Is heat sink necessary?

Hello friends!

Is it necessary to put heat sinks on the raspberry pi to run Rachel content all day with multiple user access? Has anyone experienced over-heating with Rachel-pi? Thanks!

No, it’s not. The RACHEL-Pi will eventually burn out its SD Card though. The microSD isn’t designed to be used like a hard drive. For a really robust usage program, we’d strongly encourage you to look at RACHEL-Plus.

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I see. But it’s way more expensive…

You get what you pay for. To run a trip to foreign country in the thousands of dollars to set up a lab in the tens of thousands and dollars and try to save $300 on the heartbeat of the program is not where we would recommend you try to cut corners.

There is a misunderstanding Jeremy, sorry about that. I meant that if the price is higher, the dependency of the schools on external donors also increases (at least in the case of my village in western Nepal) and therefore it is difficult to sustain the e-library without relying on foreign aid. I am not running a trip to a foreign country (I go home), neither do I spend thousands of dollars (I have no funding). Even if I did, I would still try to find a sustainable solution which RACHEL-pi seems to be. Perhaps RACHEL-plus’s price is as inexpensive as it gets if we want more robust usage - you know best, but it also trades-off on sustainability and financial independence.

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I was just putting two and two together, perhaps incorrectly. If you’re trying to log a bunch of student data, the Pi is likely not the right device for that, because at some point you will lose the microSD card. You can build RACHEL on any of the old existing machines yourself also. All of the work and code is opensource. You could find someone on to transfer the entire setup to any machine you have there laying around.


I just want to share our experience in East Africa and give you a sales pitch for trying one or more RACHEL-Plus units. We find that donors are looking for projects that are:
1.) sustainable
2.) easy to replicate to benefit more people
We started with giving away free copies for RACHEL by visiting schools that had computer labs with a USB drive. Then we went to use the RACHEL Pi. Now we strongly recommend the RACHEL-Plus.

There is an extreme shortage of reliable people and systems for maintaining the lower cost systems. If you can set up such a system, you will be a real hero, especially if you can teach others how to copy your work. I would suggest keeping spare SD Cards, power supplies, and a diagnostic SD Card for testing the Raspberry Pi hardware, but I was never able to do this. Our plan is to work to get to 100 working RACHEL-Plus units and then re-evaluate whether or not we need to look for a lower cost solution.

I also recommend that you look at the material available of this page in many different languages. With a RACHEL-Plus you get a Kiwix-Server which can serve any of these Zim Archive files, including Wikipedia, Wikionary, and Wikibooks in Nepali.

I hope this is helpful. Keep up the good work.
Best, Ed Resor

P.S. You might find someone who could combine Kiwix-Serve and RACHEL on a Raspberry Pi with a 128 SD Card, but by the time you do that and add some kind of power back up, you will be close to the cost of a RACHEL-Plus.