1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Case Mod - In Progress Mineral Oil Submerged Computer - The Final Pics - 12/12/08 - Finished

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by OilPC, 15 Nov 2008.

  1. Langer

    Langer Jesse Lang

    Joined:
    24 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    2,605
    Likes Received:
    35
    Looking really cool man (no pun intended).

    Keep it coming - I too am planning an oil submerged system (coming late 09) so I'll be watching this closely.
    Also I go to school in Vancity (Vancouver Film School) - so that only furthers my interest.

    Can't wait to see it together.
     
  2. MrWizard

    MrWizard New Member

    Joined:
    5 Feb 2008
    Posts:
    371
    Likes Received:
    1
    You've gotten me interested, very nice detailed log :thumb:

    *Sub'ed*
     
  3. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

    Joined:
    10 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    5,297
    Likes Received:
    54
    I have seen these done a few time before and as was already said they were ghetto ad fairly dodgy. I really like where this is going, it looks very professional. Excellent work so far.
     
  4. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

    Joined:
    23 Oct 2001
    Posts:
    33,626
    Likes Received:
    1,275
    Awesome. :rock:

    Nice to see some serious balls-out modding.
     
  5. OilPC

    OilPC New Member

    Joined:
    16 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    24
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you for your comment. Comparing to your 'Project: PrometheusCU', mine is nothing. Hopefully, my log helps you at least liitle bit. Good luck and all the best for your new school adventure too.

    Thank you. next one I'm preparing now might be PAINFULLY long.

    Thank you for your warm comment, keeping hearing the word 'professional' makes me nervous and embarrassed. You are the professional...not me. I just did my best with tools I had.


    'Balls-out modding'...you made me laugh. thanks a lot.
     
  6. OilPC

    OilPC New Member

    Joined:
    16 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    24
    Likes Received:
    1
    Part 3 - Making the HDD able to breath in the mineral oil

    Hello everyone, welcome to part 3 of the mineral oil system.

    As you may already know there is a breathing hole on all the HDDs to keep air pressure equilibrium between the inside and the world. It also lets the hot air and condensation out ,and there is a micro filter behind the hole to prevent any micro sized dust from getting in. But, any kind of liquid gets in easily and will break the hdd.

    However, this breathing hole is located on various part of the HDDs from manufacturer to manufacturer. Before I start to show you how I made the HDD work in the oil, I would like to tell you little more about this breathing hole and some other parts to be sealed. The reason is that I would like to give you little more information for better understanding and to reduce the questions might arise.


    First I will show you the breathing holes of different hard drives.


    To remove the screws from the HDD, you need torx screw driver. Below picture is old Maxtor HDD ,and the breathing hole is located in the yellow circle. That's right, the breathing hole is located under the circuit board (controller board). Therefore, this kind of hdd is almost impossible to connect a tube to, to breath outside of the oil. The circuit board (controller board) and HDD (main unit) are connected by pin connectors above the breathing hole , simply put, no wires involved.

    [​IMG]

    The following picture shows you three parts of the Maxtor hdd, main unit, top cover, and circuit board. The main unit of the HDD is one piece in metal like cup except for the connector area which is connected to the circuit board. You can also see the micro filter inside of the Maxtor hdd iin the yellow circle ,and yellowish sealing all around the bottom side of the top cover to be completely sealed when it is put together with bottom part of the hdd.

    [​IMG]

    Below HDD is from Seagate ,and the the breathing hole is located in the yellow circle. Configuration like this is easy to work with.

    [​IMG]

    Here is another old HDD from Fujitsu, it took me long time to figure out where the breathing hole is because the top part is consisted of two layers. Meaning, you have to take the one layer of the metal sheet to expose the breathing hole. I guess that this kind of design helps reducing the amount of dust getting into HDD since additional top cover createsa thin and narrow air pathway to the breathing hole located in the left yellow circle.

    [​IMG]

    This is the Western digital hdd that I tested in mineral oil to make sure the method I came up with worked alright. As you can see the breathing hole is located on the top of the hdd.

    [​IMG]

    I opened the USB external hdd enclosure and took out the controller ,and the HDD is connected to the controller. I bonded the fitting on the breathing hole and connected the tube ,and the HDD is submerged in the oil holding in the sealable plastic container. The tube is passing thorugh the top cover ,thus the breathing hole is connected up and out of the oil.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    However, unfortunately, this HDD died in one day. I was kind suspicious of one part of the HDD might not be sealed completely ,and to find out, I decided to open the HDD.

    [​IMG]

    After washing the hdd under water, I took it apart. Here you can see the top cover and the main unit. There is a sealing pad all around the bottom side of the top cover and the micro filter behind the breathing hole.

    [​IMG]

    Below, you can see the oil sneaking in around the connector area.

    [​IMG]

    This is the picture of the bottom side of main unit. you can see the pin connectors left bottom corner of the main unit.

    [​IMG]

    This is the picture after I remove the connector. To remove the connector, I removed two screws located on the left and right side of the connector. Here, you can see the brownish pad around the connector is soaked with oil. Here I could tell the oil penetrated into the hdd through three ways, a pad, tiny gaps between pins and the connector housing(black part), and screw holes. From this test, I needed to let HDD “breath” through the “breathing hole” and seal the connector part at the bottom of the hard disk.

    [​IMG]

    After first test failed, I did second test with diffrent HDD ,and this time, I sealed the connector area at the bottom of the HDD.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In this second test, after using the aquarium silicone to fully insulate the connector area and using the fitting and the tube to connect the breathing hole to the outside, the Futjisu hard-drive has been running perfectly fine since April 23rd 2008.



    Thank you for reading this introduction. It was pretty long, wasn't it?.

    Here is the main part of how I actually did for the project system.

    As I explained above, the only way for the hard-drive to function in the oil is to let it “breath” through the “breathing hole” and seal the connector part at the bottom of the hard disk.

    Here I have two hard-drives that are ready to start operation. I am going to find its connector part first and then do a" sealing job”.

    [​IMG]

    To find the pin connector, you have to dissemble the circuit board(controller board) for the hard-drive. Unscrew all the torx screws to take out the controller board and the protection pad. Once all off, you will find a pin connector.

    [​IMG]

    When you take a look at the picture below, the yellow circled areas are the breathing holes of this particular Western digital hard-drive. At first I was surprised to see two breathing holes because most of the previous hard-drives that I have worked with only have one. I was contemplating if I should use only one or not but the manufacturer must have added two holes for a reason; thus, I’ve decided to connect them both.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Above, I have a picture that shows the space between the hard-drive itself and the controller board.

    With consideration of the empty space mentioned above, it is time to put aquarium silicon (usually used for fish tanks) around the pin connector and attach the controller board on the top. After putting the controller board on the top, I screwed back the torx screws tightly which I took out earlier

    It is very important to note that putting too much silicon won’t do the trick here. There could be a chance that the silicon might get on the pins of the connector. If this happens, there is a high chance that the hard-drive won’t work.

    [​IMG]

    To simply explain this procedure, imagine you are making the house without the doors and windows. The silicon is the wall and the circuit board is the roof top. Got it?

    Warning: before you do next part, test to see if the device works or not. If it doesn’t, it is probably because the silicon is cutting off the circuit. If this is the problem, there is no need to panic because all you have to do is clean the silicon off completely and reapply.

    However, don’t think this is the end of this procedure because there is more ,and it is very important.

    [​IMG]

    When you take a look at the picture of the controller board above, under light, you will see how many holes there are, especially in the area that the pin connector locating for the hard-drive.

    Due to the amount of holes, it is important to conceal them so that the oil won’t get inside. So after putting the controller board on the top of the pin connector, use the silicon to conceal the holes on the board that is right above the pin connector area. As you can see in the picture below, the yellow area is the spot right above the connector. Here, I put enough silicon to prevent the oil from entering.

    [​IMG]

    Think of this procedure as applying water proof material on the roof of the house.

    When the silicon application is complete, let it sit for 48 hours so that it will completely dry.

    Warning: there is no guarantee that silicon is the best solution to prevent the oil from entering. Although I haven’t come across any problems with the silicon solution, there could be a possibility for anything. Bottom line is that you as an individual make your own choice to use the silicon or not.


    The second part of the hard-drive is to conceal the breathing hole with 4 L shaped 'fittings'. As you can see below, the 'fitting' consists of a blue tip and a black body. In order to prevent the oil from entering the space between the blue tip and the black body, it is essential to take out the tip that is going to go on the breathing hole. It may seem hard to do with your hands but just use a needle-nose pliers to easily take them out.

    [​IMG]

    Below, I am using the 'Gorilla Glue' to attach the 'fittings' with the breathing holes.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Warning: as mentioned above, there could be a risk of using this product. Nothing has been fully tested so there is no guarantee that this will work in long term. In other words, use your own discretion when it comes to picking out the right glue.

    After putting the glue on the tip of the 'fitting', dip the glue in the water (just little bit so that the glue begins its activation) then attach it to the breathing hole. Let it seat for 48 hours to let it dry.

    Below is the picture of the hard-drives with 'fittings' installed. As you see, it consists of two fittings per hard-drive where all are connected to the Y shaped fittings for simpler configuration.

    [​IMG]

    After installing everything together, these HDDs are submerged in mineral oil.

    [​IMG]

    That's it. If you come to this point, you are either very talented patient reader ,have a lot of time to kill ,or are ready to dip your HDDs into oil.

    Whoever you are, I really appreciate you reading this posting, and hopefully it helps you in many ways.
     
    Last edited: 18 Nov 2008
  7. craigbru

    craigbru Cramming big things in small boxes since 2006

    Joined:
    28 Feb 2008
    Posts:
    1,456
    Likes Received:
    52
    I was wondering how you were going to allow the HD's to breathe. Now I know... excellent job!
     
  8. Langer

    Langer Jesse Lang

    Joined:
    24 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    2,605
    Likes Received:
    35
    Fantastic job man!
     
  9. ModMinded

    ModMinded Are you throwing that away?

    Joined:
    26 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    43
    Very nice work, and very nice log! I appreciate the detailed & clear instructions.
     
  10. talladega

    talladega I'm Squidward

    Joined:
    18 Aug 2007
    Posts:
    5,258
    Likes Received:
    495
    it's still awesome!

    no disappointment!

    :)
     
  11. crazybob

    crazybob Voice of Reason

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2004
    Posts:
    1,123
    Likes Received:
    6
    I've seen this done many times before, but I've never seen it done with the hard drives submerged. Well done! And, hard drives aside, yours is by far the best-built example I've seen.
     
  12. Ryan Cooper

    Ryan Cooper It's been a long time.

    Joined:
    25 Jun 2008
    Posts:
    153
    Likes Received:
    2
    Great Job!

    That was a great idea for the Harddrives.
     
  13. MrWizard

    MrWizard New Member

    Joined:
    5 Feb 2008
    Posts:
    371
    Likes Received:
    1
    Brilliant!! :thumb:
     
  14. Loom

    Loom New Member

    Joined:
    10 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    391
    Likes Received:
    7
    You, my friend, are a brave man. Or you have lots of spare cash.
    Well done!
     
  15. Xtrafresh

    Xtrafresh It never hurts to help

    Joined:
    27 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    2,999
    Likes Received:
    100
    that has got to be the cleanest and most organised workshop on this forum! I suspect you are made of Cheapskate's antimatter, please never shake his hand :D

    This project is great and a good read. I really like the attention to detail and simple but smart design approach you are taking.
    As an oil enthusiast, you should also take a look at mnpctech's reactor thread. Not sure if you saw it yet, but i see no mention of it so i thought i'd give you a heads-up. Keep moddin!
     
  16. WakoNako

    WakoNako New Member

    Joined:
    22 Jul 2008
    Posts:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    WOW! Its so clean and so neat and so unlike any of my work :D
     
  17. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

    Joined:
    13 May 2007
    Posts:
    10,494
    Likes Received:
    707
    What? *BOOM!!!*


    Don't worry, I have no plans to ever make an oil cooled system. With my luck with making fire, there's no way I'd want an oil fire in my bedroom.:hehe:
    I was curious because I've seen hidden breather holes, cardboard-ish seals on the wiring, and porus foam on the main seals before.
     
    Last edited: 19 Nov 2008
  18. FLIPC

    FLIPC New Member

    Joined:
    18 Aug 2006
    Posts:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great Job!
    I follow your project with a big interest :D
     
  19. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

    Joined:
    10 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    5,297
    Likes Received:
    54
    I never realized that that HDD hole was so important lol, now I know.
     
  20. OilPC

    OilPC New Member

    Joined:
    16 Oct 2008
    Posts:
    24
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for your comment. I thought I had covered everything before I tested the first HDD but there are always unexpected things that come up. Anyway, from that, I was able to make the HDDs submerge in the oil for my main system, and it was fun experience but a little slippery. :p

    Thank you.

    It is my pleasure if any part of my log can help you.

    My log isn't finished yet, but I don't plan on disappointing anyone. :D

    I haven't seen anyone submerge their harddrives successfully either, but there might be one, two or even more. The world is big place, and not everything can be a sure bet.

    Anyway, I kind of hope to see more Mineral Oil Systems with dead silent HDDs in the future.

    Idea...Fail...Sucess or Fail again....That's the way it goes, and I guess that trying hard never betrayed me.

    Thank you.

    Brave? might be or someone easily fascinated by new things...like overclocking, modding, water cooling...seen that, done that...now Mineral oil. Thank you for your comments. By the way, I barely live on the monthly allowance from my wife.

    :D

    Thank you for your warm comment. It gives me great feeling of achievement.

    Yes, I have already seen the Hardcore computer, and was really fascinated by what they did. That system is the best looking and fully functional system out there, and I have to say that that system made a mark as a first commercially available oil cooling system in the world.

    No wonder that one of the founders of the company is a military equipment designer.

    Thank you.

    Thank you for your comments Cheapskate. Getting attentions from Bit-tech's forum members is a great experience for me and makes me nervous. Especially active and famous members like you. Let's shake hands. ;)

    Getting your interest and the interest of everyone here keeps me going until I finish this log and start on the next project as well. Thank you.

    'DO NOT COVER THE HOLES' The stickers are there for reason. :D

    I have seen many people dipping HDD into oil without doing any preparation, and ending up having a dead HDD. That's why it is really hard to see a mineral oil system with the HDD submerged.
     

Share This Page