Hi all. I'm having a little trouble with my old Linksys EA 6500. I recently replaced it with the TP Link Archer 2600 as per the recommendation of a veteran member here. And I moved the old EA6500 out to my garage to serve as a wifi access point.
It's doing well, but that thing gets hot enough to burn you if you pick it up. Not something I want in my garage around dust and cobwebs and dry dead bugs. I have a few old heatsinks around, and some thermal paste and a bit of glue. I've heard of guys dabbing some super glue on the corner of the chip, and just applying thermal paste, and then clamping the heatsink down until the glue is dry. (I'll cut a hole in the housing to make room for tall heatsinks... I don't mind)
I really don't care about getting those heatsinks back off. By the time there's a need to remove them, I'll have moved on and I'll just buy a real wifi access point. So that doesn't bother me and I don't care if I can't get them back off. But is there a better way that is perhaps known for cooling better? How would you handle this if you wanted to use the router this way but it was getting hot enough to cause concern?
Looks like repaste is the way to go.
I like your fancy heatsink idea. Kinda like a 1979 trans am (black and gold or white and blue?) with a shaker air intake on the hood. More thermal mass = cooler chip
Apparently they all run hot. Per the article you could just zip tie a small (ideally 0.5 watt USB) computer fan onto it to see if that is enough. Don't go higher than a watt if plugged into the EA6500's USB port. Power the fan independently ideally.
Other stuff you could try...
Drill additional holes in the case for airflow if need be.
Check the wall wart to see if it is unusually warm. It shouldn't be - these things typically only draw 5 watts max under full load and 3 watts idle. Get a watt meter (kill-a-watt) on it to see whats going on.
Check the wall wart with a voltmeter set to 12VAC and check for ripple - should be none or 10-15mV max. Measure the DC voltage as well. Replace wallwart if necessary.
Threshold of pain is 50C/122F. That's too hot and a fire risk IMHO. Especially for older equipment.
I would not trust it near anything combustible just in case.
At a minimum put it on a metal tray, some sort of metal enclosure or on some bricks (har har).
Seriously consider selling, retiring, or keep it as a spare, as its not worth risking a fire for a ~$20 piece of kit - it doesn't owe you anything.
- buy a C7 or EA8300 as they are both very good deals on the used market or as you see fit.
You can probably cook grilled cheese sandwiches on that. Might be good for tailgating or camping? Bolt on a repurposed aluminum griddle.
Thank you for the reply! So you're saying you'd get rid of it, and just skip re-pasting and adding a heatsink. That sound about right? I have no problem with that. If so, would you say that the Linksys EA8300 is built better in terms of cooling? Would I be likely to avoid cooling problems in the future?
It is in the garage, after all. Might be kinda warm in there sometimes, even though I run an AC when it's real hot outside.
Those routers always ran hot. Re-pasting and putting in a bigger heatsink could be fun - but it doesn't really seem worth it for a device that has that many hours on it at those temps. It will probably fail soon. Keep it as a spare. Turn off the wifi and see if it runs cooler. Might make a good VPN router if it doesn't run 50C/122F.
Yes. It has big heatsinks. I iperf3 tested the EA8300 under full load for 30 mins and it barely gets warm. I tested 3 units in a mesh. All ran barely warm at full load. I was impressed.
I think a device that gets that hot is a real fire risk and just not worth even taking a chance - plus it ages out faster at those temps. Running AC won't fix a bad thermal design.
Thank you for the recommendation. I went ahead and bought a used one off of ebay. Sounds like it will last me a very long time. Longer than I even need it to last.
But I do have another question for you: If you were going to do an inexpensive Wifi AP instead, and not convert an old router, which one would you go with?
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I like buying old routers at goodwill and repurposing them for LED lighting and stuff. $5-10 each. Most of them still work. They are too old for OpenWRT - I wonder if there is an older version that might run on them or LEDE or DD-WRT? I suck at networking so I don't like trying to configure dumb AP's - OOB default multi NAT is so much easier.
Hmmmm.... Please refer to answer number 1.
For me that's a cheap regular router that I don't have to convert. Cheap AP's would be N300 territory $20-30 but I don't know if they can dumb AP. Never researched it.
Wouldn't esp8266/ esp8285 or the various esp32 variants make more sense for this task? Should be cheaper (at least not more expensive), smaller, easier GPIO access and much less power consumption.
I'm using SP108E LED controllers (8266 based) with 12VDC WS2811 strings. I'm not writing code or connecting them directly to GPIO on the router. Not yet anyways. The SP108E can join an AP and function as a group or run stand alone.
I haven't actually tried group mode yet, apparently its kind of finicky so that should be fun. I have an old netgear router I am going to try it with soon which should help solve coverage issues typical for the 8266/ESP32's meandering F antenna. I know they make them with external antennas but its fun buying these old routers and checking them out and makes for a very cheap easy solution. None of this would be connected to my home network.
I kind of prefer stand alone mode on the SP108E since you can run independent programs on each string - which I am not sure if group mode allows. The SP108E allows JPEG sampling to make a pattern from but everything else is presets.
Later I might try using 8266/ESP32 as AP or as controllers. Repurposing old routers is kind of fun though. It's interesting logging in to the old firmware. I have 12x50 WS2811 strings. I just bought a 240W 12VDC laptop supply for them. They should max out at ~200W full on.