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droid heat sink mod

Discussion in 'Android Hacks and Help' started by vmspionage, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. vmspionage
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    vmspionage New Member

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    Hey, new guy here. I just wanted to share my weekend project of adding a functional copper heatsink to my original Motorola Droid. It was a fairly simple mod that only took an hour or so but has helped to reduce operating and return to idle temperature during heavy use. The goal is to keep the temps in check in order to extend processor life and maybe push the overclock a bit higher.

    Currently I'm running CCR Sapphire 1.1.1 with the 1.2ghz standard voltage kernel and before the mod my Droid would get quite warm under load. With the heat sink you can feel the copper plate heat up much quicker than the plastic backing would before but the heat is more quickly dissipated. I've confirmed this with a SetCPU stress test - the processor temp will rise to 48C or so but return back to 30C after 2 or 3 seconds. It's seriously overkill for a processor that doesn't even require a heat sink to begin with but that's what hacking is all about. :)

    Disclaimer: this mod is very dangerous, and there is a very real chance you will end up bricking your Droid if you slip up even once during the teardown or removal of the OMAP RF shield. The SMD passives are very tiny and even bumping them will probably cause irreparable damage to your phone. Do not attempt this if you are not OK with the very real chance that you will be parting with lots of money for a new phone. Of course your warranty will be voided (if it hasn't been already)

    Droid teardown instructions from phonewreck (phoneWreck Motorola Droid Teardown Images!) were used for disassembly and locating the processor.

    The first step is to remove the case and remove the plastic above the processor

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Next up is to remove the RF shield. The preferred way is to desolder it but I wasn't comfortable working around all those passives, so I chose to snip off the top using the 3 holes in the corner of the shield as starting points. This is where you will brick your phone (I got lucky)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Install the back cover and your droid should now have an exposed brain

    [​IMG]


    Testing... this was a pucker moment. It works!

    [​IMG]


    The heat sink was cut from .016" copper sheet with a dremel and attached to the CPU with sticky thermal tape and a small square of rubbery thermal transfer pad. The pad is necessary because the CPU is recessed into the case quite a bit. This could be solved with a small metal riser soldered to the main plate but the pad still gives you a degree of mechanical separation to keep pressure on the back of the phone from damaging the processor, main board, and its connections.

    [​IMG]


    The part that goes over the camera was cut to size and stuck back on. There's a big scratch where the razor slipped when I was doing this step, but luckily it didn't go anywhere near the lens. Scissors work just as well on the thin plastic so I recommend going that route.

    [​IMG]


    The finished product. The back will get less shiny with wear (which is what I want). My friend said it looked like one of those stick-on signal strength boosters :icon_evil:

    [​IMG]
  2. SL-1200
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    SL-1200 New Member

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    Holy smokes, awesome write-up!! What temps are you getting now? Thanks for the write-up, that's what makes these communities great! Oh and great 1st post, welcome!!
  3. vmspionage
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    vmspionage New Member

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    Thanks! Idle is a chilly 30C and I've seen the load temp to just about 50C while benchmarking. You have to be quick to catch it though as it drops back to 30C in the blink of an eye.

    It's not setting any records but here's my Quadrant benchmark (best of 3)

    [​IMG]
  4. SL-1200
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    SL-1200 New Member

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    Wow, nice temp results for sure! 1758 is an awesome benchmark. Let us know how your battery life is(i assume it will be noticeably better).
  5. vmspionage
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    vmspionage New Member

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    I'll keep you posted. It's usually not that great because I keep the low end at 400mhz or so to reduce UI lag, but during the week it's on it's dock most of the day so I hardly ever kill the battery. Yesterday however it went from 8am to midnight with fairly heavy use (showing off to friends, a couple of Kwaak3/Quake 3 Arena demos and benchmarks, and a lot of Angry Birds) and was at 15% right before bedtime. Not too shabby.
  6. grinchy
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    grinchy New Member

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    I give you mad props for doing this mod....however complete overkill :)

    Reminds me of when I was popping lids off AMD cpu's for a better cooling experience via Storm Waterblock :)
  7. pyro6128
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    pyro6128 New Member

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    That may be the most badass first post every on these forums. Great write up

    Welcome
  8. SL-1200
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    SL-1200 New Member

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    Not bad at all, yea Kwaak3 and Angry Birds definitely works the battery.
  9. mtz_gto
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    mtz_gto New Member

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    Awesome writeup!
    couldnt you paint the copper black to prevent eyesore?
    or were you trying to match the Dpad and camera button? ;)

    Either way kudos for a great mod! It definitely looks factory from the
    pictures you posted.
    Also isnt copper soft though and will scratch easy?

    robot defense is what gets my phone HOT!
  10. rwking
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    rwking New Member

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    Holy CRAP! You are my hero, man. I think the copper looks amazing! Hopefully it won't tarnish, but I suppose you could look real strange and pull out a polishing cloth every once in a while and wipe it down. haha Seriously though, I think this is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I love a good DIY success story.
  11. vmspionage
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    vmspionage New Member

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    Thanks everyone. You could absolutely paint it - it might reduce the thermal dissipation a little but probably not by much. I'm actually a fan of the weathered copper/steampunk look. It's a little scratch prone - I just got a small one today when I put it in my pocket with my keys. The good news is that it's easy to remove and polish again. I just used a dremel with #5 and #6 polishing compound after I made the rough cuts and sanded down the sharp edges.
  12. pandroid
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    pandroid Theme Developer Theme Developer

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    best actual droid 'mod/hack' yet! i love it. wish i still had the resources to do that...

    how about wiring the fm radio antenna to the headphone contact? thats the only thing that needs to be done to get the radio receiver working on the droid/milestone. you do that... ill provide you the needed files to get it working

    great work though. im very impressed and im hard to impress
  13. vmspionage
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    vmspionage New Member

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    Thanks pandroid. I'm interested in the FM hack... do you have a link to show which pins need to be wired up? If it's something like a test point then it should be no problem but I don't think I have the tools to wire the inner pin of a BGA package or anything like that. :D

    Update on the overclock: I tried to load the 1320IV kernel a moment ago and no joy. I did however get the 1250IV kernel loaded and no force closes so far. The 1250SV was crashy before the hack but hopefully the extra power will smooth things out.
  14. Craiger22
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    Craiger22 New Member

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    Excellent write up! However, I will probably wait until mine is replaced for the mod.
  15. Shiodooru
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    Shiodooru New Member

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    Great job, not sure what all the hype is about.... I have had my Droid Inc running with a heatsink for a while...

    [​IMG]

    In all seriousness though nice work dancedroid
  16. leprophotography
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    leprophotography New Member

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    Oh hahhaa, me too, here's my unorthodox heatsink. I'm running icy cool temp 24/7. :icon_evil: dancedroid
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  17. pandroid
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    pandroid Theme Developer Theme Developer

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    ooo, unfortunately it isnt that easy.... yep, its a BGA pin under an RF shield

    oh well... guess no one will ever have FM working on their droid
  18. mtz_gto
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    mtz_gto New Member

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    So ive been thinking....
    How much would you charge to do this for my phone...?
    It's already a beast with the seidio extended 2800Mah battery... lol
  19. dfgged
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    dfgged New Member

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    :icon_eek: Best DIY mod ever...
    I'm going to go try and sort out my brain lol
  20. yakitori
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    yakitori Premium Member Theme Developer Premium Member

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    It seems like it would make more sense to allow the phone cpu to cool at a slower rate rather than a faster one. When you heat up the solder points quickly...and cool them off quickly...I would think that would be worse than a gradual cool down. At least a gradual cool down would put less stress on those points, rather than exposing them to a large delta temp in a short period of time.

    What is good would be if the high temp itself went down significantly so that the processor reaches a lower high temp...rather than heat up quicker and cool down quicker.

    Benchmarks are not exacly evidence of functionality. I dont see any noticable difference between 800 vs 1000 on my phone...other than a higher benchmark. No other functionality is changed, so there really isnt a point to pushing your CPU that much...just for a benchmark screenshot.

    Sorry to sound negative...but just trying to make logical objections.
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