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Water to Water cooling

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hey all, did a little searching and couldn't find an exact match to my situation. I am going to be building my next computer soon and I'm of the DIY section of humanity (for better or worse). I've got my huge custom desk made out of 1 sheet of MDF and 2x4's. I'm soon building a large x1ft deep bookshelf.

I'm thinking of attaching my computer to the outside side of my bookshelf without a case (I have to blow out my current case once a week for dust). I figure my mobo will get less dusty elevated and sideways, as well as better cooling. I will be water-cooling my CPU, and SLI GPU's. I can devote one (or half) shelf to power supply,drives, water-cooling. I'm not a huge fan of water-air cooling, for the same reason I'm not a fan of air cooling.

What I'm proposing is running my cooling loop through a car heater core submerged in a small fishtank or other container. Water is basically free in Alaska, so I can add all the 50 degree water I need to the fishtank to regulate my comp temp.
What I would use is a fridge or similar water solenoid to turn on the flow, hooked to a temp sensor to prevent condensation.

The water to water interface would let me get more cooling than a 4 fan radiator and probably much more. Am I crazy or the 50th person to do this? I know enough to get an all copper/brass heater core along with water blocks. The max head in my system would probably be about a foot. But would I need 2 pumps to do what I'm doing or would the standard pumps be up to the task solo.

Also, what's the best way of securing graphics cards without having a case to screw into? Zip ties?
Thanks.
post #2 of 9
OK, three things here...

First, welcome to OCN!

Second, nice to see a fellow Alaskan. fairbanks area here.

And third, +1 for ingenuity! I think your setup will work just fine. If things get warm, just open a window and let some of that arid cold alaskan air into the room.
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Always good to know theres nothing obviously wrong with a design.
Fairbanks is too damn cold man, im sorry.
Ive been talking to my roommates (were all engineering college students) and I know what I need to build and regulate the temps, theres just a couple different approaches and I dont know enough yet about sourcing parts.

65 degree water with a smaller area and flowrate should definitely outperform a high flowrate larger radiator 70 degree air system, I just dont know enough about the efficienties of the transfer of heat to do the required calculations, it would just have to be trial and error to see how much heat my system would dissipate. Im thinking of getting a Peltier assisted waterblock also, but dislike the extra energy it uses.
If I do a crazy cpu/gpu overclock, would my North/Southbridges/RAM/anything else get too hot? Especially without a case providing airflow? Or would being in the middle of a room's convection currents be enough? Theres always those small ram clip on fans too...

Im thinking of getting the universal waterblocks, so couldnt cool the rest of the GPU's, ect.

Anyone know of a waterline solenoid capable of switching the flow of water on and off like 500,000 cycles? (1 cycle every 5 minutes for 1 year is 100k for instance) I know washing machines and ice makers have inexpensive solenoids, but I dont know of the reliability.

Or, a reliable non leaking ball valve that I could control with a servo? This would only need to be cycled like a quarter as often. In both cases, I just made up completely random numbers of cycles required.

In both cases I would be using regular refrigerator icemaker line running from the cold side of my bathroom sink. (1/4 inch OD)
Edited by Alnmike - 8/19/11 at 8:34pm
post #4 of 9
I really like your idea! It is very similar to industrial coolant systems, good design. I too dislike air cooling, because of the noise and dust.

Concerning your water flow control; could you eliminate the valve/solenoid by simply adjusting the water flow to a continuous 'trickle'? You could install an orifice in line to get the correct flow. It would be a trial and error experiment to get the adjustment but you wouldn't have to worry about solenoid life.
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post #5 of 9
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Doing preliminary calculations, if I can get 6gpm coming out of the tubing full blast, I get a 880 watt cooling effect for every degree F I change the water.

0.1 gal/sec, 8.35lb/gal, 1BTU/(lb*degF), 1BTU=1055Joules, 1J/s=1Watt.
0.1gal/sec*1degF=881 watts.
I think the thermal transfer from 50 degree water through a copper heater core to like 120 degF water (50C) will be more than 1 degree lol.
post #7 of 9
Why not use a plate exhchanger? A la: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/99...tl=g30c95s1056
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DD Boxen
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post #8 of 9
As mentioned a plate heat exchanger is a small, clean, and inexpensive way to connect two water loops. A 10w DDC is also more than enough to circulate a second cooling loop. I've used both a 10w and 18w ddc to circulate my 450' ground loop connected to a plate hx. There's more a noise than temperature difference between the two.

I've also tried something operationally similar to what you're talking about. I used a Ranco differential controller to control the temperature of an insulated water cooler. The Ranco would switch on pump that circulated water through a radiator in front of a ductless mini-split air conditioner that almost always runs in the summer because its variable speed. This looked extremely ugly but it worked. The cooler made an excellent buffer tank for keeping the temperature steady in both idle and load use.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
First, your geothermal solution is just awesome
With the plate exchanger I would lose the thermal capacity of the water tank, making much more precise control of the valve's necessary. I see the plate exchanger is stainless steel, nickel plated, would the steel cause a galvanic reaction to the rest of the copper in the system, or not since its plated in nickel?
That would look much nicer than an aquarium with foam insulation around it
But, I still need to figure out the control mechanism's, servo-ball valve or electronic solenoid. Hmm, I just realized its not the end of the world if the ball valve develops a small leak, just put it in the aquarium lol. The outflow from the res would just be gravity fed from a hole with a sealed hose going to a drain.
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