Cases and Cooling


Now that production of the Parallella has been ramped up and boards are shipping in volume to Kickstarter backers, it seemed like a good time to take a look at the currently available case options and cooling requirements.

The board can be used without any sort of enclosure, but it’s obviously important to ensure that it’s placed on a dry, non-conductive surface. In general care should be taken with any metallic objects near the board, but in particular when powering a cluster via mounting hole pads and metal spacers.

A heatsink is supplied with the board but this will not provide sufficient cooling alone and a fan must be used. It is possible that a fan may be sufficient without the heatsink, but using both is advisable. Note that only a small amount of airflow is required.

Power for a 5VDC fan can be taken from the Parallella mounting hole pads.

Original acrylic case


Many backers will have received an acrylic case as part of their Kickstarter reward, and although there are not mountings for a fan, one can be easily affixed. Above can be seen an enclosure with a 25x25x6mm 5VDC fan glued to one of the side panels, and with power taken from the PCB.

3D printed enclosure


A member of the community, Ben Reed, has published a 3D model for case which can be printed on a RepRap, Makerbot or similar. This is designed to accommodate a 12V fan, and to be used together with a 12V power supply and a 5V regulator for the Parallella board. See the accompanying instructions for a bill of materials and further details.

Acrylic open case


With help from friends at Oomlout I’ve put together a design for an incredibly simple laser cut acrylic case that accommodates a 25x25x8mm fan. The BOM, design files and assembly instructions can be found on GitHub and (shameless plug alert!) this is also available to buy as a kit.

8-node cluster stand and cooling


For those who are lucky enough to have multiple boards and are planning to build a cluster, it doesn’t make sense to have each in its own enclosure. Embecosm have designed a 3D printed base which accommodates 2x 120mm fans in push-pull configuration, with a cluster of up to 8x boards sandwiched in between. The 3D model can be found on Thingiverse and with OpenSCAD sources on GitHub. This can be seen pictured in action at the top of this post.

Share your designs

If you design a case or a stand for one or a cluster of Parallella boards we’d love to hear about it and for you to share details!



  • Rob Rutledge says:

    Hi, I received my parallella boards (2 ea) with the original acrylic cases yesterday. The case is really cool. I am however having problems with the end panels. The connectors do not line up with the cutouts in the end plates no matter how I position the “cradle” for the board. I am assuming the two little standoffs with the little hoops on the plastic cradle go on the bottom side of the board to hold it in place. When I place the end panels on the connectors and the cutouts do not line up no matter how I position the cradle or the end panels. Are there some instructions on how to put the case together or any pictures showing the board positioned in the plastic cradle. Is anyone else having the same issue? Thanks.

  • What about a fan mounted on the heatsink blowing in? (or out?) Would that do? This fan business a bit of a pain I have to say 😉

  • Ken 'classmaker' Ritchie says:

    Hi Rob, did you see these case assembly instructions yet? Cheers!

  • Junebug says:

    Has anyone measured the Zynq chip temperature under load with 17*17 heatsink+ fan ? What is the target temperature ? And I see the Epiphany has a heatsink, is that only needed for the 64 core ?

  • Andrew Back says:

    That should be fine and I think blowing in would be best.

  • Andrew Back says:

    The heatsink is on a 16-core Epiphany and I added it as good measure.

  • Junebug says:

    There is a better way than using a fan, and I am working on it. For that reason I haven’t mounted the 17*17.

  • pedrosk says:

    Got my board yesterday. Will try to buy the case from England. Does anymody know about a more sturdy aluminum type of case? I did contact Tom Skwara from Proto Armour if they plan make one. I use their boses for my PIs and traveled with the all over the place (like Colombia, Panana, etc) and love them. Try to drop him a line and maybe he will make a metal case for parallella as well 🙂

  • Junebug says:

    Could the staff please expand on the power consumption of the epiphany 3 (16 core) ? At I read max. 2 W and at it also says max. 2 W. Is this true, and due to to a different process in the chip fabrication ?
    I would also like to know how much the D-RAM draws if you can just tell me, or if you have a link to the manufacturers datasheet. I guessed at Micron, but couldn’t find the device.
    And what is the state with the 64 core Epiphany, is it planned that it will come on a board identical to the current parallela ? Expected in 2014 ? The last thing I heard was, since $3mio. was not raised, it would not be a chip any time soon, what happened ?

  • Ken 'classmaker' Ritchie says:

    I’m not staff. I’m a minor backer. 2×16. The “hot” chip is the ZYNQ-70×0. That’s where the included heat sink gets stuck on. Additional sinks optional.

  • Junebug says:

    Thanks, Ken, but if the Epiphany chip should draw 2 W, which I doubt, that makes it almost as hot as the Xilinx uP. I was under the impression (don’t know where it came from) that the 16 core Epiphany draws only 0.5 W, and that would make sense if the 64 core Epiphany was rated 2 W, assuming the same process. Is the 16 core 2 Watt rating incorrect ?
    The Parallella board rely on DIY forced air cooling, I think is is prudent to have a power budget, detailing the main spenders (defined by me as >0.5 W). Maybe the D-RAM is not on of them, I will know when I see the datasheet.

  • Any online store where any of these cases could be purchased? Thanks

  • Junebug says:

    So now non-backers can have a fanless board (below 70 deg. F, 21 deg. C/294 K for those of us who use SI, For backers left behind, could Adapteva please comment on the power consumption of Epiphany III, is it 2 W as it says on ?

  • Man Lee says:

    I bought my 4 board cluster kit from here:

    On the same web page, there is also a single board kit with fan.

  • Witek says:

    Let me just say that fan is a must for parallela. I connected silent 120mm 12V fan to some spare PSU and put about 10 cm from parallela (in vertical position). Results (idle default installation of linaro, without anything running but xtemp over ssh):

    without fan with board in vertical position: 87.1 deg. C
    with fan with board in vertical position: 61.7 deg. C

    (ambient temperature 21.4 deg C)

    87 deg. C in idle is pretty high, and if start doing anything serious for more than few minutes I am pretty sure it will rise to dangerous 100-110 degrees.

    Would be nice if parallela board included single 2 pin conector for 5V DC fan, it would simplify life.

  • Bjoern Knafla says:

    The links to the sites with infos about the mounting hole pads seem to not work anymore.

  • Jordan says:

    Acrylic case is become very strong which helps to save your fan. I have to say that acrylic material is very strong and easily you can give the curve but it does not broken easily so you can use make anything.

  • 3D Printed enclose need to do following modifications
    * Power on Eth net cable side which is place in wrong side
    * More space for HDMI and Micro USB
    * Open for Power Micro USB
    * Open for Micro SD card slot
    * Little bit relaxing fit can make this 3D print design very good

  • Tom says:

    Can I get a case that ships in the US?

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