Tablo feels hot on bottom

Is it normal for the Tablo to be hot on bottom? Wife put a trivit under it as wood was getting hot. WAF is going ok, if I could just get the DVR hard drive function to work. Ugh

Try putting the Tablo on its side.

What kind of hard drive do you have? I have HD: Seagate Expansion 5 TB

Yeah, the Tablo tends to run very warm, and gets warmer and warmer as more tuners are in use. You can really feel it on the bottom front edge. You need to be careful touching there, though, as it seems to be ESD sensitive, and touching mine sometimes causes Tablo to reset.

Some folks stand it up on the side surface to aid in cooling, while others use cooling fans to keep it cool. There don’t seem to be any issues for me with the “warmth” of the Tablo.

@brianbazar We’ve got a blog post with some FAQ’s available on heat:

Toshiba 3.0 1TB

If you have a 4-tuner tablo you might be able to use the excess heat to fry an egg in 30 minutes. Or maybe use the heat to drive a Stirling engine.

Or maybe heat my freeze-baby daughter’s bedroom.

If you’re concerned about the heat, another thing you could try besides putting the Tablo on its side is raising it up on some discrete shims. Not necessarily very much, even a quarter inch or so can help improve airflow under the unit and reduce temps. I have an older Samsung Blu-Ray player that got hot underneath, and that heat had the reputation, rightly or wrongly, to cause crashes and/or shorten the life of the unit. So one of the tricks was to raise it up slightly like that, and it did reduce the surface temperature. I actually have my Tablo sitting horizontally on a wire shelf with a few inches of space underneath, and the bottom never feels too warm.

BTW, the temperatures in the link from TabloSupport don’t surprise me for a passively cooled device. I had a 1st gen AppleTV that got hot on top, and using a non-contact thermometer, I measured temperatures of around 118F. Which really isn’t that hot, but it’s shocking when you initially touched it. Putting my palm on it felt like a test of manliness :slight_smile:


I ordered the DEEPCOOL WIND PAL MINI Laptop Cooling Pad 15.6" Slim Design 140mm Silent Fan Blue LED from Newegg US for 9.99 with free shipping. I set my Tablo quad and 2TB Seagate usb portable drive on top of it and plugged it in. It makes NO noise and very little breeze …but my Table is now just barely warm to the touch and before it was HOT - 90++. And my HD seems to be just fine up there…so far. I have portable drive so the usb is drawing some power = more heat. My setup has been running for 2yrs with almost no problems. (and I DO believe some problems described in this form are due to overheating)

Now I know that they say that 90+ is normal for the unit, but I have always found that cooler electronics seem to last longer.


Newegg was out of stock so ordered a cooling fan off amazon.

This fan on eBay looks like it would work great for a Tablo

I have to say that I’ve never been a big fan of fans (pun intended) because of reliability issues. My background was in very high reliability telecommunications equipment (5 nines, or 99.999% uptime) and relying on convective cooling was the last thing we wanted to do because fans were simply not reliable when you’re designing equipment with a 20 year or greater lifespan. So, if there was really no other way, we’d have to go with redundant fans, alarm monitoring, filters and additional recommended maintenance.

To further illustrate the point, I did buy a small, inexpensive fan for cooling my Tablo, and it died after several months. This only served to reinforce my belief in the basic unreliability of fans. Maybe a peltier effect cooling device would be a better approach.

Hi Brian, this is the email I wrote to Tablo support almost 2 months ago. I am still waiting for a reply.

“Hello, I have noticed that the Tablo I just purchased is running very hot.
I have read the forums and your tech support says it is OK. I have my doubts from my experience.
I am a computer engineer that designed the cooling systems for notebook computers. We always drilled the heatsinks and bonded the thermocouples directly to the case of the IC. this way we could see the temperature of the IC and evaluate the heatsink to chip interface and evaluate the cooling capacity of the heat sink.
The design of the cooling system in the Tablo is marginal to keep the IC junction at the nominal temperature (typically 125 deg C)
To start you have the cooling design upside down.(tralpping heat) The “thermal transfer pad” being used is a very bad way to couple to any heat sink, the thermal resistance is much greater than thermal grease. You then encase the heat plate (needs to be a true heat sink for this much heat) in plastic (this is like a blanket).
It is so hot that when I touched the bottom it really burned my finger. I mean a red mark on my finger. If I were to put this in the lab I would expect to see that it is running into the upper safety limits for reliable operation.
Running any integrated circuit at these elevated temperatures leads to intermittent operation and premature failure…
Can you please contact me and let me know how you performed the evaluation of the cooling system. It looks like it was driven by marketing and not your engineers. If you think your design is good please let me know the temperature your IC junctions are running (at an ambient of 80 deg F, real world) at and the specification of the chip maker for the max junction temperature. Let me know how the cooling system was evaluated and how you arrived at your calculations. For example what is the thermal resistance of the thermal pad (deg C per Watt)
The overall system design and software are pretty good. you really have a great product it will just eventually fail at these elevated temperatures. Thanks, Nick”

Brian, as you can see the “theraml pad” and “flat plate” cooling design of the Tablo is one we rejected for computers because of reliabilty issues.
I am now running my Tablo upsidse down with the plastic case off and a small fan blowing on the metal cover.

I would not be supprised if a lot of the reliabilty issues I read in this forum are heat related.
We would run Intel processors in heat chambers up to and beyon the thermal recommendations to see where they fail.
When they start to fail they become erratic and make data errors. When we cooled them down they would start to run normal. the life of these chips was greatly reduced due to this testing and we broke quite a few.

Hopefully someone in Tablo will answer me back.
The Tablo is a great idea and with some improvments in design and software it would be unstoppable.
I’m waiting for the next generation with all of this fixed. I’ll be the first person to buy one.


I think it would be informative if TABLO could bench test a unit in their lab by attaching a recording thermocouple to the bottom of the unit and then wrapping it in insulation so no heat could escape and then monitor the unit for any performance issues.

If the Tablo fails during such a test setup then perhaps they could relate the failure mode to those users have reported.

In short, you cannot define the performance limits on a device until you exceed them.

Hi @NickP - what email address did you send this to? Was it a ticket to our team? I’ve looked around in the general inboxes and our support queue but haven’t been able to find it.

@Wolfpack We’ve done tests like this, among others - we’ve covered most of the details in our heat blog.

Nonetheless, I’ll direct @NickP’s comments to our hardware team!

I believe Tablo uses a heat sink to isolate heat build up from sensitive circuits.