HC2 - Proper HHD Fit. (Shim PCB)

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Gryd3
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HC2 - Proper HHD Fit. (Shim PCB)

Post by Gryd3 »

I've recently picked up 3x Odroid HC2 and am running into a minor inconvenience in relation to mounting my harddrives.
I can list model#s if it helps, but ultimately *every* drive I have (2.5" and 3.5") suffer from the same problem.

The PCB and heatsink combination are great, except that the SATA connector on the PCB is a little over 1mm too close to the heatsink. You can brute force it, the clips holding the PCB to the heatsink are spring loaded so the board has some play. This lifts the CPU off the heatsink, of course increasing CPU operational temperatures.

I found two solutions that seem to work well.
Option A) Small metal shim, 0.7mm-1.00mm thickness /w thermal compound.
Option B) Thermal transfer pad. 15x15x1mm. (Softer is better)

I'm hoping to bring some awareness so that HardKernel will either pack a small 15x15x1mm thermal pad with the product, or adjust the design accordingly.

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Re: HC2 - Proper HHD Fit. (Shim PCB)

Post by odroid »

Thank you for the suggestions. We will try measuring the gap between the heatsink and CPU surfaces with some different storage devices.

Meanwhile, can you check CPU operational temperature via 5 sensors in the SoC?
odroid@odroid:~$ cat /sys/devices/virtual/thermal/thermal_zone*/temp
49000
50000
47000
48000
47000

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Re: HC2 - Proper HHD Fit. (Shim PCB)

Post by Gryd3 »

Thank you for the reply. I've attached my temperatures below.
I'm using a small 0.7mm shim and thermal paste for the following tests. (Thermal Pad to follow if there is interest)

Daily use. (Uptime 24day)
bulk of load : Ubuntu, Samba, SyncThing
root@odroid:/mnt/lv_self# cat /sys/devices/virtual/thermal/thermal_zone*/temp
44000
43000
48000
44000
40000
Artificial CPU Load Test : 8 instances of `yes > /dev/nul &` . Ran for 3-4 minutes. Temperature stabilized here.
root@odroid:~# cat /sys/devices/virtual/thermal/thermal_zone*/temp
77000
73000
84000
81000
62000

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Re: HC2 - Proper HHD Fit. (Shim PCB)

Post by Gryd3 »

Idle -> Stressed.
Let them run for a few minutes before testing. The 'stressed' test was an artificial load using 'yes > /dev/null &' 8 times. Once measurements were taken, 'pkill yes' was used to kill the background processes.

Thermal Pad.
38000 -> 79000
39000 -> 73000
41000 -> 85000
40000 -> 81000
35000 -> 64000

No Modification . (Old Apple 2.5HDD seems to fit best of my collection)
40000 -> 77000
39000 -> 71000
45000 -> 84000
52000 -> 82000
35000 -> 59000

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Re: HC2 - Proper HHD Fit. (Shim PCB)

Post by odroid »

Thank you for sharing the test result.
According to the numbers, your shim seems to have a higher thermal resistance value which makes slightly higher CPU temperature.

BTW, It was very hard to measure the gap between the heatsink and the CPU surface.
We tried WD, Seagate and Toshiba HDDs. The gap was around 0~0.25mm approximately. https://www.amazon.com/KEWAYO-Stainless ... B07TR4H9FH
We probably need to find a good thermal interface sheet which thickness is 0.3mm or 0.2mm.
But, in most cases, thermal resistance value of the thermal pad seems to be higher than thermal paste.

Can you tell me where did you buy "0.7mm shim"? Can you give me a link of the datasheet?

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Re: HC2 - Proper HHD Fit. (Shim PCB)

Post by Gryd3 »

I would strongly encourage the thermal interface sheet instead of the aluminum shim. I cut down a piece of larger sheet stock I had on hand for that.
However, the thermal pad I used for the second post was sourced from here : https://www.digikey.ca/en/products/deta ... D/11616881

I've got to be honest, my preference is certainly to leave the PCB directly on your heat-sink. It's definitely better as long as the Harddrive fit is acceptable. One of the 2.5" drives I have fits much better than any of the other drives I have on hand.
For the application where my 4TB HDD lifts the board a little to fit I would encourage the 15x15x1mm thermal pad and would only suggest the aluminum shim if the gap were large and there was no other option to the user. I've just recently replaced my aluminum shim with the thermal pad I linked earlier.

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Re: HC2 - Proper HHD Fit. (Shim PCB)

Post by odroid »

Thank you for the link. Its thermal resistance value looks not bad.
We probably need to find a thinner (<0.5mm) thermal interface sheet or pad.

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Re: HC2 - Proper HHD Fit. (Shim PCB)

Post by Gryd3 »

odroid wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 9:30 am
Thank you for the link. Its thermal resistance value looks not bad.
We probably need to find a thinner (<0.5mm) thermal interface sheet or pad.
+1

The pad I linked is very soft so that I don't have to be super accurate with my sizing. The thermal resistance values from this manufacturer seem to be much better with a more firm pad. I expect you would get better readings than I have with a better sized, firm pad.
I have 3 of the ODroid HC2 here. I've replaced the metal shim with a pad on UnitA, UnitB is using a pad, and UnitC will be assembled in the next day or two.
I'll take the opportunity to take some measurements on UnitC with some of my spare HDDs to see if the thickness of the pad varies a large amount dependent on the drive.

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Re: HC2 - Proper HHD Fit. (Shim PCB)

Post by Gryd3 »

I have some measurements.
Measured against two "Seagate Constellation ES" 3.5" drives.
0.4 to 0.6mm lift required for the board to seat directly to the HDD SATA connector.
Other drives requiring this that I have:
- WD Blue Desktop HDD 3.5" "WDC WD40EZRZ-00GXCB0"
- Seagate "ST9160310AS"
- Hitachi "0J25323"
- Seagate "ST3000DM001"


I used the following pad, and 3x 0.5mm Nylon Washers for the standoffs.
Pad.jpg
Pad.jpg (53.81 KiB) Viewed 195 times

Before :
Factory.jpg
Factory.jpg (68.02 KiB) Viewed 195 times

After :
Aligned.jpg
Aligned.jpg (69.25 KiB) Viewed 195 times

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Re: HC2 - Proper HHD Fit. (Shim PCB)

Post by odroid »

Looks great.
The ultra soft thermal pad TG-A2200 seems to be the best solution so far.

Did you put three 0.5mm Nylon Washers between the heatsink and the HDD?

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Re: HC2 - Proper HHD Fit. (Shim PCB)

Post by Gryd3 »

odroid wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 3:58 pm
Looks great.
The ultra soft thermal pad TG-A2200 seems to be the best solution so far.

Did you put three 0.5mm Nylon Washers between the heatsink and the HDD?
I experimented with that a little. On the first unit I used a single washer on the stand-off closest to the HDD.
On the second and third unit, I used 3 washers. (one on each stand-off).
Washers in question are Nylon, 0.5mm Thickness, 3mm ID, and 6mm OD.

I don't know how necessary the washers are. My intension was to reduce any strain (if there was any) on the SATA connector. The springs aren't very strong, so this likely isn't required.
The board wiggles a little-bit with a single washer in place, and is more stable with all 3.

Now that all 3 units are running with 3.5" drives and ODroid enclosures I can run some continual tests. I plan to run 'Cacti' on these to keep track of disk/network usage, and temperatures.
Zabbix would be a good software to run as well, but it uses more resources than Cacti. I'll be able to post some temperature graphs to show if there is any difference in performance between the unit with a single washer, vs the units with all 3 stand-offs raised.
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