120V @ 50Hz AC you are implicitly saying 120Vrms. The RMS voltage is qualitatively defined as the voltage which will give the same resistive heating (averaged out over time) as a DC ...
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37 votes

Why aren't CPUs cooled from below as well as above?

They aren't cooled from below because they have pins on the bottom, and FR4 below that. Due to having a much lower thermal conductivity, $$ \begin{array}{rrl} \text{Copper:} & 385\phantom{.25} &...
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36 votes
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Heating a wire with DC current; why is it hottest in the middle?

There are two effects going on. The heat sinking effect of the connections and the temperature coefficient on the wire. Initially the wire is all at the same temperature. You turn the power on and ...
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  • 6,802
33 votes

How to 'fix' this in an enclosure without glueing?

You can buy (or 3d print) fasteners made for such a case. Search PCB mounting feet. These include a standoff to help cooling and prevent shorts.
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  • 431
32 votes

Using CPU heat to generate electricity

The issue with thermoelectric generators is they are horrendously inefficient. For a CPU you HAVE to get rid of the heat they produce or they melt down. You could hook up a peltier module and ...
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32 votes
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Why does only the tip of the electrode melt when arc welding?

The electrode's resistance isn't what's heating things up – it's the resistance of the ionized air in the arc! Hence, things close to the arc get hot, and things farther away don't.
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30 votes

Reliability problems with an array of 91 high-power LEDs

From the datasheet: Figure 1. Absolute maximum forward current. and further on: Figure 2. Derating LED current at increased temperature. Current and temperature are your problems. You are running ...
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29 votes
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Why do BLDC motor (1 kW) controllers have so many MOSFETs?

The reason to use multiple MOSFETs is to lower power dissipation resulting in a cheaper design. Yes one MOSFET can handle the current but it will dissipate some power as it does have some resistance, ...
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28 votes
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Why is it dangerous use a coiled extension cord

The normal cable ratings assume that the wire can adequately disperse heat generated in the cable due to the current flowing. If you coil it up and use close to the maximum rating then it stands a ...
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28 votes
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Does a resistor block or dissipate electricity?

You are getting your terminology all muddled up. Firstly, V = Volts which is a measure of potential difference (voltage), not power. So saying "extra 7V of power" is incorrect. Secondly, the resistor ...
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27 votes
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Why does a processor get hot?

A transistor (FET, in modern ICs) never switches instantly from full OFF to full ON. There is a period while it's turning on or off where the FET acts like a resistor (even when fully ON it still has ...
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27 votes
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How to 'fix' this in an enclosure without glueing?

Cut a piece of pcb stock (or any sheet plastic) to fit properly in the housing, including screw holes to match those bosses. Then attach your components to this base plate either with double sided ...
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25 votes

Why hasn't my LED burned out by now?

Best guesstimate I have for an indicator LED life span is more than 5,000,000 hours. I don't think anyone would be surprised if a micro controller lasted 10-15 years. More likely one would EXPECT ...
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23 votes

Why does a processor get hot?

All current flow in anything that isn't a superconductor generates heat. In chips, it's mostly flowing in aluminium "metal" layers (why not copper? Nasty chemical interaction with other parts of the ...
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23 votes
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Reliability problems with an array of 91 high-power LEDs

You have already hit on the answer: your LEDs are getting hot. 15 watts may not sound like much, but it's building up and killing your LEDs. I suggest you get a thermistor and attach it to the center ...
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22 votes
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Why is 10W resistor getting hot with only 6.5W running through it?

First let's do a quick number crunch: 6.528W/10W = 65% (of 10W) Referring to the datasheet: There is about a 165C rise in ...
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22 votes

Why aren't CPUs cooled from below as well as above?

Cooling isn't important, it's crucial. A modern CPU can easily put out something between 15 W and 200 W, from a die that's a few cm². If you're not transporting that heat away, that chip has to stop ...
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22 votes
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Heat output from a 200W electric radiator?

Yes, electric heaters are basically a resistor. A resistor converts electric energy into heat, it does that with 100% efficiency. That might sound weird but think about it this way: if a resistor ...
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  • 78.8k
21 votes

Coffee warmer capsule

You need to measure the heat loss in your mug around 50°C. Measure the mug capacity. Fill it with hot water or coffee. Insert a temperature probe and close the lid as much as possible. Use tape to ...
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  • 159k
20 votes
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Setting heat on electric stove

The hob power is typically controlled using a thermo-mechanical duty-cycle controller. Figure 1. Part of a hob power regulator. There are three parts to the control. A small heater element that ...
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20 votes
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Can unconnected inputs make an IC get warm?

Yes, CMOS circuits can get hot when there are floating inputs. You should always connect unused CMOS input pins to a defined voltage, usually GND or Vdd, unless the datasheet tells you otherwise (see ...
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20 votes
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One of four MOSFET in parallel heating too much

You need to use an opamp for each MOSFET to ensure balancing. Each MOSFET should have an independent sense resistor feeding its own opamp for feedback. The opamps would all be driven from the filtered ...
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  • 29.2k
19 votes

Using CPU heat to generate electricity

For generating electricity, you want the hot side (processor) to be as hot as possible for maximum efficiency. The thermal generator slows down the movement of heat as it extracts energy from it. For ...
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  • 45k
19 votes

How to 'fix' this in an enclosure without glueing?

I would try something like that: You assemble like that, put crazy glue on the legs, let it dry in the container. Then you can unscrew when fixed to pick up the device.
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19 votes

Is there a fluctuation effect between heat, resistance and current?

This could be analyzed in the same way as a control circuit with feedback. From a practical sense, the heating will be much slower than the other effects, so that will dominate the loop equations. ...
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18 votes

Using CPU heat to generate electricity

Surprised that nobody else has mentioned this: Generating electricty from the waste heat from some process that burns fuel can make sense. Generating electricity from the waste heat from a system ...
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