A Better Raspberry Pi Case?

Over the years I must’ve had every cheap plastic case going for my various Raspberry Pis, from clear cases through bright red expensive looking perspex, black, orange, you name it. Until now, sizes were pretty much universal and would even fit some of the Not-Raspberry PIs. But now, all change.

Update June 21, 2020: One of the fans on the RPi4 version got noisy – not happy (the sound is annoying). I just happened to have spares so replaced both fans. Original blog and purchase date was October 2019. End of update.

I’ve had several of the widely available multi-part cases which are fine until they break (and they do). Not only am I getting more ambitious with what I expect from my Pi3 devices – and don’t get me started on the more expensive cases and fans you see in the UK (though it is worth mentioning you can choose to have this delivered from the UK or China depending on your need for speed).

Raspberry Pi 4 case/heatsink with dual fans

Hence this LOVELY Armor Aluminum Alloy Case Protective Shell Metal Enclosure from Banggood – which only works with the Pi4 but is superb quality, good looking and not expensive. Also available in gold colour and also without fan – I prefer black.

Call me impatient but I’ve already put in the fan screws even though I’m still waiting for my PI4 to arrive – there are 8 bolts with small heads for the fans and 4 with larger heads for the base (didn’t I go and get that wrong the first time) and here’s me thinking the fans would sit above the chips with a gap – no gap, you also get 2 conductive pads for an overall tight fit.

Raspberry Pi 3 case/heatsink

There is also a version for earlier PIs such as the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ which you see below (more on that when it arrives – again you get the bolts and base along with Allen key. This particular model does not use fans but then the PI3 is less hungry for juice particularly if not using a monitor. The brand in both instances here is Geekcreit.

And here it IS – my new RPI4 with the new Geekcreit case… LOVELY.

RPI4 and case

31 thoughts on “A Better Raspberry Pi Case?

  1. Re. Your noisy fan.

    I have a couple of these for the Pi3 and a couple for the Pi4.
    On one I found that the fan blades were fouling on the casing under where they are mounted. It was a bit fiddly but I put a washer under the fan at the four screw holes under the fan and the problem went away.

  2. Dave, I am not sure exactly what you are trying to do but would PCB spacers work? The threaded ones are normally M3 so if they were threaded or clearance through the centre the M2.5 screws would go through them. Or maybe a pile of m3 washers?

    1. I want to mount the enclosure onto the back of a mounting plate that takes the RPi3 and the standard PI LCD. I need the cooling as this will be located behind a control panel. I’ve tried the normal FAN cooling but it runs a little too hot for this project.

  3. The screws will be 2.5 mm since screws are specified by their outer diameter. It would not be unusual for a screw to be 0.2mm or 0.0078″ under nominal diameter.

  4. I was considering this case for the RPI3 but the lack of mounting points to actually fix the completed unit held me back. Looking at it again, I wonder if we could replace the screws with spaces but not sure of what thread size and how long the thread needs to be. Is anyone able to measure these for me before I go out and purchase a case?

    1. measuring with caliper the screws have 2.3mm diameter, but that includes the fillet, so i think they’re 2.0mm?
      there are 2 types of screws, same fillet, different head, about 1cm long… no way to fit in spacers…

      i instead soldered the 2 fan pins of this case UNDER the rpi4, so i now have full 40pin free header, and added Thermal compound between chips and turrets, because that blue conductive tape left too much free space and they would not adhere as expected…

      1. I might take the plunge and get one to see if I can get spacers made up for it. 2.5mm does sound about right as the holes in the RPi3 I have are around 2.8mm diameter. I have a good and cheap machine shop here who could make some up for me.

  5. Peter and Antonio,

    I highly recommend trying Flirc raspberry pi 4 case – it’s something! Works really well and it’s fanless ๐Ÿ™‚ (absolutely silent and do not consume any mA )

    1. Yes, looks good – but we have to be casreful with pricing on Raspberry Pi accessories – as the total price can easily get out of hand…. the ONE gripe I have with the one I’m suggesting is that there is no way to fit an OLED display for home control use.

  6. “depending on your need for speed”
    Top Gun? ๐Ÿ™‚

    The fan version of these case needs a little protection for the fan blades, though, you can touch them… seems very nice and well done for the cheap price, but i don’t have a Pi4 right now… does any good samaritan feel like sending me one for testing the script on this device? I’m in Italy incidentally…

    1. I’ll second that – if any of our RPI enthusiasts have a spare RPI4 or want to donate one – Antonio has been a LOT of help to many people and it would make absolute sense for him to have an RPI4 to test the script and many other aspects of PI4 operation – bear in mind he’s in Italy.

      1. Hi Peter, I totally agree that Antonio does a lot of excellent work on solving Raspi issues. I would suggest that the best option is for people feeling benevolent is to send Antonio funds to purchase a Raspberry Pi 4 4Gb unit locally, in Italy, from which I am sure the whole readership will benefit. To start the ball rolling I’ll donate 50% of the cost, anybody care to match that? I don’t have a spare Raspberry Pi 4 myself as I only have one.

        1. Well done Bob… I’m sending him my spare new super case/heatsink/fan as I only have the one RPI4…. so if anyone would like to chip in…..

            1. Hi Antonio, as promised, just sent 50% of cost to purchase in Italy. I used the cost in ยฃsterling as there isn’t much difference in Euros!
              Thanks for all your amazing efforts and input to Peter’s blog.

              1. thank you so much, Bob! And thanks to you we are now at 52โ‚ฌ out of 64… you’re awesome guys! ๐Ÿ™‚

                all my RPi4 tests right now where done… without actually having one ๐Ÿ™‚

                i adapt script and Peter tests it, soon i’ll be able to do that on my own… and move to next level: dockerize everything ๐Ÿ™‚

                i’ve moved away from the script just because i like testing other stuff and learning new things, so i studied Docker and tested Hass.Io and so its addons which makes life SO much easier on long term… and my main setup is now on an x86 mini pc, MUCH more stable then f…ing sdcards, waiting for RPi4 autonomous boot from ssd…

                my plans for a fully docker system, detailed here a year ago or so, are gone thanks to Hass.Io itself and Frenck’s bunch of EXCELLENT addons, but i’ll try to extrapolate as much as possible to have something similar without Home Assistant, which not everybody wants to use…

                but to simplify things, this will be done and tested only on RPi3b/+ and 4, i’ve no time to redo all tests on all the boards we did in the past…

                1. Antonio, I followed your lead and put Hass.IO / docker / Ubuntu 18.04.3 on a NUC. Never looked back! That set up is easy to use even without Linux expertise. However, I still run a pi with a version of Peter’s script and all the goodies. That set up has run for over two years with no issues at all and it isn’t broke so I haven’t fixed it!!

                1. I am running Ubuntu 19.10 arm64 pre-installed server for Pi4 which does seem to be running 64bit.
                  Perhaps ahead of the curve for now. Consider it โ€˜pay-forwardโ€™ for the future.
                  All good!!

                  1. yes, there are alternatives, but real benefit will be when you have lots of apps (or containers…) running, and 4gb of ram, of course… i was talking of just Raspbian, sorry for misunderstanding… ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. I’ve got two of the fanless versions of these cases. They are very good and only run luke warm in headless mode. For around a tenner, you can’t go wrong.

      I imagine that Pete could use his thermal imaging camera to show the heat distribution

  7. This looks interesting. Gotta coupla quick questions for ya:
    Are both models (with and w/o fan) made of metal? If so, is there a point of (thermal) contact with the CPU?
    Once it’s fully installed, can you post some temperature readings? Just some informal/anecdotal readings would be helpful.

    The main reason I’m asking is because I’m a very happy user of the FLIRC Pi4 case — the heat sink effect works *very* well — but I’m a little put off by the cost. I like the design of the Geekcreit case, and it’s significantly cheaper than the FLIRC case…I’d just like to hear your experiences of how well it keeps the Pi 4 cool.

    1. Hi Gary – I’m itching for my Pi4 to turn up so I can give it a go in the new case (my other Pi4 is in Spain – the upgrade from my Pi3 kit here – Stretch – to Buster on 4) will be a conversation in itself – upgrading the Spainish stuff wasn’t exactly easy thanks to serial/sqlite/i2c/rpio and a few other items – I managed it though and thankfully blogged most of it).

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