Checking Temperature With RetroPie

If you have ever been curious as to if your Retropie temperature is running too hot, you’re not alone. Many raspberry pi cases do not provide proper cooling to the raspberry pi 3. The small heatsinks included with most kits are also laughable and do pretty much nothing. Although this case here does fix any overheating issues with Retropie, and we highly recommend it.

If you’re looking for easy way to check the temperature of your retropie setup to make sure you’re not overheating, this quick guide is for you. After you have successfully used SSH to access your retropie setup, you only have to issue a simple command to check the CPU’s temperature. We also have a post on checking performance in Retropie if you are interested.

We also have a great list of USB Retro Gaming Controllers that work with RetroPie.


     .***.     Friday, 20 January 2017,  7:12:28 pm UTC
     *****     Linux 4.4.13-v7+ armv7l GNU/Linux
     `***'     
      |*|      Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
      |*|      /dev/root        29G   27G  1.1G  97% /
    ..|*|..    Uptime.............: 0 days, 00h20m17s
  .*** * ***.  Memory.............: 424188kB (Free) / 752872kB (Total)
  *******@@**  Running Processes..: 136
  `*****@@**'  IP Address.........: 172.16.0.196
   `*******'   Temperature........: CPU: 39°C/102°F GPU: 39°C/102°F
     `"""'     The RetroPie Project, https://retropie.org.uk

pi@retropie:~ $ /opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd measure_temp
temp=38.6'C
pi@retropie:~ $ vcgencmd measure_temp
temp=38.1'C
pi@retropie:~ $ 

That’s all there is to it. You can press the “up” arrow on your computer keyboard and then press “enter” to automatically reissue the command whenever you feel like checking the temperature of your retro pie set up.

Alternatively, you can also issue a command to check it for you every second. Just issue the command below to be informed every 1 second of the current CPU temperature.


     .***.     Friday, 20 January 2017,  7:12:28 pm UTC
     *****     Linux 4.4.13-v7+ armv7l GNU/Linux
     `***'     
      |*|      Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
      |*|      /dev/root        29G   27G  1.1G  97% /
    ..|*|..    Uptime.............: 0 days, 00h20m17s
  .*** * ***.  Memory.............: 424188kB (Free) / 752872kB (Total)
  *******@@**  Running Processes..: 136
  `*****@@**'  IP Address.........: 172.16.0.196
   `*******'   Temperature........: CPU: 39°C/102°F GPU: 39°C/102°F
     `"""'     The RetroPie Project, https://retropie.org.uk

pi@retropie:~ $ watch -n 1 vcgencmd measure_temp

Every 1.0s: vcgencmd measure_temp                       Wed Feb  1 19:46:55 2017

temp=52.6'C

Optimal temperatures for retropie average between 50 and 70°C. Once the CPU gets above 80°C  it will start to throttle itself by cutting the clock speed of the processor in half. This is why a high-quality case with proper cooling is so important. Certain emulators will start to have slowdowns or glitches once the CPU has overheated. We find this happens with the stock plastic cases after about 10 minutes of general use.

You can read our guide on checking performance in Retropie to see if your CPU is throttling. We find this case here fixes most overheating issues in retropie. You also might like our post on Retro Gaming Controllers for RetroPie.

We hope this was helpful and stay cool.