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General Liquid/Water Cooling Discussion For discussion about Full Cooling System kits, or general cooling topics. Keep specific cooling items like pumps, radiators, etc... in their specific forums.

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Unread 01-21-2004, 03:37 AM   #1
Stiffler
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Default First watercooling setup - Lots of Qs | External Rad Box

Okay, so this is my first water cooling setup. Here are my parts:

Swiftech MCW462
Dolphin Pond 350GPH
1996 Ford Windstar heater core
2 120MM 130CFM fans
Custom external aluminum box

Here's my plan:
I am going fabricate a box to store the heater core, fans and pump. It's going to be completely sealed except for the top, which will be as sealed as can be without being permanant. The heater core will be mounted on one end with a hole cut in the side of the box. The two fans will be mounted on the other end of the box blowing air out. This way, air will come in to the box through the heater core, and escape through the fans. I am going to cut two holes into the back of my case for the outlet and inlet, and use copper pipe from the connects to my CPU waterblock.

Here are my questions:
1) What do all the different barb/connector abbreviations mean? Like OD, ID, FPT, MPT and such.
2) I want a type of female quick connects on the back of my case and the side of my cooling box, and then male connects on tygon hose to connect the box to my computer. What should I use?
3) I'm going to want to drain this system and refill it when I go to LANs and such. What should I do to allow this to be as easy as possible?
4) Should I include a reservior in this system? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
5) The heater core has 5/8" outlet and inlet. The rest of my system is 1/2". What kind of converters should I use?
6) The pump is going to be inside the box. And I think it's going to be connected to the heater core inlet. Is this right?
7) The box will be on the floor about 2-3 feet below my computer. I know this will affect my flow rate significantly, but it shouldn't be that bad, should it?
8) Are there any suggestions you guys have for me?

Other things:
I plan on spray painting the copper tubing with UV reactive paint and then clear coating it. Is this feasable with copper? I've never heard of anyone doing that before, but I think it should look pretty cool. I would also like to have a flow meter and temperature gauge build in somewhere. What's the easiest way to do this, and how much will it restrict my waterflow?

Thank you very much for reading this and for all your replies. I have included a top-down view of the box I plan to make. It will be made out of aluminum and then powder coated or anodized.
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File Type: jpg box2.jpg (18.9 KB, 46 views)

Last edited by Stiffler; 01-21-2004 at 03:44 AM.
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Unread 01-21-2004, 08:58 AM   #2
Zogthetroll
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ok, lots of questions here, lets see if we can clear a few things up.

1. pretty basic stuff here, ID is Inside Diameter, OD is Outside Diameter, unless you use push fittings instead of barbs, you only really need to worry about the ID of tubing, that's how most people refer to it. FPT and MPT stand for Female and Male Pipe Thread, respectively. that's the common threading used for plumbing (basically most adaptors, fittings, barbs, etc. that you'll get at your local hardware store or similar). Then, in order to tap a hole for your standard barb you'll probably need a 1/4" NPT (National Pipe Thread) tap, that's the most common anyway.

2. can't offer advice on quick disconnects, anybody that uses them?

3 & 4. The answer to 3 would probably be either a good fill & bleed kit, or a resivoir, i'd opt for the res, but that's personal bias there. basically if you're gonna be filling and draining it you're gonna want an air trap or simmilar way to get air bubbles out quickly. other basic stuff, don't mount the radiator with the barbs at the bottom so it traps air, you can get it out, it'll take longer though. yes, i would put in a res, they double as air traps, and you also know you got some extra coolant in reserve if you forget to check it and some evaporates. Supposedly tygon will do this in a dry environment, but i wouldn't know. also, you can get a nice fill point with some of the res's out there. plus, if the res is visible (and clear) you got a nice flow indicator.

5. you didn't mention if the 5/8" was threaded or not. i've got 1/2" threads soldered onto my heater core so i can change barbs if i need to (probably overkill, but why not). some guys have mentioned being able to slide tubing over that if it was smooth and the tubing was heated up.

6. with hose routing, play with different combinations to see what works best, but a lot of people seem to go with the pump->CPU->GPU->radiator->res combination. that way you don't have a massive pressure drop from the rad before the cpu.

7. adding head to a system like that for the pump to overcome isn't going to help your flow rate, put it that way. it might work, but you'll lose some performance doing that.

8. do lots of research, double check everything, and have fun!
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Unread 01-21-2004, 04:28 PM   #3
Stiffler
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I've decided to use a Res. I plan on fabricating it out of plexi. What should I keep in mind to make it easy to get the air out of the system?

Big question:
How much space should I have in my box between the fans and the radiator? I was thinking about this last night. Would too much space be a huge decrease in performance? I was thinking about 24" or so.
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Unread 01-21-2004, 07:03 PM   #4
Gooserider
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You want to arrange your plumbing to be as straight up and down as possible, avoid loops that can trap air. Reccomended flow for a setup like yours would be Pump -> rad -> CPU -> GPU (and other blocks) -> res -> pump. I would reccomend making the res as tall as possible maybe cylindrical, with the inlet about 1/4 of the way down from the top, and the outlet at the very bottom. Keep the pump inlet about even with the res outlet, and use an oversize hose for the line between the res and the pump inlet. Have some sort of diffuser on the inlet to slow the water flow down so that the air bubbles have a chance to float up.

The gap between fans and rad should be at least 1", more won't hurt anything as long as the box is sealed tight enough that you don't have any other air leakage. However, you will get some reduction in noise if you can move your fans further inside the box. I would probably put the rad just inside the box with a shroud connecting the fans using perhaps a 3-4" gap, then just have an opening in the back to let the air vent out. If you wanted to get fancy, line the box with some sound absorbent foam and put in a couple of noise baffles.

McMasters has some quick disconnects but be warned that QD fittings are somewhat restrictive, be sure to get the biggest ID ones you can find.

For easy draining, I'd put an extra fitting in the bottom of the res, with a ball valve and hose that can be put in your catch bucket. I'd also put a vent valve up near the highest point in the system so that you can let air in when draining. The drain process would be to turn off the pump, keep the cap on the res, and open the drain and vent valves in that order. Fill process would be to close the valves, fill the res part way, and start the pump, add more water as the air bleeds out and the water level in the res drops.

If you haven't gotten the pump yet, remember that high maximum head numbers will do more for you than high flow rates.

Hope this helps,

Gooserider
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Unread 01-21-2004, 07:46 PM   #5
Stiffler
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Thank you VERY much! That was very informative! I'll go with the idea of moving the fans inside the box, and then ducting the output to the rear. I'll have to come up with some plans for my res. I think I'll put it on the side of the box with a window. I'll have a valve on the bottom for drainage. But, what do you mean in putting valves on the top? Wouldn't just opening the cap do the same thing?
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Unread 01-21-2004, 08:33 PM   #6
Stiffler
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Here are my latest plans for the box...

1) Front
2) Inside (Top-Down View)
3) Back
4) Side
Attached Images
File Type: jpg front1.JPG (21.3 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg inside1.JPG (28.1 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg back1.JPG (13.9 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg side1.JPG (11.6 KB, 8 views)
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Unread 01-21-2004, 09:40 PM   #7
killernoodle
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Before you make it, lemme recommend something. Try making a resevior that attaches directly to the inlet of the pump. Also, try making it tall instead of having it on the bottom. This is less likely to suck in air.
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Unread 01-21-2004, 09:45 PM   #8
Stiffler
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Attaching it directly to the inlet isn't very convienant. But it is going to be tall. The view of the inside is a top-down view. The Res is going to be the size of the window on the side...
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Unread 01-25-2004, 05:19 PM   #9
Hellion_Prime
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I did an external enlosure that housed my pump, radiator, and resivior. It was fairly huge. I currently have plans to scale it down a bit. You can see some information on it here , with more pictures here if you're interested. Might give you some other ideas. I would definately use some sort of sealing quick disconnect fittings on the lines going from the enclosure to your computer, it will make dealing with it much easier.
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Unread 01-25-2004, 05:28 PM   #10
Stiffler
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Nice, I checked out all those pictures and it looks pretty cool. I just gotta find shutoff quick disconnects that will work well.
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Unread 01-30-2004, 06:42 PM   #11
Gooserider
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Quote:
Stiffler:
But, what do you mean in putting valves on the top? wouldn't just opening the cap do the same thing?
Not really... As I understood your proposed design, the system would be sitting on top of the box, which would mean that there would be alot of plumbing above the top of the res. I see from some of your later posts that the cooling box would be next to the system, but the same thing still applies.

If you opened a drain at the bottom of the system (I presume the lowest point in the entire works) and undid the res cap, there would still be a considerable amount of liquid trapped above the bleed point. At best this trapped liquid would be slow to drain, at worst it could splash out when the air finally got to it and make a mess.

I was suggesting that you should have an air bleed valve at the very highest point in the setup which you would open ONLY when draining the system, and leave the cap on the res. This would give the fastest and most total drain possible, without making a mess. However it is an optional item, you could live without it.

Gooserider
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