Archive for January 24th, 2011

Thing-O-Matic: Arduino Mega Heatsinking

The Thing-O-Matic Motherboard rides atop an Arduino Mega (with the auto-reset option disabled), drawing most of its power from the hulking ATX connector at one end. The Mega draws power from the ATX +12 V supply and produces +5 V through its on-board regulator.

As I noted there, that regulator runs surprisingly hot when fed from +12 V, even without any additional current flowing to the Mega’s pins. The solution here required another search through the parts heap, which eventually disgorged a small heatsink that was, I think, intended for a 16-pin DIP, although I obviously added the hole for some other, long-forgotten purpose.

Motherboard regulator heatsink

Motherboard regulator heatsink

A bit of fin-bending to clear the (unused) power entry jack, a dab of JB Kwik epoxy, and a clamp to keep it in place while the epoxy cures:

Clamping the Motherboard regulator heatsink

Clamping the Motherboard regulator heatsink

You won’t have such a heatsink, but any similarly shaped chunk of metal, even without fins, should suffice. Nothing critical about it, as long as it clears the Motherboard that will be plugged atop the Mega; you’re just increasing the surface area for heat dissipation.

The Motherboard and Mega sit in the large opening across the Thing-O-Matic’s baseplate from the ATX supply’s fan intake, where they get plenty of cooling air. Do a before-and-after test with a fingertip on the regulator to feel the improvement for yourself.

This is, admittedly, just a feel-good tweak, but a cool regulator is a happy regulator. Spread the joy…

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