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    The FAQ states that no heat sink is needed, but my Espressobin spontaneously reboot when I upgrade the Debian image on the sd card. The CPU chip feels hot when I touch it. After I put an external fan blowing air on the card, the problem disappeared.

    Does anyone else have this problem and what heatsink do you recommend? I guess a simple glue-on aluminium passive sink would do.


    You can’t go wrong with something like this!
    Overkill Heatsink MickMake

    In all seriousness though, I haven’t been able to get a root file system to compile with the guide so I cant say for myself about the issue, though if it is indeed overheating when under intense load, a plain heatsink will only delay the issue unless it is massive. Small aluminum heatsinks can provide a heat buffer for spikes in thermals, but anything continuous wants a fan.

    The GPIO header has 3.3v power, so you could power a small 3.3v fan, (just be careful that the fan you choose does not draw enough current to damage the board. Unfortunately I don’t know how many mA the 3.3v line is capable of.) or you could use a molex to standard computer case fan adapter and plug into the onboard molex plug for the power for the fan.

    Any amount of airflow should be enough to keep it cool, without a heatsink. Unless the heatsink has particularly good thermal transfer and a good amount of surface area on the fins, you will likely see better thermal performance without it if you use a fan.


    Thank you biothunder for your insightful suggestions! I will get the Molex T splitter cable and attach a 12V fan to it. I hope you get the system up as well, the Ubuntu guide worked for me, except one pecularity: The u-boot ext4 reader mixes up /boot and /var so I had to use:

    Marvell>> setenv image_name var/Image
    Marvell>> setenv fdt_name var/armada-3720-community.dtb


    Is there a way to get cpu temperature and frequency ? (in /proc or /sys ?)


    Heatsink + fan is probably overkill. Marvell claims less than 1W TDP on the SOC.
    A really small heatsink just to dissipate the heat should be more than enough.


    I would think it would be the same as on other SBCs like the pi, I will test once I get an OS running.
    I will resign to ubuntu if I must, though I was really hoping to get the buildroot tutorial to work for me.
    The buildroot guide keeps giving me errors on building with make.

    I know a fan + heatsink is overkill, the image was a joke, however if in an enclosed space, or somewhere with stagnant air, a heatsink alone does virtually nothing but provide a heat buffer. I was mostly suggesting a fan without a heatsink to help with spikes in usage, though thinking about the rebooting described by the OP, it seems more likely than heat that the board was rebooting from a voltage drop.

    espressobin@kalvdans.no-ip.org, do you have a voltmeter to test the voltage when it happens? What power supply are you using, 5v USB, or the provided 12v wall wart?


    Espressobin has, only, got a dual core cortex A53 when Raspberry pi 3 is made with a quad core cortex A53, but at same frequency.
    I can’t believe Espressobin overheats like a raspberry 3.
    Therefore, I think it is, very, important to start checking cpu temperature and frequency (and voltage if possible).


    Raspberry 3 soc is built using a 40 nm process technology. How Espressobin soc is built ?


    The Marvell SoC is 28nm.


    I have been running my ESPRESSOBin in production since the day after I got it, with no heatsink and without issue. That said, I haven’t run any super intense workloads on it, as it is being used for NAS mostly, not computation and I compiled my kernel on a different system.

    Also, just to be fair here, I do have it mounted in a case where there is plenty of airflow so this may also be why I haven’t seen the overheating issue.

    I haven’t seen any overheating issues yet with my boards and I am not using any heat sink or fan. Haven’t tested under extreme workloads, but at the same time I do have it in a place where it is receiving passive cooling by fan.

    Good luck to you guys figuring out something that works for you!


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