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Cooling High Power Processors in the Food Service Environment Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013724D
Original Publication Date: 2000-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-18

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In the food service industry, Point of Sale terminals encounter a harsh environment due to higher average temperatures and airborne contaminants. In many cases, food service terminals also have more stringent size constraints than other point of sale hardware and PCs. Similar to the PC industry, faster processing is always desired for optimizing throughput, end of day processing, etc. Inherent to the design of faster, low cost, upgradeable processors is the requirement of higher current and/or voltage requirements. This results in higher power and the need to dissipate this power. PCs and other Point of Sale hardware often use a fan and heatsink configuration to dissipate the necessary amount of power. In a food service environment, fans pull in contaminants that will accumulate after 1-2 years of service and cause electrical shorts and system failures. Some products avoid this problem by designing a system without a fan. It becomes much more difficult to remove heat from a system with minimal venting by natural convection which can lead to other thermal related failures in the box. Other products have filters that trap many contaminants at the fan intake but which require maintenance and or replacement. The disclosed invention solves this problem by isolating the heat source from the planar and providing a method for cooling the system without bringing contaminants in contact with sensitive components. The invention uses a heat pipe design to pipe the thermal energy away from the microprocessor through a shield to a heat sink (see Figures 1-3 ). Figure 1 shows the heat pipe, heat block and heat sink assembly coupled with the processor. Figure 2 shows a section view of the assembly. The shield extends around the planar and processor but folds around the fan. The fan creates forced convection along the length of the heat sink for excellent heat transfer. In Figure 3 , the fan is exploded away from the assembly so that the heat pipe and heat sink can be seen outside of the planar. Since the fan and heat sink are isolated from the planar by the heat shield, the contaminants that come into contact with sensitive electrical parts are minimized. Thus, a fan can be used without requiring a filter solution. Figure 1