Heat Dissipation and Cooling for the Pi


24 posts
by fozzy bear » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:20 am
hello

Things are heating up down here in Perth Western Australia
( we are heading into the really hot summer period )
and I am concerned about cooling facilities for my Pi B v 2.
I have it installed in a clear case from MultiComp.

I notice the case gets a little warm especially over
the SOC and ethernet chip ( as would be expected ).
Our temps here can range right up to 40 C and maybe
even 45 C some days [rare] and this can go on
for the best part of a week when we have heat waves.
( 1 or 2 per month from February to early April ).

I can always just run it with the case top off
or mainly just run it in the evening/night
( usually cooler but sometimes the temp can stay at
around 30C or more for hours into the night ).

I have heard about the heat sink kits for the Pi.
I am not concerned about price (within reason) just performance
and ease of installation.
Are heatsinks glued to the top of the RAM/SOC stack
and the ethernet chip ?
( or is some other fastening system used ?).
Do they use any kind of heat compound product ?

Can anyone recommend use of heat sinks ( which product ) ?

I also thought it may be possible to add a small fan to the
Pi by doing a cutout in the case over the SOC/ethernet area
and screwing it on top of the case top and then running the fan
power leads into 5V and GND on the GPIO
( if there is a fan that will run on 5V ).

One of those extra small fans out of say a traditional hard drive
caddie tray may be suitable or even one from a laptop
( which I have ).

Does adding a fan to the Pi this way sound like a viable
( electrically safe for the Pi ?) option/approach ?

Any ideas/information on heat dissipation/cooling for the Pi
as regards the above welcome.

fozzy

?8O)}
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:30 am
by malakai » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:34 am
Ultimately the Pi does not need any heat sinks or cooling for that matter. The chip is rated to go as high as 85c if memory serves me correctly. Cooling when the temp is caused by external factors is achieved by first trying to control the external source (Not always possible) you could go with a case that has no top and placing a fan nearby this does not have to be attached to the Pi at all a room fan can work. But if the external temp is just as hot as the chip no cooling will occur.

Basically do you cool your cell phone, ipad, or other such devices? The Pi is based on chips inside of phones pda's and tablets. If those function quite well when it's hot outside why would the Pi be any different.

If the chip does get to a point where it is overheating maybe then consider heatsinks or a fan but ultimately if the external temperature is too much these won't work.

This command will tell you the current temp of your chip

/opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd measure_temp

Heatsinks and fans for the Pi are just a way people can make extra money.
http://www.raspians.com - always looking for content feel free to ask to have it posted. Or sign up and message me to become a contributor to the site. Raspians is not affiliated with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. (RPi's + You = Raspians)
User avatar
Posts: 1383
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:35 am
by bfagioli » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:40 am
How hot is your Pi getting?

I added the temp widget to my LXDE desktop panel and have yet to see my Pi get above 48C ... but its in a room that stays a constant 20C :)
User avatar
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:49 pm
by Dweeber » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:06 am
Arizona here... current land of the Snow Birds...

Just checked my current units...
Code: Select all
Raspi01 - Uptime 8d 20h - 512mb - 125.78'F (52.1'C) - Hooked up to TV **
Raspi02 - Uptime 12h    - 256mb - 118.94'F (48.3'C) - Dev board on Pi Plate (no case)
Raspi03 - Uptime 12h    - 256mb - Offline
Raspi04 - Uptime 24h    - 512mb - 125.42'F (51.9'C) - Dev2 **

Room temp is about 70'F

** In a MultiComp case (both black cases)
Dweeber A.K.A. Kevin...
My RPI Info Pages including Current Setup - http://rpi.tnet.com
User avatar
Posts: 606
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:35 am
Location: Mesa, AZ
by jamesh » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:46 am
You don't need a heatsink or fan. Remember these chips are designed to go inside phones etc where there is no fan or heatsink available, so they have to run cool.
Volunteer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, helper at Picademy September and October 2014.
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 12165
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by fozzy bear » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:58 am
OK so my best/cheapest option is probably
just to run with the case top off
and make sure I get good airflow over the unit
( room fan ).

Yes there is so much stuff out there
that is running on low voltage ( sometimes under 1V DC ),
low power cmos electronics like a lot of the
mobile stuff ( phones, pads etc )
and I think they do OK with heat dissipation
although there have been cases of units overheating
etc ( some laptops etc.. ).

Even though the Pi may need little extra for cooling
the way I look at it is the cooler my unit runs
the longer it may last ( >MTBF ).

I will have to assess how the system performs
heat/cooling wise over some time
and see if action in the future is warranted.

fozzy
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:30 am
by Dweeber » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:20 pm
Strange....

You asked....
fozzy bear wrote:Any ideas/information on heat dissipation/cooling for the Pi
as regards the above welcome.

You are basically told you don't need any...
jamesh wrote:You don't need a heatsink or fan. Remember these chips are designed to go inside phones etc where there is no fan or heatsink available, so they have to run cool.

and you conclude that you still need to...
fozzy bear wrote:OK so my best/cheapest option is probably
just to run with the case top off
Dweeber A.K.A. Kevin...
My RPI Info Pages including Current Setup - http://rpi.tnet.com
User avatar
Posts: 606
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:35 am
Location: Mesa, AZ
by AAShepAA » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:09 pm
Sorry guys, but the comments that the Pi doen't need cooling are wrong!

Let me preface by saying - perhaps under normal circumstances you are corrects but mine had needed it from day one. I spend at least 2 weeks trying to figure out why mine would lock up and shut down. I bought the best (recommended) power supply I could fine and it would still die. And this was all without it even in a case (if which I have 2 nice one laying around).

As a last resort - I took an old table-top fan that I had laying around and put it next to the Pi - guess what? It never dies!

I agree that it shouldn't even under normal circumstances here in Arizona, but it does. So, perhaps instead of, "You don't need to cool it." We could give the guy some suggestions.

Shep
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:00 pm
by ShiftPlusOne » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:30 pm
AAShepAA wrote:Sorry guys, but the comments that the Pi doen't need cooling are wrong!

Let me preface by saying - perhaps under normal circumstances you are corrects but mine had needed it from day one. I spend at least 2 weeks trying to figure out why mine would lock up and shut down. I bought the best (recommended) power supply I could fine and it would still die. And this was all without it even in a case (if which I have 2 nice one laying around).

As a last resort - I took an old table-top fan that I had laying around and put it next to the Pi - guess what? It never dies!

I agree that it shouldn't even under normal circumstances here in Arizona, but it does. So, perhaps instead of, "You don't need to cool it." We could give the guy some suggestions.

Shep


Can you log the temperature data without the fan while compiling something for 30 minutes and then do the same log again with the fan and see at what temperature your pi fails (if it fails due to overheating). This will also show whether it made any difference to the temperature. This sounds like there's a bigger issue causing your pi to fail.
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 2043
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:36 pm
Location: The unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy
by Lob0426 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:05 am
This question will continue to be asked. It will continue to be answered, that you do not need cooling. Again it will be said that there are reasons it may, or components used with it may need cooling to reduce or to stop failures.

I would suggest that there should be a section in the wiki that discusses the issue beyond the fact that the Raspberry Pi (itself) does not need cooling.

Examples:
Running a USB HDD inside an enclosure with a RasPi. The RasPi may fine but the heat can send a HDD to an early retirement.
Or WiFi dongles, which do heat up. And can fail to work when overheated.
Running a RasPi along with another device that produces heat, say a router.

Though the RasPi may handle the temperatures, it may be part of a "system" in which other components may need the cooling for themselves and the Raspberry Pi for a trouble free system.

It has become second nature to dismiss cooling of any kind. I believe more information is needed as to what use a particular RasPi may be put too, before dismissing cooling questions.

The cell phone comment keeps coming up also. But I cannot hold a cell phone that is 151F or hotter. And though I have certainly seen my iPhone at or above this temperature, it was not working i.e., it said it needed to cooled down. It placed a heat warning on the screen saying it could not be used. So it was on but could not be used to place a call. Something I am sure happens very rarely in London. Happens rather often here in the western United States.

If you do not believe us, come visit about August through early October. And I am at 4200ft altitude. I was just in Arizona Christmas day I was walking around in shirt sleeves at 70F while the Arizona residents were wearing their jackets. It was 6F this morning. 2F yesterday.
512MB version 2.0 as WordPress Server
Motorola Lapdock with 512MB
Modded Rev 1.0 with pin headers at USB

http://rich1.dyndns.tv/
(RS)Allied ships old stock to reward its Customers for long wait!
User avatar
Posts: 1950
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:30 pm
Location: Susanville CA.
by jfornango » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:07 pm
I know Lob0's head will implode, but this is not a case of "one or the other."

Thermaldynamics is just that; "dynamic." The statement, "This device does not require cooling," is good only to a point. As a server admin, I know this game all too well.

What that statement means, statistically, is that at standard room temperature - industry "standard" calls this 68 - 72F (20 - 23C) - the surrounding air is able to disipate all the heat produced by the device. And in Lob0's defence, the Raspberry Pi does this, nicely.


Now, let's go to Phoenix, Arizona or Queensland, Australia, where "room temperature" can reach over 100F (38C) unless you have an air conditioner running. 100 degree air cannot transfer heat as quickly as 68 degree air (it's even worse if you add humidity). At this point, some cooling assistance *might* be needed.

Now, I would be surprised if a Raspberry ever needed more that a stiff breeze blowing across it to provide all the cooling it could ever want. I've laid my fingers on the SoC and wondered if it was even on. Maybe just a case with vents on the ends (most cases I've seen try to be sealed units), or a micro fan blowing across it.

Fozzy, if you are having problems with lockups, and testing with a fan shows this to resolve the issue, then by all means, set up a case with a 10mm fan on one side and a vent on the other. (I would reccomend fan by the power plug and a vent by the ether and USB jacks)

Is it necessary to stick heatsinks on it, though? I really doubt it.
I'm only wearing black until they find something darker.
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:46 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO USA
by hydra3333 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:23 am
Like the OP, Adelaide in Australia has been around 38C-43C ... on the assumption "it has to be better than nothing" and I don't really want to install a fan, can anyone definitively tell me I'd waste my time installing heat sinks on the cpu and lan chips ?
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:48 pm
by malakai » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:46 am
Waste of time. At best some Media Center builds do extremely overclock and run hot but still within range. The command to check your temp is something like:

/opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd measure_temp

if your not even close to 85 celcius I wouldn't bother. However if you do see people start selling cooling kits for the IPad a device that runs around oh $600 and has no real cooling let me know. :mrgreen:
http://www.raspians.com - always looking for content feel free to ask to have it posted. Or sign up and message me to become a contributor to the site. Raspians is not affiliated with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. (RPi's + You = Raspians)
User avatar
Posts: 1383
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:35 am
by hydra3333 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:04 am
OK thanks, I won't bother installing the heat sinks then. It was only $5 incl delivery :)
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:48 pm
by Respectech » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:31 am
Like another reader on this post, I also have a Pi (my 2nd RPi, a 512MB model) that overheats and locks up. Of course, I am running several scripts on it that are placing it at 100% CPU utilization for long periods, and I have it overclocked to 800MHz.

I had an old aluminum northbridge heat sink which I cut to size and placed on the SoC. During these intense processing periods, it gets hot enough to hurt to the touch, but locks up less frequently than without. If I blow a fan across the heat sink or place the Pi on an ice pack (with an insulator, of course), it doesn't lock up at all, even under non-stop 100% CPU utilization.

I have recently started logging the temperature and will find out at what temperature it tends to lock up. When I do, I'll report back here.

Another shipment of three Pi's just showed up today, so I'll be testing these as well.
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:27 am
by jamesh » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:53 am
Respectech wrote:Like another reader on this post, I also have a Pi (my 2nd RPi, a 512MB model) that overheats and locks up. Of course, I am running several scripts on it that are placing it at 100% CPU utilization for long periods, and I have it overclocked to 800MHz.

I had an old aluminum northbridge heat sink which I cut to size and placed on the SoC. During these intense processing periods, it gets hot enough to hurt to the touch, but locks up less frequently than without. If I blow a fan across the heat sink or place the Pi on an ice pack (with an insulator, of course), it doesn't lock up at all, even under non-stop 100% CPU utilization.

I have recently started logging the temperature and will find out at what temperature it tends to lock up. When I do, I'll report back here.

Another shipment of three Pi's just showed up today, so I'll be testing these as well.


Almost certainly a fault on the board. You should be able to run the SoC at full tilt for ever and it shouldn't get so hot that it hurts. A trace of the temps woudl be useful.
Volunteer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, helper at Picademy September and October 2014.
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 12165
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by Respectech » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:25 pm
OK. So I came downstairs this morning and the Pi's display was asleep. Moving the mouse and tapping the keyboard wouldn't wake it. Connecting to the Pi using Samba allowed me to read the temperature log, so the Pi was still alive, although responding VERY slowly (it took 2 minutes to open a 33KB temperature.log file). The last few temperatures were 53.0C, but they hadn't updated in over 4 minutes. Pings still worked with 1ms response times. Shortly after pulling up the temperature log, I was unable to connect via Samba and the pings stopped working. Apparently, the Pi had locked up.

After rebooting, here were the last few lines of the Pi's temperature.log:
Tue Feb 26 15:37:01 GMT 2013
temp=51.9'C
Tue Feb 26 15:38:02 GMT 2013
temp=51.4'C
Tue Feb 26 15:39:02 GMT 2013
temp=51.9'C
Tue Feb 26 15:40:02 GMT 2013
temp=51.9'C
Tue Feb 26 15:41:02 GMT 2013
temp=51.4'C
Tue Feb 26 15:42:02 GMT 2013
temp=51.4'C
Tue Feb 26 15:43:05 GMT 2013
temp=51.9'C
Tue Feb 26 15:44:02 GMT 2013
temp=51.9'C
Tue Feb 26 15:46:56 GMT 2013
temp=51.9'C
Tue Feb 26 15:48:59 GMT 2013
temp=51.9'C
Tue Feb 26 15:49:02 GMT 2013
temp=51.9'C
Tue Feb 26 15:52:13 GMT 2013
Tue Feb 26 15:52:14 GMT 2013
temp=52.5'C
temp=51.9'C
Tue Feb 26 15:53:54 GMT 2013
temp=51.9'C
Tue Feb 26 15:56:09 GMT 2013
temp=53.0'C
Tue Feb 26 15:56:11 GMT 2013
Tue Feb 26 15:56:11 GMT 2013
temp=53.0'C
temp=53.0'C

The time and temperature are logged from the same .sh file launched by cron every minute. Notice at 15:44 GMT, it started not being able to keep up with one request a minute to log the time and temperature. Here is the file that is doing the logging:

#!/bin/bash
date >> temperature.log
/opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd measure_temp >> temperature.log

From these preliminary results, I am theorizing that this particular Pi started having problems around 51.9'C and experienced a failure at or about 53.0'C. The warmest it got over the previous 12 hours was 51.4'C and it worked properly through that short increase in operating temperature.

Is this an indication of a faulty Pi? I received this Pi at the beginning of December 2012. It has always had issues locking up. Now that I have some more Pi's to test with, I will run the same SD card on it and see what happens.
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:27 am
by jamesh » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:34 pm
53 is no-where near hot enough to cause a failure in the usual case. I'd say there was a fault somewhere.
Volunteer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, helper at Picademy September and October 2014.
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 12165
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by Respectech » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:56 pm
If this doesn't happen on the other Pi's I have just received, what is the procedure for doing a warranty return. Do I contact Element14 (the vendor I purchased from)?
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:27 am
by dpeppitt » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:35 pm
i have a pi running at 1.2ghz ( dont ask how its stable took some fiddling ) and am running xmbc so the cpu usage is always over 85 percent, i keep mine cool with an old pc fan that runs at 4500rpm in the pc but due to lack of voltage after i converted it to a usb fan now runs at about 1000, just use scissors to cut the wires and connect the red and black ones together dont worry about the others, all the strands in the usb cable can be cut away, this works like a treat, just be careful when using this whilst the pis booting as it can cause power issues, hope this helps.

by the way ime only fifteen so im nopt responsible at all, hence cutting the molex off a perfectly good 80mm deklta fan and reducing it to just 1000rpm, but if it isnt a high rpm fan this wont work !!! :D
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:25 pm
by jamesh » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:29 pm
Respectech wrote:If this doesn't happen on the other Pi's I have just received, what is the procedure for doing a warranty return. Do I contact Element14 (the vendor I purchased from)?


Yes, your contract of sale is with the people you bought it from, so they are the people you need to talk to.
Volunteer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, helper at Picademy September and October 2014.
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 12165
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by Buda » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:13 am
Ok, iam having a cooling problem, my raspibmc slows down @ 142F (61.1C) after an hours worth of a movie, locks up @ 145F (62.7C). Room temp is 76F (24.4C) not sure about the humidity levels, but it's winter here if that gives you any idea. It seems heat related but I'm not sure, what can I do to check it farther?
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:50 am
by jamesh » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:55 am
Buda wrote:Ok, iam having a cooling problem, my raspibmc slows down @ 142F (61.1C) after an hours worth of a movie, locks up @ 145F (62.7C). Room temp is 76F (24.4C) not sure about the humidity levels, but it's winter here if that gives you any idea. It seems heat related but I'm not sure, what can I do to check it farther?


You could try a simple fan (desk fan!) blowing over the device to keep it cool. If that makes the problem go away, then you probably have faulty device (they should never fail due to temperature). Are you overclocking - turn that off and see if the problem still occurs.

I seem to remember some people having problems with the Xtals, some were going off spec as they got hot -that a HW fault so if you have it there device should be returned.
Volunteer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, helper at Picademy September and October 2014.
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 12165
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by nhslzt » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:33 pm
Tiny fans for sale HERE!
User avatar
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:41 pm
Location: Dresden, Germany