I just received my Reach modules. The module itself is a double sided PCB with the GPS component on one side, and the Intel Edison controller on the backside. The module is wrapped with a tube of plastic shrink wrap.
My question - should I keep the shrink wrap in place? It’s a thick plastic film, which, would serve as a way to protect the electronic components.
However, I am concerned about excessive heat with the plastic in place, especially when it gets 40C outside.
I asked the same question from the company, when I got my REACH Module. I was worry about the plastic wrap preventing heat transfer from the components on the circuit board. I was told to keep the plastic wrap.
Some materials help spread the heat and I hope the plastic wrap is there for that purpose and not to keep the dust out. I have seen this question asked multiple times and I don’t know why the answer is not part of the documentation.
It also appears that the people who place the REACH Module in the 3D Case (https://docs.emlid.com/reach/mechanical-specs/), a little box, remove the plastic wrap (based on what I have read on this forum). So, I am not 100% sure if the plastic wrap helps with heat transfer or it is simply there to keep the dust out.
I’m glad the plastic wrap is on mine. I’ve left it logging outside overnight in the rain (mostly under cover of the ground plane) and it has survived. It is also good to prevent damage to the components and shorting of the pins with metallic objects like keys, coins, nails, etc.
I doubt that polyolefin tubing is a much of a heat sink, on the contrary it is probably better as an insulator, so I think I would remove it if I was permanently mounting reach inside a case, especially if the case was designed to dissipate heat from the ICs.
Thanks for the comments.
I’ve concluded that the plastic is optional.
Considering that many users are using the module in a quadcopter or model aircraft, the plastic tubing would make sense to protect the electronics, where the module is usually mounted bare. This is similar to a motor electronic speed controller module (ESC).
In other applications where the module is inserted into a proper housing, the plastic should be removed, since it obstructs the board’s screw holes. You could just puncture the plastic at the hole if you’d like.
So, I don’t think it much matters.