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TEC Chill Box Chamber Build log

post #1 of 1658
Thread Starter 

Igloo 60-Quart Ice Cube Roller Cooler
the PC case inside
I had to heavily modify the case to get it to fit inside of the chest, I striped the case down and then I cut the bottom off, then made the case 3" shorter from top to bottom all the way around, reattached the bottom to the case and it just fits, lots of fun.
I do not recommend this kind of build for anyone, as it is time consuming, lots of tools are needed, and expensive, but if your hobby is water cooling, and looking to take that hobby to the next level in performance, I would say this is it, TEC's are lots of fun to play with and provide hours of tinker time.

power consumption :lol:

for lots of giggles yea, its high, I will have a total of 6 power supplies for this build, a 1250W PS for the motherboard and video cards, a 600W PS for the 2 water pumps, half the fans, and one of the fan controllers, a 850W PS for the other half of the fans, 2 pumps, temp sensors, and flow meters. 3 X 12V 55A powermax PS for the TEC's
so its a lot of power consumption.

well let me explain a couple of the issues I ran into while testing this setup for use.
cold coolant is a good thing for hot components, but rubber seals get hard when there cold, and as a result can get little cracks in them causing a leak, I did 4 things to resolve this issue, first I replaced all the rubber O-rings with ones that are rated for -65C, two I used gas line Teflon tape on all the connections, three I used pipe thread sealant on all the connections, and four after the connection is tight, I cleaned it off with a Q-tip and some alcohol, so that I could apply gasket sealant rated for -65C at the seam of the connection.
overkill, maybe, but I don't want it to leak.
freezing of the blocks is not really a issue for the coolant inside the system, but when the system is shut down, all that ice turns to water and creates a puddle under the blocks, in testing I put a pie pan under the blocks to collect the water, but for the rig I am trying the clay out as a way of preventing the ice from forming.

this is completely covered in two types of clay
this is about a 1/8 inch thick around the entire cold side blocks, and fittings, and this kind of clay is covering that
this stuff is about 2" thick around the entire cold side assembly, yea its ugly, but functional, the cold side blocks and piping does not end up as a block of ice this way.

to insolate the reservoir on the outside of the vacuum chamber, I will be covering it in foam insolation to start, and maybe some clay on top of that if it starts to freeze up around it.
they make real nice fittings today for making the conversion from G1/4 to soft copper tubing. the copper tubing will also be covered in clay.

to give a idea of how close I am to completion, I still need two power supplies, I am using the powermax 12V 45A power supply units, one for each TEC, I have one now, I still need 2 X 360mm radiators, I have 4 now, and I still need some fitting for the water loops, I have most of them already.

these things below will be possible upgrades for this build.

I would like to use a new motherboard the asus rampage 4 black edition for this build
I would like to get a 3960X CPU for the final build
I would like to get motherboard blocks for the build

so I am about 6 months, to a year from completion, depending on how many of the upgrades I decide to get for this build.

i am going to try to do a parts list for this build

PC case HP $25
motherboard DX79SR $300
3930K CPU $400
video cards GTX580 with water blocks X 2 $500
memory Gskill 2133 8Gigs $130
SSD's intel 3700 X 2 $350
Asus BR DVD $60
Asus 27" monitor $500
blackwidow keyboard $100
RAT 9 mouse $100
G930 headset $150
enermax 1350W power supply $300
enermax 850W power supply $200
TT 600W power supply $60
maxpower 12V 55A power supply X 3 $120
TEC's 16V 26A 410W X 3 $46
CPU water blocks X 6 $20
wiring extensions $300
DYI reservoirs X 3 $35
bitspower reservoirs 250mm $50
bitspower reservoir 150mm $50
bitspower pump top $50
relays switches wiring AWG10 $100
stinger relay upgrade $45
electrical boxes & covers X 3 $10
material for frames $75
clay & eraser putty $120
sealants & epoxies $80
TIM & thermal epoxy $80
all the fans $300
CPU air coolers 3 X $40
radiators X 6 $49
D5 pumps X 4 $90
fittings G1/4 $800
tubing norprene & soft copper $90
fan controllers X 4 $45
koolance flow rate display and flow meter for the cold side $50
XSPC temp sensor and display for the cold side $20
power and reset switch holder for the cold side $30
raystorm CPU water block $45
vacuum pump $130
fittings and gauges for the vacuum line $230
nitrogen tank $120
gauges Temp sensors flow meters for the hot side $130
igloo chest $25
not as bad as I thought it would be, $8400 for the total build, minis the actual PC components at $3765, and your left with the water chiller setup cost at $4635. that is not bad, I spent just a little more on the cooling solution than what that the actual PC build cost was. to me I don't mind spending as much on the cooling solution, as I did on the PC components them self's. to me the cooling is a kind of insurance for the PC components that will enable the PC components to last longer.
well if I missed something please let me know
I will do it again when the build is complete.
Edited by toolmaker03 - 6/24/16 at 4:01pm
post #2 of 1658
Thread Starter 
pics of the new case and chest

I cant use the case and chest I used for my test setup because it has too much damage done to it so I got another case and a new chest.


there is a HP computer case striped out completely with no sides or front on it to make it small enough to fit in the chest, the motherboard and video cards fit inside of the HP case, because the case has been completely gutted of all its insides, the PC case is screwed to the floor of the chest to keep it from moving around in the chest, there are also 4 X 250mm reservoirs in that chest, attached to the outer wall, with 4 X 120mm fans attached to two of the reservoirs, with two fans on each reservoir.
this has been a difficult build, I am on my second chest, and second PC case. :lol:
lots of modifications are needed for this kind of build, at least the way I do them, but I have the tools and the time to waste, so I don't mind the little issues I run into from time to time, but issues also mean cost and extra time to the project.
post #3 of 1658
subadubdubbed, can't wait to see the results. Looking good so far.
post #4 of 1658
Thread Starter 
thanks you have a nice build yourself.
I just finished my last project.
CPU 4Ghz
GPU 850Mhz
now I am wanting to clock it further, so I can play games, that is what I use it for.
so I shooting for 4.8Ghz to 5Ghz on the CPU
and 900Mhz to 930Mhz on the GPU
I would like to keep the load temps between 25C and 50C, like I am now, but with higher clocks on my hardware.
post #5 of 1658
Thread Starter 

this is completely covered in two types of clay
this is about a 1/8 inch thick around the entire cold side blocks, and fittings, and this kind of clay is covering that
this stuff is about 2" thick around the entire cold side assembly, yea its ugly, but functional, the cold side blocks and piping does not end up as a block of ice this way.

to insolate the reservoir, I will be covering it in foam insolation to start, and maybe some clay on top of that if it starts to freeze up around it.
they make real nice fittings today for making the conversion from G1/4 to soft copper tubing. the copper tubing will also be covered in clay.

the chest(vacuum chamber) and pump.
had to throw the inwin case away, made too many changes to it, and the case became weak, I have another case, its a HP case, and it fits in the chest, so this time I will be a little more careful about how many modifications I make to the case. :lol: I will try anyway.

these are two of them
in the test loop I used this one so one of the TEC will be a 430W
I also have 4 X 100W and 2 X 250W TEC's that I used for testing.
this is basically what the test loop looked like.

ok so what is happening here?
I am cutting 3" off the length of the PC case all the way around then I will reattach the front of the case 3" closer to the video card.
this will give me the room I need to have all of the wires from the I/O panel, video cards, motherboard, and the tubing, all going through only one hole in the chest.
it will be to tight on the I/O panel wires and the video card connectors if I do not shorten the case.
there is no PS going in the PC case so all of the wires and tubing will be going out of the case where the PS should be.

on a side note this is how I messed up the last case, so I will be more careful this time

ok so the new case dimensions after the modifications are 14 3/8" high X 11 5/8" wide X 6 1/2" thick(deep)

it is just a little larger than the motherboard a DX79SR and a little thicker than the video card a GTX580 with the water block.

how I messed up the first chest
this kind of build is definitely a custom build, and because of the nature of the build, it needs to be put together in a certain order.
when it comes to getting every thing in the chest and the chest resealed using only one hole, that to has to be done in a particular order.
first it is obvious that the amount of room in the chest is tight, in fact it is so tight that there is only enough room left in the chest after everything is in there, to finish making one connection. and that connection is on the top of the reservoirs, meaning that the water in line is the only line in the case that is not connected, when everything is placed in the chest.
so the water line from the bottom of the reservoirs to the lower video card has to be completely connected, and the water line out of the chest has to be connected to the bottom of the lower video card, this line has to be long enough to exit the chest, and be able to connect to the pump on the outside of the chest.
so the PC case and reservoirs need to made as a single unit outside of the chest, and placed inside chest as a singe unit, so I am building a support frame for the reservoirs, it is attached to the PC case. this is how I destroyed the last chest, I did not build frames to hold all of the hardware together, and as a result of that, and other issues, I had several holes in the first chest rather than only one.
the water line in has to be made but not connected, it can be sitting in the chest running through the hole in the chest for the water lines and wires.
all of the PC case wiring needs to have extensions for them, I am running all the wire extensions first through the one hole this time.
that is the power wire, reset wire, mobo power, cpu power, sata, FP audio, FP USB, 8-pin, 6-pin, USB, cat-6, audio, and the DVI-D.
it is a Chinese puzzle box, there really is only one way to put it all together.
the PC power supply, SSD/HDD, and DVD are outside of the chest.

wire extensions for this build.
one good thing about this build, is that the wire extensions used for going through the chest, are all the cheap style of wire.
the braided wire only serves to make it impossible to seal around it, so in the end I had to remove the braiding from the wire, to seal it on the test rig.
I got all the new wire extensions last night, and the total was only $65 for everything at newegg.
I was shocked, when I got my nice braded wire extensions for everything it was $250.
so live and learn. :lol:

ok so when I am ready to mount all of this I will have pics of my placement and maybe I could get some help then figuring out where the best place for all the components to go?
but for now here is a sketch to give a idea about all the different things, I will be trying to place.

the size of the reservoirs from top to bottom without fittings, I have two of them at 13" and one at 11" they are the 4" dia PVC.
the fittings for connecting them together are 3/8 copper compression fittings, 4 X T's and 2 X 90's with soft copper line running in between them.
on the top of the reservoirs I made a hole for a fill port, and taped it for a G1/4 cap. I cant see inside of the reservoirs, but a thin strip of plastic used like a dip stick, lets me know when I am close to the top of the inside of the reservoir with coolant.

the size of the TEC assembly, it is 15" tall, 5" wide, and 12" deep with all the fittings attached.
after the clay was added, I made it two inches thick all the way around the cold side, so the final size so far is 19" tall, 9" wide, and 14" deep, it is a massive square of clay on one half of the assembly the hot side has no clay on it at all, the clay stops at the TEC's.

sealing the hole I made in the side of chest after the computer is inside and the water loop has been primed with coolant and filled.
I will pack eraser putty into the 1" void of the chest and cover both the inside of the chest and the outside of the chest around the hole with flex seal.
I may need to seal the top of the chest where it opens, with some silicon for the chest to hold a vacuum.
the soft copper line coming into the chest for the vacuum pump, enters the chest through the drain plug for the chest, I will do the same thing there, I will pack the void around the copper tubing with eraser putty and cover both ends with flex seal.
well I think that covers the basic design, and how I will be assembling the system.

so this is how I decided to pipe the three reservoirs together, it is a three way parallel connection for the system, the total volume of liquid that they can hold together is about 5 liters, so I hope that will be enough to stabilize the system.

the center reservoir is a little shorter than the two outer reservoirs, because of the drain plug in the bottom of the chest.

ok, the removing of the lid on the CPU, I like the hair dryer and vice method for doing this, I will remove the lid, polish both sides of it, I will use liquid metal pro between the die and the lid, and I will paint LET on the base of the lid to reattach it.
I would like to stabilize my core temps, and this seems to be the way of doing that.

ok, so when I was placing the motherboard into the PC case for the vacuum chamber the motherboard extends down into the area that the power supply would be, well there are no standoffs for the motherboard in that area of the PC case, so I had to epoxy some standoffs to the PC case to support the motherboard down there, these standoffs are twice the height of standard standoffs. also I had to cut out two of the standoffs that where made as part of the PC case. a little work but its all worth it.

this little guy was my first test box for a vacuum chamber this box had two CPU blocks and a 100W TEC in it and I would vacuum it down to see how the environment would affect the TEC.
it changed nothing about how it functioned, but it was a good way for me to find out.
I did the same with a motherboard, I placed one in a larger chest then vacuumed it down, I released the vacuum, reinstalled the motherboard, and it worked fine, after that I was ready for my first live run, meaning I would try to power up a motherboard while under a vacuum. that test went fine as well I had no issues starting a mother board up while under a vacuum.
then I tried running cold coolant through the vacuum chamber to see if condensation would occur, that is how I figured out that I needed to preform a chamber dry, before I started any of my hardware at first I had ice forming on the lines and the blocks it took about 10 days before the chamber was dry enough that neither ice or water could form on the lines and blocks. once the chamber was dry, and I could run cold coolant through it all day without any condensation, or ice forming on the lines or blocks, at this point I was ready to start the system up for the first time. this too worked great, without too many issues, I did have to open the vacuum chamber up several times, to reset the BIOS before I found a stable clock for my CPU, than t had to re dry the chamber before I could start the system again. it was a pain, but I saved the profile in BIOS when I was done, so its all good.

things to remember
do not use petroleum grease, oil, or sealants inside the vacuum chamber, as a vacuum and petroleum do not get along, at all.
I state this because it has become a common practice to use grease to seal around the CPU and PCI-e sockets, in TEC builds.
the use of desi packs inside the vacuum chamber will cut the amount of time it takes to dry the vacuum chamber in half.
this is a high amp system, so I decided to cover every electrical connection in the system with a electrical box, to help prevent any kind of electrical accident.
Edited by toolmaker03 - 1/4/16 at 8:58pm
post #6 of 1658
pretty epic build here man, going to work very well. Do you have a radiator inside the chill box? If you put a radiator inside the chill box with the chilled fluid running through it that will drop the internal temperature of the case, which means the dew point is lowered, so no condensation will form, this removes the need to wait 10 days for the vacuum chamber to "dry", it also means it will form a vacuum itself without the need for the vacuum pump, but using the vacuum pump in conjunction with the radiator could improve things even if you just use the vacuum pump at the initial start up of the chiller, you just need a small radiator with a fan on it, a 120mm or 240mm rad should be fine, can be a thin radiator, 30mm is fine, use a fan with decent airflow. I think that will make the system much more flexible as having to wait for the relative humidity inside the chill box to drop after every time you open the case is very time consuming.

one tip, if you connect the reset switch to the cmos jumper, ie connect it to the two pins that you would put a jumper on to reset your cmos then you can just press the reset switch and that will reset your cmos/bios without having to open the chill box. you won't have a "reset" switch any more but its not necessary anyway, just use the on/off button for a hard reset. that should save you some messing around.

other than that, pretty epic!
post #7 of 1658
Thread Starter 
thanks I was wondering about that, if I could attach a switch to the clear bios pins, but I did not know if it would work, I will do that right now, and add that to the wires going out of the chest. I have a set of extra power and reset switches for a lin li case that I got for this build.
Edited by toolmaker03 - 12/30/15 at 9:05pm
post #8 of 1658
Thread Starter 
wont be putting a radiator in the chest, as I think that just having the water at around 0C running through the reservoirs and blocks that are in the chest, will be enough to keep the temps inside of the chest at around 15C, I will have a camera in the chest facing a humidity gage, a temps sensor display of the temps inside of the chest, as well the bottom of the second video card and the water in and the water out lines are visible from the camera. so I will be able to keep a close eye on how the system is functioning inside of the chest. I have temp sensors for the water loops both the hot side and the cold side. with the design of the hot side I have a pretty good swing on how hot I can let it get, from 30C to 70C on the water temps. by slowing down the fans and pumps on the hot side loop. if needed I could even shut the flow off to three of the radiators on the hot side to give myself a even greater swing in the hot side water temps. I am using norprene tubing and metal fittings on the hot side, so I can get it pretty hot before the material it is made out of will start to break down. if I need anything over 70C on the hot side water temps, I will remove the reservoir or replace it with a metal one that will have to make for it.
Edited by toolmaker03 - 1/1/16 at 8:20am
post #9 of 1658
Thread Starter 
I have been working up to this for about 15 years, ever since I messed up my first go with TEC's, I have learned a lot more, and I feel I am ready to give it another try.
and really this has been done already, OCAddict has a similar build, the difference is that I hope to get this a little colder, and I going to try to tackle the issue of condensation, (that is what killed my last TEC rig) with TEC's it is possible to have temps below the dew point, and because of this, extreme measurers are taken to prevent damage to components from the condensation. I have worked with electronics for 15 years now, and have seen a lot of industrial setups. The one that I am copying this idea from, is a vacuum chamber for testing electronics in extreme environments, the electronics are used in space. now there vacuum chamber can do a lot more than mine can, but the part I liked about it, is that once the chamber is dry, and as long as I keep a static vacuum on it, the environment in the chest does not change, it becomes a self contained environment that is not affected by outside conditions.
post #10 of 1658
Thread Starter 
the case mod

Edited by toolmaker03 - 1/4/16 at 9:01pm
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