Introduction

The Raspberry Pi 4 is the best single board computer on the market. Not only does it have WiFi for faster speeds, but also comes with USB 3 ports that allow data transfer up to 5Gbps (10x faster than most laptops). It has a video output resolution of 2160p60 ,10 bit HDR encoding which results in better playback without lag or issues and its been optimized even more by bumping Wi-Fi speeds upto 114 Mbps over previous iterations!. With So many impressive features, it does get hot and I mean really Hot!!(upto 88 C).

Why Raspberry Pi-4 needs Cooling

People think Heat sinks are to accessorise your Pi and have not much Impact!!!. Let me tell your if you Pi-4 loses its cool, it is going to run out of Juice. As the Processor core temperature rises, it will bring down the clock speed from 1.8Ghz to 750Mhz. I faced this when I was Compiling the Micropython Assembler for Pi-4 -8GB model.

It is important to note that SoC (System on Chip) is responsible for the Raspberry Pi’s functioning- Broadcom BCM2711– and the operating temperature range is -40 degree Celsius to 85 degree Celsius.

How to measure Raspberry-Pi 4 Temperature

ITo measure the current CPU temperature of your Raspberry Pi 4, you can Simply execute the below command.

$ vcgencmd measure_temp

In Raspberry Pi 4’s terminal. The output number displayed is the CPU- core temperature in Celsius. 

Brief Comparison Raspberry Pi 4 vs Raspberry Pi 3

Raspberry Pi 4Raspberry Pi 3
SoCBroadcom BCM2711, Quad coreCortex-A72 64-bit SoCBroadcom BCM2837B0 quad-core A53 32 bit @1.4GHz
GPUBroadcom VideoCore VIBroadcom Videocore-IV
RAM 1GB, 2GB ,4GB & 8GB LPDDR4 SDRAM1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM
Bluetooth2 x micro-HDMI 2.0, 3.5 mm analogue audio -video jackFull size – HDMI 2.0, 3.5 mm analogue audio -video jack
Power supply5 V via USB type-C up to 3A and GPIO header up to 3A5V via micro USB up to2.5A and GPIO header up to 3A

How a Raspberry Pi 4 scores  over its predecessors

  • Higher performance and improved processing speed; due to a better CPU.
  • Supports 2 4k monitors.
  • Higher number of ports
  • Higher memory space

There are a multitude of options available to help you tackle the heating issues faced while working with Raspberry Pi 4. Here is an exhaustive list of solutions (along with their links) to help you decide the best product for your needs:

Heat issues

A common issue faced by Raspberry Pi users is overheating. This can lead to a performance of lower grade as the board is subjected to high temperatures. We know that every electronic device has a specific operating temperature; when the set threshold is crossed, the performance suffers. There is also a risk of loss of functionality, and your project can fail as well.  Without additional help and cooling, the Raspberry Pi 4 will hit its throttle during its performance. 

It is important to note that the SoC (System on Chip) is the integrated circuit responsible for the Raspberry Pi’s functioning- Broadcom BCM28837B0- and the range of operating temperature is negative 40 degree Celsius to eighty-five degree Celsius. Therefore, the operating temperature of the Raspberry Pi is between 70 and 80 degree Celsius. 

If you would like to measure the CPU temperature of your Raspberry Pi 4, you can do so by writing a few python scripts.

Step one: Enter the directory by issuing the following commands:

cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp

In the Raspberry Pi 4’s terminal we can view the temperature data. The number displayed is the CPU temperature.

There are a multitude of options available quite to help you tackle with the heating issues faced while working with Raspberry Pi 4. Here is a comprehensive list of options (along with their links) to helpd you decide the best product for you:

Our 3 Top Choices

Armor Lite Heat Sink with PWM Fan for Raspberry Pi 4B

Armot-Lite-seeed studio-1
Armor-Lite-2-seed studio

The Armor Lite Heat Sink with PWM is perfect for Raspberry Pi 4 owners who need a lightweight and thin heat sink to use on their board. The 3510 ultra-quiet cooling fan can be easily controlled using an included Python script, which is compatible with the latest version of Raspbian OS! It’s easy to install as well; all you’ll have to do once it arrives in your mailbox will be plugging it into one GPIO port and attaching four self adhesive pads (one at each corner).

What are the various cooling options for Raspberry-Pi

Paste based

Following is a video explaining how to use thermal paste and also how to attach a heatsink to a raspberry pi using thermal paste-

Thermal Paste

Features:
  1. This is a sticky paste that goes by various names like Thermal grease, thermal gunk, heat paste, etc. 
  2. You can directly apply it to the heatsink or the CPU of the Raspberry Pi. It is commonly used to bring down the temperature of a piece of electronics.
  3.  A good quality thermal paste will improve performance and bring shave off a couple of degrees.
  4. The cost of the thermal paste is slightly on the higher end as compared to the other options. 

Drawback:

  1. Thermal paste is expensive and can be quite an investment. 

Arctic Silver Thermal Gel

It is a specially formulated compound that maximizes the thermal transfer from your CPU to allow for more efficient operations. The Arctic 5 comes in three shapes and sizes of pure silver particles, meaning it has maximum contact area with other compounds on the circuit board – ensuring no chinks or breaks between components. Unlike regular silicone rubber gels which can form air bubbles due to their viscosity (thickness), this gel stays smooth because its thin enough not be noticed by our eyes but still thick enough too keep an even spread throughout whatever you’re using it on! This also means there’s less chance we’ll have any bleeding since silicon isn’t as sticky when dry like most adhesives are – so if anything spills

Cooler Master Mastergel Regular Thermal Paste

Cooler mastergel regular is a high-performance thermal grease. It contains a very flat nozzle syringe designed to enhance user experience. Hence the gel is even and precise in nature. Not just that, your cooling requirements will be easily met with the range of high thermal conductivity. It also helps in heat transfers from your CPU/GPU to your cooler. Not just that, it also includes a cleaning cloth.

ARCTIC MX-4 – Thermal Compound Paste

The Artic MX-4 is ideal for cooling your CPU and GPU as the temperature reduction performance is tested for high performance. It is also a very safe application as it is metal free. Hence, the risk of causing a short circuit is reduced to a minimum. Not just that, it also acts as a protective layer to your VGA and CPU cards.

Noctua NT-H2

Noctua NT – H2 is one of the popular choices because of its durability (5 years). This premium-grade thermal compound comes in a syringe so it is easy to apply. There is also little to no risk of a short circuit because of its non-corroding thermal grease. Hence it is very safe to use. Another reason it is very safe to use is that there is no electrical conduction. It also contains an extra-large 10g package (9 – 60 applications)

Metal Heat Sinks

The Pimoroni heatsink:

  • You can order this low quality heatsink online. It can help you bring down the temperature by a few degrees. 
  • The heatsink is compatible with Raspberry Pi 4
  • It consists of a non conduction anodized coating
  • It also comes with a pre applied thermal tape.

 Aluminium Heat Sink for Raspberry Pi Zero

  • Included with double sided 3M adhesive
  •  Can be used for Raspberry Pi Zero
  • Material of Construction is ionized Aluminum
  • Compatible with Raspberry Pi Zero

Raspberry Pi 3 Heat Sink set

  • It has a set of 3 heat sinks
  • Material of Construction are Aluminum sink and 2 Copper sink
  • Compatible with Raspberry Pi 3

Pibox India Raspberry Aluminum Heatsink Cooling Kit

  • It is compatible with Raspberry Pi 3, Raspberry Pi 2, Raspberry Pi Model and Raspberry Pi 3B+
  • Material of Construction are 2 copper sink and 1 aluminum sink
  • It also includes a 3M sticker as an adhesive

Fan Based

The official Raspberry Pi case fan:

The official Raspberry case fan
The official Raspberry case fan
Features:
  1. Suitable for tasks that are not very heavy. For example, a desktop system, web browsing, etc. 
  2. A cheap and easy way to install a fan to your Raspberry pi case is to get a Pi-fan and attach it to your case. 
  3. It comes with proper screws and can be mounted easily. 
  4. We suggest using a 1 1/8” hole saw, and gently drilling the case and place the fan on top of the hole. 
  5. You will have to buy the raspberry pi case separately or you can buy a combo.
Drawbacks:
  1. Blocks GPIO pins
  2. The fan makes a little noise that some users find annoying.
  3. It is not strong enough for overclocking.
  4. it is a High-quality device which consists of two-part ABS construction
  5. The device has cut-outs for the 2 micro HDMI, Audio/Video, Ethernet and USB ports and the USB-C port and a microSD card slot
  6. It has precise access to ports and LEDs signals with Symbols

You can also check out the procedure to attach a fan to raspberry pi case

We have given below is a graph of temperature vs time (duration of working)-

[You can use any CPU stress temperature monitoring script. All tests were performed on the exact same 4 GB Pi 4 model B, using identical 32GB microSD cards. Make sure that it is updated to the latest Raspbian OS revision. The Raspberry Pi is should be running the latest firmware. The Raspberry Pi was put into an official Raspberry Pi USB-C AC ( this is not to be followed while doing a PoE test) During the experiment, the room was kept around 23-24°C.]

Cooling OptionMin Temp (°C)Max temp (°C)CPU throttled?
Bare Raspberry Pi (w/o any cooling)4780YES
Bare Raspberry Pi with a heatsink attached4773NO
Raspberry Pi in its official case without any extra cooling5084YES
Raspberry Pi in its official case connected to a fan mod3657NO
Raspberry Pi connected to ICE Tower with fan3249NO
Raspberry Pi put in Flirc case3455NO
Raspberry Pi connected to PoE HAT with fan4254NO
Reference

Raspberry Pi 3 Case

  • It is a case compatible with raspberry pi 3 Model B and Model B+
  • It consists of an ABS construction
  • Removable side panels and lid for easy access to GPIO, camera and display connectors
  • Light pipes for power and activity LEDs
  • It consists of GPIO, display and camera ports which can be accessed easily through removable side panels
  • It has anti-slip feet to avoid any slipping

Raspberry Pi zero case

  • Compatible with Raspberry Pi Zero and the Raspberry Pi Zero W.
  • it has a cut-out GPIO setup on the bottom of the case
  • you get 3 pins to insert plain, GPIO and camera connections

Raspberry Pi A+ Case

  • Compatible with Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ and the Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+
  • It also consists of 3 lids covering ports for plain or USB, GPIO and camera ports
  • The Raspberry Pi module goes inside case

A CPU sink with your bare Raspberry Pi 4:

Features:
  1. They reduce chip hot-spots while increasing thermal dissipation surface area. The main idea is to increase the surface area so that the dissipation of heat occurs faster. 
  2. Heat sinks will help reduce the temperature by 5 to 10 degrees. However, it is important to note that a simple heat sink will not fix significant heating issues.

It is important to note that running rpi-update can sometimes cause issues for containers

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -qy –no-install-recommends
sudo reboot (a rather important step)
sudo apt install rpi-eeprom -y (rpi-eeprom-update package is added)
sudo rpi-eeprom-update
sudo reboot

Please do not skip this step

ICE Tower Cooling Fan:

Features: 
  • One of the best performing cooling solutions for Raspberry Pi 4 is the ICE Tower. The CPU is close to ambient temperature when it is at an idle state. 
  • You can tackle these heat dissipation issues with this ICE Tower Cooling fan, and it can bring down the temperature from 80 degrees to 40; the temperature reduces by almost half. Furthermore, it has an aesthetic appeal as well since it displays RGB colors.
  • While the fan is not necessarily loud, it can get on your nerves. To battle this, you could try shifting the power cable from 5V to the 3V3 pin of the Raspberry Pi instead. Along with the reduction in noise levels it also brings down the brightness of the LEDs. The 3V3 pin minimizes the fan speed as well. Note that it will push less air through the heatsink stack. 
Drawbacks:
  1. GPIO pins are hindered an little hard to access.
  2. Due to large size of heatsink, you cannot fit this Raspberry-Pi 4 along with the heat shield.
  3. Cannot Add your favorite Pi-Hats.  

Click the following link to see a video on how to install a ICE tower to a Raspberry Pi chip-

You can also reduce the temperature by a few degrees by updating your firmware. However, it is essential to note that this reduction in temperature is dependent on the cooling solution that has been employed. 

Since the launching date, three important firmware updates have occurred. These updates help the boards to run smoothly and efficiently. They are: 

  1. VLI: The two USB port 3.0’s are updated, allowing them to run at a lower temperature. 
  2. VLI-SDRAM: even though it is built on the VLI update, it also allows the LPDDR3 SDRAM to run at a reduced temperature. 
  3. VLI, SDRAM, Clocking and Load-step firmware: Dependent on previous updates, this particular one targets the BCM2711B0 SoC clock-speed and works on the demand and temperature.

ICE Tower CPU Cooling Fan for Raspberry Pi 4 & 3

Reference
  • Compatible with Raspberry Pi 4B, Raspberry Pi 3B+ and Raspberry Pi 3B
  • It requires a 5V DC input 
  • It consists of a 7 blade fan, it is a strong fan. Further, it can decrease temperature by 40 °C 
  • Requires a 0.4W power and 0.08A current

(click the link above it will also guide you to step-by-step procedure of setting up the ICE tower)

METAL CASE

FLIRC Raspberry Pi 4 Case

Features:
  1. Dimensions: 93.7 x 66 x 26.5 mm
  2. Weight: 134 g and material : aluminium
  3. Finding this case in India can be quite a challenging task. However, you can check out the above link in case you want to make a purchase. 
  4. This thermally designed case can work under extreme loads and high temperatures. It is specially designed to deal with the issue of overheating posed by Raspberry Pi 4. 
  5. Not just that, it has a custom cut thermal pad -in partnership with Arctic Cool- and increases thermal transfer efficiencies. 
  6. It is a passively cooled case that does not need a fan. 
  7. As the name suggests it is a case compatible for Raspberry Pi 4.
  8. it’s material of construction is Aluminium
  9. Further, it consists of GPIO and all the main connectors, which are easily accessible at bottom of the case
  10. it consists of a built in heatsink as well as a thermal pad and 4 screws to hold it tight
Disadvantage:
  1. As the box is sealed, the GPIO pins are inaccessible. 
  2. You can remove the lid quickly.

Power over Ethernet Hardware Attached on Top ( PoE HAT)-

  • It allows you to power your Raspberry Pi using Power over Ethernet–enabled networks
  • It’s connected network should be the same as Raspberry Pi 
  • It requires a power-sourcing component. installed.
  • It also comes with a fan attached to it generally.

Some examples-

Raspberry Pi PoE HAT
  • It is compatible with Raspberry Pi 4 Model B and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ using an Ethernet cable.
  • It is fitted with a small fan that is manipulated by the Raspberry Pi through I2C. The fan will switch on and off by itself depending on the temperature of the main processor (or CPU of the chip) on the Raspberry Pi.
  • It follows 802.3af standards set by IEEE
  • Completely isolated switched-mode power supply
  • It requires an input of 37–57V DC.
  • It gives an output of 5V/2.5A DC 
  • For  cooling the processor it has 25mm x 25mm brushless fan.
  • It has an automatic fan control
LoveRPi Power-Over-Ethernet (PoE) HAT
  • It is compatible with Raspberry Pi 4 Model B as well as Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
  • Further, it is a non- isolated device which is also quite compact
  • It takes an input DC voltage ranging from 24V or 48V
  • It follows 802.3af standards set by IEEE

. Heatsink with Fan present in them

REES52 Metal Aluminium Alloy Raspberry Pi 4 Armor Case Cooling Heatsink with Dual Fan
  • It is compatible with Raspberry Pi 4 Model and Raspberry Pi 4B
  • It consists of a lot of components as shown in the picture below

The highest temperature drop is observed in ICE Tower fans. The combination of firmware update and the Tower fan can improve performance and maintain the operating temperature for a more extended period. We have provided you with the links to purchase the components and even solutions to update the firmware and check the unit’s temperature. 

If the ICE tower is not your favorite, our recommendation would be the Flirc case. 

While the heating issue can be a considerable drawback, the Raspberry Pi 4 is an excellent buy. This single board computer can help you make several projects and is a great alternative to traditional PC. 

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Previous articleHow to set up VNC in a headless mode
Next articleRaspberry Pi 400 Review: Computer Inside A Keyboard
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments