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How to fix your Roku HD when it's Freezing/locking up.

Face2Face

Diamond Member
Jun 6, 2001
4,101
215
106
I have enjoyed my Roku HD for quite a while now. It's been reliable, pretty quick and overall, capable device. I have had an issue as of late though, and here is my adventure on trying to remedy it. I would first like to say this isn't a problem for all Roku players. I do believe the first generation Roku's set top boxes had an issue with their power supply, causing them to overheat. The problem I am having is with the 2013 Roku HD 2500X.



This is the only model to use the BCM*7208 400 MHz Processor in Roku's lineup. I also have a Roku 2 XS which uses the BCM*2835 600 MHz Processor and i have had very little issues with that model locking up.

Firmware updates over the past 6 months have helped lessen the issue for this player, but recently after watching a Twitch Podcast for 30 mins this Roku HD would start to lockup. I would then have to unplug the player and reset it again and when it would lock up again the pattern would continue. I did notice every time I would hold the Roku HD to reset it, it felt extremely warm even close to being uncomfortable to hold. The bottom was very hot. Keep in mind this is not in a cabinet, it's sitting right next to the TV with nothing covering it at all.

I wasn't sure if this was an issue with this newer low-end processor?
But I know being out of warranty I didn't want to throw it out quite yet. So being the Geek that I am I decided to modify the cooling or the lack thereof.
I was positive the Roku was freezing due to heat, so off to taking it apart.

Here some pictures on how to dissemble the Roku HD -2500X

First, you'll need to peel the sticker off on the back of the Roku. I used a small flat head screwdriver and slid it under to get it started.




Then remove the four Phillips head screws.



After you remove the bottom casing, you will see this. The bottom of the PCB and two more Phillips head screws that will need to be removed.



After you remove the two screws, the PCB will pop right out and you will be free to handle the internals and inspect the PCB. I didn't take a picture of the bare processor, but it has nothing on it, no heatsink or any type of cooling solution.

I had some left over thermal tape from a job earlier in the month and some left over aluminum heatsinks from a aftermarket video card cooler. I decided to use the two and create a cooling solution for the processor. I Used some alcohol wipes to first to wipe down the heatsink and processor. I then cut the tape into a small square and installed it on the bottom of the heatsink. I then placed the heatsink on the processor and held down firmly for about 10 secs. Installing in this manner proved to be strong enough to hold the heatsink in place.



Just enough height clearance.



Finally, I put everything back together the way I took it apart. For the last couple of days I have had zero issues with my Roku HD locking up. Success!

The unit still gets warm, but it's nowhere near as bad. I will update this thread if anything changes, but I wanted to post this in hopes to help others if their Roku is out of warranty and is experiencing the same issue.

Here is a link to an item you will need if you have no material to do this job. Very cheap, shipping may even cost you more? :D Cheers!

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/18195/vid-206/Aavid_Thermalloy_Low_Profile_Chipset_Heatsink_w_3M-8810_Adhesive_-_27mm_x_27mm_x_5mm_-_Anodized_Black.html
 
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Face2Face

Diamond Member
Jun 6, 2001
4,101
215
106
Just want to let everyone now it's still going strong with zero lockups.

EDIT:
6/28/13 - Still not a single lockup or Freeze :D
8/21/13 - Locked up once :( Still not bad.
 
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KeithP

Diamond Member
Jun 15, 2000
5,612
169
106
It would have been interesting to see if pointing a fan at the device would have fixed the problem. If so, maybe affixing heat sinks to the top of the case might have done the trick without having to disassemble it (not that it looks particularly hard).

Of course, I am rather lazy. I probably would have used the situation as an excuse to upgrade to a new roku box and be done with it.

-KeithP
 

TSDible

Golden Member
Nov 4, 1999
1,696
0
76
I've actually been having a lockup/reboot issue with my XS recently. Seems tied to the new Roku interface, but that may just be me.

I wonder if something like this could help?

I don't think putting a heatsink on the plastic would do very much... it would be very inefficient at removing heat from the processor since it would be separated by multiple insulators.
 

Face2Face

Diamond Member
Jun 6, 2001
4,101
215
106
I've actually been having a lockup/reboot issue with my XS recently. Seems tied to the new Roku interface, but that may just be me.

I wonder if something like this could help?

I don't think putting a heatsink on the plastic would do very much... it would be very inefficient at removing heat from the processor since it would be separated by multiple insulators.
I also have a XS. I may do it to that one as well?. Once in a while it will lockup, but it doesn't happen as often. I will say the Roku HD with this mod has still yet to lock up. I will agree with you on the plastic heatsink idea. For a couple extra minutes you can teardown the Roku and get to the source. May be worth trying? You could look at the Roku forums and see if others are experience the same issues since the update.
 

dbass81

Junior Member
Aug 16, 2013
1
0
0
I just wanted to thank the original poster of this thread for posting pictures and detailed instructions on how to take apart the Roku HD. I also have a Roku HD, same exact model, and it made it a lot easier taking it apart.

I have had issues with my Roku HD locking up and resetting, even when I am not using it. I Googled for "Roku HD freezing" and this was the first result. I followed the instructions in this thread to take it apart, but I had some copper VGA heatsinks I bought off NewEgg that were the perfect size for the Broadcom chip. I didn't have any thermal tape, and had a hard time finding some online, so I used Arctic Silver and some Gorilla Glue 2-part Epoxy to affix the heatsink onto the chipset.

I also took it a step further and printed off a dot pattern (Google Images for "Dot Pattern") and taped it to the top cover of the Roku HD and used an ordinary electric drill to drill holes into the top for ventilation. Now my Roku HD never freezes or locks up, it also never gets nearly as hot as it did before. Great job!

 

HydroSqueegee

Golden Member
Oct 27, 2005
1,709
2
71
thats not a bad idea. my Roku2 XS locks up very rarely, but when it does its fairly annoying. may have to give this a shot.
 

Face2Face

Diamond Member
Jun 6, 2001
4,101
215
106
I just wanted to thank the original poster of this thread for posting pictures and detailed instructions on how to take apart the Roku HD. I also have a Roku HD, same exact model, and it made it a lot easier taking it apart.

I have had issues with my Roku HD locking up and resetting, even when I am not using it. I Googled for "Roku HD freezing" and this was the first result. I followed the instructions in this thread to take it apart, but I had some copper VGA heatsinks I bought off NewEgg that were the perfect size for the Broadcom chip. I didn't have any thermal tape, and had a hard time finding some online, so I used Arctic Silver and some Gorilla Glue 2-part Epoxy to affix the heatsink onto the chipset.

I also took it a step further and printed off a dot pattern (Google Images for "Dot Pattern") and taped it to the top cover of the Roku HD and used an ordinary electric drill to drill holes into the top for ventilation. Now my Roku HD never freezes or locks up, it also never gets nearly as hot as it did before. Great job!

Great Job!! Glad my post was able to help someone out :) I am digging the extra ventilation at the top of the player :thumbsup:
 

Doomer

Diamond Member
Dec 5, 1999
3,722
0
0
Gee, I wonder what the "engineers" who designed this box would have to say if they saw this thread?

Incompetence seems to be rampant among "engineers" these days.
 

macmic6

Junior Member
Feb 23, 2014
1
0
0
I appreciate your help with this issue. We have 7 Rokus (don't go there :whiste:) and several have this issue. The old SD's don't lock up but all of the others do dispite being in the open. I ordered the heat sync from the link that you had at the bottom. I didn't realize how big it would be. It won't fit inside the case when attached to the processor. I know that I can cut them down but thought I would let others know about that. Thanks again for all of the help. I'll get it figured out.
 

Face2Face

Diamond Member
Jun 6, 2001
4,101
215
106
I appreciate your help with this issue. We have 7 Rokus (don't go there :whiste:) and several have this issue. The old SD's don't lock up but all of the others do dispite being in the open. I ordered the heat sync from the link that you had at the bottom. I didn't realize how big it would be. It won't fit inside the case when attached to the processor. I know that I can cut them down but thought I would let others know about that. Thanks again for all of the help. I'll get it figured out.
Nice, 7 Rokus :biggrin: I actually replaced the one shown in this post with a larger heatsink, like the one I linked. It's a 1x1 inch square heatsink. The SOC doesn't need to be directly in the middle of the heatsink, it can be offset a little bit if you run into room constraints. If the heatsink is too tall, then I will remove the first heatsink from my post and keep the second one on. That one should have plenty of height clearance. Sorry if I caused any confusion :oops:

As for an update, the Roku is still rock solid with everything except for Hulu Plus. it will still freeze for a minute or two then start playing again. I don't know about anyone else, but it seems this model of Roku really can't handle Hulu plus? My Roku XS handles it just fine. Maybe wired vs. wireless?
 
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pjnofrills

Junior Member
May 1, 2014
2
0
0
Thanks to the OP and everyone who participated here. I can finally watch Hulu Plus for more than a single episode. I actually took it a step beyond the heatsink / dot patterned vent holes and added a small 40mm fan. I probably could have used a larger one but this one fits with the TotalMount on the back of the TV. I just clipped the end of the fan cable, and an old USB cord laying around; and spliced the red and black wires. It plugs right into the USB port on the back of the TV for power.

Fan was about $5 and the heatsink was $5 for a pack of 4, both on Amazon.





 
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Xaquarie

Junior Member
Apr 29, 2014
6
0
0
Fantastic ideas. I will have to try this with mine (that locks up constantly). Maybe use an old GPU heat sink from a dead motherboard.
 

Face2Face

Diamond Member
Jun 6, 2001
4,101
215
106
Thanks to the OP and everyone who participated here. I can finally watch Hulu Plus for more than a single episode. I actually took it a step beyond the heatsink / dot patterned vent holes and added a small 40mm fan. I probably could have used a larger one but this one fits with the TotalMount on the back of the TV. I just clipped the end of the fan cable, and an old USB cord laying around; and spliced the red and black wires. It plugs right into the USB port on the back of the TV for power.

Fan was about $5 and the heatsink was $5 for a pack of 4, both on Amazon.






That's awesome :thumbsup: Adding active cooling to the roku :D
Hulu + does seem to be tough on this model for some reason. I just think it's too under powered to handle Hulu +. Now that YouTube is available for this model, it's quite the chore for this little player. But hey, it works. Better than using the Plex youtube app.
 

AshleyQuick

Junior Member
Apr 10, 2016
1
0
0
Gave this a try tonight. I found a copper heatsink in an old computer and glued it to the CPU using a two part epoxy (it didn't need much because it was already sticky).


I then printed a dot pattern image (per the suggestion above) and drilled the vent holes for further cooling. :cool:










I'll try to report back down the road. Thanks for the work and suggestions all!
 
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BurnItDwn

Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
25,448
1,051
126
<insert generic Necro complaint>

Ohhh, my Roku freeze pretty regularly and I don't want to buy a new one ... maybe I'll give this a try!!!
 

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