Cool your Raspberry Pi – more power with passive heatsinks

As we all know, it is now possible and allowed to overclock the Raspberry Pi. It even helps to overclock the GPU, as RAM is accessed through it.

Increase your Pi’s Power limit

In our quest for more power we should not forget that the Firmware of the Pi limits the maximum temperature of the SoC which contains the CPU and the GPU. This is a good thing – it literally protects your Pi from melting down.

One of the huge advantages of a fan-less low-power system like the Pi is it’s totally noiseless. (Good for concentration and stress levels!)

Although a fan could be used to disperse the heat, we prefer a passive cooling solution.

Enter the TEKO cooling kit:

Our partner TEKO has created a kit consisting of three heatsinks with cooling fins, and a high quality heat conductive double faced adhesive tape.

You can buy the cooling kit for the Raspberry Pi through our online store.

raspberry-pi-heatsink-pi3g

 

Some measurements

These are some measurements we have taken with our case (also produced by TEKO) and cooling kit, using OpenELEC and playing back DVDs. In this measurement we have used only one heatsink of the kit, on the SoC / RAM. Later on, we will also test the system’s performance with the other heatsinks added.

The temperature values were taken from the OpenELEC system information menu after letting the DVD play for some minutes for each measurement, allowing the system to cool down / heat up. The processor usage displayed by OpenELEC oscillated between 93 – 96 % in each case.

without heatsink:

  • case closed, DVD playing: 147° F – 151° F = 64° C – 66° C
  • case open, DVD playing: 126° F – 135 ° F = 52 ° C – 57° C

with heatsink

  • case open, idling: 102° F = 39 ° C
  • case open, DVD playing, menu closed: 120° F -127° F =  49° C – 53° C
  • case open, DVD playing, menu opened: 129° F – 131° F = 54° C – 55° C
  • case closed, DVD playing, menu closed: 129° F – 131° F = 54° C – 55° C
  • case closed, DVD playing, menu opened: 133° F – 142° F = 56° C – 61° C

As you can see, the Raspberry Pi is running a bit hotter inside the case (about 10 degrees hotter), while the heatsink allows the Pi to operate at about 15° cooler temperature. For optimum performance and heat dissipation, leave off the case lid and add the heatsink.

Also another effect: as the overlaying of menus (done very smoothly in the newest OpenELEC release) consumes additional general purpose processing power, the Pi is running hotter when the menu (in our case the system information menu) is open!

We will be investigating some more into this, also into alternative cooling solutions.

Infrared fotos

TEKO has gratiously provided some more results, measured professionally with a infrared camera:

Before cooling kit was mounted:

WO_HS

After cooling kit was mounted:

W_HS

Please note the different measurement scales on the right! While the SoC appears to be only a bit cooler, it is in fact 10 ° cooler, which confirms our findings.

Also note, how the heat dissipation area has increased.

Tips for cool Raspberrys

  • place your case (i.e. TEK-BERRY) on a flat, solid surface, to allow for good circulation
  • use heatsinks
  • open your case to allow for better circulation if feasible / desirable