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!