How Hot is your USB key?

Mikii

Regular Contributor
HI.

I noticed that the USB key I use for the "Persistent JFFS2 partition" on my RT-AX88U gets very hot. I do not have an infrared thermometer to get a precise value, but it feels hot when you touch it. In fact, my USB disk recently stopped working and I had to replace it.
Do you guys have similar problems?
My solution (which works great in terms of temperature) so far was to buy a key with a metallic case, use an USB extension cord to take it out from the router, and place the USB key on an aluminium plate in order to dissipate heat.
The thing is that that USB key is used as an hard drive (continuous access, swap file) while I do not think that commercial USB key are designed for that. I know there are some industry grade USB key but they are very expensive.
I would like to hear your tights and comments on this.
 

drinkingbird

Very Senior Member
USB keys tend to get very hot when under a lot of load, not related to the router. It will reduce their lifespan (as will lots of writes). If you're doing swap or anything with lots of activity, especially writes, you should consider an external enclosure with SSD. Small SSDs are cheap and so are the enclosures. Best to get an enclosure with its own power source as the router USB may not be enough to run it reliably.
 

Mikii

Regular Contributor
Right, I was thinking about this. Do you have any low capacity SSD with external power to suggest?
 

drinkingbird

Very Senior Member
Right, I was thinking about this. Do you have any low capacity SSD with external power to suggest?

While you can get a portable powered external SSD (many brands have them) they are typically expensive, should be more cost effective to just get an external SATA enclosure and pop in whatever inexpensive drive you can find. Cacheless/DRAMless SATA SSDs are the cheapest and should be plenty for your needs. 512G ones go for about $30 and I'm sure you could track down a 256G one pretty cheap, even if it is used or a new pull on ebay.

You can get NVME or SATA M.2 drives for under $30 on ebay and enclosures are around $20 so that may be an option too. The extra performance wouldn't help, so just go with whatever you can do cheaper.

Regardless you're probably going to be looking at $30 to $50 range at a minimum for the setup. If that isn't something you want to go for, then probably your solution you have now with the metal drive and heatsink will last, as long as the performance is acceptable. Just keep in mind if you are doing lots of swapping, even if you keep it cool, you will hit the write limit at some point and the drive will be done, whereas even a cheap SSD can do 100+ Terabytes of writes.
 

elorimer

Very Senior Member
I just got a 256G Patriot SSD and was amused that the case is almost entirely empty, with the chips on a small board, to put in a case with a bigger board, so as to be able to plug into the USB port. Seems like we're chasing the wrong form factor.
 

Crazy

Regular Contributor
I went through 2 usb flash drive before I realized that my flash drives were dying due to heat. I now have the sandisk drive with metal casing and attached one big heat sink on each side of the metal casing. Been find for two years, before was giving issues after a few month.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I now have the sandisk drive with metal casing and attached one big heat sink on each side of the metal casing.

It was about time for USB temperature thread. Any plans to add some active cooling? :)

Here is an idea from Reddit:

1667150579365.png
 

Crimliar

Senior Member
Hmm, I have a 120GB Integral brand SSD, plugged into the USB port, powered by the router, cost £20. I did use the USB power meter to check that it wasn't drawing too much power and it's little different to a 128GB Sandisk USB key, but it's cold to the touch.

*Okay so no one is going to try liquid nitrogen cooling on a USB drive.

**I do also have 2x SSD USB keys here, but historically there's been an issue with their controller on both Asus Routers and with the Raspberry Pi!
 

drinkingbird

Very Senior Member
Hmm, I have a 120GB Integral brand SSD, plugged into the USB port, powered by the router, cost £20. I did use the USB power meter to check that it wasn't drawing too much power and it's little different to a 128GB Sandisk USB key, but it's cold to the touch.

*Okay so no one is going to try liquid nitrogen cooling on a USB drive.

**I do also have 2x SSD USB keys here, but historically there's been an issue with their controller on both Asus Routers and with the Raspberry Pi!

Well on one hand, if the port is not capable of supplying more than a certain amount of power, your power meter will always tell you it is staying within that power, even though it is suffering. So not necessarily the best test.

It is hit or miss, cheaper SSDs won't have the high performance processor (not needed in this case) or DRAM cache which can consume extra power. It is pretty easy to look it the specs and see the max power draw, but many drives will never hit that when plugged into a USB port with limited throughput and activity. Technically you need to stay under 2.5 watts (unless the USB port on the asus does more than 0.5A). So if the max draw is 2.5 or less you should be ok, but many are higher than that. Probably better safe than sorry, even if you don't damage the router port over time, you could have errors or corruption on the drive. Powered SATA enclosures are cheap. Actually at one time there were ones with 2 USB connectors so you could get 5 watts combined by using 2 ports.

For a while there were USB sticks with SSD like performance that stayed within the 2.5 watt spec. Not sure if those still exist, they were pretty pricey at the time.
 

drinkingbird

Very Senior Member
yep- it was just a matter if time... from the sublime to the ridiculous...

Ever seen a professional mining operation? The GPUs are coated with waterproofing, and submerged in water that runs outside to a chiller. The water is boiling by the time it circulates out.

Quantum computers do use liquid nitrogen, and a lot of it.

Not sure how that's related to what you said just popped in my head.
 

Crimliar

Senior Member
The other way is that if you have the means, you check the power consumption before plugging it into the router!
 

thecheapseats

Senior Member
Ever seen a professional mining operation? The GPUs are coated with waterproofing, and submerged in water that runs outside to a chiller. The water is boiling by the time it circulates out.

Quantum computers do use liquid nitrogen, and a lot of it.

Not sure how that's related to what you said just popped in my head.
submerged gpus are/were simply practical, in that context... however cooking a five buck usb stick is no way to leverage toy routers... I'm a big fan of cheap toys, applied properly... not a fan of ridiculous...

cooling qubits is the lesser challenge as the reach proceeds from applied, thru experimental to theoretical physics - chasing coherence... best left to those capable of taming probable phase state to an errorless resultant... at least that's what my goofy kid told me who plays with that stuff everyday...
 

northumberland

Occasional Visitor
Attach a USB extension lead and submerge in a bucket of non-conductive oil outside, the oil is non conductive and keeps the usb stick really cool ;)
 

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