I’m working on a project that requires putting a Raspberry Pi board into a small waterproof box. There is no air circulation for cooling. Is it likely the board will overheat and destroy itself? If so, how can I prevent a meltdown? I’m thinking of using thermal grease and pressing the processor heatsink against the enclosure. Could this work? Any other suggestions?
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I have quite a bit of experience building underwater LED lights for technical diving and well know the challenges of dissipating heat. You didn't mention what kind of material the enclosure is. Don't use plastic, plastic will just insulate and heat build up inside the box will probably destroy the Pi.
The best solution is use an aluminum box, I'd suggest some sort of rubber adhesive sheet to affix (and insulate electrically) the board to the box with a hole cut out for the processor which is in contact with the aluminum.
The thermal grease (use only a tiny bit) will wick heat to the box and the entire box will act as a heat sink.