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Method for detection of misaligned or missing heatsinks

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000224408D
Publication Date: 2012-Dec-18
Document File: 2 page(s) / 23K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a system that allows a service processor, or even an error light, to detect a heatsink installation error and alert the user before they are able to encounter a more serious error. The invention uses impedance-sensing technology to analyze the interface between the chip heat spreader and the heatsink.

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Method for detection of misaligned or missing heatsinks

After servicing or upgrading a system, it is not uncommon for a heatsink to be insufficiently tightened or completely left off components. Especially in the case of an insufficiently connected heatsink, the error might not be readily apparent to the user, even if the system suffers a thermal-related error. Parts that are more sensitive could also have their lifespan negatively impacted by additional thermal stress as well, and that may not present an error until the component fails.

This invention allows a service processor, or even an error light, to detect a heatsink installation error and alert the user before they are able to encounter a more serious error. There are obvious ways of solving this, from using a wire or pair of wires positioned to connect to the heatsink and create a short when it is present, or by using the mounting apparatus to complete a circuit and detect presence. However, these methods are binary, and would not be able to differentiate between a heatsink that is resting on its mounts and one that is clamped down and making a solid thermal interface.

This invention is essentially using impedance-sensing technology to analyze the interface between the chip heat spreader and the heatsink. This has a twofold advantage:


• It does not consume any connectivity to the heatsink that is not already present


• It should be able to identify an incorrectly-seated heatsink or even one that is lacking sufficient thermal paste (or other applicable heat-transfer medium). This would allow a service processor to clear the cooling solution before main power is eve...