Two Towers TEC Build Log
Hey everyone, this is going to be my build log for my TEC build. After months of waiting, saving, researching, and asking questions I finally have all of the parts together and have finally started on the building, ill use the first few posts to update the progress so far and then continue as more progress is made.
I’d like to thank a number of people for their help in the build process and also in providing information. A big thanks to my brother and father for lending me tools and their expertise for the case mods. Without their help a lot of this would have taken much longer and been much more “utilitarian”. My other brother will also be helping with some painting in the future, but due to me not having the material yet we haven't been able to work on that yet. Future thanks to him. Finally I’d like to thank all of those in the OCN TEC community for their support, patience, and friendly help, specifically Skyl3r and Toolmaker03. I’d also like to extend thanks to OCaddict for the original concept, and note that many aspects of this design are borrowed from his. Without the tips and advice I’ve received in my original thread this project would not have been possible.
Now for the meat of the project. The loop I’ll be running will be 2 air cooled TECs, specifically the CTE 19911-5L31-15CQ. I’ll be cooling them with 2 Reeven justice coolers, and the water will be cooled using 2 Alphacool NexXxos XP3 blocks with the OCaddict mods. I’ll be cooling a R5 1600, clock speeds determined based on the cooling performance. My loop differs from other projects in that I’ll also be incorporating a radiator for low loads and idle, to save on power consumption and heat. The coolers will be mounted in the front of a modified HAF 932 on a fabricated platform (where the 5.25 drives should be. The TECs are going to be controlled to come on when liquid temperature reaches a certain temperature, and shut off once it passes a lower barrier. These limits will be determined later during testing. Full build specifications will be detailed later.
There are a number of potential issues with this, which I have attempted to plan for, and will require testing once the loop is finalized. The first issue is temperature control, or rather when to switch from the radiator to the pelts. The sensor on the controller is best fit to be used with the liquid, however it may be more practical to use a different sensor on the side of the CPU IHS, this will have to be determined. The inclusion of a radiator also presents a unique problem, as if the liquid drops below ambient this will result in the radiator acting as a heater. This is on one hand an advantage, as I do not want this loop to be significantly (more than 5c) lower than ambient as there are many times when my computer is inside of a less than ideal environment. However, if the loop is capable of taking the liquid down quite far, this could result in a strange balance of temperatures which will require further testing. Pending performance testing, if this proves to be a problem I’ll be using electronically actuated ball valves to route the flow of the loop around the radiator while the TECs are active. The final potential issue will be that the combined heat from the CPU and the TECs will be too much for the air coolers to dissipate. If this is the case, then the only option will be to redesign the loop to add in another pelt/block/tower, in which case the heat on either tower from the CPU would be reduced by roughly 20%, ideally creating enough of a difference to allow the loop to perform well. However, given the exceptional results of OCaddict’s loop with a significantly higher heat load, I do not feel this will be an issue. I’ve done a fair bit of research and comparison in selecting my parts and I’m confident the performance will be enough
The purpose of this build is not to build an ultimate cooling setup, but rather to build one that will perform better than a custom loop, as well as providing a base and more importantly experience, for building a better, more refined, and more powerful setup in the future. While future plans is not the focus of this build log, I feel it worth noting. Eventually I would like to machine blocks for both the hot and cool side of the pelts, and upgrade to a 3 or 4 pelt setup with a much better system for cooling the hot side, in theory increasing performance dramatically, and either allowing for better performance on a similar load or increasing the load that can be placed on the loop.
Finally, the build will have a slight “theme” to it. I’m not a big fan of super themed builds and mods, however to give this build a bit more character I’ll be basing the colors, as well as styling around a “Nazgul” theme. A black on “green flame” sort of color, with an aggressive styling. The addition of chains to the top of the platform to come later, as well as a shroud with a helmet painted on top or a lightbox with the helmet design, as well as a “fan grill” in the shape of the helmet, as well as lighting and other thematic elements. I’m open to suggestions here, just nothing over the top. I don't want the build to scream Ringwraith, rather have just enough theme to suggest the overall idea. I’m thinking of ways to incorporate other elements as well, as the original idea started with a “two towers” theme, due to the two CPU tower coolers. Much of the styling will not be complete by the time the “build” is complete, due to issues getting a hold of a piece of metal to make the shroud, as well as the fact that my father and I cannot for the life of us find the brake we need to bend one.
I have pictures of the progress so far, which I will be posting as I sort through and make a “timeline” of the progress. After this initial wave of posting, further progress will be documented as it comes. I would have started this at the beginning but I’ve been really busy with work lately, and only recently had the time to organize all of this. One final note that I'd like to make is that I'll not only be embedding images in the forum, but also will provide a link to a imgur or similar where the images will all be stored. This is to prevent any issues with non-members, or future visitors from seeing the pictures. Info on TEC builds is hard to come by, and nothing has made me more upset than finding what seems to be a really interesting build or thread and all of the images are no longer available. So, I'll be posting pictures, here, there, and possibly a link to a folder in drive or similar to prevent these issues.