pinebook pro overheats and switches off when streaming
Hello All,

I am sorry if it has been discussed already.
I had no problem with pinebook pro when watching movies from the hard drive,
but recently I had an online class on google meet platform with video streaming
when I had to see the students' and the teacher's face online. 
(I'm not sure the term "streaming" is correct here). 

Pinebook became hot, gray screen appeared, some noise in headphones, then shut down.
It happened a few time during one hour. I thought it might be because I used heavy headphones,
but with small earbuds the problem remained. The "solution" was to minimize the window with video
and to switch off the pinebook from time to time for cooling it down. 

I have the original Debian, the command cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone?/temp
gave during the streaming

58 is the temperature, right? Is it the known wifi issue? 

I would be grateful for any comments.
I encountered similar behavior whenever streaming videos online under Manjaro and ChromiumOS. After a bit of streaming the PBP could become very hot, unresponsive, then just shut down. I found I was able to somewhat mitigate this by keeping the PBP on a hard surface (preferably elevated to allow more air underneath it.) Though, I also quickly gave up and reasoned the PBP is not ideal to stream much with Linux. Android has been pretty good about video conference calls, but I haven't tried any other streaming with it.
Don't own a PBP yet but was watching a video of one being disassembled and looked like there was no thermal paste or heatsink on the CPU at all. Could a drop of something like Arctic Silver improve the heat transfer from the thermal pad to the bottom metal of case?
there is a thermal pad to transfer heat from the cpu to the metal bottom making it a huge heatsink.
So there is no need to disassemble PBP and put the paste on the CPUs?
One issue when streaming video & over-heating, is that the video may not be decoded by the GPU/VPU, (Graphics/Video Processing Unit). But, instead it's being decoded by the CPU.

I don't have any information on how to check that is the case, other than looking at CPU load averages. If they are high, (and I don't know what would be high in this case), then it's likely CPU video decoding.

But, please note that their are other things required for streaming. Specifically network. Many SoCs, (including the one used by the Pinebook Pro), have odd I/O setups, that are sometimes not highly optimized for low CPU overhead. For example, any computer with a 10Gbit per second Ethernet more than likely have a TCP & IP off-load engine & fancy DMA to reduce the main CPU's need for handling network transfers. Lower performance CPUs, like we have in our PBPs, would benefit from such I/O processors, except they would add cost & reduce battery life.
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
I put more thermopads, see the picture attached, it partially resolved the problem. It still overheats, but less. 
Hopefully the problem will be resolved in the next generation of pinebooks.

Attached Files
.jpg   pinebook.jpg (Size: 314.41 KB / Downloads: 452)
Up till now I'm pretty sure browsers can't access the hardware video decoders.
I have a Samsung Chromebook Plus (1st gen) with the same Rockchip RK3399.
It can play Youtube 1080p60 without a problem.

Up till now I have never seen the Pinebook Pro do that.
Not with the default Debian install and not with Manjaro 20.02 and both with Chromium and h264ify.

So far I have only seen that FFMPEG can access the hardware video decoders.
Browsers and VLC sadly not.

Sorry this might sound as a rant, but the RK3399 is capable of so much more than what we can currently access with the Pinebook Pro.
(04-05-2020, 12:43 AM)leonidas Wrote: I put more thermopads, see the picture attached, it partially resolved the problem. It still overheats, but less. 
Hopefully the problem will be resolved in the next generation of pinebooks.


I may do something similar. Plus, add a pad for the WiFi chip which others say can get flaky after heavy use, (which implies the chip getting hot).

Looking at the thermal pads, there is another type that transfers heat much better. It's electrically conductive, which can be a problem. I wonder if  the metal shield needs to be electrically isolated. Or if it can be connected to the bottom plate with electricaly conductive thermal pads?
Arwen Evenstar
Princess of Rivendale
My wifi chip is flaky when using the network and completely unusable while plugged in with the ac adapter or the cpu is active. Any recommendations on a specific kind of thermal pad or paste to use to try to fix?

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