Thermal paste or insulator pads
Oct 4, 2006 at 12:21 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

mrarroyo

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I ordered heat sinks to be installed on the transistors of a Musical Fidelity X-Can. I am told that to install I will need thermal paste or insulator pads.

I have no idea what this is, let alone where to get it. Can someone please direct me to where I can purchase it? Thanks and sorry for the newbie question.
 
Oct 4, 2006 at 12:34 AM Post #2 of 15

mb3k

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Thermal paste is what I use whenever I attach heat sinks to components. Usually it's a somewhat thick liquid made of 99.999% silver.
ArcticSilver is very popular and it's main purpose is for computer CPUs, but it also works for the exact same purpose for our DIY needs. You can usually purchase ArcticSilver at your local computer shop.
 
Oct 4, 2006 at 12:34 AM Post #3 of 15

ThirtySixBelow

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Assuming it's the same in the computer world, this is the most praised.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835100007
It insures perfect contact between the source and the heatsink for the best thermal transfer. Even the best heatsinks have imperfections that need to be filled. Silver has very good thermal transfer capabilities.
 
Oct 4, 2006 at 1:33 AM Post #4 of 15

MisterX

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Assuming you need TO-220 insulators:


Radio shack part numbers:

276-1373
Quote:

This TO-220 mounting hardware package includes mica insulators, screws and washers. For use with TO-220 semiconductor devices.


276-1372

Quote:

This tube of Heat Sink Grease applies silicone compound to help transfer heat away from electronic and electrical components.



Digi-key part numbers:

BER219-ND
Quote:

HEATPAD TO-220 .006" K4



345-1006-ND
Quote:

Wakefield SILICON GREASE 4 GRAM


*no stock*



Mouser part numbers:
532-4880
Quote:

Heatsink Hardware MOUNTING KIT TO-220


532-43-77-9
Quote:

Aavid thermalfilm Heatsink Hardware INSULATOR


532-53-77-4
Quote:

Aavid Heatsink Hardware THERMALSIL INSULATOR


567-120-SA
Quote:

Wakefield Thermal Chemicals SILICON GREASE 4g.


 
Oct 4, 2006 at 1:58 AM Post #5 of 15

Garbz

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We are not building computers designed for borderline performance with insufficient coolant in conditions they were not designed to run.

Arctic silver is a complete waste of time over a standard $1 tube of heatsink paste. Heck tangent even proved epoxy worked well, albeit you won't get the heatsink off anymore.

If your designs require silver heatsink paste, lapped heatsinks, or anything else fancy to remain operational you should really consider a ground up redesign.
 
Oct 4, 2006 at 4:08 AM Post #6 of 15

mb3k

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Garbz
We are not building computers designed for borderline performance with insufficient coolant in conditions they were not designed to run.

Arctic silver is a complete waste of time over a standard $1 tube of heatsink paste. Heck tangent even proved epoxy worked well, albeit you won't get the heatsink off anymore.

If your designs require silver heatsink paste, lapped heatsinks, or anything else fancy to remain operational you should really consider a ground up redesign.



True, but if you have left over from building a PC, then why not? It's not all that expensive, and a tube of ArcticSilver is nice to have around.
 
Oct 4, 2006 at 5:49 AM Post #7 of 15

mono

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mb3k
True, but if you have left over from building a PC, then why not? It's not all that expensive, and a tube of ArcticSilver is nice to have around.


Used properly, AS5 is no problem, but isn't it still a capacitive forumulation? Remeber that those just starting to use compound might be more apt to overapply and if it gets on parts leads, that might not be so good.

Further, there's no need for it, no expected realization of benefit and it's harder to clean up (tiny bit of zinc based will wipe off with narry a trace left visible but AS5 leaves a hazy film- it's not that it's there, just less asthetically pleasing to see it.

So sure, if you have AS5 and nothing else you might as well use it but if I had multiple types on hand, the AS5 would be left to computer parts.
 
Oct 4, 2006 at 6:10 AM Post #8 of 15

Sinbios

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mb3k
Usually it's a somewhat thick liquid made of 99.999% silver.


eek.gif

Where could I procure some of this 99.999% silver paste?!


Anyway, silver loaded compounds are a complete waste for these kind of applications, since the chips produce nowhere near the amount of heat as CPUs. And like mono said, they may bridge connections if you're using it on a SMT chip with lots of exposed pins. There's no need to order them online either - go to your nearest computer store (they actually sell the generic cheap stuff for less than the electronic guys, I find) and grab a small tube. No need for fancy high end stuff, their cheapest tube will do just fine. If you really can't find anything gimme your address and I'll mail you a tube, they seem to come with every single cooler I get.
 
Oct 4, 2006 at 6:59 AM Post #10 of 15

cerbie

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AS Ceramique is my preference for basically everything. Thick, easy to use, good temps for comuter stuff, also is non-conductive and non-capacitive. The 22g tube lasts forever, too (the smaller ones are way too expensive).

In a pinch, though, I must say I actually like the standard RS goop. It's thick enough to not be a real problem, but doesn't stick to everything or run.
 
Oct 5, 2006 at 2:37 AM Post #13 of 15

tomb

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Back to mrarroyo's original question, I use both. The grease ensures consistent contact for good heat transfer, but it's not something to trust for insulation. A mica insulator is good practice in any case, I think.
 
Oct 5, 2006 at 2:58 AM Post #14 of 15

Garbz

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Yes mica insulator pads are great but still needs grease, making it a messy option.

If I'm going to go pads my personal preference is to pick silicon pads. Non conductive, no need for grease, and normally come with a washer to assist non-conductive mounting to the heatsink.
 
Oct 5, 2006 at 3:01 AM Post #15 of 15

nelamvr6

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I have built a LOT of computer systems, and I've had good luck with both paste and pads.

My current fave is Shin Etsu, but it is a BITCH to apply as a paste. I have been using Shin Etsu pads on the last two systems I've built and they have run without any problems, nice and cool.

One of the primary benefits is that the pad is much easier to install so it's less likelly to give newbs problems.

You can get them at Sidewinder, one of the best etailers I've ever dealt with, and they're cheap too!
 

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