I thought better cooling for Roku 3 would help

Continuing the discussion from Roku rebooting:

oh, of course I can attach a photo, LOL
I haven’t posted in a while.
Okay, here is a photo of my Roku 3 with air holes drilled on top, sides and bottom. People also add small PC fans glued to Roku cases and plug them into USB port for power, but I didn’t go that far.
Thanks again

It’s funny you drilled holes in it but didn’t go “as far as” using a cooling fan. lol just found that comical. :slight_smile:


hey C0pyCatter, I am glad I was able to amuse you, hehe…

But seriously, I do feel heat escaping thru the holes from the top cover BUT most surprisingly I find even more heat escaping (radiating) out of the bottom cover (a more enclosed space) where I made some smaller holes around edges and sides. There is a big metal weight on the bottom cover to give the Roku a heavier feel.
So now I usually just leave it upside down and let that more intense heat dissipate upwards.
For the photo however I showed the top, as the bottom don’t look as clean.

I am surprised ROKU designed it so enclosed, and didn’t add any heat sinks or air holes at all. But I guess heat sinks cost money and every penny saved in production must add up.
Plus if they made the chips last forever they couldn’t sell more years later, right?

Have a great weekend.

I’m fairly sure the big metal weight is a heat sink…

Looks like the case is aluminum and I assume there is a thermal path from hot components to conduct to the case, either thermal grease, foam, etc. Drilling holes in that sink, if anything is probably decreasing the radiating capability of the box.

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@doni - Is the top made from metal? - I just looked at my Roku 3 4200, and it looks and feels like plastic, yet yours sure looks like aluminum. Tapping on mine doesn’t feel anything like metal.

Hi Guys,
The entire case is plastic, the metal weight on bottom isn’t a heat sink as it does not touch any components at all and is flat and thin, it wouldn’t dissipate any heat even if something pressed on it but they don’t. Also if it was a heat sink it should be aluminum and have fins to dissipate heat. It would also have to be directly on the chips with a paste making tight contact. You can see from the bottom photo below, this chip is exposed in one of my holes.

The metal (painted black steel seems like) weight is mostly in the center so I drilled around it.
I hope this helps, yes ChrisFiX, the case is plastic on my 4200X but photo might look metal as I cleaned the drill holes nicely so no plastic dust enters any fan I might place on top in future.

Here is a better photo of top I had taken before closing it.
I wish I had taken a photo of the inside parts in retrospect.

Also, I might be jumping the gun in declaring my problem is totally gone BUT it hasn’t done it in 2 days now. Plus I’ve been deliberately trying to confuse it, pressing f/f and r/w buttons several times over and over along with the pause and play!
In the past pushing the buttons more than a few times rebooted, even as much as 3x in one 30 minute program. So I am very happy the problem is gone for me!

Now, having said that, I don’t believe it was my holes that fixed it! Because it had continued to do for a day even after the holes.
The next 2 things I did try were…

  1. I added a microSD card in the back and formatted it for use as channel memory. It appears to have used 12% already so it must have been low on memory?
    I also deleted a lot of stupid channels I never actually used after loading them.

And, no.2…I deleted my TabloTV preview Channel! Perhaps the 2 apps can’t play nice together?

I checked my Roku version number and it is Software version 6.2 Build 34.67 and it hasn’t changed that I know of. So, I am thinking maybe it was running low on memory?

Just a thought, not sure why it hasn’t had the problem in 2 days. I’ll keep you posted if it occurs again in future, good luck everyone!

Nice thread! The metal plate in the bottom may be an RF shield, a reflection plane for the wireless remote transmitter or just a simple old weight. I don’t believe there was one in the Roku 2 series so I am betting on reflector for the Wireless remote? And there are cheaper ways to do RF shielding. The large chip on the bottom of the board is the NAND Flash memory (Spansion ML02G100BK100 NAND Memory) This is where the channel information and operating system would be held unless a Micro SD is utilized (making assumptions here anyone know the system?) From what I have read, the micro SD only stores channel information and game data.
Now, I started my cooling journey because my unit would start to stall then lock out while playing Sling. My unit is switched on only when I use it so it always took some time to start misbehaving. I had a WD TV Live that I finally learned to run open with a heatsink and cooling fan when trying to play MKV files.

  1. I drilled a 2" hole in the top cover for ventilation, a metal holesaw works nicely for this.
  2. I placed Heatsinks on the 2 memory chips the video processor and the NAND memory on the bottom.
    When I tried running it, it ran about 45 minutes then started the same problem. I added a small desk fan blowing in to the unit and it ran perfectly for over 6 hours last night.
    I am now waiting for my 50mm muffin fans (12Vdc) and fan grill. I will add exit holes for the air to escape mostly in the bottom.
    I am wondering as to the true purpose of the metal weight, as I may fabricate an enclosure with better air flow.
    Poor thermal design over added cost seems to be a constant theme. Btw I am an electrical and mechanical engineer and spent most of my life designing and cooling power supplies.
    Would love any comments.
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