Metal enclosures for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 IO board

I was informed about the “CM4 IO Computer” based on the official Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 IO board housing in a metal enclosure along with the Raspberry Pi CM4 module. I initially thought it was new, but it’s been out at least since 2021. Nevertheless, it turns out there are at least two of this type of metal enclosures for the CM4 IO board, and when buying full systems, they may provide a way to source Raspberry Pi CM4 system-on-modules since individual modules are so hard to purchase if you are not a company with some minimum monthly production volume.

As a development platform, the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 IO board is not optimized for cost or size, but there’s apparently enough demand that at least two companies – EDATEC and Waveshare – decided to make metal enclosures for them.

EDATEC metal enclosure for the Compute Module 4 IO board

EDATEC Metal Enclosure Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 IO board

This case measures 171.5 x 109.5 x 28.5 mm and provides access to all ports of the carrier board, plus openings for the camera and display flat cables, a power button, an SMA WiFi antenna connector, and an internal fan for cooling. The picture below which I got from a third-party Aliexpress seller shows a fan with two wires, but EDATEC told CNX Software that “this device has a smart code pre-installed to make the fan inside work “smartly”. The fan works at different speeds as per the CPU working temperature”.  So this looks like a PWM fan meaning the type of fan that comes with the enclosure may depend on where you purchase it…

CM4 IO board case fan power button antenna

What is not usable in this case are the PCIe slot and the GPIO headers, unless you’re using really thin add-on boards. The enclosure can be purchased on Aliexpress for  $23.17 including free shipping. I could not find a full system on Aliexpress, but EDATEC apparently sells them, and offer customization, e.g. to access the PCIe slot and/or GPIO headers, for orders greater than 100 pieces.

The only reason this type of mini PC is popular is apparently because of the global shortage of CM4 modules, and we were told the solution is very popular because the CM4 module is built-in and provides a complete machine for customers who can’t get CM4 IO and CM4 board from distributors.

Waveshare metal box (A) for the Raspberry Pi CM4 IO Board

Waveshare metal box for Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 IO Board

Another metal case design for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 IO board is the Waveshare Metal Box (A) with many of the same features, but you also get to access the GPIO header from the outside thanks to an add-on board. What is lacking compared to the EDATEC enclosure is the power button.

CM4-IO-BOARD-CASE-A

The full kit includes the metal case, a 40-pin GPIO adapter, a 12V PWM fan, a screwdriver, and a screw pack. The price is slightly lower with the CM4-IO-BOARD-CASE-A kit going for $11.99 plus shipping on Waveshare, $16.72 on Aliexpress, and $25.99 on Amazon. What I was unable to find is a complete system based on the enclosure, and you may have to contact Waveshare if you are interested as while the IO board is in stock, the CM4 modules are either on backorder or out of stock on their website.

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