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Watercooling Watercooling questions - cleaning & maintenance

Discussion in 'Tech Support' started by Smi, 26 Jul 2013.

  1. Smi

    Smi New Member

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    So, I'm finally cleaning out the watercooling loop on my PC - I've had the same fluid in it since I won it from PCG all those years ago (Before I got married and it's nearly my three year anniversary...apparently you're meant to change the fluid every year!)

    It'd started getting hotter in use than it had before, which isn't great - apparently it's diminishing returns with watercooling. Once it starts to get "less good" at cooling, it'll gunk up faster. There's quite a bit of gunk in the bottom of the reservoir and pipes, and a little bit of blue corrosion/sedimentation around the barbed ends of the pipes. I hate to think what it looks like in the radiator! There's a fair amount of sedimentation under/on top of the pump itself, too...(although this has since been a bit dislodged and most has gone)
    The pipes have also discoloured slightly and are faintly yellow.

    Do you reckon it's worth me dismantling the loop completely to give it a really thorough clean through? At the moment, I've drained off the old fluid and it's currently running pump-only (no power to the PC itself) with a mix of de-ionised water and vinegar to clean it out. It was clear to start with...definitely blue now! Then I drained /that/ fluid and refilled again with more vinegar/de-ionised water mix and ran that one overnight - it's blue again, but far paler than the first batch.

    The advice for badly corroded systems (is mine badly corroded or merely "old fluid"?) is to dismantle, clean thoroughly, re-assemble with new pipes etc.
    Trouble is, I don't have a lot of money and this is costing a not-unreasonable amount (£25 ish so far?) to do, once I've factored in new water cooling fluid, cleaning materials, etc...)
    I can't really afford to change the pipes et al!

    BUT. If it's actually worth it and will prevent long-term damage (such as if corrosion in the CPU block is bad - I honestly don't know) then I'll consider doing it.

    Advice, people! I has a needs for it!

    Thanks all
     
  2. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    Yes, I would definitely recommend taking it apart for a thorough clean after letting it go that long. Open up the blocks and make sure they don't have any build up inside, same for the pump to make sure the impeller is clear.
    Tubing does not cost that much. If you need to replace it. You don't need to get anything fancy and it's one of those things that is not necessary to buy from a watercooling specialist at a higher mark up. Look around for some cheap tygon, or even aquarium suppliers just make sure to buy the correct diameter inner and outer.

    I am pretty diligent about changing my water on a regular basis. But even then after 3 years of use there was plasticizer build up inside the block and pump. After taking it apart and cleaning it all out it took 6c off my temps.
     
  3. Big Elf

    Big Elf Oh no! Not another f----ing elf!

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    The reason the water is turning blue is that vinegar is an acid (acetic) and the blue colour is from the copper sulphate that's being dissolved from the blocks/rad etc.

    You've almost certainly got deposits of plasticiser from the tubing gunking up the blocks so they will need cleaning. If you do use vinegar or lemon juice to get rid of oxidation on copper then an hour should be enough, any longer and the copper will be etched by the acid.

    If you live in the UK then Specialtech are selling the older Primochill PrimoFlex Pro LRT tubing at a discount.
     
  4. Smi

    Smi New Member

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    I've moved on a bit since I posted this - it's had two rinses through with 90/10 de-ionised and distilled vinegar, and is currently running with just de-ionised. I'm going to rinse as a system once more with de-ionised before I dismantle to replace the tubes and clean the blocks.

    Big Elf: Actually, the water was turning blue because the previous fluid was bright blue and the clean water was removing dye residue from various places around the system. I would guess, anyway - it was dye colour blue, and didn't strike me as a copper tint (I did a lot of chemistry at uni)

    Next step as I said, is to flush once more with water for a few hours, drain, dismantle and clean.

    Then I'll rebuild using new hoses (probably going to replace like-for-like - it was an XSPC system before, so XSPC hosing again) and refill with distilled water and a pair of kill coils. I'm not fussed about coolant colour, so this seems to be the most effective way to cool whilst avoiding using lots of chemicals/dyes or things that'll eventually cause a problem.

    Sadly, I'll have no way to clean or check the pump - it's sealed inside an acrylic reservoir! The acrylic is untainted/clear still and there's only a tiny amount of deposition on top of and under the pump. I might be able to get it with some lint free cloth on a pipe cleaner or something.
     

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