Thursday, July 16, 2020

Peace in Our (Electronic) Time

Somehow this house has acquired 8 Raspberry Pi computers.  (I blame Snuffles P. Bear).

Most of them sit around powered off. A Raspberry Pi 3b+ does act as our network server, and a pair of Raspberry Pi 4s take up space in my office. Actually, one takes up space (powered off). The other is reasonably useful as it handles my retro computing needs, hosting a number of 1970's mainframe IBM Operating System images. It runs, cheaply, 24x7. (I used to use my semi-retired Mac Pro in library for the hosting, but it requires ~ 10 times the power.)

I have thermostatically controlled fans (on 65 ºC, off at 55 ºC) on both of the Raspberry Pi 4s. The unit which stays powered up to tends to kick in the fan a few times an hour. Unfortunately, the fan makes a subtle buzzing noise; this not surprising (it's not well anchored, hanging off GPIO pins) but it is annoying.

I put up with it.

Ah, but today I checked ... the machine is not heavily loaded, and a Raspberry Pi 4 doesn't throttle until above 70ºC. Adjusting the thermostat up 5º causes it to run under normal load at ~ 64-66ºC without the fan cycling. That's even with the room temperature creeping up to 79ºF.

So there is peace in our time.

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