Avoid your gridblades from burning out

I have bought recently 2 gridblades and after a month of operating them, one of the cards just burnt. It was actually the one powering the fan, but I was lucky enough that the second card on the blade didn’t burn out as well.

What happened is that one component (a voltage regulator, as it seems) burnt from the heat, just because they assembled the blade poorly. The problem with these blades doesn’t reside on the computing chips, but near the power plug, and the stock fan is pretty far from there.

Here is what the healthy component on the blade looks like:


And here is the burnt one:


Apparently I’m not the only one with this problem: see this post about modding the blades. I didn’t mod them, but still the hot components are so close to each other that they create a hot area around them, which makes them more likely to fail.

So I have taken a few steps so that my 3 other cards (there are 2 cards per blade) won’t burn, even in the hot summer.

First, I’ve added some inexpensive heatsinks on them to spread the heat a little bit more:


You’ll notice that on the left blade (top one on the 2nd picture), I’ve also added sinks on the other side of the blade, because that side gets pretty hot too. Why not on the other one? That’s because my next step is to add a fan on top of the blade to blow directly on these sinks to ensure proper ventilation, as the stock fan on the other side of the blade is not really enough to evacuate all that heat. And let things be really easy, I used simple clothes pegs to keep them in place:



You’ll also note that I’ve changed the protection on the stock fans, because they are in a very dusty environment:


The next step is to add some temperature sensors around to check that the fans are doing their job. I’ll post that another time.



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