IEEE Trasactions on Device and Materials Reliability, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 658-663, December 2004

In Situ Temperature Measurement of a Notebook Computer - A Case Study in Health and Usage Monitoring of Electronics

N. Vichare, P. Rodgers, V. Eveloy, and M. Pecht
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742


Reliability prediction methods do not generally account for the actual life cycle environment of electronic products, which covers their environmental, operating and usage conditions. Considering thermal loads, thermal management strategies still focus on a design for continuous operation that is often determined based on an accumulation of worst-case assumptions.

Health monitoring is a method of assessing the reliability of a product in its actual application conditions. A case study in health and usage monitoring of electronic products is presented for a commercial notebook computer. Internal temperatures were dynamically monitored in situ and statistically analyzed during all phases of the life cycle, including usage, storage, and transportation. The effects of power cycles, usage history, CPU computing resources usage, and external thermal environment on peak transient thermal loads were characterized. Such monitored life cycle temperature data could be applied in a life consumption monitoring methodology, to provide damage estimation and remaining life prediction due to specific failure mechanisms influenced by temperature. These findings could contribute to the design of more sustainable, least-energy consumption thermal management solutions.

Index Terms: - Electronics cooling, health monitoring, in situ monitoring, notebook computer, reliability prediction, temperature measurement, thermal characterization.

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