attaching the vent to the tent

Venting Your PC Outside

As the power requirements of CPUs and GPUs in modern gaming machines continue to rise, they are quickly becoming more and more of a space heater that happens to play games. If you’re using your PC in a tight space with a door shut, you might find the temperature in your office rising relatively rapidly. Some solutions to this include fans, window AC units, or moving the computer somewhere else and routing cables back to the office. The fine folks at [Linus Tech Tips] tried something a little out of the box by putting the whole computer in a box.

We don’t usually cover [Linus Tech Tips] here at Hackaday, but we thought the approach was somewhat novel. PC cases have many exhaust fans and holes, so it’s hard to extract the hot air from a single point. So after purchasing a comically large but cheapish “plant” growing tent, they could enclose the PC and remove the heat through some insulated ducting. A laser-cut adapter plate and 3d printed hose connector allowed the hose to sit in the window to vent outside. An inline fan pulls all the needed air from the tent to the outside. Ultimately, the temperature in the room stayed chill while some benchmarks were running, but there was speculation that the fan was pulling in air from the rest of the apartment to vent the PC’s heat. We’d love to see a more closed system with a heat exchanger to the outside.

Perhaps they can borrow [Diy Perks]’s bellow PC build and connect the hose right to it, getting rid of the tent. Video after the break.

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Mini PC with the mod described, a large tower fan sticking out of a hole in the top cover

MiniPC Surgery Makes It 50% Cooler

[G3R] writes to us about a mod they did on a HP ProDesk/EliteDesk 400 G3 miniPC they use as a home emulation center. The miniPC would overheat as soon as the CPU load increased, resulting in frame drops and stutters, as well as throttling CPU. [G3R] took the original cooling solution, threw out half of it and modified the remaining half to accept a tower CPU cooler.

The modification is invasive in all the right ways. [G3R] shows how to de-fin the current heatsink and smooth it over with a… welder? Our guess is that the heatsink fins were soldered to the heatsink base, and in that case, a heat gun should also work. Afterwards, you’re supposed to cut a hole in the upper case, then re-wire the fan connections, and create custom brackets to attach the tower fan – [G3R] explains how to do it all and what to watch out for.

The results are fascinating. After performing the mod, both idle and under-load temps got cut down by 50%! Idle temps went from 50 to 25 °C, and under-load temps dropped from 79 to 40 °C – surely, with way less throttling involved. Not only this lets [G3R] play Breath Of The Wild without hiccups, it also certainly improves overall lifespan of the mini-PC, despite the intervention being mechanically harsh.

Making our devices, quite literally, cooler is a venerable tradition of hackers. Just a few weeks ago, we covered a simple 3D printable LGA 1700 CPU bracket which can gain you some much-desired thermal contact. Sometimes we encounter proprietary and weird cooling fans that fail, and then we understand their workings and build a substitute. And, even if your GPU was never meant to have a fan, you can add one anyway!

Bellow-Cooled PC Is A Well Engineered Display Piece

The cooling systems on high-performance PCs are often a large part of their visual appeal, but we’ve never seen anything like [DIY Perks]’ latest build: A massive bellow-cooled PC.

The system is derived from a silent bellow system built by [DIY Perks] in 2020. It uses a clever combination of hydraulics and neodymium magnets to smoothly reciprocate a large plate within a chamber. Instead of blowing the air straight into the room, it pushes it through a pair of wood ducts into a second chamber with PC components, and out through a water-cooling radiator. To prevent the hot air from being sucked back in as the bellow reciprocates, a row of check valves was added on each side of the PC chamber and at the external intakes. The sides of the bellow chamber and PC chamber are made of glass to allow a full view of the internal components.

The build was not without complications. While disassembling the old bellow, the acrylic tube in which the magnet reciprocates shattered. When a replacement rube arrived, [DIY Perks] discovered the magnet’s fit was very loose. He solved this by increasing the thickness of the magnet’s nickel coating with another run of electroplating. To achieve a uniform coating, he agitated the plating solution by suspending the magnet from a small speaker playing a sine-wave tone. The cooling performance is excellent, keeping the CPU and GPU at 60C or below, even while running them at full tilt.

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Near-Silent Bellows Uses Water Flow And Magnetic Coupling

Fan noise is a contentious issue among the computer community. Some don’t notice it, others rage against it as an annoyance and distraction. Some turn to liquid cooling, while others look to passive solutions to eliminate the scourge. [Matt] of [DIY Perks] may have found a far more oddball solution, however.

The build is essentially a giant bellows, but the manner in which it operates is unlike anything we’ve seen previously. To shift the large pusher plate inside back and forth, [Matt] initially experimented with building his own linear motor out of coils and magnets. After that failed, he began to tinker with a system of moving a magnet back and forth through a tube with water pressure from a pump, which would then drive the pusher plate through magnetic coupling. This looked promising, but reversing the flow proved difficult. After building his own set of water valves to change the flow direction, the bellows began to work slowly, but with limited performance. Realizing the valves weren’t up to scratch, [Matt] rebuilt the system with 10 pumps, set up in two banks of 5. With the pumps hooked up in series, they supplied plenty of pressure to force the bellows back and forth. Reed switches were used to reverse the flow at either end to make the bellows run continuously.

In testing, the bellows compared well with a bank of four large case fans, though at 20 times the size. Suffice to say this is not exactly a compact solution. We look forward to seeing [Matt] do more with the bellows, with his intention being to use it as the primary cooling system for a computer. Of course, if this looks too complex, you could always consider a mineral oil setup instead. Video after the break.

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Fail Of The Week: How Not To Watercool A PC

To those who choose to overclock their PCs, it’s often a “no expense spared” deal. Fancy heat sinks, complicated liquid cooling setups, and cool clear cases to show off all the expensive guts are all part of the charm. But not everyone’s pockets are deep enough for off-the-shelf parts, so experimentation with cheaper, alternatives, like using an automotive fuel pump to move the cooling liquid, seems like a good idea. In practice — not so much.

The first thing we thought of when we saw the title of [BoltzBrain]’s video was a long-ago warning from a mechanic to never run out of gas in a fuel-injected car. It turns out that the gasoline acts as a coolant and lubricant for the electric pump, and running the tank dry with the power still applied to the pump quickly burns it out. So while [BoltzBrain] expected to see corrosion on the brushes from his use of water as a working fluid, we expected to see seized bearings as the root cause failure. Looks like we were wrong: at about the 6:30 mark, you can see clear signs of corrosion on the copper wires connecting to the brushes. It almost looks like the Dremel tool cut the wire, but that green copper oxide is the giveaway. We suspect the bearings aren’t in great shape, either, but that’s probably secondary to the wires corroding.

Whatever the root cause, it’s an interesting tour inside a common part, and the level of engineering needed to build a brushed motor that runs bathed in a highly flammable fluid is pretty impressive. We liked the axial arrangement of the brushes and commutator especially. We wonder if fuel pumps could still serve as a PC cooler — perhaps changing to a dielectric fluid would do the trick.

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