Raspberry Pi Cases with Active Cooling

I’ve been trying various cases to use with the Pi, as obviously overheating is a concern for reliability and operation, I’ve seen great results from even some pretty cheap cases, it’s amazing the difference a tiny heatsink and fan can make :slight_smile:

This one has a real professional build quality, as it’s all metal ( although no good if using on-board wifi )

And this one provides excellent cooling too:

The fan is a bit annoying if used in a very quiet location, but it’s not too bad.

Thanks for the links.

I wonder if overheating really happens under normal conditions? From what I’ve observed so far, most Pis are well below 70°C and basically never above 85°C, which is the limit at which the Pi throttles itself down. Do you see temperatures well above 70°C in your installations?

I had a pi that was reading just over 70°C, however, this was mostly due to the location of the device, which was on the dashboard on a sunny day, with no cooling!

It has since been repositioned, but as it still operates in the cab of a vehicle, I was concerned that the hotter months of the year could cause issues.

And even a cheap case with heatsinks and a small fan has a considerable benefit, reducing the temps by 15 or 20 degrees, I think it’s worth the small extra cost.

Here’s a great youtube video of Pi cooling:

I’ve replaced a Pi Zero W today that has been running for a couple of weeks, as it had gone offline.
When I got to the location the Pi and TV appeared to be running, but with a blank screen.
After I unplugged the Pi it rebooted and switched on the TV and appeared to be working properly, but as I had a spare Pi Zero W with me I replaced the board.

I’ve noticed that the device is currently running at approx 78 degrees Celsius after running all day.

I know this is below the max operating temps but I’m concerned that this could be the cause of the blank screen?

I do have the ‘faulty’ pi, but not really sure if I can test if it’s ok other than installing a setup on it and seeing how it goes.

I thought about running it whilst heating it up with a hair dryer to see what happens!

EDIT: I’ve now switched to using a setup based on the HD Image/Video Player package, I’ve found that on the Pi Zero W this is less demanding, and I can run the device with the CPU set to power save mode and the video playback is smooth, but the temps are reduced by 10-15 degrees.

So for simple image/video playback, when using a Pi Zero in warmer ambient temperatures, I would suggest using the HD Video Player package to keep the temps down.

UPDATE: After troubleshooting this issue, Florian discovered that at least some of the HD video files had been added to the scheduled player as Video tiles, which meant that the Video tile was having to feed the video data through OpenGL, rather than just being directly rendered, putting extra workload on the Pi.
If the HD Video option had been used then this would reduce the load on the Pi and only use the same resources as the HD Video player package.

Just tested a Pi Zero running the HD Video Player setup, with the device in Power Save mode and heated it up with a hairdryer whilst refreshing the device info page.

I got up to a recorded temperature of 81.51 degrees C before I decided I’d given it enough torture, and the content ( HD video files @ 1920x1080 60hz ) continued to play without any issues.

So whatever the previous issue, I’m now confident that it wasn’t due to the heat.

We use the GeeekPi cases in our 50+ Pi3+ network, absolutely stable, the devices are running perfectly 24/7 :slight_smile:

Does anyone of you guys have an alternative case where is place for a poe shield and/or a clock?

I think if I was needing additional space for a POE hat and also allow for cooling, then I’d use a mini PC case and mount the Pi on a HDD adapter ( Pi server rack mount )

Although I suppose it depends on how limited you are for space.

It’s a good alternative but it is to mount at a client so in this case it is not useable :confused:

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