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Tap water cooling with a condenser !

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hello watercooling freaks !
I have a brand new crazy diy watercooling project spinning in my head and I'd like to hear your comments about it.
Right now,I have an overclocked i7 920 and a GTX460 on the same loop,using koolance's Exos 2.5 with koolance coolant and waterblocks.What I plan to do is to remove the Exos 2.5 and *SWWITCCH!!* it with a nice tap water cooled condenser ! Now it's already working in my head,all designed and flowing like a quiet dream,but it is just that for now; a dream.However,the condenser is already on this way,so it should soon be done.Let me explain the idea a bit.
My computer is downstairs,next to a door leading to an unfinished basement transformed into a server/general messing around room.All the technological cables run to the corners of the home from there.
The koolance 2.5 is a nice product,and let's be honest,it's more than enough for my current need,keeping the temperatures well below a dangerous level.However,I would like to pep things up a little and to use tap water to cool the loop instead of a radiator.
I therefor chose to use a laboratory condenser,use mainly for distillation,as the heat exchanger between the coolant and the cold tap water running in constant flow.The last thing I want is condensation because the coolant is too cold,so I chose a small,simple,200mm condenser :
http://is.gd/AP6zur
I will also get a basic res/pump combo to make the coolant flow.
So the plan is to connect a tubing to the home cold water supply pipe,regulate the flow from there with a valve,run the tubing to the condenser,and the return to a sink nearby.Here is a very quick diagram: http://is.gd/A3aej3
There are 2 tubing connections that should accept 3/8" tubing(I was told),and 2 ground glass connections(used in lab equipment).
Now the questions start here:
First,should I make the coolant flow in the inner cavity or thru the cooling bulb ? If it runs thru the inner tube,it will get a better heat transfer,but condensation will appear on the cooling bulb since cold tap water is exposed to air.If water flows inside and coolant thru the bulb,I will not get condensation on the condenser and I won't have to place it in a plastic box to avoid moisture on the wood desk it will be sitting on.However,it will require more coolant and the ground glass connections seem less stable to connect a tap water connection.
Witch brings me to the other point: How the hell do I fit tubing on those ground glass connections ? for the lower one,it should be alright; just slipping the tube on it will be ok since its a dip connections.But what about the female connector ? This got me thinking and engineering a lot.
The other questions are minor : How to prevent the risk of leaks with the tap water running ?(probably with some kind of water detector,that will come as phase 2) and how to regulate the flow to avoid over/under cooling(the valve should be enough for now).

Please leave any thoughts.The pictures will come once I get my stuff in. Thanks !
post #2 of 20
So are you constantly using and discarding tap water? Seems like a waste if you are. Also, the surface area of that condenser is not very large. I wouldn't expect outstanding results. Glass is used in laboratory condensers because it is relatively inert and can withstand harsh solvents and chemicals, not because it is a great conductor.

The waste of water is quite stupid in my opinion. After few months the water bill could probably buy you a decent radiator...

The ground glass connections are not made to handle pressure. You seal them against another ground glass piece with grease.

Overall a very dumb idea in my opinion.
    
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post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I was expecting this kind of reply.I live in a place where soft water is abundant.The water is free(no bills) and the cost to treat it is extremely low.Plus,it is purified and reused for industries after.This is not really a waste to me.Also consider the water won't run at full speed; just a small flow should do the thing.Also,the point is not to create a low temp setup.I am aiming at getting the same temps I am getting now with the Exos 2.5.200mm of glass in direct contact with tap(+-12 degrees C) would not be enough ? I am doubtful.Maybe you are right,after all,I only dealt with this kind of thing in science labs for the classic distillation setup !
Thanks for the input !
post #4 of 20
Well if you really insist on doing it I would have the computer coolant run through the outside since it has barbs. Spilled coolant is a bigger problem than spilled tap water. You don't want your pumps or CPU running dry.

Good luck (but it still think this is completely idiotic and a waste)... this is coming from a guy who has a condenser several times larger than that and never dreamed of using it as a cooler and still isn't tempted to use it as a cooler after seeing your idea... I got it from a lab at my college when the scientist retired. It was in a box that said "free" and was going to the trash if nobody took the stuff. Mine has a nice spiral coil inside not a straight shot

I'm quite confident that the surface area involved is nowhere near enough to make any sort of real cooling effect. Not at a flow rate that would be used to cool a CPU to any real degree. Think about it. The surface area of that center tube is virtually nothing. Plus it is glass, not copper...

Some people have submerged a radiator in a fish aquarium with great results. Why not do something like that? Have the aquarium filled with tap water and the radiator full of your coolant. Same idea but with many MANY times the surface area and a better conductor (copper vs glass) to boot. You could have the aquarium constantly refreshed with tap water if you want.

EDIT: I just had an idea. If you are dead set on this setup why not have the condenser directly over the sink. Have the condenser placed vertically. Have a hose feeding tap water into the ground glass connection from the bottom. It will flow through the center and overflow out of the top, and spill around the outside of the condenser cooling the warm coolant from the outside as well. It will then drip into the sink.

Just an idea. I still think it is dumb, but just thought id toss in my $0.02
Edited by Epitope - 8/11/11 at 7:56pm
    
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post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help Epitope !
I posted this on a few forums,and got replies similar to yours.I took the smaller version on purpose; a 30mm graham condenser (the one like yours,with the coils) was only 10$ more.But I was afraid this would be too efficient for the setup;that is,that it would remove so much heat that the loop would drop below ambient temp,causing condensation inside the PC.
I don't know,maybe I'm figuring things wrong,but a glass tube 20mm with constant cold water flow sounds pretty darn productive to me.Just filling a glass with tap water in the winter and putting your hand on it feels cold.I must admit though,that is the only experimentation I did about this !
A regular WC rad is obviously much bigger and efficient,but ultimately its cooled by air,vs a direct water cooling here.
At first,I was planning to put the condenser over the sink too.The problem with this is that the faucet is 25ft from the computer.So I would need a lot of coolant.I could switch to distilled water though.I'll also need a pretty big pump I assume.I must say it's much more secure; no risk of flooding the basement.Plus with your nice idea of running it vertically,it'll get even better.Hmm,this got me thinking...Which is the point of this post !
Thanks for the help!
post #6 of 20
Kiwi, please ignore epitope, his response is unacceptably negative.

You seem to be rather worried about condensation, is the tap water you will be using consistently below the dew point?

I would encourage you to use a plate heat exchanger, some can be found relatively inexpensively (this one is rather more expensive than usual, but for example (you will need to ensure it is all copper
Code:
http://www.amazon.com/Plate-Copper-Brazed-Exchanger-Stainless/dp/B0039WRMKC
excuse the code tag, Overclock.net has a bad habit of clobbering Amazon links).

Do you have welding experience? If so it would be relatively easy to make a very efficient HX using a couple feet of 1/16" copper tube, some large PVC pipe with end caps, and a couple of simple fittings.
I can forward diagrams on to you if you are interested.

Please give your project a shot, and disregard the previous poster, without starting a flame war, he was quite out of line! Also, if you are in NZ, where abouts? I spent a few years near Auckland, I had a great time.
Edited by wcdolphin - 8/12/11 at 7:23am
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post #7 of 20
Just curious, but why would you need a condenser or even a pump? If the mains water pipes run underground and therefore ambient temperature why not just connect them straight to the block(s) and then waste pipe out?
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post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Elf View Post
Just curious, but why would you need a condenser or even a pump? If the mains water pipes run underground and therefore ambient temperature why not just connect them straight to the block(s) and then waste pipe out?
There are a number of reasons that mostly have to do with the chemicals that are in the water, the presence of aluminum elsewhere in the water system and chlorine which will oxidize the copper in his loop! It is simply good practice, also DI water is far less conductive if it spills :-). And, by creating a separate loop he also creates the opportunity to create a larger thermal mass which will benefit him in times of lower flow of the tap water!
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post #9 of 20
What I don't understand is that you want to avoid going sub ambient, but want to use cold water for cooling. Why not just use a radiator? What is the point of using such a complex and difficult method to achieve the same cooling as a radiator?

I don't understand why you are avoiding a radiator yet want to stay at ambient temps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wcdolphin View Post
Kiwi, please ignore epitope, his response is unacceptably negative.
Yeah, I only worked in a scientific glassware shop in the basement of the chemistry department of my university as an undergrad. I've made stuff like this by hand. What do I know about the capabilities and connections of scientific glassware...

This piece is not made for heat transfer between two liquids. It is made to condense the vapors of a boiling liquid.
Edited by Epitope - 8/12/11 at 10:45am
    
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post #10 of 20
Why not use a proper heat exchanger



http://cgi.ebay.com/20-Plate-Fluid-H...item4aada31644

It has 2 loops, one for your pc, and the other for your tap water. This would be far more efficient than using glass as it isnt the best conductor.
    
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