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How Long can an ATX PSU cable be?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My plan is to use nature to cool my Haswell build for Overclocking by making it live in my uninsulated garage for the winter where the average temp is going to be -6c and sometimes as low as -20c. All the ground work is done and I am ready to take the plunge but I have modify the plan somewhat based on some research regarding manufactures specified operating temperatures.

I have installed an ABS in the 16” wall between the garage and the sim room and originally planned to put the whole system on the cold side of the wall and run HDMI and USB extensions through the pipe. Also I planned to run a SATA cable and a power cable from the PSU through the pipe and have the DVD drive on the warm side of the wall for easy access. Also a power switch cable so I would not have to go into the garage to switch on.

I have modified the plan so that not only the DVD drive and power switch are on the warm side of the wall but also the HDD’s and the SDD’s.
The idea is that the motherboard, CPU, Dram and GPU are in the cold.
To make this happen I am going to have to get extra-long cable.
As I see it there is only one question remaining.
Is it better to put the PSU on the warm side of the wall or in the case on the cold side of the wall, i.e. is -6c and sometimes lower going to bother it? If it goes on the cold side off the wall I need to extent the power cabled to the DVD drive, HDD’s and SDD’s. I will 5 foot cables.

On the other hand if the PSU must go on the warm side of the wall here are the cables I will need:
PSU Cables:
1x 24 pin Length 60" (5 Feet)
1x 8 Pin Length 60" (5 Feet)
1x 6 Pin PCI-e Length 60" (5 Feet)
1x 8 Pin PCI-e Length 60" (5 Feet)

Are cables this long going to create a problem for the PSU?
Will the Cold cause problems for the PSU if I put it on the cold side?

Is it OK to extend a PSU cable by cutting it in half and adding in the required length of the appropriate gauge of wire by soldering the wires together?

To illustrate here are some photos of the project:

IMG_20130827_040624.jpgIMG_20130908_032005.jpgIMG_20130908_025607.jpgIMG_20130908_031954.jpgIMG_20130910_032636.jpgIMG_20130910_032808.jpgIMG_20130911_032613.jpgIMG_20130911_033041.jpg
post #2 of 9
I bought a 20' cable for my wife's classroom computer and its been running fine over 2 years now. Bought it off the egg.
    
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post #3 of 9
The longer the run, the thicker the gauge should be (for equivalent resistive losses). Ideally, you'd just use thicker wires to compensate, but it's probably okay. I mean, if a 16 AWG wire is carrying 4 amps (say one of six +12V wires and corresponding ground wires to a very highly overclocked graphics card), that's a resistance of 0.040 ohms over that ten feet total, so you'd be losing 0.16 V. Well within tolerance and no biggie. The higher the power draw, the more drops you're going to see across the cables, but they should be okay at those lengths.

Some of the components of the power supply may a little bit prefer the lower ambients, but the cold and more extreme temperature cycling don't seem like great ideas. I'd put it warm side.

For sure the drives are much better off on the warm side, so that's good.
post #4 of 9
Why not buy a slimline dvd drive and put a USB to slimline sata on the other side wink.gif

As for the power switch, if it's just the sort of switches that come on cases then whatever size doesn't matter tongue.gif (As long it's above AWG26)
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Ayase Eli
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post #5 of 9
That may be a good plan for a hot climate, but in winter you want to keep as much waste heat indoors as possible. And you absolutely must prevent dew from forming inside the computer.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by larymoencurly View Post

That may be a good plan for a hot climate, but in winter you want to keep as much waste heat indoors as possible. And you absolutely must prevent dew from forming inside the computer.
I doubt dew will form when the computer is definitely warmer than ambient. Doesn't dew only form if a certain something is colder than ambient?

Somebody correct me if i'm wrong wink.gif
Ayase Eli
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Ayase Eli
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the helpful suggestions.
I have decided to use an external drive enclosure.
So the drives will be on the warn side of the wall.
Here is my problem now there is a bunch of Esata
enclosures on the market bit I am not interest in Esata
per say. What I want is an enclosure with 8 bay and a its own power supply
to power the drives. I want to run 8 6gb/s Sata cables from the enclosure
directly to the Sata ports on the Motherboard. One for each drive.
Anyone know of such an enclosure. I had no luck searching
So each side of the Wall will have its own PSU.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveLT View Post

I doubt dew will form when the computer is definitely warmer than ambient. Doesn't dew only form if a certain something is colder than ambient?
Dew forms on something when it's colder than the dew point, so if the air is colder than the dew point but the electronics are warmer than the air, you can still have moisture problems. For proof of the risk, look in your VCR (I know you own one because you're always living on the cutting edge of technology), which has a dew sensor and an indicator that lights up when dew is detected (so tapes won't stick to the rotating heads and snap apart). Also the company I work for handles electronics located outdoors but shielded from rain, and it has to be protected from dew anyway (sealed boxes or coatings on circuit boards).
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by larymoencurly View Post

Dew forms on something when it's colder than the dew point, so if the air is colder than the dew point but the electronics are warmer than the air, you can still have moisture problems. For proof of the risk, look in your VCR (I know you own one because you're always living on the cutting edge of technology), which has a dew sensor and an indicator that lights up when dew is detected (so tapes won't stick to the rotating heads and snap apart). Also the company I work for handles electronics located outdoors but shielded from rain, and it has to be protected from dew anyway (sealed boxes or coatings on circuit boards).
The last time i've seen a VCR in my house is 13 years ago tongue.gif
Ayase Eli
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Ayase Eli
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EK Supremacy MX EK-D5 X-TOP Rev.2 + Swiftech D5 Aquacomputer R9 290X "Bitspower EML" fittings 
CoolingCoolingMonitorKeyboard
Magicool 360 Ultra Magicool 240 Slim Dell U2713HM CM Storm MECH 
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