How to Add Thermal Monitoring in pfSense® CE

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Thermal Monitoring Overview

The Vault has a solid state, fanless design. The case is designed to dissipate the heat generated by the unit. Although the case may be warm to the touch, it most likely indicates that the system is functioning correctly. However, Thermal Monitoring can be used to verify the Vault is operating under normal thermal conditions.  Intel based CPU’s have built in thermal monitoring and pfSense® CE can access it to display temperatures on the dashboard. The following article will describe how to enable and monitor the thermal sensors.

Enable Thermal Monitoring

Enabling Thermal Monitoring is done through the pfSense® CE WebUI.  

  • Browse to the pfSense® CE Dashboard, default 192.168.1.1 on the LAN port
  • Select “System –> Advanced” and click on the “Miscellaneous” tab

System->Advanced

  • Scroll down to “Cryptographic & Thermal Hardware”
  • Click on “Thermal Sensors.”  
  • From the drop down, choose “Intel Core* CPU…”

System->Advanced->Miscellaneous->Cryptographic & Thermal Hardware

  • Click “Save” button at the bottom of the page
  • Verify success message is displayed at the top of the page

Display Thermal Sensors on Dashboard

The preceding steps have enabled thermal monitoring.  The following steps will show how to add thermal monitoring to the dashboard.

  • Select the Dashboard
  • Click the “+” icon in the upper right corner
  • Verify the “Available Widgets” box appears
  • Click the “+” next to Thermal Sensors

Dashboard->Available Widgets

  • Verify the Thermal Sensors box is displayed at the bottom of the dashboard
Thermal tests idle 40+ minutes

The screenshot above shows an example of the FW4B that is essentially idle for over 40 minutes. Note that the core temperatures range from 51 to 53 degrees C. This is well within normal range.

Thermal Tests with iPerf 40+ minutes

The screenshot above shows an example of the same FW4B that is running an iperf test at linerate for over 40 minutes. Note that the CPU usage has increased from 3% to 30% and core temperatures range from 55 to 58 degrees C. Although this may seem high, and the case may be warm to the touch, it indicates that the case is functioning correctly and dissipating the heat. The Intel TJmax core temperatures from ark.intel.com for each of the processors is displayed in the table below.

PlatformCPUTJmax
FW1J1900105 C
FW2J1800105 C
FW2BJ306090 C
FW4AE3845110 C
FW4BJ316090 C
FW6A3865U100 C
FW6B7100U100 C
FW6C7200U100 C

Should you have any further questions, please feel to reach out to support@protectli.com