Raspberry Pi 4 fan and GPIO breakout board

tl;dr

So up until now Ive been able to get away without using a fan while using my Raspberry Pi’s. Now Ive had time to play around with the raspberry pi 4 I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t really use it without a fan. I don’t really like the look of the fan options out there so I thought I would have a go at designing my own. Join me below to see how it turned out

Hardware

  • 40mm fan
  • JST right angle connector
  • ON/OFF switch
  • Long pass though headers
  • Right angle headers
  • 2x M3 bolts
  • 2x M3 nuts

I seen the fan shim from pimoroni but I didn’t like the fact that you needed to run software to use it. I wanted a more straight forward design with just and on/off switch to control it. In another project I wanted away to add a pHAT and still have access to the unused GPIO, I wanted to carry that over to use in this project. All in all I just modified the GPIO splitter design and added the hardware I needed for the fan and called it a day.

All I needed to add was the foot print of the fan and a JST connector and a on/off switch.

Not a fan

I ordered the smallest PC fan I could find, This was a 40mm one. When I got the fan I wasn’t really impressed with how well it cooled the pi down. To do a scientific test I ran a 4k video on Youtube for 1 and a half minutes with the fan in different orientations so see which way worked the best. I think these fans are used to suck the hot air off of CPU/GPU but I wanted to push air onto the pi. This is why I ended up mounting the fan upside down but this means it hasn’t got any cover over it. I also added a heat sink to the CPU to give it that little bit more help

PCB

There is one thing I would change about the PCB design, I would have removed more from between the mounting holes of the fan to increase airflow. As it is it does work really well so I’m not too bothered

Github

Board files – https://github.com/facelessloser/rpi_fan_gpio_breakout

Video

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