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(Note, this is not a duplicate of question because my question is based on constant running at a temperature. Just because another question has one point in common does not make it a duplicate question.)

I recently bought a Raspberry Pi for the very first time. It's a version 3, model B. Heat sinks came with the package, so I placed them on the CPU and the Ethernet Controller. I have the Pi in a protected place and lots of clearance for air flow. Only passive cooling was set up. I don't have any fans.

My purpose for buying this Pi was to run Pi-Hole 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. I've been checking in on the device a few times every day for the last two weeks and see that the Pi temperature is almost always 55.8 °C every single time.

I've asked around and have been told that 55.8 °C is fine and will not hurt the computer. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I wonder if this is the case when that is a consistent temperature and not a short-lived spike temperature. Maybe the device is still too new for any long-term use data to be collected. From my information scrounging, I see that all the temperature-related experiments have to do with stress tests and overclocking. I have not done either, nor do I have any interest in that topic.

My question is this: is there any evidence that 24-hour use of a Pi running at a consistent 55.8 °C will shorten its life span?

  • I'm running a couple of pis that are consistently working at over 75° celsius and they are fine. This is from one of them: $ pi@bluray-wifi:~ $ uptime && vcgencmd measure_temp 21:19:28 up 12 days, 8:20, 1 user, load average: 2.00, 2.00, 2.00 temp=77.9'C Actually, if it shortens lifespan... I don't know. I don't think you will have any problem unless you are talking about it going close or over 85° which is their top design temperature, AFAIK. – eftshift0 May 23 '18 at 3:22
  • @JaromandaX -- According to Google, the very first Raspberry Pi was invented in February 29, 2012 (6 years ago). How did you manage to run it for more years than the first model was created? – RandomHandle May 23 '18 at 4:51
  • I lied :p sorry - my lie was even worse, as I said it was a Model 3B - which hasn't been around that long - anyway, in all seriousness, what will be the first to go is the SD card – Jaromanda X May 23 '18 at 4:57
  • Someone has an original Pi with an uptime of 1676 days (4.6 years) raspberrypi.org/forums/… – CoderMike May 23 '18 at 6:58
  • Sorry to hear you have no fans. – Gerard H. Pille May 23 '18 at 14:09
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Your question is a good one, but it may be a wee bit misleading. I say this because the life of your RPi will be shortened by running at 55.8 °C compared to say, 25 °C, but it will be lengthened by running at 55.8 °C compared to running at 75 °C. In general, heat is the enemy of semiconductors, and electronic components in general. You can think of heat as being analogous to blood pressure in humans... keep your BP low, and you'll live longer and healthier.

In other words: "in general and all other things being equal", the cooler you can keep your RPi, the longer its life will be. That said, I don't feel that 55.8 °C is excessive, and you will likely get quite a long life from your RPi at that temperature. Your actual experience will depend upon more variables than is possible to enumerate, and lifetime predictions for electronics modules are generally modeled in statistical terms. But I don't believe anyone has developed such a model to predict statistical parameters for the expected life of a RPi. Nor are they likely to do so as this is generally an exercise in uncertainty, and undertaken by organizations with deep pockets; e.g. NASA probably did studies for components of their Voyager project.

In case you're interested, many of the models for semiconductor life dependency on heat are based on a physical law known as the Arrhenius equation. There are a variety of resources online that explain the physics behind semiconductor aging and temperature - this one is reasonably good. Again, if you're interested. I believe it's far more likely that the technology cycle (e.g. Raspberry Pi 4) will bring about the end of life of your current RPi than operation at 55.8 °C :)

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