Review: Ultra-thin Raspberry Pi aluminum case assembly, mod & thermal test


Flashlight Enthusiast
Jul 5, 2012
Re: Review: Raspberry Pi aluminum case assembly, mod & thermal test

Here, in my 3rd post regarding raspi & UT61E, i am finally showing how it's done (Matthew 32:55)! :twothumbs

The other day Raspbian Jessie ("Raspbian 8") got upgraded to Raspbian Stretch ("Raspbian 9") and the recommended procedure is to install the OS from scratch on a blank formatted microSD card, which i did. After some unimportant personal customization of the raspi desktop ("PIXEL") preferences/settings/configuration, such as enabling SSH and VNC Interfaces, the only thing i installed as a must-have was the Hardware Key script from post #18 Part II.

Then i edited the DEX installation text file, because DEX3.3.0 final version was released in the meantime, and used it to install DEX3.3.0. After the installation, i connected the (turned on) UT61E to the raspi through my expensive USB2Serial adapter; much to my astonishment, Raspbian 9 recognized the plugging without a reboot, and so did DEX! After choosing UT61E from the DEX device selection dialog, everything was good to go and logging UT61E on the raspi has been working flawlessly since.

If you are interested in photos/screenshots which i took along the way, here we go:

The (famous) German trading company Logilink has been offering various USB2Serial adapters in the past but only recently decided to release an ultimate hassle-free adapter to replace all previous products in that product category. That ultimate adapter is much more expensive but guaranteed hassle-free because it uses the FTDI chipset series (FT231X, FT232RL).

I found an online retailer who offers the product at 9.45EUR shipped, so i pulled the trigger-happy. See what i got for the money, front face of the packaging says "Designed in GERMANY" lol yeah whatever:

The definite manufacturer's model designation is "AU0034" and the stuff was "Manufactured in P.R.C." there we go:

I had looked hard on Aliexpress to find a FTDI-chip USB2Serial adapter as low-priced as possible but they were all between 7-8US$/pc, looked awfully cheap build quality, and with no support whatsoever. I am absolutely pleased with the Logilink build quality and the wealth of package contents:

Note that "Chip FTDI" is the most essential and decisive characteristic of this USB2Serial adapter! You're on your own if you buy a USB2Serial adapter with some other chipset like CH340/341/HL340/PL2303 for your raspi:

The only thing cheap about the Logilink product are the label stickers on the adapter. They hardly stick on the rubber-plastic surface and they don't even fit properly into the recesses. Shame on the geman designers:

Here a photo with the complete contents, nice huh. The printed instruction manual is rather detailed, 8 pages (per language) with lots of screenshots. Both the adapter and the included USB extension cable come with clear plastic protection caps on the USB A plug. The product has a manufacturer's website, a product webpage (with Downloads, Technical Support phone/email), all included in the 9.45€ so to speak:

The pressed CD-ROM is labeled "©2015 Logilink", which must be the initial release date of the product as "AU0034 v1.0" because the CD content is much newer than that, March 2017 wow:

All right, this is what the adapter looks like plugged into the USB extension cable. Clear/transparent stuff is easily lost, so i put some red tape on the caps for improved visibility hh. The caps fit nicely on other USB A male plugs, for example on my USB mini microfone (for the raspi/alexa application):

Do we need the USB extension cable? Why yes because we don't want to strain the raspi's USB female port with unnecessary mechanical load/momentum. Because of the product thinness, the USB male plug rides several millimeters lower than the USB female port. It would need some mechanical support for matching heights:

Instead, we make use of the included USB extension cable, no problem. Also see how massive the UT61E RS232 plug is. All fitments are tight and perfect, and we don't need the opposing integrated pin screws wtf:

Why would you want to leave out the USB extension cable? When you buy a Chinese USB2Serial adapter from Aliexpress or Ebay, a free USB extension cable might not be included, beware. Because of all the mechanical load/momentum on the USB port, it is imho really not a good idea not to connect the adapter with a USB extension cable to the raspi:

We don't need to power the raspi through the mc3k USB power output port, i know i know. Never mind huh. But i like this configuration with the very short USB power cable. Note that recent UT61E product packaging comes with the (formerly optional!) UNI-T USB data cable instead of the depicted UNI-T RS232 data cable. Don't wait for DEX to support the UNI-T USB data cable but go buy the UNI-T RS232 data cable plus the FTDI USB2Serial adapter, if logging UT61E on raspi is very urgent and important for you, that's my advice. I will assume that most UT61E owners in the world do own the RS232 data cable already, because that's what UNI-T factory had been shipping for most of the time since the UT61E initial release to market 7+ years ago. By the way, i once bought and tested the UNI-T USB data cable and it produced data sets with missing data points; from that experience i don't rely on the USB cable anymore but prefer the original old RS232 data cable. There you have it:

In this thread we already covered how to install DEX on a freshly setup raspi (Jessie), didn't we? I used procedure Alt2 on my freshly installed raspi (Stretch). I edited Ravel's original v0.0001b recipe (which was valid for DEX3.2.9) this way, now being valid for installing DEX3.3.0:

Other than that, nothing has changed, the Linux commands are the same:

As you (might) know from Ravel's recipe, during the DEX installation procedure the program does get launched and you are required to click away/ignore a couple of windows/dialogs and eventually exit the program. By that time you have not connected your mc3k or the UT61E to the raspi.

So you've exited DEX. Basically, DEX has been installed by now. But you still see a black window (terminal) on your desktop which is active. That's because Ravel programmed the installation script this way, very cleverly. Because, when you now plug a powered(?) device into the raspi's USB port, that terminal window will show live, return some feedback, that you have plugged a recognized device! This is fantastic! Usually it is a pita to have Linux recognize new hardware or to even find working third-party drivers (for the different Linux processor architecture: i386, x64, ARM, MIPS), but since we chose a USB2Serial adapter with FTDI chipset, the adapter is recognized by the raspi ARM kernel instantly without the need of installing a driver externally from the Logilink CD-ROM. Genuine Plug'n Play, if you will:

Now you can start DEX manually. When you choose UT61E from the DEX device selection dialog, you'll see that DEX has recognized the existence and availability of your raspi's serial port, too:

If you're familiar with DEX or DEX+UT61E from your other computer systems (WinXP/7/10, MacOS, Desktop Linux distro), then you'll know how to play. Click on 'Start gathering' and it's your time to play! As we can see, DEX logs the UT61E at the natural 2.0Hz sampling rate and with up to 3 decimals:

Since the UT61E is a so-called "22000 Count" DMM, there are (few) ranges where the DMM can display up to 4 decimals, for example "2.1357 V"; in these instances DEX would log only the first 3 decimals (2.135V). Apart from that minor limitation, i prefer logging UT61E through DEX software to other capable UT61E logging software (ABACOM REALVIEW 3.0, UltraDMM, UT61E Interface Program v4.01, a. o.). For example i like that the graphics tab shows all data points, not just a floating window of fixed time frame; my UT61E with unplugged probes and in the "mV"-setting shows some interesting pattern, maybe it is registering a ghost in the room:

With this post i hopefully managed to show you in sufficient detail what you need and need to do in order to setup your raspi for logging your UT61E through the original UNI-T RS232 cable.

All kudos go to the programming team of DEX, free open-source multi-platform software Made In Germany :kiss:

EDIT: FYI this thread can also be reached under the easy-to-remember URL
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Flashlight Enthusiast
Jul 5, 2012
Re: Review: Raspberry Pi aluminum case assembly, mod & thermal test

My raspi is getting older and older (the latest model is 3 B+ ©2018) and continues to run 24/7, doing nothing but streaming music subscription whenever i want to listen to music. I never put strain or anything on the MicroUSB socket/plug (5V power), but today for no reason, when i dusted off the corner where my raspi was sitting for months, i noticed how the plug ..etc.. (let's save the words and see for yourself).

I once bought the Geekworm 3A adapter, which is advertised as a raspi power adapter with on/off switch, from GB or BG. It's also available on ebay for the same price and HKJ reviewed this kind of adapter before. I can't recommend this particular item. Maybe the electronics are good for 3A and the cable is nicely thick for this purpose, but the power switch and the MicroUSB connectivity (poor plug, poor socket, high contact resistance, loose connection) kill the theoretical max. performance. I really hate MicroUSB connectivity. This is the 4th product in my household where the connectivity completely failed after a short time, so either the plug or the socket had to be replaced. And let's not forget the hundreds of mc3k users who've been struggling with getting a good PC Link connection with their MicroUSB cable.

Today it's the plug which failed. Well, it still works, i.e. delivers power to the raspi. But when i saw that the plug developed loose parts, i cut everything off and disassembled the plug and the switch, here we go:

A close up of the loose metal part:

What's the point of today's post?

I felt like sharing, that's all. I regret having bought the Geekworm 3A adapter back then. If i could dial back in time, i would ignore the Geekworm adapter and would have bought the official raspi power adapter. I think it got a positive review by HKJ iirc. It's only a 2A or 2.5A adapter but that's sufficient for raspi.

Of course, i will not throw the Geekworm adapter away. I am throwing away the switch and the plug.


Newly Enlightened
Jul 12, 2010
Re: Review: Raspberry Pi aluminum case assembly, mod & thermal test

Does anyone know whether this case will fit the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (the 1.4 GHz model, not the 3 B 1.2 GHz)? Thanks.


Flashlight Enthusiast
Dec 28, 2015
Vilnius, Lithuania
Re: Review: Raspberry Pi aluminum case assembly, mod & thermal test

I am not the most clever person in the world for sure. Several days ago I have discovered a SBC universe for myself. And I started from ordering an ASUS Tinker Board S + Anidees Aluminum Case. The last one looks like a piece of art:


But immediately I ask myself: will it allow to dissipate the generated heat (this board consumes 1.5 more current under full load)? Of course, I will "ground" memory chips on the case body with copper sinks, but what to do with the upper side chips? Small cable slots under the cover look insufficient to me to produce enough convection for cooling...
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Flashlight Enthusiast
Jul 5, 2012
Re: Review: Raspberry Pi aluminum case assembly, mod & thermal test

i doht expect ne1 who still hasn't tried a raspi after all these years to read all my blah in this long thread, i am no raspi expert or power user myself let alone Linux user. this thread is to show that even a Linux noob like myself can get the desired use out of the thing, here: the 24/7-logging of a connected mass consumer device like MC3000 (a logging 4-bay charger), UT61E (a logging DMM), or 106B (a logging hobby charger). story time.

today i took out the iCharger's data cable for the very first time out of its sealed bag, reminding me that i never tested the 106B's logging capability ever before! Not on my Win-PC, not with Logview software, never, nothing. These days i've been playing with the iCharger for good reasons, amongst others i wanted to recondition an old unused 12s1p NiMH battery pack (14.4V 1300mAh nominal). Without logging, I did a few charge-discharge cycles to revive the 12 cells in series and get a feeling for the health and capacity of the pack. Looking good. So now it's time to run a BREAK_IN program (which the iCharger doesn't have), i.e. charging for 16.0h at 0.1C (=0.130A ="0.10A"). Problem being, the iCharger might/will terminate the charging prematurely, namely when it detects the specified -ΔV. I want to know and see what happens and when, so i need to log the 16 hours.

I didn't want to do that with my noisy 350W WinPC nor do i care for the very old Logview software which is for old Windows only. My preferred logging software: DataExplorer DEX. I learned that 2.0yrs ago support for Junsi iCharger 106B was added, noice! I had to update my DEX installation on the raspi, which i did with the following copy-paste text in the /mydataexplorer folder on the command line (cd mydataexplorer , then delete the 3 files in there, leaving the exisiting "DataExplorer"-folder untouched):

sudo tar -xzvf dataexplorer-3.4.1-bin_RaspbianLinux_ARM_32.tar.gz
ls -l
ls -l /var/
sudo chgrp -R uucp /var/lock
sudo usermod -a -G uucp pi
sudo chmod 700
sudo ./

The above quote is basically a How To Update An Exisiting DEX Installation on the raspi which you had previously installed with the infamous install script by Ravel including corrections. In future you'd have to edit the package file name to the new file name, of course duh.

After launching DEX, i went to "DEX >> Device >> Select device / port" and found the 106B in the list and played with the two port choices from the drop-down menu, and exited the software. Then i connected the USB cable to the 106B and raspi, powered up the 106B, rebooted the raspi, launched DEX again, played again with the port choices, started a program on the 106B, clicked on "start gathering" in DEX, and after a couple of tries the charger got "activated" in the DEX software, and DEX finally showed successful logging!
Funny thing, would you believe it, up to this point, i did everything from my smartphone :crackup:, thru the VNC Viewer app. Here a screenshot of my Android smartphone (held horizontally):


Now i am at my Win7 PC, composing this post and controlling again the raspi Linux desktop with VNC software:


It is always fun and cool to have the lil raspi do the logging, thanks to the Rasbian version of DEX. The lil device is just perfect for taking over such a boring logging task for hours or days. Raspi hardware is stable, raspi OS is stable, and DEX software is stable too. Now i am starting the logging of the 16hrs BREAK_IN charging, and am confident that nothing will crash.

EDIT: The iCharger didn't terminate before the 16h Time Cut yay, and nothing crashed! In fact, after the 16.0hrs of charging i left the iCharger running, did a few more programs (like Discharge, then Forming Charge) and let DEX log everything automatically. I also connected the external temperature probe. At no instance did i have to touch or operate the DEX software. All the transitions between programs and or routines were captured by the software automatically, so the shown drop-down menu got longer and longer. After the iCharger finished the trickle charging "NiMH - DONE - NiMH - DONE - NiMH - DONE - …", i finally clicked on <stop gathering> in DEX and renamed the "datasets" (well, the "routines" as i call them) as shown in the screenshot. The drop-down menu makes it really convenient to look at a particular routine in detail/separately and to not lose overview of everything what the iCharger did since you clicked <start gathering>; all routines are neatly auto-organized in chronological order. And everything is saved in a single small *.OSD-file (199 KB lol), and you can export the selected dataset into *.CSV-file format:


And as you are aware by now (because i mentioned it repeatedly), even when i am on the road, say in a train or a different country, i can connect to my raspi at home thru the VNC app on my Android smartphone (using the VNC app Cloud login) and operate the raspi and DEX remotely (and sometimes also remote control the connected charger, depending on the charger model). And that's what i actually do, sometimes, when i am bored on the train. The topic of 'remote connectivity/operation/control' is nothing new per se, but the difference being, the raspi3 is a 1W (one Watts) device and always on, 24/365. You could possibly power it indefinitely through a solar panel/power storage solution. And to some people the raspi is even a portable substitute for a full PC/laptop. With the VNC software you can remote access, operate, control any computer device (PC1, laptop2, tablet3, phone4) from any other computer device (PC5, laptop6, tablet7, phone8), and vice versa; that's the whole point of VNC. However, this is only possible if both devices are powered on at the same time! And that's the case with your raspi. It sits at home, near your WLAN router, always powered on, and typically idling at 1W.

Speaking of, the raspi4 is more like a 3-5W device and runs 17573 hotter at any time. I've seen one or two very nice looking alu cases for it but i won't upgrade. I just got comfortable with the raspi3 or didn't i?

lol :ohgeez:
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Flashlight Enthusiast
Jul 5, 2012
4 years later I still use the Raspi, which is powered non-stop 24/365.

Btw i created this thread for my own reference hehe , to re-learn information how i had done things etc. These days I have been re-installing the "Raspbian" operating system a couple of times, because after my latest sudo apt-get updates and upgrades the software (www browser? operating system?) wasn't stable anymore, parts crashed, the system froze and i had to pull the plug. Increasing the swap memory from 100 to 1024 helped a little but not completely.

So I would like to revert from Buster 2021 release to Stretch 2019 release. A google search finds this handy URL for the old images:

I will edit this post later today with the results (success/fail) of being back on Stretch, stay tuned.