Old 08-04-2018, 04:47 AM #1
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Question Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

I purchased a blackbuck 8m driver for a NUBM44-81 diode (7W).

I will probably not run to the upper power limit, but the intended application is a homebrew laser engraver, so it will likely be on for long enough that a heat sink on the driver would be prudent. I have space and cooling air available.

I have seen one recommendation for a 14mm heat sink on the "bottom" of the driver, but this doesn't make much sense to me - it seems like it should be attached directly to the regulator chip. The thing I like about the bottom is that it will be easier to keep it in front of the cooling fan while still potentially keeping reasonable access to the current limit adjustment pot, but don't want to cook it while cooling the wrong part of the device.

Anyway, any advice or success story regarding a robust cooling solution would be much appreciated.


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Old 08-04-2018, 05:52 AM #2
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

A driver for engraver use with that diode does indeed require ample heat sinking. When I asked this question DTR regarding the BB6 he advised me to heat sink from the bottom of the PCB, as you remarked on. My thought is it's better to heatsink the chip both on the bottom of the PCB as well as on the top, but due to physical interference of wires or components I had to raise the board a few mm. I bought some small copper squares off of ebay to use with epoxy glue to fasten to the bottom of the board under the chip and on top of it. The bottom piece to raise the board enough so that the wires soldered onto the board did not short to the aluminum it would be glued down to next, and a piece on top to allow me to interface a large heat sink there too without being blocked by other components on the board. Of course, gluing two pieces of copper like that reduces the effectiveness of the heat sink, better to get a single piece milled with a small step on the bottom so you don't need to do that.

Ebay link to some small copper pieces which can be cut down to size, or filed flat, or just added, if on top will still need to be cut smaller. These were the thickest pieces I could find cheaply on ebay, when used with a larger heatsink on top of it, I didn't like the grid pattern gaps cut into the top so filed that down flat.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-PCS-New-H...i/292183726214

These work too: https://www.ebay.com/itm/10pcs-Lapto...m/331013423938

Epoxy thermal glue: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Arctic-Silv...e/222547404192

When applying either glue or heat sink compound, thinner is better than thick, if too thick you are worse than no heat sink compound at all. Make it as thin as you can while still covering the piece. If you don't already know about this, research this more online.

Note: Depending upon the duty cycle of the laser, you might need to have more aggressive heat sinking than that, using a TEC or water cooling.
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Divergence to spot size calc: - 1 mRad is about .057 degrees which expands to be ~very~ roughly ~10% the diameter of the moon or sun at their distances.

Divergence Calculator: pseudonomen137's JScript mRad Calculator - Measure your lasers beam dia. at 1 foot & then 20'.

Online calc. to determine spot intensity at different mRad's & powers: http://tinyurl.com/divergence-calculator

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Build a beam expander to reduce divergence: http://tinyurl.com/BeamExpander

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YAG Power Calc. Laser Peak Power Calculator - Ophir

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RHD's Relative Brightness vs Wavelength Calc: https://tinyurl.com/RHD-brightness

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Last edited by Alaskan; 08-04-2018 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 08-04-2018, 05:53 AM #3
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

Most of these drivers have particularly dense traces and are heat sinked to copper mostly, from the bottom. That is the most efficient way to heat sink a driver now. But, you must also be aware of any through hole contacts that can short out against the host. Most people use thermal tape to cover the bottom of the board and either use a thermal adhesive or the adhesive from the thermal tape to make to good thermal connection to the module's back or a pill or some other part of the host.
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Old 08-04-2018, 03:41 PM #4
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

Both of these responses were super helpful!!!
Thanks much, I feel a lot better about sinking from the bottom and will heed the warnings about shorting.
I like the copper sinks, I will probably use them instead of aluminum.

I appreciate the quick replies!
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Old 08-04-2018, 03:45 PM #5
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

Those copper pieces won't work to heat sink the driver, they are far too small and just as a way to hold it up off of a big heat sink so you don't have wires shorting on it, or to get a contact point for the heat sink above other components on the board. Others have simply used electrical tape to cover the solder points where the wires are/
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Divergence Calculator: pseudonomen137's JScript mRad Calculator - Measure your lasers beam dia. at 1 foot & then 20'.

Online calc. to determine spot intensity at different mRad's & powers: http://tinyurl.com/divergence-calculator

Laser Power Density Calculator: Laser Power Density Calculator - Ophir

Build a beam expander to reduce divergence: http://tinyurl.com/BeamExpander

University YAG Project The Professor's Homebuilt Lasers Site - YAG Lasers

YAG Power Calc. Laser Peak Power Calculator - Ophir

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Old 08-04-2018, 04:11 PM #6
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

Okay, I guess I didn't think too much about the Pi sinks only being 5mm tall - they look bigger in the picture
I'll probably just start with a nice big aluminum sink on the back and watch the temperature.
I should be able to mill the sink to avoid the through hole connections and properly insulate electrically.

Again, thanks for the quick and helpful reply!
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:18 AM #7
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

Here's what I just did, I took a small heat sink I found on ebay and filed it down flat, then polished it with a fiber sandpaper kit. Next I will use thermal epoxy to glue it to the copper. Only problem I'm having is this is the second BB8 I've wired up and tried to get working, both will not light my NUBM44 diode! Instructions I can find online indicate I didn't even need to add the 10K thermistor and it should work, but it's not. The diode is good, double checked, produces light just fine when directly connected to my CC DC power supply.



Edit: These photo's are thumbnails, click to see full size. Not gluing it until I can get light! This is a 12 to 20 mm adapter with a copper ledge milled into it for the driver made by Lifetime17. I added the step so I could have a clear area for the wire solder junctions.

These Pi copper heatsinks are just the right size to fit the BB8 on top and leave room for the DC and diode solder pads without shorting across anything else under the board: https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-PCS-New-H...i/292183726214 - Only thing is, one side needs to be filed down flat so you have maximum surface area to glue to.
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Attention new brothers of the collimated light!

Newbie advice: Please take the time to first make an introduction in the Welcome section before posting questions: - https://laserpointerforums.com/f37


Divergence to spot size calc: - 1 mRad is about .057 degrees which expands to be ~very~ roughly ~10% the diameter of the moon or sun at their distances.

Divergence Calculator: pseudonomen137's JScript mRad Calculator - Measure your lasers beam dia. at 1 foot & then 20'.

Online calc. to determine spot intensity at different mRad's & powers: http://tinyurl.com/divergence-calculator

Laser Power Density Calculator: Laser Power Density Calculator - Ophir

Build a beam expander to reduce divergence: http://tinyurl.com/BeamExpander

University YAG Project The Professor's Homebuilt Lasers Site - YAG Lasers

YAG Power Calc. Laser Peak Power Calculator - Ophir

Angular Size Calculator; use with diode angle of radiation spec. for lens dia. at FL: Angular Size Calculator

RHD's Relative Brightness vs Wavelength Calc: https://tinyurl.com/RHD-brightness

High Current Pulse Diode Drivers: https://tinyurl.com/ya7whuk3

Last edited by Alaskan; 08-08-2018 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:37 AM #8
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

You don't need the thermistor, if you are not using an additional pot you must use a switch or a jumper between the 5V reference and ground, and along the way I think they changed the 3 tabs as for what's what, so depending on which edition you have it's different, it's the bottom two but used to be the first two like in this pic of one I bought early on.



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Old 08-08-2018, 08:48 AM #9
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

The Blackbuck 8M runs very hot even at 4.5 Amps. I can't imagine it could ever run for more than a few seconds at 8 Amps.


This is how I did the heatsinking on my Nubm44 Lab Style build. There are 2 Heat pipes from the 2 IC's to the main sink. The Copper sink was thermally bonded to the diecast case it was all put in. It should run forever at 4.5 Amps.

I did put a Pot on the modulation input so I could adjust the output.
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Old 08-08-2018, 01:14 PM #10
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

Thanks guys, I thought default did not require a connection there, on the BB6 if you connect those pads together, it won't power on!


Grrrr.. found another design flaw in this one too, I made the heat sink epoxy layer very thin, as we are supposed to do to maximize heat transfer and what happens when the battery tube is made DC common to the 20 mm module the BB8 is mounted to? It shorts to one of the tiny little PCB contacts under the board near the center and won't work. I heat sinked it exactly like I was told it should be, and this happens! Appears I must use too thick a layer of heat sink compound, not happy.
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Newbie advice: Please take the time to first make an introduction in the Welcome section before posting questions: - https://laserpointerforums.com/f37


Divergence to spot size calc: - 1 mRad is about .057 degrees which expands to be ~very~ roughly ~10% the diameter of the moon or sun at their distances.

Divergence Calculator: pseudonomen137's JScript mRad Calculator - Measure your lasers beam dia. at 1 foot & then 20'.

Online calc. to determine spot intensity at different mRad's & powers: http://tinyurl.com/divergence-calculator

Laser Power Density Calculator: Laser Power Density Calculator - Ophir

Build a beam expander to reduce divergence: http://tinyurl.com/BeamExpander

University YAG Project The Professor's Homebuilt Lasers Site - YAG Lasers

YAG Power Calc. Laser Peak Power Calculator - Ophir

Angular Size Calculator; use with diode angle of radiation spec. for lens dia. at FL: Angular Size Calculator

RHD's Relative Brightness vs Wavelength Calc: https://tinyurl.com/RHD-brightness

High Current Pulse Diode Drivers: https://tinyurl.com/ya7whuk3

Last edited by Alaskan; 08-08-2018 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 08-08-2018, 01:19 PM #11
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

I just bought some astral 5A built much like the SXD, have you used those yet ?

You can use a little square of aluminum or copper between the driver and your heat sink with compound on both sides to keep the connections from shorting on the BB8, ---edit--- Yes you must have made it very thin and pushed through.

I really like the SXD but availability is an issue ATM.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Astral-Supe...kAAOSwqxZbXV16
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Old 08-08-2018, 02:16 PM #12
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

Well, I got it fixed, used a double sticky layer of .5 mm thermal tape to interface the driver to the copper, then used UV glue on the edges of the copper piece it was stuck to and the driver in a vice to hold it firm in place while hitting it with UV light. Yes, earlier it pushed through because I was using pressure from a very small vice to make sure the heat sink epoxy squished out as much glue as it could (without overdoing it to fracture anything), and it did just that, made the layer so thin the little contacts on the board shorted to the copper.

I do like the looks of that Astral driver, since you can put a heat sink on the regulator without components in the way, no need to depend upon heat transfer through the board like this BB8.

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Attention new brothers of the collimated light!

Newbie advice: Please take the time to first make an introduction in the Welcome section before posting questions: - https://laserpointerforums.com/f37


Divergence to spot size calc: - 1 mRad is about .057 degrees which expands to be ~very~ roughly ~10% the diameter of the moon or sun at their distances.

Divergence Calculator: pseudonomen137's JScript mRad Calculator - Measure your lasers beam dia. at 1 foot & then 20'.

Online calc. to determine spot intensity at different mRad's & powers: http://tinyurl.com/divergence-calculator

Laser Power Density Calculator: Laser Power Density Calculator - Ophir

Build a beam expander to reduce divergence: http://tinyurl.com/BeamExpander

University YAG Project The Professor's Homebuilt Lasers Site - YAG Lasers

YAG Power Calc. Laser Peak Power Calculator - Ophir

Angular Size Calculator; use with diode angle of radiation spec. for lens dia. at FL: Angular Size Calculator

RHD's Relative Brightness vs Wavelength Calc: https://tinyurl.com/RHD-brightness

High Current Pulse Diode Drivers: https://tinyurl.com/ya7whuk3
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:46 PM #13
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

I have the same BB drivers you do, Chris. I hope I don't have problems with mine when I use them. The astralist driver gets very hot too at 4.5 amps. One reason I bought the BBs was to mitigate the heat issue with the astralist driver. I am getting concerned about using these drivers at 4 to 5 amps now.
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:58 PM #14
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

Well darn, I was thinking I could use the arctic alumina to mount it at the 8 pin chip like I have been doing with the SXD's, I really like the SXD but their availability may be an issue ATM.
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Old 08-09-2018, 02:57 AM #15
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Default Re: Blackbuck 8M Driver Heat Sink Advice

I used the BB8 because I'm out of BB6 drivers now, I wont' be buying any more 6's with that tiny pot which comes off so easily with my brute force. They are meant for people with a lighter more refined tweaking hand.
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Attention new brothers of the collimated light!

Newbie advice: Please take the time to first make an introduction in the Welcome section before posting questions: - https://laserpointerforums.com/f37


Divergence to spot size calc: - 1 mRad is about .057 degrees which expands to be ~very~ roughly ~10% the diameter of the moon or sun at their distances.

Divergence Calculator: pseudonomen137's JScript mRad Calculator - Measure your lasers beam dia. at 1 foot & then 20'.

Online calc. to determine spot intensity at different mRad's & powers: http://tinyurl.com/divergence-calculator

Laser Power Density Calculator: Laser Power Density Calculator - Ophir

Build a beam expander to reduce divergence: http://tinyurl.com/BeamExpander

University YAG Project The Professor's Homebuilt Lasers Site - YAG Lasers

YAG Power Calc. Laser Peak Power Calculator - Ophir

Angular Size Calculator; use with diode angle of radiation spec. for lens dia. at FL: Angular Size Calculator

RHD's Relative Brightness vs Wavelength Calc: https://tinyurl.com/RHD-brightness

High Current Pulse Diode Drivers: https://tinyurl.com/ya7whuk3
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