As for myself, I’ve never actually built anything with a Raspberry Pi. Frankly, it’s been years since I’ve built any computer (as a point of reference, my last build was in the days of the game City of Heroes). That said, I still understand the need for cooling – and that’s why the Smart Fan for Raspberry Pi seems like a solid idea.
I mean, yeah, I’m guessing there are plenty of options for smacking some sort of fan into your build (and the campaign page talks about some of them). However, most of them block the expansion header on the Pi. The Smart Fan for Raspberry Pi solves this by basically giving you a pass-through, so you can keep stacking the add-on cards.
This is a deceptively clever bit of PCB engineering, and I have to imagine it’ll be well-received. In order to control the fan, the power all flows through the main board (and is stepped-up to power the fan), and then it relies on a bit of open-source software to set, monitor, and maintain the airflow and the processor temp of the Raspberry Pi that you set.
Of course, adding the $20 Smart Fan for Raspberry Pi into your build does bump the price up of your build – and that’s a valid consideration when the Pi itself can start at just $35. And sure, if you’re doing something simple, the lack of fan noise would be a benefit. If you’re trying to build up something a bit more robust, some active heat management sounds like a good idea to me. At the moment, the campaign is fully funded, and it’s still running through February 4, with delivery anticipated to begin in March. campaign page