Window Unit Turned PC Water Cooler

I almost passed this one up because it was shotgunned across a few blogs, but it would be a shame to pass up on a good hack. [Mike] decided to use a standard window AC unit to cool the CPU in his rig. The A/C unit was modified to place the evaporation coil inside a fish tank filled with glycol/water antifreeze coolant. To cool the CPU, he used a normal water block, but insulated the coolant lines between the cooling unit and the machine. That should give you the idea. For more details, have fun deciphering his project in pictures. [via]

Bonus: [Johnny] sent in the NASA workmenship guide. It’s pretty interesting to see what the space boys require for their electronics work.

18 thoughts on “Window Unit Turned PC Water Cooler

  1. i almost bought this very item on ebay about three weeks ago, but the bid never reached his reserve because i was the only one that bid on it, now i am building my own out of a dehumidifier and a liquid cooling system

  2. thats totally ridiculous. i love it.

    cooling all that water down seems like a waste of energy though. a piece of copper billet machined for water and freon tubes would have made a better heat exchanger, in my opinion. you could replace the evaporator coil with it, then run the water tubes to the a/c unit.

    then again, i didnt build it, just my 2 cents

  3. Not really anything new, head over to forums, they have a forum section dedicated to it. I’ve found this to be horribly inefficient, unless you want to cool multiple heat sources (you can daisy chain to your graphics card and chip set with water chilling) I use a direct die heat exchanger with parts salvaged from a coca cola vending machine.

  4. neat idea – definitely over-engineered, but not much more. it’s huge, probably relatively loud, and seems like a massive waste of energy. it’s probably also severe overkill compared to the ways that people have been experimenting with PC cooling for the past decade. the one redeeming quality, as bergo noted, is the possibility to cool multiple devices.

    frankly, i think hacks like this are a waste of space on a one-a-day blog. people have been hooking up massive cooling systems to computers for a long time (uh, Cray and Fluorinert, anyone?) and it’s not very interesting to see a new but still huge, ugly, and inefficient cooling system.

    personally, i would rather see cooling hacks featuring something REALLY new and inventive: smaller, quieter, simpler, more versatile and more efficient systems.

  5. I wonder how hot the condenser HS gets, and therefore the rest of the room. Doesn’t really seem worth it to work in a 90 degree room so you can over clock your computer a little bit.

  6. Wow, you know it’s bad when not only does your computer need its own A/C unit, but said unit also needs its own modification! Kudos for the kinda power that machine could have tho.

  7. Water Chillers are not just a simple hack, if you build it using parts you choose yourself it is the equivalent of building your own refrigerator and then having the evaporator cool the water. Even just taking the parts already hooked up from a window a/c unit, a fridge, etc is not that simple. For example, the cap tube has to be an exact very precise size to achieve optimal cooling. But building a water chiller is a hobby for many, like Refrigeration Engineers, I could say that the Quad Core Triple SLI system that some make is a “waste”, but some people build them anyway because it is there hobby and they want the most performance they can get. So really it is just the same as spending $6K+ on a really nice PC for that last ounce of performance.

  8. It is a interesting hack for a lot of people who have not heard.

    One Idea I thought of was running a hose from the the AC vent to the back of your pc. Probably cool your room at the same time.

  9. @tweaq:
    If the mains fail then the ups shuts down the computer gracefully. (if the software is installed and working.)

    How long to you honestly expect the rig to run on UPS power?
    If your assumption is that the computer will burn up or something I don’t think it’s likely.

  10. @ mikfig

    It’s actually a really simple process to build one of these up. build time is only about an hour or two, then you wait to vacuum, charge (inert gas), vacuum, charge (refrigerant)then tune. As far a metering device sizing using capillary tube it’s just some really simple math (even easier when you use a thermal expansion valve or a pressure expansion valve for tuning). I used R290 and a 1/4hp compressor, slapped one together in an afternoon, and running in a vac on low side i get idle temps of around -40 centigrade on my dual core opteron.

  11. Wow , that is alot of work(nice work) and money.
    More time and money than brains here. If this guy knew a little more about the refrigeration cycle he would have saved a few hundred dollars and actually reached -40 f.

    Good work, but a little thought would have made it much more efficient and effective.

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