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Laptop Cooling with TECs?

post #1 of 12
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I have a pretty old laptop, I use it mainly for surfing, video editing, and recording gameplay from my desktop (with a capture card). Now, all these programs put tremendous strain on it, and the laptop is prone to overheating. Sometimes it will shut off automatically, other times a huge performance drop will occur due to inadequate cooling. I'm wondering if I can use low-powered TECs to cool the processor/vent area of the laptop's underside. I have no experience with TECs yet, and I'm also trying to make a mini fridge smile.gif. I would have the cold side of the TEC on the area of the underside of the laptop I would want to cool. Then I would attach a small graphics-card-like heatsink to the bottom WITH thermal paste. It doesn't matter if the laptop is elevated that much. I just don't want it over 2 inches or so.

Would I need a fan for the heatsink on the laptop? I know I want one for the mini fridge.

How would I power it? USB is only 5 watts (I think) would that work? A little converter from a wall socket with a voltage/wattage controller?

Right now I'm using a gel cold-pack hah... It retains the coldness of the freezer well and doesn't adsorb that much heat. It actually cools quite fast smile.gif

Thank you for your time and your help.
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by superstan View Post

I have a pretty old laptop, I use it mainly for surfing, video editing, and recording gameplay from my desktop (with a capture card). Now, all these programs put tremendous strain on it, and the laptop is prone to overheating. Sometimes it will shut off automatically, other times a huge performance drop will occur due to inadequate cooling. I'm wondering if I can use low-powered TECs to cool the processor/vent area of the laptop's underside. I have no experience with TECs yet, and I'm also trying to make a mini fridge smile.gif. I would have the cold side of the TEC on the area of the underside of the laptop I would want to cool. Then I would attach a small graphics-card-like heatsink to the bottom WITH thermal paste. It doesn't matter if the laptop is elevated that much. I just don't want it over 2 inches or so.

Would I need a fan for the heatsink on the laptop? I know I want one for the mini fridge.

How would I power it? USB is only 5 watts (I think) would that work? A little converter from a wall socket with a voltage/wattage controller?

Right now I'm using a gel cold-pack hah... It retains the coldness of the freezer well and doesn't adsorb that much heat. It actually cools quite fast smile.gif

Thank you for your time and your help.


It simply wont work. A TEC will only ever move as much heat as it's rated for. It's rating of how much heat it moves is called a Qmax. To properly cool a CPU you need to move 150% of the CPUs total heat load. On top of that a peltier works by moving heat from one side of the block as well as adding its own.... The key word in that sentence is ADDING IT'S OWN. For this reason, peltiers don't work well unless you have liquid cooling on them, air cooling simply can't remove the heat fast enough.

As for the 5watts on the USB, where did you get that from? It runs at 5 VOLTS at max if that's what you mean, but those are two completely different things. They can also, unless I'm mistaken, only provide .5 amps (assuming you're using USB 2.0) which would be a total potential power of 2.5 watts..... Or if you have a high bandwidth USB controller, it can provide up to 7.5 watts.... that's nothing. A TEC will need around 200 watts of DC current. On a side note, a house power outlet runs at 120v of AC current..... TECs wont work with that, you'll need a power supply, which will cost around $100, and a TEC will cost around $60.

You're looking at around $200 for something that wont work. tongue.gif


Laptops are designed with cooling systems set for their specifications, so chances are the cooling system you have on there is fine, but the heatsink is filled with dust. Dust restricts airflow, no airflow means no cooling. Open it up and clean the heatsink out by blowing compressed air over it. If it still runs too hot then get one of these

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/9783/lap-58/Cooler_Master_Notepal_X2_17_Notebook_Cooler_w_140mm_Blue_LED_Fan_R9-NBC-4WAK-GP.html#blank



Also, your TEC fridge wont work. Fridges use a/c units, not TEC setups.
Edited by ZytheEKS - 4/30/13 at 8:32pm
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post #3 of 12
I would suggest buying a laptop cooler, or getting a 140mm desktop fan and a AC to 12V molex adapter if you really need the airflow.
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZytheEKS View Post

It simply wont work. A TEC will only ever move as much heat as it's rated for. It's rating of how much heat it moves is called a Qmax. To properly cool a CPU you need to move 150% of the CPUs total heat load. On top of that a peltier works by moving heat from one side of the block as well as adding its own.... The key word in that sentence is ADDING IT'S OWN. For this reason, peltiers don't work well unless you have liquid cooling on them, air cooling simply can't remove the heat fast enough.

As for the 5watts on the USB, where did you get that from? It runs at 5 VOLTS at max if that's what you mean, but those are two completely different things. They can also, unless I'm mistaken, only provide .5 amps (assuming you're using USB 2.0) which would be a total potential power of 2.5 watts..... Or if you have a high bandwidth USB controller, it can provide up to 7.5 watts.... that's nothing. A TEC will need around 200 watts of DC current. On a side note, a house power outlet runs at 120v of AC current..... TECs wont work with that, you'll need a power supply, which will cost around $100, and a TEC will cost around $60.

You're looking at around $200 for something that wont work. tongue.gif


Laptops are designed with cooling systems set for their specifications, so chances are the cooling system you have on there is fine, but the heatsink is filled with dust. Dust restricts airflow, no airflow means no cooling. Open it up and clean the heatsink out by blowing compressed air over it. If it still runs too hot then get one of these

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/9783/lap-58/Cooler_Master_Notepal_X2_17_Notebook_Cooler_w_140mm_Blue_LED_Fan_R9-NBC-4WAK-GP.html#blank



Also, your TEC fridge wont work. Fridges use a/c units, not TEC setups.
You're right about all of it but two things:
1: you generally don't need to open the laptop to clean it - just blast the exhaust port with compressed air, and watch the cloud of dust fly! (try not to breathe it in).
2: they do make TEC fridges - generally cheap beverage fridges or car cold/hot boxes.
e.g. http://www.coleman.com/product/5644-710

good for road trips, bad for power efficiency / keeping things ice cold.
 
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post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by u3b3rg33k View Post

You're right about all of it but two things:
1: you generally don't need to open the laptop to clean it - just blast the exhaust port with compressed air, and watch the cloud of dust fly! (try not to breathe it in).
2: they do make TEC fridges - generally cheap beverage fridges or car cold/hot boxes.
e.g. http://www.coleman.com/product/5644-710

good for road trips, bad for power efficiency / keeping things ice cold.


O.o

I would imagine that a TEC fridge would be incredibly inefficient o.o
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post #6 of 12
well when it comes to having a fridge in your car for a trip, do you want to spend $50 for a TEC cooler, or $500 for a phase change cooler?
 
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post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by u3b3rg33k View Post

well when it comes to having a fridge in your car for a trip, do you want to spend $50 for a TEC cooler, or $500 for a phase change cooler?


You'd spends a LOT more than $50 for a TEC fridge. A single TEC alone costs about that.
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post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZytheEKS View Post

You'd spends a LOT more than $50 for a TEC fridge. A single TEC alone costs about that.
Sure thing. but that's not what you asked before - it doesn't take that big of a TEC to keep a box cold. That size TEC isn't handling 150W+, it's keeping an insulated box cold.
 
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post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by u3b3rg33k View Post

Sure thing. but that's not what you asked before - it doesn't take that big of a TEC to keep a box cold. That size TEC isn't handling 150W+, it's keeping an insulated box cold.

True, but just to use that you'd spend $100 on a cooling loop, high end air cooling system, and You'd need a temp switch so you could control the temp, which would cost a bit of money.

It seems to add up very quickly, and it seems like you'd be better off buying a mini fridge for $150
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post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZytheEKS View Post

You'd spends a LOT more than $50 for a TEC fridge. A single TEC alone costs about that.

Don't underestimate just how cheap you can get Chinese mass produced electronics!

I have personally seen mini fridge TEC coolers like the ones for a car for ~40 bucks. They won't work well on a CPU loop, but could be turned into a nifty PSU powered drink chiller lol.
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