Hacked Gadgets Forum

January 16, 2009

Penny Heatsink

at 5:02 am. Filed under DIY Hacks, Electronic Hacks

 

Next time you are building a project and find a component running a bit hot you may want to look in your pocket for a few pennies to solve the problem. This Penny Heatsink idea is a nice idea since I can think of a number of times that I have bolted on expensive heatsinks when I only needed a bit of heat dissipation but a large heat sink is all I had on hand. The author suggests that it’s not really worth the effort and a good heatsink should be used but this is not always practical so I think it’s worth a try. :)

"In a recent thread on Head-Fi, someone asked how well a paperclip would work for heat-sinking a TO-220 part. Much speculation ensued (much of it from your humble author), including opinions that a penny might work better, and then the argument moved on to exactly how to use the penny and so on. I eventually decided that experimentation was called for, which lead to this article."


 

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28 Responses to “Penny Heatsink”

  1. Random Says:

    Thats just stupid.. And illegal in some contries. Rather take a small piece af scrap metal, drill a hole, bend it and snap it on.

  2. Dave Says:

    Might be best to use pre-1982 American pennies, since those are pure Copper, while post-1982 American pennies are Copper clad Zinc (Copper has a higher thermal conductivity than Zinc.) (excluding 1943, of course).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cent_(United_States_coin)

    Dave

  3. Alan Parekh Says:

    Interesting Dave, I guess all pennies are definitely not created equal. Let me guess, you are a coin collector?

  4. Andy Says:

    You could run the penny through on of those roller machines you find at various tourist venues to produce more surface area. Or a nearby active rail line could work.

  5. Gizmander » Blog Archive » Penny heat sink for hacks on the cheap Says:

    [...] hit the link to read more  VIA hackedgadgets [...]

  6. The Penny as Heat Sink [DIY] | CHARGED's Digital Lifestyle at Work or Play Says:

    [...] In fine DIY style, a Lincoln cent works well to vent some BTUs from tiny components. Imagine opening up your new gear to find these in place of ceramic future fins. [Hacked Gadgets] [...]

  7. The Penny as Heat Sink - Super Off Topic Syndicate Says:

    [...] Penny as Heat Sink Penny Heatsink – Hacked Gadgets – DIY Tech Blog [...]

  8. The Penny as Heat Sink [DIY] Says:

    [...] In fine DIY style, a Lincoln cent works well to vent some BTUs from tiny components. Imagine opening up your new gear to find these in place of ceramic future fins. [Hacked Gadgets] [...]

  9. Alex Says:

    i prefer using aluminium finned heatsinks and a bit of thermal grease

  10. Ethan Says:

    Illegal!!!!! Destruction of GOVERNMENT PROPERTY!!!! IM TELLING!!!

  11. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Ethan,

    I don’t think this is illegal in any country (at least not in Canada or the US). For example those souvenir penny squishes are legal even though the coin is not usable after it is done.

  12. The Penny as Heat Sink [DIY] | ComputerFinance.net Says:

    [...] In fine DIY style, a Lincoln cent works well to vent some BTUs from tiny components. Imagine opening up your new gear to find these in place of ceramic future fins. [Hacked Gadgets] [...]

  13. TRAVIS Says:

    its only illegal if the intent is fraudulent… burning money to cover something up…

    If its not fraudulently done, its not illegal.

  14. The Penny as Heat Sink [DIY] | The gadgets Says:

    [...] In fine DIY style, a Lincoln cent works well to vent some BTUs from tiny components. Imagine opening up your new gear to find these in place of ceramic future fins. [Hacked Gadgets] [...]

  15. Jack Says:

    I was lucky to obtain a bunch of small heatsinks from an old EE friend, but creative approaches to solving simple problems like this are always welcome. I’m sure at some point I’ll be somewhere without a heatsink on hand, and this little tip will come in handy.

  16. Jack Says:

    Sorry, have to post again. Interesting test results. I was actually surprised at how well the paperclip did. Works pretty well in a pinch. By the way, what software did you use to detail and graph the test results in the provided PDF? The file looks very professional.

  17. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Jack,

    Actually it was just featured here, the site that you went to to see the graphs is the creators site. I also found it interesting how much a paperclip can do. I have often used an alligator clip when testing a circuit before installing the heatsink and am always impressed by how a simple metal clip can wick away heat so effectively.

  18. Circuit DIY - How to Make Penny Heat Sink! | zedomax.com - The DIY, HOW TO, Hacks, Gadgets, and Tech Blog/Search Engine! Says:

    [...] via hackedgadgets [...]

  19. vic Says:

    The fact that he was able to solder the penny already indicates it is not such a good heatsink …

    I’ve had relatively good results using paper clamps (only as a temporary measure, of course).

  20. Redruminc Says:

    This is illegal in the England (using English pennies atleast), no matter what the intent, defacing the Queens head is punishable as treason in England which leads me to my next point, anyone thing swans would make a good heatsink? :)

  21. Haku Says:

    The newer pennies here in the UK are easily identifiable as not being pure copper because you can pick them up with a magnet.

    I wonder how well a 2 pence piece would fair as a heatsink…

    vic, looks like a couple of pennies were bolted on – perhaps testing different methods of attachment?

  22. Chauffez-vous pour seulement quelques pièces - Gizmodo - Tant d'amour pour ces fabuleux nouveaux gadgets, c'est surnaturel. Says:

    [...] que de la céramique dernier cri, mais on en trouve plus rarement au fond de son porte-monnaie. [Hacked Gadgets] Partager sur Viadeo |  [...]

  23. Penny heatsinks? » Developages - Development and Technology Blog Says:

    [...] Perhaps surpising&#108y, &#116he paper&#99&#108ip pro&#118ed migh&#116ier &#116han a sing&#108e pennny. Read &#116he de&#116ai&#108ed resu&#108&#116s o&#102 &#102ur&#116her &#116es&#116ing – DI&#89 Heat Sin&#107s [&#118i&#97 Ha&#99ked Gadgets] [...]

  24. dan Says:

    I’m not going to lie, i know nothing about heat sinks
    But what about using the souvenier pennies that are flattened?
    more surface area right? same conductivity?

  25.   The Penny as Heat Sink [DIY] by Techno News Feed Says:

    [...] In fine DIY style, a Lincoln cent works well to vent some BTUs from tiny components. Imagine opening up your new gear to find these in place of ceramic future fins. [Hacked Gadgets] [...]

  26. Moonlander Says:

    Copper is a great heat sink material, better than aluminum. Most other metals are not, especially cheap ones like you’d find in a paperclip. It’s key to maximize contact, don’t count on the thermal paste. Pre 1982 pennies only, notice they have a nicer sound than the newer ones? 95% copper. And it’s all about surface area, try making fins or something.

  27. Breadboarding That New Mod Concept Says:

    [...] Check this out! I ran across an inexpensive way to make a heat sink. Penny Heatsink – Hacked Gadgets – DIY Tech Blog Thanks again for your [...]

  28. kurt Says:

    A pre-1982 penny(high amount of copper) that is sanded down actually works very well… although it would be illegal to sand down a penny inside the USA.

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