My Device Turned Itself Off and Is Hot, What Happened?

Keep Your Device Clean, Thermal Paste Fresh and Provide Enough Air and Thermal Conductivity

Learn why thermal paste, cleanliness, airflow, and thermal conductivity are important to device performance and how to avoid thermal shutdown, and what to do about it.

Episode #11-37 released on May 11, 2021

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Many devices have thermal protections to protect the device from thermal damage, however, many users of these devices are not aware of this, today, you will learn about thermal throttling and thermal protections for devices of all kinds.

The first and most common kind of thermal safety mechanism is thermal throttling, and most devices have this built into the processor and device. The addition of a thermal sensor allows the device to know when it is approaching the thermal limit and throttles the device until the temperature drops. This protects the processor and other components from thermal damage at the cost of performance. That being said, if the device throttles a lot or all the time, it might be a good idea to find a way to cool your device. It is possible that the device covering like your phone case, can hinder thermal transfer resulting in a device that is hotter for longer than desired.

The least common, but most disturbing type, is thermal shutdown. Most devices will attempt to thermal throttle long before thermal shutdown but there are a multitude of reasons, we will talk about that cause a device to outright turn itself off.

The most common reason a computer may thermal shutdown is due to ineffective thermal throttling because of poor quality of thermal paste. Thermal paste is meant to be periodically changed, especially since when it dries up, it becomes an insulator in many cases. If your processor or graphics card is unable to transfer the excess heat from their processing units, it will eventually turn themselves off to protect the computer, graphics card, etc. The solution in that case is to simply clean out the old thermal paste and apply new thermal paste.

Another common reason for thermal shutdown comes down to device maintenance. If your heatsinks are clogged, they will not be effective in thermal transfer, but the same can hold true to fans that aren't operating at optimal performance because of accumulations of dust and dirt. A clean fan and heatsink will do a much better job than dirty fans and heatsinks.

Another common issue is related to airflow. Whether it is a computer, or a handle held device, the device is designed with an expectation that a certain amount of airflow will be available. If you put your computer in an enclosure with insufficient airflow or your phone or tablet in a case that does not transfer heat out or let it breathe, it will become hotter with usage, and if the demand on the device is too high, it will try to throttle until the temperature safety limit is met, then it will simply turn off. The solution to that set of circumstances would be to either introduce sufficient airflow, like through the addition of fans, or by changing the base or enclosure to one that allows for better airflow and thermal transfer.

And, the best piece of advice you can get for any device, whether it is a phone, tablet, laptop or pc, is this, keep it clean, keep the thermal paste fresh when possible and always, always allow for sufficient airflow and thermal conductivity, because a device turning off is already scary, but if the worse happens, injury due to fire or explosion is worse.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Dot Net

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