Hydroplane's 2019 Chiller Conversion Build
I had this piece of crap dehumidifier sitting in the basement. It came with the house when I bought it 4 years ago and I never really used it. I figured for its size it wouldn't have much cooling capacity but decided to check it out today. Turn out it can draw 4.8A at 120V which means it's probably a 1/2 HP compressor! It also uses good ole R22 which boils at a nice low -41c. It was made in 2009 and I thought R22 was banned by then? Must be because it's from China lol. I had nothing to lose, so I decided to disassemble the thing to see what I could do with it. It came apart with a lot of screws but not too much difficulty.
In a dehumidifier, the evaporator and condenser are back to back. This way, the evaporator can collect moisture from the air due to condensation and drop it in the tray below, while the condenser heat keeps it from freezing up and also keeps the inlet/outlet temps roughly the same (since the system is basically exchanging heat with itself). Obviously this setup wouldn't work to cool a computer. The screws connecting the two took a drill and several different sizes of philips heads to remove, since they had corroded in place. I also removed the humidity sensor that they had shoved into the evap, lol. The next challenge was to bend the evaporator to where I needed it to be, so I could dunk it in a tank of water. I had to very carefully bend the copper inlet and outlet pipes, lest I break one and lose all my precious R22. The braze joint from the outlet to the evap was particularly concerning. Luckily, I took my time and nothing broke.
I used a storage bin I had laying around as a res. It was what I had that was the right size, though not ideal. I filled it up with tap water and let it rip. It worked great, too well actually, the evaporator turned into an ice block lol. I shut it down soon after as I was worried about the expansion of water into ice damaging the evap. In a way it's good, as it verifies this system will have subzero capability. The whole bin of water stayed at 40f for hours (though it probably was somewhat cold from the tap).
I will need a coolant with a lower freezing point to test further. I'm thinking 60% propylene glycol, 40% water, which freezes at -48c. I'd like to acquire a smaller container for the evaporator (to reduce the amount of glycol I'd have to buy, and make it easier to fill/empty/move). That, and a pump/res, tubing, fittings, insulation and a waterblock that I could actually connect it to a computer with.
Build Log - White Voodoo
OCZ Vertex 4 256GB
Noctua NF-A14 iPPC-2000
AOC Agon AG251FZ 240Hz
Built-in Monitor Speakers (3 watt)
Intel Core i9-7980XE @ 4.3 GHz 1.10v
Asus Rampage VI Apex
Gigabyte Aorus Waterforce WB 1080 Ti SLI 2037/6318 1.09V
G.Skill Trident Z 32GB (4x8GB) DDR4-3200 CL14
Samsung 960 Evo 1TB
EVGA 1600 T2
HWLabs Nemesis GTR 420+280 Rads
(7) Noctua NF-A14 iPPC-3000 PWM Fans
EK-XRES 140 Revo D5 RGB PWM
LD Cooling PC-V7 280/420
Windows 10 LTSB
Linux Mint 19.1
NEC PA271W 2560x1440
Razer Blackwidow Chroma V2
Dual Intel Xeon L5520 2.26 GHz
48 GB Samsung DDR3-1066
120 GB Samsung 750 Evo SSD
2 TB Western Digital Green
2 TB Hitachi 7200 RPM
650W Delta PSU
Ubuntu Server 16.04
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