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Calling all HVAC experts to help with a new chilled water project.[Now Window Unit]

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
I decided to dunk the evaporator coil of an A/C unit into a tank of water, progress of build is located on the following pages, I usually include pictures of what I'm doing.

OLD POST:
Ok so I've been posting off and on at a few sites with my ideas and such, but I decided I wanted to pull off sub-ambient cooling. The only problem with that is I can't afford a $500-$900 dollar aquarium chiller. That being said I would like to try to make an equivalent system using freezer/refrigerator parts.

Here is what I'm thinking so far.


Concerns:
  • Obviously the refrigerators condenser coil will not be good enough to handle the heat as it's meant to cool a small area and for a short amount of time. I am curious if I can use a regular condenser coil from a home A/C unit as I have PLENTY of them.
  • Another concern is the compressor itself, it's not meant for continuous use and I might need to actively cool it, also is it capable of the job assuming it's actively cooled?
Non-concerns:
  • Space and noise. This will be located in a closet which is a wall away from my computer desk, I can drill holes for my tubing.
  • I can exhaust hot air from my condenser coil under the house as my house has a foot or so space underneath.
  • Motherboard Insulation

Edited by Khaotik55 - 6/1/11 at 9:56pm
post #2 of 65
Just Epic !
post #3 of 65
I think Vega did something like what your describing.

http://www.overclock.net/water-cooli...tx580-sub.html
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post #4 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nihilus View Post
I think Vega did something like what your describing.

http://www.overclock.net/water-cooli...tx580-sub.html
Actually upon first replying to you I said I didn't want to go that big, but on second thought that's just a window unit, which I happen to have... I might just do what he did, thanks for the idea.

Your post just changed my entire future. (lol)

By the way the window unit I have is 12,000 BTU. Vega has a 15,000 BTU. Now all I have to do is make a box for the evaporator coil to sit in and buy some Dragon Skin silicon like Vega did. I like that goop.
Edited by Khaotik55 - 5/22/11 at 1:41am
post #5 of 65
Your diagram does not accurately depict the refrigerant cycle!

Hot, high pressure discharge gas leave the compressor.

The discharge gas looses heat and changes phase to a liquid (condenses) in the condenser coil.

Warm high pressure liquid enters the metering device, cool low pressure liquid leaves the metering device.(some of the liquid flashes off to cool the liquid refrigerant down to the evaporator temperature.

The liquid refrigerant absorbs heat and changes phase to a gas (evaporates) in the evaporator coil.

Cool low pressure gas returns to the compressor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khaotik55 View Post
Concerns:
  • Obviously the refrigerators condenser coil will not be good enough to handle the heat as it's meant to cool a small area and for a short amount of time. I am curious if I can use a regular condenser coil from a home A/C unit as I have PLENTY of them.
  • Another concern is the compressor itself, it's not meant for continuous use and I might need to actively cool it, also is it capable of the job assuming it's actively cooled?
A condenser coil that is correctly sized to handle the heat rejection requirements of a refrigeration system for 10 minutes of operation is also correctly sized to handle continuous operation for an indefinite time.

The motor windings in the compressor are actively cooled by the cool refrigerant gas returning to it.
In a typical reciprocating compressor found in most refrigerators, the components that need cooling are isolated from the shell of the compressor, so external active cooling would do very little.
In applications where the return gas density is to low to adequately cool the motor windings in the compressor, liquid injection from the liquid line to the return vapor line, using additional bypass valving a metering device are used.
Your application should not need that.
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post #6 of 65
Another note.
If the system is sized correctly, it should not run continuously.
It should chill the water down to a set temperature, then cycle off.
The refrigeration capacity needs to be higher than whatever the absolute maximum possible heat load from the computer will be.
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post #7 of 65
Caleal did a fantastic job explaining the refrigeration circuit, no need to go further there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khaotik55 View Post
By the way the window unit I have is 12,000 BTU. Vega has a 15,000 BTU. Now all I have to do is make a box for the evaporator coil to sit in and buy some Dragon Skin silicon like Vega did. I like that goop.
In sizing your system, you can't directly go off the BTU capacity listed on the unit since you aren't going to be using the unit at the design temps. Vega's system is huge- cooling 4 590 GPUs and a 990X cpu to sub-zero temps. Unless you are running that much gear, your 12K btu unit will be more than enough for your build.

What hardware are you planning?
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post #8 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike597 View Post
Caleal did a fantastic job explaining the refrigeration circuit, no need to go further there.
Thanks, I've been doing HVAC/R work for almost 20 years, and occasionally teach a basic refrigeration and charging procedures class, so its good to know someone thinks I do a passing job of explaining the cycle.

Quote:
In sizing your system, you can't directly go off the BTU capacity listed on the unit since you aren't going to be using the unit at the design temps. Vega's system is huge- cooling 4 590 GPUs and a 990X cpu to sub-zero temps. Unless you are running that much gear, your 12K btu unit will be more than enough for your build.
Yeah, even if the operating conditions cut the 12k btuh capacity in half, he still will have nearly double the cooling capacity needed to handle 1000w of heat dissipation from the system, lol.

Hopefully he is not just planning to stick the stock evaporator coil under water.

I've thought about making a similar system, but with an evaporator made from coil of copper tubing submerged in an insulated water tank for thermal storage. I'd us an electronic expansion valve for refrigerant metering, and a Rawal device for capacity control.
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post #9 of 65
Ever consider getting a Phase unit and hooking up the evaporator head to a waterblock in the loop? Only problem with this is major condensation buildup.
post #10 of 65
Are you familiar with Drewmeister over at EOCF?

Checkout his work man - He has alot of experience with what you are trying to do.
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