I was reading about how to cool the raspberry pi, I plan to do so, however, some articles mentioned that I should use a buffer circuit rather than connecting it directly into the GPIO pins. What does this mean and how do a find out if fan that works with it (is there a size limit or voltage limit)? Also, how do I keep the fan in place, should I use thermal paste to glue the fan to a heat sink? I am using a rpi2.

I plan to keep the raspberry pi overclocked at 1ghz and running 24/7, I realize that cooling is not necessary at 1ghz speed but I would like to do so anyway.

  • 1
    May one ask why? The reason why will influence the answer.
    – joan
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:15
  • Here's the thing. You cannot connect the fan to a GPIO pin... unless the fan is really, really small (read: draws less than 16 mA).
    – Ghanima
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:15
  • related (if not dupe) raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/search?q=fan
    – Ghanima
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:16
  • You might want to confirm for yourself that this is really required first, since generally speaking on a pi it's nothing more than a noisy form of decoration. The only context in which cooling might be needed is heavy overclocking, which you could evaluate by testing in increments and checking the SoC temperature (it has an internal sensor),
    – goldilocks
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:19

1 Answer 1


Do not try powering the fans or motors from a gpio pin on the pi. It just isn't designed to handle that much power draw. You could use the GPIO pins to control the fans (If it supports PWM) or make your own PWM Controller. There are many tutorials out there for that.

As for the cooling, Just leave it open and use a passive cooler. I'm using one right now and temps never go above 48°C

  • So the PWN Controller a buffer circuit that I heard about?
    – John
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:24
  • If you have a look at this: here it shows a simple way of implementing a temperature controlled fan with minimal hardware. another site here does has a much better circuit that also achieves that. PWM is Pulse-Width-Modulation, so your fan has to support that on the hardware level. Jan 20, 2016 at 21:29
  • Can I use the product I found here
    – John
    Jan 20, 2016 at 21:37
  • Yes you can. That would work too! I'd build one on my on though since the PI is meant to educate people on stuff like that. I can buy stuff for my normal pc but for the PI I go "DIY" when I need something. Including the case :D Jan 21, 2016 at 8:50

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