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Customizable Air Flow System For A PCIe Chassis Disclosure Number: IPCOM000254480D
Publication Date: 2018-Jul-03
Document File: 7 page(s) / 8M

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


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The PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation (PXIe) standard is a popular standard that is used by manufacturers for building various types of equipment such as electronic test gear, automation systems, and laboratory instruments.  The use of this standard permits various manufacturers to independently produce PXIe-compliant modules that can be plugged into a motherboard of an instrument without running into various types of incompatibility issues.  The PXIe standard also addresses cooling of the various modules in a standardized manner.  The cooling equipment used to do so is generally designed to satisfy cooling requirements for various types of PXIe modules.  Understandably, some PXIe modules, such as power supply modules, put out a greater amount of heat, than for example a module containing passive components that do not draw much current.  Instrument manufacturers address this issue in various ways such as by accepting a lower level of performance from the plugged-in modules or by plugging in a fewer number of modules in order to allow better air circulation among the fewer plugged-in modules.  It is naturally desirable to avoid having to make such trade-offs.  This paper describes one solution that addresses at least some of the shortcomings encountered in traditional PXIe systems with respect to cooling PXIe modules.       

FIG. 1 below shows a front-view of a PXIe chassis incorporating a traditional air-circulation system for cooling PXIe modules that can be inserted into a front section of the PXIe chassis.  The air-circulation system typically includes one or more fans that are mounted on a back panel of the PXIe chassis as shown below in FIG. 2.  The fans blow air towards a plenum inside the PXIe chassis.  FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of the PXIe chassis to show the plenum and other interior components.  


FIG. 1 Front-view of a PXIe chassis                                 FIG. 2 Rear-panel of the PXIe chassis


FIG. 3 Air flow inside the PXIe chassis                          FIG. 4 Line diagram of air-flow

A sloping backwall of the plenum directs the air provided by the fans, downwards and towards a front section of the PXIe chassis where various PXIe modules are plugged in.  The front section includes a set of curved plates arranged in a staggered format at the bottom of the PXIe chassis such that each curved plate operates as an air deflector to deflect a portion of the air upwards through the plugged-in PXIe modules.  This arrangement, which is illustrated in the line-diagram of FIG. 4, causes the amount of air passing over each PXIe module to be substantially the same irrespective of the nature of the module.  Consequently, the cost of a traditional air-circulation system is often driven by a need to ensure an adequate amount of air flow over certain types of ...