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A mini fridge CAN cool a PC - Page 5

post #41 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by k4m1k4z3 View Post
My mini fridge used to run constantly and did a poor job at keeping the food cool, and I pulled the thing out to look at it. First observation was no radiator... is that normal?
Your mini-fridge is TEC/Peltier based then. There's a whole section on those as well. I won't get into it since it's "complicated".
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post #42 of 55
Most mini-fridges have condensers that are under the sheet metal, so you cannot see them.

k4m1k4z3, I am assuming that when you say "radiator" you are actually referring to the condenser that on some fridges is exposed on the back.

Here are some pics of my mini-fridge in pieces (condenser tubing clearly visible in the fourth pic down):



And its cut...:


The sides had to come off too:


This is how most models are, the condenser is under the side panels:


And there are wires for the thermostat that must be dug from the insulation:


Aaaahhh the chaos!!:


Must cut the back out to pull the ice tray (evaporator):


And then demolish the rest of the back to get everything to come out together:



And finally, about 30 minutes later, seperation!!:
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post #43 of 55
Almost forgot... If you want to run a mini-fridge continuously, you will need to provide forced air circulation for the condenser. Otherwise, it will get too hot and it won't hardly cool things down, and I imagine death to the compressor is the next thing that happens.

When a mini-fridge is in normal operation with food in it, it doesn't run long enough to overheat the condenser. It gets hot, but then has time to dissipate the heat to the case once the compressor shuts off.
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post #44 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by walker450 View Post
Almost forgot... If you want to run a mini-fridge continuously, you will need to provide forced air circulation for the condenser. Otherwise, it will get too hot and it won't hardly cool things down, and I imagine death to the compressor is the next thing that happens.

When a mini-fridge is in normal operation with food in it, it doesn't run long enough to overheat the condenser. It gets hot, but then has time to dissipate the heat to the case once the compressor shuts off.
exactly what I am getting at. I was assuming the compressor overheating was what caused its death. If installing a big ole' CPU heatsink and fan on it was effectively cooling it, imagine what a few more could do for a fridge that was being used to cool a PC.

now, for the people that just read only the last few words of the previous sentence; YES, I under stand that if you try to cool a pc with a fridge, the fridge will die.
But what about modifying it slightly so that the compressor does not get hot at all?

So the condenser is in the sides... that might be a little tricky to keep them cool...
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post #45 of 55
Cascade phase change builds on this principle.
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post #46 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by k4m1k4z3 View Post
exactly what I am getting at. I was assuming the compressor overheating was what caused its death. If installing a big ole' CPU heatsink and fan on it was effectively cooling it, imagine what a few more could do for a fridge that was being used to cool a PC.

now, for the people that just read only the last few words of the previous sentence; YES, I under stand that if you try to cool a pc with a fridge, the fridge will die.
But what about modifying it slightly so that the compressor does not get hot at all?

So the condenser is in the sides... that might be a little tricky to keep them cool...
A phase change unit is exactly this.... A condensor and evaporator tuned to PC loads and designed to run 24/7. Rather than trying hard to adapt/mod a fridge.... just grab a AC unit!
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post #47 of 55
i have been reading this topic from the beginning and i must say i encourage your work. You all said about cooling the fridge more eficient with a cpu cooler+radiator combo, but i sugest major modifying for the freon cooling system of the fridge. All you need is a larger heat disipation area without adding any vent to it.

you should weld a coper car radiator (instead of that tiny short tubing called radiator), and after that, fill the instalation with freon.

my english is bad and i'm sorry for that (still improving), i'm from Romania.
i googled these days in searching for a complete sustainable diy method of cooling computers and i ran into this.

keep up the good work !
post #48 of 55
That would probably not work, and could be extremely damaging.

I am not an HVAC engineer, but I know that phase change systems can be extremely dangerous, it's not just a water cooling loop with freon in.

The whole loop has to be pressurized and braized together properly so that it does not explode and no harmful CFCs are released into the atmosphere, and when testing, even the pros test behind a brick wall, and likely under water as well, so any flying strips of metal are slowed down enough before they tear apart your body.

Essentially, you want the strongest loop you can get, and for the beginner, making your own condenser could be a fairly tricky proposal, because of the physics involved. If it is too long, you will have trouble, if it is too short, likewise. Suitable parts for phase change can be purchased if you can find the right websites, and I would recommend them over what you are proposing, merely because a beginner such as yourself would likely not do the proper testing proceedures etc.

I'm not sure about in Romania, but certainly in most western countries you need to be a qualified HVAC engineer to buy/handle the refrigerants in most cases.
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post #49 of 55
that poor mini fridge would have made a great kegerator
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post #50 of 55
Quote:
A vapor compression cycle is used in most household refrigerators, refrigerator–freezers and freezers. In this cycle, a circulating refrigerant such as R134a enters a compressor as low-pressure vapor at or slightly above room temperature. The vapor is then compressed and exits the compressor as high-pressure superheated vapor. The superheated vapor travels under pressure through coils or tubes comprising "the condenser", which are passively cooled by exposure to air in the room. (In hot weather, the room or "ambient" air may itself have been cooled by an air conditioner. A cooler ambient temperature demands less work from the refrigerator.) The condenser cools the vapor, and it eventually liquefies. It is then still under pressure. By the time the refrigerant leaves the condenser it is only slightly above room temperature. This warm liquid refrigerant is forced by its pressure through a metering or throttling device, also known as an expansion valve (essentially a constriction) to an area of much lower pressure. The sudden decrease in pressure results in explosive-like flash evaporation of a portion (typically about half) of the liquid. The latent heat absorbed by this flash evaporation is drawn mostly from adjacent still-liquid refrigerant, a phenomenon known as "auto-refrigeration". The cold and partially vaporized refrigerant continues through coils or tubes of the evaporator unit. A fan blows air from the refrigerator or freezer compartment ("box air") across these coils or tubes and the refrigerant completely vaporizes, drawing further latent heat from the box air, and so keeps the box air cold. This cooled air is returned to the refrigerator or freezer compartment. The cool air in the refrigerator or freezer is still warmer than the refrigerant in the evaporator. Refrigerant leaves the evaporator, now fully vaporized and slightly heated, and returns to the compressor inlet to continue the cycle.
the only problem in expanding the disipation area is the welding so this part has to be made by a professional welder.

i'm sure you cand find guidence at a workshop who repairs refrigerators.
all you need is a good weld and the gas coolant inside at a proper presure (in fact, the same presure like it was before modifications)
there is nothing to explode there, the only thing might hapen is burning the electrical pump.

le : if you rely on the base that only engineers can do the mods, then i think this is not the right place for you... in fact all the discussion/topic/efforts presented here would be worthless (anywhere in the world, not only in us or romania)
Edited by RGB_RO - 12/10/09 at 7:00am
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