Build your own robot car with the Raspberry Pi!

Build your own robot car with the Raspberry Pi!

It is important that the Raspberry Pi is sufficiently cooled with a heat sink in the remote controlled car. Together with the L298N motor driver it can get too hot for the electronic components. With live video streaming and active WebIOPi the CPU gets a lot of work and without sufficient cooling it gets very warm. In the past I had no heatsinks on the Raspberry Pi and so there were many crashes. After the many crashes I had decided to measure the temperature of the Raspberry Pi and I had to realize that it was too high. At that time I had not overclocked the CPU either. To solve the temperature problem I bought passive heat sinks to cool the CPU.

If you want to measure the temperature of your Raspberry Pi you can use the following command in Raspbian. Depending on the operating system used, this command may be slightly different.

/opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd measure_temp

Heatsink Kit:

I bought
a heatsink kit on Amazon for my Raspberry Pi that consisted of two blue aluminium heatsinks. There are also brass ones. I had already installed this one. I could not see any advantage of brass, even though brass certainly has better heat conduction properties than aluminium.

  • USB-/Lan-Controller
  • CPU / GPU

All two heat sinks were delivered with a self-adhesive heat conducting foil. With this one it was very easy to fix the heatsinks on the chips. If you want to overclock your Raspberry Pi you should use a heatsink and if the computer is in a closed case you might want to use a small fan.

The following picture shows the two heatsinks I bought on my Raspberry Pi Model B.

Raspberry Pi heatsink kit

Raspberry Pi heatsink kit

The following picture shows my remote controlled car with the Raspberry Pi and the two heat sinks. The chassis is open and the wind cools down the Raspberry Pi when driving around. With a closed chassis it may be necessary to install a fan. In my first remote controlled car, the Cardboard Car, I had to install an additional fan.

Smart robot chassis Acrylic with a Raspberry Pi

Smart robot chassis Acrylic with a Raspberry Pi

Summary

I always use heat sinks on my Raspberry Pi computers. Regardless of how much power is demanded from the small computers. In the summer of 2015 I had the experience that with the warm weather it had become much too hot for the small computer. An additional heat dissipation would have been necessary. So the Raspberry Pi Model A+ unfortunately crashed again and again.

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