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Router (R7000) heatsink mod and Orbit case install

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    Router (R7000) heatsink mod and Orbit case install

    Just a quick post, how I fit a Netgear R7000 (running DD-WRT build) into an Orbit irrigation box, and upgraded its cooling capacity along the way. The R7000 will not fit inside the Orbit box while still in its own case, and it runs a bit hot for my liking anyway.

    The router CPU runs 20 degrees C cooler, and the wireless chipsets run 10 degrees C cooler as configured in the pictures. I expect this to lengthen its life, and probably make it more stable (even though I have not seen any stability issues anyway).

    The heatsink and heatsink base plate (for the CPU heatsink) were thermal epoxied on to the board cans that house the chips. The cans pop open, and have very thick (several mm) thermal pads. I replaced these thermal pads with some small copper sheet cutouts, held in place with thermal epoxy. Finally, the cans were thermal expoxied shut, with the underside of the can lids also epoxied to the copper sheet cutouts I had built up. This provides excellent heat transfer, and also makes sure that the heatsinks, if bumped, can't pull the cans apart. The CPU baseplate I cut from a piece of aluminum stock, drilled, and tapped to line up with some holes on a surplus heatsink I had sitting around.

    The antennas can be pulled out of their plastic sleeves, as seen in the pictures. They are just simple dipoles. I taped them down in the Orbit case using some fiberglass tape. The large CPU heatsink might block the signal (especially at 5Ghz), but in my case, the install is at the edge of the house, so it serves to reflect signal back towards the rest of the house just fine.

    The USBIP services on the DD-WRT work fine with this router. I was able successfully test binding the USB ports to the service, and then connecting to it with a workstation. I tested a few simple USB devices I had sitting around, like the RFXCom interface, and it worked just fine. One could use this feature to host such simple interfaces for HS remotely if desired. I used the Windows side drivers from here (warning, they are unsigned, and compiled by someone I do not know, so you might want to compile your own). The officially signed driver and USBIP tool do not work, but the one I linked does (as would presumably one you compile yourself with needed fixes).

    I am using this box as an additional network access point, and a mini remote linux box for testing various concepts out within the home. There is plenty of space behind the mid-plane mounting board, as well as the full depth of the box cover to mount other goodies.

    Theses pictures are just a final fit together before really assembling it in the closet where it lives. Of course I will put the rest of the screws in and use some thermal grease in the final seating of the CPU heatsink. These boxes are cheap and are good for housing RF based devices since they can pass the RF. They fit well in bedroom closets above the door where there is often nothing else in the way.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Automated; September 11, 2015, 01:44 PM.

    Very nice!

    Yup; here have only had one DD-WRT'd router that lost the radio after some 5-6 years locked up in a closet which I am guessing is OK.
    - Pete

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      While I admire your injeunity I am curious, what was the purpose of this? Was it to get better cooling?
      Originally posted by rprade
      There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause


        Originally posted by S-F View Post
        While I admire your injeunity I am curious, what was the purpose of this? Was it to get better cooling?
        Yes, the CPU on the R7000 runs over 60 degrees with the stock cooling configuration, in a cool air conditioned room! I had decided to put it in the Orbit box, which necessitated taking the board out of the Netgear case. Then I recalled how it ran a little hotter than I like, and figured it would give me issues once stuffed into a box at the top of a hot closet on the second floor if I didn't improve the design. Once modified, it ran around 40 degrees, sitting in the same place on the desk where the stock configuration ran over 60 degrees. I just finished putting it in a few hours ago, and it is running 48 now with the box all closed up. Of course the closet was somewhat cooled off since I had it all opened up. I expect it to go up another few degrees once the closet gets hotter. That will still put it at a lower temperature than stock, so I am very happy with this.

        Here is a screenshot of the temps with it all mounted up in the hot closet, with the box closed, and running for a few hours.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by Automated; September 11, 2015, 04:10 PM.


          For comparison, here is a stock R7000 running in an open air conditioned room. I have a few of these R7000's. WL0 refers to the 2.4 Ghz wireless chip, and WL1 refers to the 5Ghz wireless chip. The 5Ghz chip always seems to run about 4 degrees hotter across all of these R7000's that I have.
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