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mineral oil with a sub-ambient waterloop

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
I was tossing some Ideas around and I thought that if I submerged my pc in mineral oil, I wouldn't have to worry about condensation, from subambient, waterblocks, and I could easily cool mineral oil with a car radiator and submersible pump with some proper sized tubing... Just wondering about what I would use on the waterloop to make it subambient for 24/7 and what liquids. Pure alcohol has a very low freezing point.

Just thought that I should ask if anyone had any helpful pearls of wisdom. Thanks for your time

I plan on doing this to my main rive bench
post #2 of 44
I've seen kits where someone takes an eclipse aio aquarium and turns it into a submersion cooling pc rig.. its kind of expensive for what it is though.

The best thing I could think of to use to make the liquid sub-ambient would be an aquarium chiller. They are rated in hp, but you can look up their btu capability too. I've seen builds where people use theres and they work, however without any load these chillers only hit about 17*c. Total loop size is measured in gallons too, 5-20 gallons is easy too do even with the 1/15hp chillers. Many use titanium coils now, fairly unreactive stuff.

If the loop is sub-ambient, then using a radiator will actually add heat to the system due to heat traveling from ambient to the loop.

Also when looking at the liquids, look at the specific heat capacity. Alcohol won't freeze light water, but won't absorb as much heat before it heats up either.

My take on it: it could be done with an aquarium chiller, but after the costs and effectiveness on cooling, you'd probably be better of with a tec plate for sub-ambient, and not submerged.
post #3 of 44
Thread Starter 
For sure I was thinking that if I submerged it it would just be alot safer against condensation on my 100s of dollars in parts. and I suppose a radiator would do that. I was just thinking that the liquid would get hot enough so that it might be a good idea to cool it before feeding it back into the chiller.

Also for tec's it get's pretty expensive with dual cascade setups and all that.. I am really just looking for a cheaper alternative to tecs or phase change. and once i start trying to think about tecs and phase changes my head starts to spin

and I will take that alcohol facts into consideration and look into other liquids.
Edited by tatmMRKIV - 8/12/13 at 9:53pm
post #4 of 44
got home and found the submersion kit site:


some good stuff about what they first did, how it worked, addition of a radiator, ect.

If cost is an issue so would an aquarium chiller. I paid about $300 for a 1/15hp and thats as small as they go that I've seen.

Also check to make sure your liquid is not hygroscopic. Alcohol over time will draw moisture (and evaporate). Some fluids you wouldn't think would, like some break fluids, will draw moisture, becoming conductive over time. Pretty much mineral oil is the best all-around for cost, non-hygroscopic, generally non reactive, thermal conductivity, and lack of electrical conductivity.
post #5 of 44
So as I understand it your running a cooled water loop to a pc submerged in mineral oil.

One problem I can see with this is that the mineral oil temp will go up because of other components like the chipset and ram.....so this will affect your cooling loop temps by conduction through the tubes and exterior of your water blocks so you may need to thermally insulate those.

You make also need to have some means to cool the mineral oil separately from the water loop.

Here is a great link for a guy that has done a really icy water loop.


He has used a window air con unit to make a super chilled external reservoir which he pumped to his pc sealed in a chill box.

He did have a lot of problems with pump failures though....probably due to condensation as they were externally house and he ended up submerging those in vegie oil.

But although long that post is well worth reading through for you....contains all the best info on fluid mix etc.

Tbh though I think the best method for this would be to forget the mineral oil......you would have to use special tubing which is expensive and as stated you would have to insuate your cooling loop from the oil and have a separate cooling loop for the oil.#

By far the simplest method would be to go for a chill box made from an window type ac unit and include an internal water loop.

It's comparatively very simple and would be very effective.

If your interested I'll go into more detail for you.
post #6 of 44
Thread Starter 
@ tech- That's the jist f my idea. Mineral oil will be cooled with a car radiator submersible pump and a 400-800cfm fan not used in pc cooling.
also I will probably get a mobo block
Mineral oil was added to the idea, as a means of combatting any and all condensation. I have been wanting to mess with some better cooling methods and this is where I have been driven

This puget systems thing is a great read will have more to say when I am done

though I think I could do it I might wanna use a different sysytem as the mre and more i tink about submerging these components I think how it probably turns 4g worth of components worthless by being covered with oil residue..
OK so any suggestions on sub-ambient nonsubmerged without having to worry about condensation

or just wait till it starts getting old lol
Edited by tatmMRKIV - 8/13/13 at 10:32am
post #7 of 44
Yep...it's quite easy to avoid condensation without submersion.....I've been doing it with the rig spec'd in my sig for the last year.

Just build a chill box......a completely sealed container which encloses your mobo and the cold radiator of a window type ac unit......the components will always be warmer than the surrounding air so no condensation occurs on them.

The fact that the ac unit is so cold actually dehumidifies the contained air to levels where condensation will not occur....as a belt and braces approach I also included a couple of desiccant sachets in there so you have a dry starting point.

The box has to be completely sealed or moisture will ingress over time but this is achievable and what I've been doing for the last year without any problem.

My components were air cooled within the box though that had some performance limitations, but a water loop in there would give fantastic results and the loop being completely enclosed in the chill box would make it very trouble free.

This is something I would have done with my build if I'd been able to accommodate it, but space dictated other wise and I've gone off on a bit of a tangent with my current project which I'm logging here:-

post #8 of 44
Thread Starter 
yeah that guys thread flew right over my head

+ I might be able to find some enclosures for chill box
post #9 of 44
Tbh rather than hunt high and low for a pre made enclosure it's probably easier to make your own and insulate it......get exactly the dimensions you need then....first stage would be to get a window ac unit, strip it down and see what size evaporator it had and how the pipe work is organized.
post #10 of 44
two things
oil "creeps", it will happily climb up any wire like mouse, power, sata cable, etc without any fuss
not only will it creep up things, it will also get into things... you might wanna check if rubber things like (waterblock) O-rings and such play nice with the type of (mineral) oil you wanna use.

Also, to slosh around oil -no matter how thin- a submersible aquariumpump is not gonna cut it... it WILL die... it might take a while, but it will.
You need the right tool for the job - a sump pump...

AFAIK there are no electrical sump pumps, they are driven by chain or belt by the (combustion) engine
then again , i might be wrong
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