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Cooling Water cooling adventures in the bosom of mother nature

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Journeyer, 6 Sep 2010.

  1. Journeyer

    Journeyer Minimodder

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    So I spent the weekend rebuilding my redesigned water cooling system.

    As some of you may remember I run an external system with the tank and pump sitting outside my house and the coolant is pumped into copper pipes through a vent in my computer room wall, and from there to the cooling loop in my computer. Anyway, the system, while performing brilliantly, had one major flaw; the tank was open to the elements. This of course meant that inevitably it would become overrun with algae in spite of being filled with a mixture of water and antifreeze. So a rebuild and redesign was in order.

    Now, I have a new and somewhat smaller tank. The previous tank held about 80l (roughly 20 gallons), whilst the new one holds about 50l (roughly 12 gallons) and it has a lid. I am using the same pump which I have spent portions of the summer rebuilding and servicing as well, so it should perform magnificently when I get the system up and running again. Yes, that's right, I'm not quite done setting it up yet. The pump is an Aqua Medic Oceanrunner 3500 - It's a 220V always-on model that pulls about 85W continuously, and as I want to become as energy-efficient as I am able to, without compromising on necessary performance, I needed an on/off switch. So I set about building a control panel consisting, at the moment, of a standard in-house lightswitch that will activate the pump.

    So, as the pump is now ready to go, and the hose have been hooked up to the pipes running into the computer room, I am now at the next intersection of this project. Mounting the blocks is no hassle, nor is filling or bleeding the system. I have the radiator hanging from the tank whilst protected from the elements as much as possible considering it still needs airflow. The radiator fans are powered by my computer by leads running through the same vent as the coolant pipes. I am currently building a control panel for the fans that will allow me to switch between 5, 7 and 12V. My concerns are that I have no realistic way of checking the waterflow and that I have no realistic way of checking the water level in the tank.

    I have found a floating tank level switch on eBay that I can use, though I originally wanted to build my own. But, a flow sensor that doesn't impede the flowrate too much I have yet to find, and trying to formulate ideas for building one has proved fruitless so far. I want a simple flowsensor that actives an LED (for instance) when it senses a liquid flowing through it.

    Does anyone know of anything like that?

    (Pics at a later time if you want them).
     
    Last edited: 26 Feb 2011
  2. bulldogjeff

    bulldogjeff The modding head is firmly back on.

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    The best place to look would be an aquarium shop, probably in the marine section. Although it would be the other way round, the alarm will activte when thing go wrong, but I'm sure that could be sorted easily enough.
     
  3. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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  4. Journeyer

    Journeyer Minimodder

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    I've looked at those, and have concidered going for one, but that still require me to visually confirm flow in an inconvenient position. They're not what I'm looking for, but thanks for the input though.

    I found something on one of the links in the watercooling hints & tips thread. It's a small sensor that sits in the flow and has no moving parts, but it does not have the function I'm looking for. I suppose the thing I'm after is called a flow switch, and that same site does have some, but they're designed for high pressure applications and cost an arm and a leg. The search continues.
     
  5. Journeyer

    Journeyer Minimodder

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    Hm, haven't considered that actually. I'll have a look around in aquarium sites and pop in to the local aquarium shop tomorrow. Maybe I'll find something. Thanks. :D
     
  6. Journeyer

    Journeyer Minimodder

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    The cooling system is now running, and it is performing magnificently.
    I just finished hooking up the fans at 12V straight through as I had trouble configuring the circuit for my planned control panel, and I saw an almost instant 4C drop in temperatures across the board. Currently the CPU registers at 23C, which is not bad considering we've got air temperatures at just short of the 20C mark at the moment.

    I could of course run the fans at 12V continuously and not worry about it, but the internal contral panel will look a lot cooler with a series of switches and LEDs adorning it. However, as I'm having trouble building it with a row of flipped switches as I originally intended, I am considering getting a rotary switch to do the job. Still haven't fully given up on the flipped switches though, but I'm shelving it for tonight as I'd much rather use my computer at the moment. I spent a good two and a half hours soldering a circuit that works, but not as intended, so I figure I'll sleep on it.

    By the way, does anyone know how to wire a 4-pin lighted AC rocker switch? I am using such a switch for power to the pump, but I have not yet figured out how to hook it up so that it lights up when powered. I am certain it is dead simple, but a few glasses of wine has a tendency to dull ones mental faculties...

    Pics to follow if there is interest.
     
  7. Journeyer

    Journeyer Minimodder

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    Here we go.
    As some of you may know, and as I mentioned in the Minecraft thread, I had a slight and unexpected issue with condensation on this cooling system. In fact, the issue was so slight that water droplets hung like pearls on a string along my coolant pipes, and that is not something you want to enter your computer room to. So, finding the PC crashed at boot sent chills down my spine, and I promptly shut the system down, turned up the room heater and gave it a few days to dry out properly before starting it again. Luckily, nothing seems to have taken lasting damage, and I have now spent a few moments redesigning and stregthening the system against condensation.

    So here we are.
    This picture shows where the coolant pipes enter into my computer room, and right next to it is a thermometer. The top reading shows current coolant temperature, and the bottom reading shows room temperature.

    [​IMG]


    This next picture shows the coolant pipes going down my wall and bending towards my computer. Imagine these holding heavy water droplets...

    [​IMG]


    And finally, this next picture shows where the pipes terminate into tubes that lead coolant into, and out of, my computer.

    [​IMG]


    On the following picture I have clad the pipes with tight-fitting pipe insulation, and only the part where the pipes curve down my wall is still naked at this point.

    [​IMG]


    And as you can see here, already water droplets have started to condense on the pipes. The system has not been running for long at this point, and I immediately clad also this part of the pipes.

    [​IMG]


    Next I am showing the current reading from AMD OverDriver to give an idea as to the effectiveness of this cooling system. I know I can push this chip further, but this is the point I
    m currently at. Oh, and coolant temperature has climbed to 6.3C, and I have shut down the radiator fans...

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Mattmc91

    Mattmc91 Minimodder

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    J, you rock.
     
  9. Stickeh

    Stickeh Help me , Help you.

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    Impressive stuff J, i'd love to see some photos of what is outside if its possible :)

    edit; don't listen to matt, he likes to brown nose.
     
  10. Journeyer

    Journeyer Minimodder

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    Thanks man! :D
    I am quite pleased.
    Now I am simply relishing the fact that I am using my desktop system, and having immense fun with it. AMD OD of course makes playing with the system a breeze, yet I still prefer tinkering in BIOS for some reason. Next I am going to push for 4Ghz - which the chip should be able to do, though I may have to up the voltage further - and quite possibly even turn on the radiator fans! :brrr:
     
  11. Journeyer

    Journeyer Minimodder

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    I can do that (though the tank/radiator/pump assembly sits in an awkward position, I'll do my best). Give me a few minutes. :D
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2010
  12. Mattmc91

    Mattmc91 Minimodder

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    get moar piccies,

    my 965 clocks like a beast, had it at 4.4 on stock volts under water, 60C in games
     
  13. Journeyer

    Journeyer Minimodder

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    Okay, so this is the point the pipes go through my wall. Luckily the computer room has a wall vent situated perfectly for my purposes. :D

    [​IMG]


    And here are two pics showing the tank, radiator and pump assembly sitting under our terrace staircase. I have protected the fans from the elements as much as possible while still retaining airflow. The pink hue from the coolant is due to 2liters of antifreeze, and the pump sitting in the middle of tank is an Aqua Medic Oceanrunner 3500. :D

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The insulation job I did on the pipes has worked wonders by the way, however the point where the pipes bend from the vent and down my wall is still bare as I cannot insulate this part. I can live with condensation forming there though, so it's not a big issue.
     
  14. Stickeh

    Stickeh Help me , Help you.

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    Slightly ghetto mod, but it works damn well! I am impressed, and also it does make me think about doing the same, the sheer volume of water works wonders i bet on keeping the coolant temp down!
     
  15. Journeyer

    Journeyer Minimodder

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    Yes it is somewhat ghetto, but I couldn't see the point in making it pretty as it is designed to sit outside out of view. Its performance however, is quite exceptional, and easily beats the 2m dual bong cooler I made ten years ago. :D
    And yes, the volume of water does help keeping temperatures under control and in check. It takes a hell of a long time to heat up all that water, and when it does heat up I can flick the switch and turn on the radiator fans. However, water temp seems to hit a threshold at around 12C in the temperatures we're having these days - and that's without the fans moving! I haven't gotten around to insulating the blocks yet, so I'm reluctant to turn the fans on though.
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2010
  16. Wicked_Sludge

    Wicked_Sludge My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

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    interesting. pics of the res/radiator setup?

    such an idea had flitted through my thoughts a while back, but i decided performance in the summer here (with temps outside reaching >90f/32c) would be unsatisfactory. also, like you im interested in being as energy efficient as possible and the way i see it, the waste heat from my PC came from electricity i had to pay for so why would i pump it outside the house?

    still..i envy those temps :)

    EDIT: whoops...i took way too long to compose my post :D
     
  17. Journeyer

    Journeyer Minimodder

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    Hehehe, yeah I see your point. Why waste a perfectly good space heater? :D
    Temps in summer can reach the low thirties here as well, but we don't get those kinds of temps for more than a couple of weeks in a stretch at most. And the benefit from having this kind of system for the rest of the year speaks for itself, but of course; the time of year this system really shines is during winter. If I were to turn on the fans now I would see a near immediate drop in temperature as we are currently having air temperatures of 3C. However, this system has made me slightly paranoid - I now get uncomfortable whenever I see CPU temp climb above 25C...
     
  18. Wicked_Sludge

    Wicked_Sludge My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

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    touché

    dont forget you can still get condensation on/under your water blocks if you cool them too well.

    hmm...now im thinking of a system to duct the warm air into the house in the winter and out of the house in the summer....:D
     
  19. Journeyer

    Journeyer Minimodder

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    Yeah, I know - so I am more or less constantly reaching in to check the blocks now. They seem fine though, but we are sure to get sub-zero temps again soon, so I will need to dismantle and insulate those as well. I'm thinking I even need to insulate the CPU socket with vaseline and spread silicone around the edges just to be sure.
    0

    Sounds good. Go for it. :thumb:


    Edit: And now another thing occurred to me; I've got a freshly purchased, uninstalled copy of New Vegas right here...
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2010
  20. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    PLAY PLAY PLAY!!!!!!
     

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