PSA: Chromecast Ultra overheating issues can be solved with a DIY heatsink
Google Chromecast Ultra was, until recently, the flagship product in the range, thanks in no small part to its 4K capabilities and its ethernet connection which makes it a natural partner to the company’s Stadia gaming service. The problem is, that kind of resource-heavy rendering can make the Chromecast Ultra run a bit hot. Well, ok, a LOT hot. In fact, after about four hours or so, it becomes so overheated it shuts down, and there’s no tangible warning — not ideal if you’re about to beat a Level Boss. In some cases, you’ll get a clue when your controller starts randomly glitching and losing connection, but it’s still not ideal. Luckily, there is a solution.
A Redditor, Jamesstrang1, has posted details of how he used a simple heatsink available online for a few bucks, attached with thermal conductor tape (usually included) to draw some of the excess temperatures away from the device. Then, with a cheap USB fan (again, a few bucks worth) plugged into a USB port on the back of the TV, the drawn-away heat is dissipated. As the designer points out, by powering the fan from the TV’s USB, it only operates when it needs to — when the TV is switched on. Given that the Marvell Armada SoC is supposed to be able to handle operating temperatures over 100c, it’s not surprising that the built-in mitigations haven’t coped since the arrival of Stadia. To prove it’s not a fluke or a software fix, the poster’s other two Chromecast Ultra units which haven’t been treated to a custom heatsink are still failing – this one isn’t.
YouTuber Spawn Wave also undertook some testing on this end with Raspberry Pi heat sinks, and even simply sticking on a small heatsink starts making a difference in temperatures within the Chromecast Ultra module.
Although it’s frustrating that Google’s most expensive Chromecast variant and the one recommended for Stadia has such an obvious design flaw, it’s comforting to know that the solution is simple and inexpensive.
Featured image credits: Redditor JamesStrang1