Keeping your Android Headunit Cool

Modern processors found in the android headunits can generate a lot of heat, leading to crashes and shortened component life.

Early Days

Back in the early days of the android headunits, the 8227L_Demo chips didn’t generate much heat, they only had 4 cores and didn’t clock very highly. They ran old android and didn’t get hot.

Today

The modern processors with 8 cores clocked around 2.5Ghz generate a lot of heat. They also draw a lot more power, but this is not a problem to a device connected to a car battery. The problem is the heat.

Solutions that manufacturers have provided to help dissipate the extra heat generated by these ever more powerful processing cores vary between manufacturers.

Heatsinks

Large passive heatsinks are an option. These can be part of the actual body of the headunit and are sometimes coloured blue, but the colour is unimportant. The larger the passive heatsink area the better it cools. You will see many ‘fins’ of the body style heatsink, this is not to look good, it is to help keep the android headunit cooler by increasing the surface area.


Small passive heatsinks are often at the rear of the headunit and may only serve the amplifier chip. Smaller passive heatskink area means less effective cooling, but some is better than none and it can be upgraded.

Vents. The vent type of cooling is found in the plastic body android headunits. There is not much cooling going on with the plastic vents, but these can also be upgraded.

Active Cooling

Active cooling is provided by a fan or number of fans. These fans can help extract the heat from the vents in the plastic bodied android headunits or they can upgraded the performance of the aluminium passive heatsinks. The fan blowing air onto the heatsink or reverse the fan to draw the warm air away from the passive heatsink both work and can be combined.

Upgrad the Cooling

The easiest way to upgrade the cooling of your android headunit is to fit a fan. Some already have a space where a fan can go, just find the right sized fan. You can connect the fan to the ignition live (ACC) to have the fan on when the headunit is on.

Cooling fan install on android headunit
Cable ties and a fan attached to the plastic vents on an android headunit to keep it cooler

Some manufacturers have thermal monitoring chips on the motherboard and will switch a fan on via a dedicated 2-pin connector. This helps reduce the fan noise to only run when it is actually needed, rather than running all the time. Universal options for fan power are from the amplifier power control. This uses the amp connection, so a different way of powering it would be needed if you were already using the AMP connection.

Fans

Fans can have an intrusive noise, so not having or not needing a fan is the best choice. Maximum passive cooling, letting the air circulate around the android headunit can help keep it cooler without the need for a fan. But if you have the plastic body with vents, a fan may be all you can use to keep it cooler.

Optional Extras

If you are buying a 7862 based android headunit with the plastic vents, look for the full body passive cooling version first. If you persist in the plastic vent version, this processor needs some extra cooling. Get the external fan as an option extra from the vendor at time of purchase. The modern 6, 8 and 10 core processors need some decent level of cooling to get the very best from them. If you really want a plastic body with vent holes, get the fan too.

Android HeadUnit
Android HeadUnithttps://android-headunits.com
An android headunit enthusiast with years of experience with in car entertainment installation and design. Encouraging everyone who wants a change to try a different car launcher :)

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