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Delta9
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Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Tue May 16, 2017 5:44 pm

I have been thinking about this for a few days, so I got on the net and looked for aquarium chillers. I was surprised to find a few models that already have 1/2" fittings on them. The chillers are bloody expensive, but was wondering, could I use one of these in my water loop. Would I still need a radiator or could this replace them all together with one of these units. Potential condensation issues aside, any thoughts or experiences with something like this? Below are links to 3 different units. The first two of units use refrigerant and the third one uses a peltier unit.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/p ... atid=24135

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/p ... atid=28150

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/p ... atid=30013
 
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Tue May 16, 2017 7:13 pm

They aren't rated in watts, but you can assume a few things based on the power usage.

The peltier unit, for example, uses 120 watts...so at best, it will dissipate less than that from your loop. The others I won't guess at, but I would assume they aren't rated for the duty cycle or load of any reasonable watercooled computer. You could probably guesstimate based on the HP rating of the heatpump...
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Tue May 16, 2017 8:13 pm

I'm certain some of the bigger aquarium chillers on the market would work. However condensation + heat + power usage makes them impractical. If you did use one, you would want to remove the radiators. Most chillers are designed to bring down the temperature and then turn off till they are needed again. As a result you would want larger reservoir.

I forgot noise.
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Tue May 16, 2017 9:05 pm

There have been products for the computer that do just what you are looking for. I used rather cheap parts back in the day and my 240 and 120 radiators were more than enough. Dissipating an additional 120W in the water while having to cool that at the same time might be tricky. That said, nothing says nerd like tricked out custom build. Do a glass case with some Nemo stickers and plastic vegetation!
 
Delta9
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Tue May 16, 2017 10:10 pm

I figured that the bulk of these units would not be sufficient due to the fact that they were never intended to be used for a PC water loop. I also agree that one of $500+ HP rated units would do the trick, but cost and noise would be an issue. I have another thought, would one of the cheaper (108w) peltier units be effective if it was placed directly before the water block in a system with a typical air cooled radiator remaining present. Even 3-5 F drop would be acceptable. Basically treat it like adding another radiator to the loop. I obviously have too much time on my hands.

Here is an example of the type of device I am describing.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Aquarium-Thermo ... 2548.l4275

I had to put this contraption on here as well, gotta love flea bay. Could build one of these, have everything but the cooling plate. Might make a fun rainy day project. I doubt its temp claims in this listing though.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Thermoelectric- ... 2548.l4275
 
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Wed May 17, 2017 9:33 am

Peltier style chillers could work well, and you can piggyback multiple if need be.

Location in the loop matters very very little.
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Wed May 17, 2017 9:50 am

Have you checked out frozencpu.com? They have all kinds of stuff, including cold plates.
 
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Wed May 17, 2017 1:31 pm

I have a 55 gallon dwarf african cichlid tank and that peltier unit would not even come close to cooling that tank in the summer. As the previous poster pointed out, its going to offer about half its rated wattage in actual cooling. Then you have to get rid of that rated wattage in heat. Heat pumps could in theory out-perform a simple closed loop heat exchanger. But I would question the reliability of the aquarium units. If they fail, the owner has hours to come up with an alternative solution. That says it all.
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Wed May 17, 2017 1:52 pm

It occurs to me, that now with CPU's topping out at ~125W TDP, peltier units just might again become a useful solution. Provided of course that they come with some sort of closed loop regulation to prevent condensation. The early experimentation with peltier cooling was on relatively low power CPU's. The last few years with 125-250W TDP's pretty much ruled out peltier coolers. But these 65W CPU's hmmm, just might be the ticket.

I'm thinking one could prevent condensation and freeze out by putting a vapor plate or heat pipe bundle between the peltier heat pump and the CPU.
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Wed May 17, 2017 2:04 pm

A smart controller can control condensation and keep the water above the dew point. However, why go through the hassle of a watercooling system and not overclock? If you overclock, those TDPs go flying out the window pretty quickly. It also used to be that cooling closer to ambient would increase clock headroom, but most recent chips aren't thermally limited with halfway decent blocks and a good die interface.

Add in the heat/power usage/complexity of pelts...and I know I can't justify them. I love the idea, but it just isn't going to meaningfully increase performance and can very much worsen the noise profile of the system.
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Wed May 17, 2017 2:45 pm

Waco wrote:
A smart controller can control condensation and keep the water above the dew point. However, why go through the hassle of a watercooling system and not overclock? If you overclock, those TDPs go flying out the window pretty quickly. It also used to be that cooling closer to ambient would increase clock headroom, but most recent chips aren't thermally limited with halfway decent blocks and a good die interface.

Add in the heat/power usage/complexity of pelts...and I know I can't justify them. I love the idea, but it just isn't going to meaningfully increase performance and can very much worsen the noise profile of the system.
Sometimes I think peltier gets thrown out as an excitement word. I keep finding the suggestion that Programable Variable Temperature (PVT) inlets on GC's can be peltier cooled. I think, "that would be something to see", considering that these inlets can be cycled from -40C to 250C every 15 minutes. But other than as a teaser, I can not find any actual examples. Probably because it would have to be a really brutish power hungry cooler.
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Thu May 18, 2017 12:58 am

If you want a chilled loop ya could just rig the radiator in front of a window AC unit so the cold air exhaust blows through. That'd drop the temps in any loop by a pretty hefty amount, potentially to condensation levels depending on BTU, and you could just skip the radiator fans entirely. Your electric company will love you for it, too.

It doesn't take much to cause condensation. Even with a Q6600 cooking away at 4.3ghz submerging the radiator into a separate cooler of ice water made everything drip. Sure melted all the ice in the cooler plenty fast as well. But yes, there's no point in messing with peltiers or chilled loops for a stock system.
 
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Thu May 18, 2017 5:01 am

If you're after more inspiration, I've enjoyed dropping past Overclock.net's Specialised Cooling subforum from time to time.
 
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Thu May 18, 2017 7:57 am

As already noted, unless you get one that is sized to cool a really large aquarium, it is not going to keep up. Being cold-blooded, fish are not a heat source; so the chillers are only designed to remove heat which diffuses into the tank through its walls.

Peltiers are horribly inefficient; you will need to get rid of roughly 3x the amount of heat from the hot side of the loop that you are removing from the cold side. This means a pretty large radiator/fan. Adding insult to injury, Peltiers effectively become thermal insulators once you exceed their heat pumping capacity.

For sub-ambient CPU cooling you really want something with a compressor-based refrigeration loop.
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Thu May 18, 2017 10:01 am

I last dabbled with TECs in 2001 with a Thunderbird B Athlon 1.4GHz.

Condensation and massively increased cooling requirements made it a nightmare, and I seem to remember the peltier drawing far more power that required silly-high fan speeds even when the CPU was idle.
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Thu May 18, 2017 10:11 am

just brew it! wrote:
fish are not a heat source


Now there's a good quote for a signature.
 
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Thu May 18, 2017 10:39 am

just brew it! wrote:
fish are not a heat source

No, but they can be a voltage source.
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Thu May 18, 2017 10:51 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
I last dabbled with TECs in 2001 with a Thunderbird B Athlon 1.4GHz.

Condensation and massively increased cooling requirements made it a nightmare, and I seem to remember the peltier drawing far more power that required silly-high fan speeds even when the CPU was idle.


When you have a really nasty heat problem (where you would look for help from peltier cooling), that is the precise scenario where peltier cooling doesn't work well. The cooler can't sink it's own heat (generated by the peltier effect).

I did once have the idea of combining a peltier element inside a water cooler, so that the extra heat had a efficient sink, but I don't know that this would work well. I also haven't seen this kind of solution even as a homebrew, although it's possible that it would be too expensive/complicated to bother with.
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Re: Watercooling with an aquarium chiller

Thu May 18, 2017 12:33 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:
I last dabbled with TECs in 2001 with a Thunderbird B Athlon 1.4GHz.

Condensation and massively increased cooling requirements made it a nightmare, and I seem to remember the peltier drawing far more power that required silly-high fan speeds even when the CPU was idle.


When you have a really nasty heat problem (where you would look for help from peltier cooling), that is the precise scenario where peltier cooling doesn't work well. The cooler can't sink it's own heat (generated by the peltier effect).

I did once have the idea of combining a peltier element inside a water cooler, so that the extra heat had a efficient sink, but I don't know that this would work well. I also haven't seen this kind of solution even as a homebrew, although it's possible that it would be too expensive/complicated to bother with.

A bigass peltier under a water block works fairly well...but the heat/power and insulation required make it hard to justify.
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