PowerPeg Thermal Management System

SMT Thermal Connector System

Similar projects worth following
PowerPeg is a system of interchangeable parts for thermal management in PCB assemblies

A selection of sizes allow the designer to accommodate any SMT heat source. Choose a connector which fits your IC. Design the PCB with a plated hole beneath the component. Solder the connector to the heat source.

After soldering, choose a heatsink to bolt-on.

The newest SMT ICs are becoming really small and powerful. The small size means opperating without a heatsink can be risky.

These new SMT ICs feature an exposed metal pad for heat output. The pad is located on the under-side. Commonly the metal pad is soldered to copper layers in the PCB for cooling. The PCB acts as a heat spreader. This technique is limited in power handling, and presents many design challenges.

PowerPeg is a two-part system for attachment of high-performance heatsinks to even the smallest ICs. First the thermal connector solders to the PCB & IC. Later the heatsink bolts-on.

Electronics are higher performing, longer lasting, and more energy efficient when properly cooled.

The goal of this project is to bring PowerPeg to mainstream electronics design, and provide off-the-shelf cooling accessories.

  • 1 × TCAP-4325 thermal connector
  • 1 × GP-43-A heat sink

  • Making of the GP-43-A Heatsinks​

    Dean Gouramanis10/26/2017 at 15:15 0 comments

    Here is some recently discovered footage from 2013! Somewhere on planet Earth, a kid named Dean started building a factory. Using custom built and retrofitted equipment, I set up production of these little heatsinks in my garage. #makermade

  • The machine

    Dean Gouramanis05/30/2016 at 09:52 0 comments

    This Brown& Sharpe #00 automatic lathe was built in 1954 in Providence, RI.

  • Summer 2016 production in progress

    Dean Gouramanis05/29/2016 at 16:42 0 comments

    The 2016 production lot is in development. The new products include five PowerPeg sizes to choose from, as well as several heatsinks.

    The quality of the PowerPegs has been improved. These threads are class 3B, which is as good as they get. The threads are also 40% deeper which means more strength, and more design freedom.

    I have adopted strict quality control methods, and plan to produce around 200 of each size PowerPeg using a retrofitted Brown&Sharpe screw machine.

    The pegs are #RoHS comliant; fabricated from alloy C145 copper, and ENIG plated.

  • Project update.

    Dean Gouramanis01/06/2016 at 16:45 0 comments

    I ran out of money.

    In the meantime, here's a cool graphic!

  • Production equipment #2

    Dean Gouramanis11/07/2015 at 11:10 1 comment

    This machine cuts a thin layer from the front surface of PowerPeg, making it perfectly flat.

    The machine consists of a motorized clamp, and an air-powered broach. When the air piston is actuated, the copper part is dragged past a carbide blade.

    The result is a curled copper circle, only 0.005" thick. The finished surface is flat and shiny.

  • Production equipment #1

    Dean Gouramanis09/20/2015 at 22:21 1 comment

    I built this in 2012.

    This machine:

    1) grabs the PowerPeg and spins it at 300 RPM

    2) smoothly moves in a countersink from the right

    3) removes sharp edges from the PowerPeg threads

    4) ejects the PowerPeg

    Low budget, but she's a beauty. Since the first production run we have integrated this process into another machine, so this one is retired.

    It looks nice on my bookshelf. I have come to appreciate the unfinished look. It's like an art piece.

  • Status update GP43-B heatsinks

    Dean Gouramanis09/18/2015 at 19:28 0 comments

    I've completed 30 blank bars with the heatsink profile. Next they will be milled and diced into various lengths.

  • Strip Heatsinks in development

    Dean Gouramanis08/26/2015 at 03:56 0 comments

    Some circuits have a number of PCB heat sources requiring cooling. For example H bridges are comprised of four FETs. Power supplies may have many LDOs, FETs and driver ICs. LED strip lights are all the rage this year.

    These heatsinks will provide an off-the-shelf part for cooling multiple components on a single PCB. They will be available in different lengths. Each length features a number of receptacles.

    Many PowerPegs can be attached to a single heatsink. The heatsink effectively becomes a very 'beefy' ground plane.

    The heatsink serves as a 3rd PCB layer, and provides shielding.

    GP43-B1, GP43-B2, GP43-B3, GP43-B4, GP43-B5, GP43-B6

    This design provides a 4:1 ratio of air fin surface to PCB surface.

  • WC-43-A complete

    Dean Gouramanis08/17/2015 at 21:38 0 comments

    The WC-43-A is the same size and shape as the GP-43-A heatsink. This water cooler connects to any 43 Series thermal connector.

    The brass fittings fit a 1/16" ID tube.

    I tested this cooler at 9.9 watts with great results. The temperature rise was only 40 degrees celsius.

    Video clip:


    Dean Gouramanis08/17/2015 at 21:01 2 comments

    This RTV microfluid circuit was made using a PCB as a mold, and casting liquid rubber onto the surface. The tiny PCB traces produced small channels which water can flow through.

    This is an early prototype, but my idea is to build tiny water coolers using these rubber fluid circuits.

View all 17 project logs

Enjoy this project?



zakqwy wrote 09/18/2015 at 19:17 point

Just watched your video. The SMB music transition (stage 1-1 --> 1-2) when you switched to layout view was amazing. Well done!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dean Gouramanis wrote 09/21/2015 at 22:44 point

Thank you. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Rob Parzek wrote 09/01/2015 at 14:44 point

After diving in to read the particulars, this is quite a neat solution to a lot of design challenges. Very cool!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dean Gouramanis wrote 09/01/2015 at 15:16 point

Thank you. I've been working on this for four years. I have a very developed vision for the concept's future. Imagine a selection of connectors and accessories; micro water pipes, tiny pumps, tiny blowers are esoteric. Also machined enclosures and bezels which connect to the heat output. As more engineering goes into PCB accessories, the need to enclose them will fade. 

So imagine a slim, flexible cellphone (for example) where the PCB is just exposed and protected with nanocoatings/bezels. The PowerPeg concept can be used structurally as well as a heat utility. Parts are modular and upgradable similar to auto parts. Like a tiny PCB city in your hand.

Anyways that's PowerPeg from an artist. We are a long way from there. I cant wait to stop using my lunch money to build parts. Stay tuned as the project develops. If you could integrate PowerPeg into a project of yours i'd really appreciate the ability to work with others and build the concept.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates