Is it possible to use Watchdog to reboot the Raspberry Pi in case of overheating? I tried making Watchdog read the temperature from /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp but so far no such luck.

Can this be done by software alone? Or would I need an external temperature sensor?

  • 1
    it's very unlikely you could overheat RPi without an extensive help of bunsen burner or an acetylene torch =)
    – lenik
    Jun 3, 2014 at 22:16
  • Eheh! Well, mine is running at about 70ºC and I'd like to make it reboot in case it reaches 80ºC Jun 4, 2014 at 9:38
  • i wonder what does it do to get this warm? bitcoins? protein folding? SETI@Home?
    – lenik
    Jun 4, 2014 at 11:17
  • 1
    Omxplayer on loop and a hot environment. Jun 4, 2014 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


I think temperature-device option should be used in watchdog config file for Raspbian (8.0) instead of temperature-sensor. There is an old watchdog version which supports temperature-device option version only. See: http://www.sat.dundee.ac.uk/psc/watchdog/watchdog-configure.html#Temperature_Sensors

My /etc/watchdog.conf file - temperature part

temperature-sensor = /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp
temperature-device = /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp
max-temperature        = 80

The latest Raspbian has the GPU temperature output at this command

/opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd measure_temp

and has a result of...


But the system also has the CPU temp- I am not sure if they are different sensors or the same but they output slightly different values.


Install watchdog

sudo apt-get install watchdog

Uncomment the following line in /etc/watchdog.conf

watchdog-device = /dev/watchdog

In the watchdog configuration file add the following line for temperate sensor

temperature-sensor = /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp

Edit /etc/modules

sudo editor /etc/modules

And add the following:

# hardware watchdog

To load the watchdog you use these command

sudo modprobe bcm2708_wdog 
sudo nano /etc/modules (add line “bcm2708_wdog”)

In the configuration file you set programs for the watchdog too

  • Watchdog is up and running, but it won't reboot when a specific temperature (defined in /etc/watchdog.conf) is reached. Do I need to uncomment the temperature-device line as well? What do I put in there? Jun 4, 2014 at 15:05
  • I think you need to set the sensor to temperature-sensor = /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp - In SSH just put in the command cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp and let me know what it is. It might be in thousands ... not sure.
    – Piotr Kula
    Jun 4, 2014 at 15:55
  • It's in the thousands, but watchdog isn't looking doing anything. I've tried settings the temperature threshold first to 59 and then 59000. I restarted the watchdog service, but it didn't reboot although the temperature's currently at 62ºC. Jun 4, 2014 at 16:34

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