3D Printing an RTL-SDR Cooler Block

Over on the 3D printing sharing site Thingiverse, user “Way” has uploaded a 3D printer design for an RTL-SDR cooler block. The block works by allowing a PC cooling fan to blow air efficiently over the dongle body, removing any heat generated.

Cooling a dongle helps to avoid the L-Band problem, which is when R820T/2 units get hot and stop working about ~1.3-1.5 GHz. Generally passive cooling is enough (like with the thermal pad and metal cases used on our V3 dongles), but further cooling can apparently help increase sensitivity slightly although we are unsure if there is any statistically significant difference.

“Way” has made two designs, one to fit a 40 x 40 mm fan, and another to fit a 50 x 50 mm fan. The fan simply screws to the top of the block, and the dongle is placed at the bottom. Air is ducted over the dongle body and escapes out the back.

RTL-SDR 3D Printed Cooler
RTL-SDR 3D Printed Cooler

2 comments

  1. Kenn

    Nice work. Seems this would be especially useful if one wanted to mount an SDR closer to the antenna where ambient temperatures would be high, such as in an attic.

  2. Roger LaFrance

    I’ve thought of noise testing mine packed in dry ice. But, the 3.5NF at at max gain makes it clear that outboard LNA’s are the way to go and keep the tuner gains low.

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