Raspberry Pi GPIO: Basic Fan Control

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Keeping Your Pi Cool!

In this guide, we will explore the world of Raspberry Pi cooling by learning how to control a cooling fan to keep your Pi running at optimal temperatures. Overheating can be a concern, especially for resource-intensive projects, and a cooling fan can help mitigate this issue. We’ll cover the GPIO wiring, Python programming, and show you how to automatically adjust the fan speed based on the Pi’s temperature. Let’s dive into the cool side of Raspberry Pi!

Materials Needed:

Before we begin, gather the following materials:

  • Raspberry Pi (any model with GPIO pins)
  • 5V cooling fan
  • Transistor (e.g., NPN transistor)
  • 1kΩ resistor
  • Breadboard and jumper wires
  • Power supply for your Raspberry Pi

The Circuit:

Follow the circuit diagram below, the connections are as follows:

  • Connect the positive (red) wire of the cooling fan to the 5V pin on the Raspberry Pi.
  • Connect the negative (black) wire of the cooling fan to the collector pin of the transistor.
  • The emitter pin of the transistor should be connected to a ground (GND) pin on the Raspberry Pi.
  • Connect the base pin of the transistor to GPIO 11.
  • Place a 1kΩ resistor between the base pin of the transistor and the GPIO pin.

The image below has a DC Motor in place of the fan, but the function and connections are exactly the same.

RPi Fan Control

Python Code:

Now, let’s write the Python code to control the cooling fan based on the Raspberry Pi’s temperature.

from gpiozero import CPUTemperature
import RPi.GPIO as GPIO
import time

GPIO.setup(fanPin, GPIO.OUT)

cpu = CPUTemperature()
    while True:
        if cpu.temperature > 50.00:
        cpu = CPUTemperature()
except KeyboardInterrupt:
    print('GPIO Shutdown, Pins cleared')
  • Import CPUTemperature from gpiozero so we can read the temperature.
  • Import the RPi.GPIO library and set the GPIO mode to BCM.
  • Define the GPIO pin for controlling the fan.
  • Set up the fan pin as an output and continuously monitor the Raspberry Pi’s temperature.
  • If the temperature exceeds a threshold (50°C in this example), turn on the fan to cool the Pi.


With this basic fan control project, you can keep your Raspberry Pi running smoothly, even under heavy workloads. You can further enhance this setup by customizing temperature thresholds, implementing a PWM-based speed control, or integrating it into more advanced cooling systems. 

Happy Tinkering Folks!

You can explore more of our Raspberry Pi guides here: Raspberry Pi for Beginners

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Luke Barber

Hello, fellow tech enthusiasts! I'm Luke, a passionate learner and explorer in the vast realms of technology. Welcome to my digital space where I share the insights and adventures gained from my journey into the fascinating worlds of Arduino, Python, Linux, Ethical Hacking, and beyond. Armed with qualifications including CompTIA A+, Sec+, Cisco CCNA, Unix/Linux and Bash Shell Scripting, JavaScript Application Programming, Python Programming and Ethical Hacking, I thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of coding, computers, and networks. As a tech enthusiast, I'm on a mission to simplify the complexities of technology through my blogs, offering a glimpse into the marvels of Arduino, Python, Linux, and Ethical Hacking techniques. Whether you're a fellow coder or a curious mind, I invite you to join me on this journey of continuous learning and discovery.

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