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Please Read Before Purchasing EK Nickel Plated Blocks - Update: Revised plating info

Poll Results: In light of EK's nickel failure, will you buy their blocks?

 
  • 39% (222)
    Yes, continue or consider using their blocks (copper or nickel)
  • 60% (346)
    No, I will look into other manufacturers.
568 Total Votes  
post #1 of 1629
Thread Starter 
Update 5/15/2012: We have an official disclaimer from EK citing distilled as a major factor (if not the main factor) of the nickel failure both in pre and post EN nickel plated EK products:
Quote:
News
EK Staining test on Nickel Plated surfaces - 14/05/2012

Last year EK received a few reports of excessive staining in EK products and also some reports of corrosion.
EK lab therefore undertook laboratory testing to investigate these occurrences and the results both confirmed the reports and demonstrated how the staining and corrosion could be avoided. The tests showed that only coolants with anti-corrosive additive keep water blocks clean, corrosion free and easy to maintain in the long run. Using other coolants, such as distilled water, with or without algicide, will result in staining, pitting and ultimately corrosion of the blocks. The report includes pictures of all the test results, clearly illustrating the significant benefits of using an anti-corrosion additive.

How does it come to that?
1. Distilled water is great coolant at first, but quickly becomes increasingly polluted, inevitably resulting in staining.
2. In the loop there are different metals with different electrode potentials. Galvanic corrosion (called dissimilar metal corrosion) is the process by which metals in contact with each other oxidize or corrode. There are three conditions that must exist for galvanic corrosion to occur.
a. First there must be two electrochemically dissimilar metals present.
b. Second, there must be an electrically conductive path between the two metals.
c. And third, there must be a conductive path for the metal ions to move from the more anodic metal to the more cathodic metal. (Distilled water becomes proportionally very conductive over time, compared to initial values and features.)
If any one of these three conditions does not exist, galvanic corrosion will not occur.

Please, find full report at this link.

We would like to appeal to all users which want to have long lasting pride and joy in their projects to start using quality coolants with anti-corrosion additive. Several coolants performed well in the tests, and are recommended. You can see the test results for the coolants in this report.

Source

Ocn thread:


http://www.overclock.net/t/1257682/ek-staining-test-on-nickel-plated-surfaces



Update 7/21/2011, Thanks to SeeingRed smile.gif
Source
Quote:
News
EK introducing Electroless Nickelplating (EN) - 21/07/2011

EK introducing Electroless Nickelplating (EN)

Electroless nickelplating stands out as the best solution for complex liquid cooling systems in PC's. After thorough investigationand testing, EK have opted for the most expensive technology to raise the bar of quality even further.

Due to the high complexity of the coolants and coolant additives used in water cooling systems, and the possible consequences of galvanic corrosion, EK has been working 24/7 to find a solution to increase corrosion resistance of nickel plating against aggressive additives.

EK’s uniquely designed products with clear acrylic material tops increase visibility to the user’s eye giving better visual access from a maintenance point of view, as well as a stunning visual appearance, compared to the competition that mainly use acetal (POM) or metal tops. Because of this EK has given even more focus on the products visual appearance and attention to detail.

After much testing and research, EK has come to the conclusion that it offers its customers the finest and the most expensive nickel plating technique available in the industry – Electroless Nickel Plating (EN). The electroless nickel plating is about 3-5 times more expensive compared to standard nickel Electroplating. EN plating offers several advantages such as:
- Outstanding resistance to corrosion.
- Dimensionally uniform thickness to within 2 millionths of a millimetre.
- Highly adhesive and solderable.
- Very smooth and wear resistant.
- Hardness equal to hard chrome and greater than electrolytic nickel

Electroless nickel plating (EN) is an auto-catalytic chemical technique used to deposit a layer of nickel alloy on a solid workpiece, such as metal or plastic. The process relies on the presence of a reducing agent, which reacts with the metal ions to deposit metal. Due to increased corrosion resistance, the surface of nickel plating is not as shiny as standard Nickel Electroplating and has little darker tone. Throughout the years EN plating may become less bright.

EN Nickel products and availability
Not all currently available EK nickel products will be offered in EN nickel versions. First EN nickel plated products are already manufactured and available for purchase. EN plated EK products will be additionally marked with a silver sticker located in front of the box:

EN-Nalepka_Small1.png
Prices of EN nickel plated EK products will be higher than “old” nickel plated products – in average from 3€ for the CPU blocks to about 10€ for the EK-FC590 GTX blocks.

“Old” Nickel plated blocks status
After further tests, only small number of received RMA returns because of corrosion and feedbacks from end-users, Resellers and Distributors, we have decided to continue selling “old” nickel plated blocks, while suggesting use of only market tested coolants with anticorrosion additive.

Some EK products nickel plated with “old” technology will be discontinued after the sale of current stocks, while we will continue to sell only EN nickel plated options.

All “old” and new EN nickel plated products remain with full 24 month RMA warranty on material, machining and nickel corrosion.

Update 06/14/2011
Thanks to Jello900 and Kiel^cx for this update.
Quote:
News
EK RMA upgrade for corrosion - 14/06/2011

RMA is upgraded on two points:



1. We are lifting the RMA limit on corrosion to full 24month from the end-user purchase date without limit.
2. EK will cover all shipping costs of the RMA block to reseller and shipping of the replacement block back to customer.



The procedure of RMA request stays the same; filling the RMA form.

Link

Update 06/10/2010
Quote:
News
Halt on EK Nickel Plated blocks - 11/06/2011

Dear EK partner/user,


As EK is looking for lasting solution for nickel plating issue (concerning corrosion because of silver coils and copper sulphate additive) we decided to halt sales of nickel plated products till solution is found and tested. Our resellers were advised to halt sales too.


We cannot put users into position, that we replace products and corrosion starts again on new product. Hopefully we will find an answer and tested solution in short while.


We will update you as soon as we have any news.


However, If customer insists on buying EK nickel block, we offer a customer full 24 month warranty on material, manufacturing and corrosion.


Edvard König

Link
I'm not surprised tbh.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Update 6/6

Basically, they will replace your bock, most likely with another nickel one if they don't offer a copper version. You have to show proof of purchase, sucks for those of who got it preowned. You pay for shipping and wait for a replacement. What a hassle and load of crock. My rma block was replaced after just some weeks of back and forth and multiple pics, never did they asked for a invoice or proof of purchase. I'm disgusted that they refuse to admit their nickel is bad and will continue to use them per their recommendation to not use distilled + silver or additives with copper sulphate. mad.giffrown.gifconfused.gif Goodbye EK, I will try to get my replacements if it does not mean to get another nickel replacement. I have to find my invoice for the two gtx470 blocks, for the cpu, and the ram. The mb was purchased preowned, I'll talk to the member I bought it from.
Quote:
Dear user of EK products,

Original EK statement can be found also here.

EK Nickel plated products have been under lot of public interest recently due to reported flaking issues. This is a short statement to summarize the important points and conclusions from research done recently. In our statement there are also links to technical papers covering the issue in depth. We hope this will clarify the situation. EK promises that we will pursue this issue furthermore.

EK Water Blocks Company has been working on the Nickel Plating issue for over 3 months now. Let us say that any test with nickel is a long term project, if we want to be thorough.

We chose technical Institute Jozef Stefan which is well known worldwide to check our samples. Their test report can be found here.

We have also made internal tests of 5 different coolants in an identical hardware setup.
What we found in summary is that:
1. Certain chemical additives based on pure silver and Copper Sulphate that were added to the loops all of these cases have made distilled water electrolytic and with its properties they caused corrosion of nickel plating.
2. Most of the threads on the forums have stated nickel-plating flaking off, while research have disclosed there was no flaking involved whatsoever.

Effects of these additives were not commonly known. EK is sure that users are using them in good faith. Due to only until recently confirmed effects of these additives to nickel plated blocks, EK have decided to fully replace products with damage nickel plating in order to support customers of EK products.
You will get a specific EK RMA form from your reseller which can be also downloaded here.

To get the RMA product replacement you will need to follow these steps:
1. Fill in RMA form
2. Make pictures of the block (front, back and corrosion close-up)
3. Send RMA form, scan of original invoice and 3 pictures for each block to support@ekwaterblocks.com e-mail.
4. We will then inform you where to ship the damaged block(s).
5. EK support will inform you from where your replacement block will be shipped to you (in most cases it will be shipped from the location where you bought it)
6. Customer will pay shipping costs for the replacement block and can discuss with the reseller what shipping method to use
7. Customer will get the block replaced and cannot ask for a credit note nor replacement for another product. Only thing that we allow is that customer can chose to replace the product for non-Nickel-Plated block – copper version.

Therefore until further notice EK Water Blocks Company recommends, not to use distilled water with silver in the loop in combination with nickel-plated blocks, nor additives based on Copper Sulphate.

EK recommends only coolants with anticorrosion additive, although our internal test systems of pure distilled water have been found without any problem in 2 months test period. EK Team would like to ask you to kindly spread this information as we would like our users to continue having excellent experiences with EK products.

The replacement form can be filled in until July 31st, and starting with August 1st EK will no longer replace products with such damage as the reason of the damage will be widely known and customers still using these additives will do it under their own risk. The replacement request can also be possible only for the purchases with invoices dated up to June 12th 2011.

Edvard König

http://www.ekwaterblocks.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=83&cntnt01origid=15&cntnt01returnid=17

Update 6/4.

***Attention SideWinderComputers.com and PetraTechShop customers. If you have purchased an EK nickel plated block within the last 60 days and it shows signs of nickel failure:

Quote:
...Effective immediately,
all sales of EK Nickel plated waterblocks are suspended indefinitely pending further
investigation.
Any customer of Sidewinder Computers or Petra’s Tech Shop that has purchased any nickel
plated EK Waterblock product within the last 60 days and would like to return it for a refund or
replacement, should contact us at rma@sidewindercomputers.com, or 1-317-738-0949....\

Gary Stofer
President / Owner
Sidewinder Computers
Petra’s Tech Shop

Link

This is a very significant announcement and I encourage anyone to read it as a retailer has taken action to the nickel failure(s) from EK.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

******Update 6/2*****

"Unofficial" and "unapproved" (by EK) testing/investigation by some fellow enthusiast @ RRTech. Very interesting investigation on a brand new block. These findings were not confirmed or addressed by EK or Eddy as far as I know (please LMK if otherwise to correct this, ty).

http://www.realredraider.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=47917

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Update 5/30/2011: EK has released a statement with results of their investigation pending release after translation
http://www.overclock.net/water-cooling/915966-please-read-before-purchasing-ek-nickel-40.html
Quote:
I would like to announce that we got the test results from renown independent institution, which we contacted for solution on situation with nickel-plating issues. I would like to be clear in one thing, it took 2 month for the institution to make tests as any test with nickel is a long term project, if you want to be thorough.

We are now in process of translation. We will put that report on our page in 2-3 days.

There were allot of confusion and lack of argumented information so we were really looking forward for the results of the study and let me just say for now, we were very surprised with the results.

Edvard König
5/30/2011

RRtech thread, interesting reading for anyone wanting more info. Please note that, just like this thread, there is a lot of comments/opinions given. I'll will try to keep the "official" info label as it to help distinguish official from opinions.
Update 5/27/2011 Post

At this time, I would highly recommend to not purchase EK nickel plated blocks due to the numerous cases that have developed and EK's lack of action other than ongoing investigations and telling customers to be patient.

-wermad





I'm still putting my rig together when I noticed my month old gtx block's nickel is pealing and has some black stuff. I've submitted an ek ticket already

I can see some copper but it looks like water got under the nickel plating. Some facts:

-purchased on 12/15/2010
-Using distilled and silver only.
-other two blocks are 6 months old and they don't show signs of this
-using an ek parallel sli bridge
-I know this is the new one because it still has the "void warranty" sticker on it, my two older ones don't have them since I opened them to clean out the stain and gunk left behind from using dyes (don't use dyes/premixed rolleyes.gif). So I know this is the new one, plus i keep track which is which (using the serial #s)

I know someone posted a thread with a similar problem a few months ago. Im not too sure to run this card once my build is complete.

Tbh, I'm loosing a bit of faith in EK frown.gif

Thoughts welcomed thumb.gif

Update: 1/17/2011

Wow is all I can say:
Quote:
Hello,

I have no idea what that is.
Usually something like that happens when using some aggressive liquid on block.
This cannot occur with distilled water only.

Best regards,
Gregor


Update 3/10

#############################################################

Update 5/2
Edited by wermad - 5/15/12 at 9:46pm
post #2 of 1629
Arent you not supposed run a loop with a copper then nickleplated blocks or something?

Im not sure about the problem but if anything this post is a bump
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post #3 of 1629
Thread Starter 
DSCN2524.jpg

DSCN2525.jpg
UPDATE: ONE month later:

zmcro6.jpg
p9coh.jpg
k6lnt.jpg
5pmys5.jpg
Edited by wermad - 6/12/11 at 4:04pm
post #4 of 1629
I'm not so sure the flaking nickel will affect performance so much, unless the bits get stuck in your CPU block, that would suck. I am certain tho that the block should not flake/chip bits off... looks to me like it was defected from the factory.

Will be interesting what EK support come back with tho, please let us know.
    
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post #5 of 1629
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttoadd.nz;12024346 
I'm not so sure the flaking nickel will affect performance so much, unless the bits get stuck in your CPU block, that would suck. I am certain tho that the block should not flake/chip bits off... looks to me like it was defected from the factory.

Will be interesting what EK support come back with tho, please let us know.

Im more worried about my pump getting killed because of the nickel separating. I was thinking about adding an inline filter/screen (koolance has one) but I want to see what ek has to say about the block. I can't find that old thread about someone having the same issue, the search function is still down for maintenance or something.
post #6 of 1629
You may have just gotten a bad egg bro, it happens. But I definitely hope this isn't what I can expect from my 580 block.
post #7 of 1629
Hrm..Hard to see from the photo..
Why isn't there an o-ring around that middle island there? It looks like water is getting between the clear faceplate and the that raised metal in the middle? Sure that's not mildew/mold?
post #8 of 1629
Thread Starter 
my first blocks have been through a lot of crap (dyes) and Im really surprised they are still in awesome shape. Its just very perplexing this would happen after a month of modest usage.
post #9 of 1629
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidicas;12024534 
Hrm..Hard to see from the photo..
Why isn't there an o-ring around that middle island there? It looks like water is getting between the clear faceplate and the that raised metal in the middle? Sure that's not mildew/mold?

there is, or it would have leaked from the beginning smile.gif
post #10 of 1629
Quote:
Originally Posted by wermad;12024381 
Im more worried about my pump getting killed because of the nickel separating. I was thinking about adding an inline filter/screen (koolance has one) but I want to see what ek has to say about the block. I can't find that old thread about someone having the same issue, the search function is still down for maintenance or something.

I can guarantee there is a high chance of this happening to other EK blocks, its just most people cant see it with the acetal top. thinking.gif
    
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