PS5 Goes On Slim-Fast

For the past few decades, most console makers have first come out with a large flagship model, and then a few years later, released a smaller, more compact slim edition. Not content to wait for it, [Matt] at DIY Perks made his own PS5 Slim, and the results are awe-inspiring.

Generally, slim editions are made by lowering the TDP of the chip under the hood. A lower power draw means less cooling is needed, a smaller power supply can be used, and a design that is overall easier to manage. Unfortunately, [Matt] had none of these benefits and instead had to contend with the full 180 W that the AMD CPU inside the PlayStation can draw.

Taking apart the console left him with the main board that was quite thick as it had heat pipes on both sides. His first thought was water cooling as it can rapidly move the heat needed, but even with right-angle fittings, it didn’t fit within the ambitious thickness goal he had set for himself of less than 2 cm (about 3/4″). To do that, [Matt] had to fabricate a copper water block from three sheets of copper. The first one connects to the motherboard via standoffs and has cut-outs for various connectors and parts. The middle layer has a channel through which water can flow, and the last layer seals it together.

With the three layers together, he soldered them in a toaster oven repurposed as a reflow oven. Cleverly, he used silicone grease to prevent solder from getting into areas he didn’t want, like the fins in the CPU block. Luckily, the grease dissolved in alcohol, and after flushing the chamber, he had a solid copper, water-tight, custom loop.  However, on his road to glory, [Matt] ran into a snag. He accidentally covered the intake vent on the radiator, and the PS5 overheated, killing it. With a fried mainboard and a project almost on the cusp of completion, he resorted to using the PS5 he had received for B-roll.

Last-minute motherboard swap aside, the final project is gorgeous. The polished exterior and sheer thinness of it are striking. [Matt] has already disguised his PS5 before and after this, we’re not quite sure where he could possibly take it next. But we’re excited to find out.

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The Weird World Of Liquid Cooling For Datacenters

When it comes to high-performance desktop PCs, particularly in the world of gaming, water cooling is popular and effective. However, in the world of datacenters, servers rely on traditional air cooling more often than not, in combination with huge AC systems that keep server rooms at the appropriate temperature.

However, datacenters can use water cooling, too! It just doesn’t always look quite how you’d expect.

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Peltier Cloud Chamber Produces Some Lovely Trails

[Advanced Tinkering] over on YouTube has some pretty unique content, on subjects of chemistry and physics that are a little more, interesting let’s say — anyone fancy distilling cesium? The subject of this build is the visualization of ionizing radiation tracks, with one of our old favorite physics demonstrators, the venerable cloud chamber. The build video (embedded below,) shows the basic construction and performance of a Peltier effect cooler setup. The system is used to create a layer of supersaturated (and cold) alcohol vapor in which the radiation source or other experiment can be immersed.

Peltier modules are a great solution for moving heat from one surface to another, but they are not terribly efficient at it, especially if you don’t keep the hot side temperature in check. Effectively they are a short-distance heat pump, so you need to dump the hot-side heat elsewhere. The method [Advanced Tinkering] chose here was to use a pair of off-the-shelf water cooling blocks, mounted into a 3D printed plate. The hot side dumps into a pair of fan-cooled radiators. Four double-layer Peltier modules are wired in parallel to a 60A power supply, which seems like a lot, but Peltier modules are hungry little things. A reasonable amount of power is needed to drive the cooling fans and water pump. The vapor source is a simple pad of liquid alcohol at the top of the stack, just above a metal screen which is held at a high voltage. The vertical electric field allows visualization of the charge of emitted particles, which will curve up or down depending on their polarity.

As can be seen from the second video linked below, some really nice cloud trails are produced, so it looks like they got the setup just right!

Do you need all this complexity to visualize simple radiation paths? No, you don’t, but just temper your expectations. Peltier-based builds are not uncommon, here’s another one, but some builders say they’re not very robust, so this build uses phase-change technology instead for some serious runtimes.

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Art of 3D printer in the middle of printing a Hackaday Jolly Wrencher logo

3D Printering: Water-Cooled Hotends

There’s an old joke about the Thermos bottle that keeps things hot and cold, so someone loaded it with soup and ice cream. That joke is a little close to home when it comes to FDM 3D printers.

You want to melt plastic, of course, or things won’t print, so you need heat. But if the plastic filament gets hot too early, it will get soft, expand, and jam. Heat crawling up the hot end like this is known as heat creep and there are a variety of ways that hot ends try to cope with the need to be hot and cold at the same time. Most hotends today are air-cooled with a small fan. But water-cooled hotends have been around for a while and are showing up more and more. Is it a gimmick? Are you using, planning to use, or have used (and abandoned) water cooling on your hot end?

Heat Break

The most common method is to use a heat-break between the heating block and the rest of the filament path. The heat-break is designed to transfer as little heat as necessary, and it usually screws into a large heat sink that has a fan running over it. What heat makes it across the break should blow away with the fan cooling.

From Thomas Sanladerer’s review of the Copperhead hotend. Heat break in the middle.

High tech solutions include making heat-breaks out of titanium or even two dissimilar metals, all with the aim of transferring less heat into the cooler part of the hot end. More modern hot ends use support structures so the heatbreak doesn’t need mechanical rigidity, and they can make very thin-walled heatbreaks that don’t transmit much heat. Surely, then, this is case closed, right? Maybe not.

While it is true that a standard heat-break and a fan can do the job for common 3D printing tasks, there can be problems. First, if you want to print fast — time is money, after all — you need more power to melt more filament per second. If a heatbreak transfers 10% of the heat, this increases demands on the upstream cooling. Some engineering materials want to print at higher temperatures, so you can have the same problem there as well. If you want to heat the entire print chamber, which can help with certain printing materials, that can also cause problems since the ambient air is now hotter. Blowing hot air around isn’t going to cool as effectively. Not to mention, fans that can operate at high temperatures are notoriously expensive.

There are other downsides to fans. Over a long print, a marginal system might eventually let enough heat creep up. Then there’s the noise of a fan blowing during operation. True, you probably have other fans and noisy parts, but it is still one more noise source. With water cooling, you can move the radiator outside a heated enclosure and use larger, slower, and quieter fans while getting more cooling right where you want it. Continue reading “3D Printering: Water-Cooled Hotends”

This film projecter is hiding an Arduino Uno that controls a water-based cooling system.

Cool The Shop With A Thermal Battery-Based System

Having any kind of shop is pretty great, no matter how large it may be or where it’s located. If the shop is in an outbuilding, you get to make more noise. On the other hand, it will probably get pretty darn hot in the summer without some kind of cooling system, especially if you don’t have a window for a breeze (or a window A/C unit).

Five 55-gallon tanks of tap water are buried just outside the shop.[Curtis in Seattle] built an awesome thermal battery-based cooling system for his shop. The battery part consists of five 55-gallon drums full of tap water that are connected in series and buried a foot underground, about two feet out from the wall. There are two radiators filled with water and strapped to 20″ box fans  — one inside the shop, which sends heat from the shop into the water, and another outside that transfers heat out of the water and into the cool night air. Most summer days, the 800-square-foot shop stays at a cool 71°F (21.7°C).

We love that the controls are housed in an old film projector. Inside there’s an Arduino Uno running the show and taking input from four DS18B20 one-wire temperature sensors for measuring indoor, outdoor, battery, and ground temperatures. There are four modes accessible through the LCD menu — idle, cool the shop, recharge mode, and a freeze mode in case the outside temperature plummets. Why didn’t [Curtis in Seattle] use anti-freeze? It’s too expensive, plus it doesn’t usually get that cold. (Although we hear that Seattle got several inches of snow for Christmas.) Check it out after the break.

If you can’t just go burying a bunch of 55-gallon drums in the ground where you live, consider building a swamp cooler out of LEGO.

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CNC Saves Water Cooling Setup

A classic problem. You have a new CPU and a 15-year old water cooling system. Of course, the bracket doesn’t fit. Time to buy a new cooler? Not if you are [der8auer]. You design a new bracket and mill it out of aluminum.

Honestly, it might seem overkill, but it makes sense. After all, no matter how new the CPU is, using water to cool it still works the same way, in principle.

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Watercooling A Canon DSLR Leads To Serious Engineering Upgrades

The Canon EOS R5 is a highly capable, and correspondingly very expensive camera. Capable of recording video in 8K in a compact frame size, it unfortunately suffers from frustrating overheating issues. Always one to try an unconventional solution to a common problem, [Matt] decided to whip up a watercooling solution. What ensues is pure, top-notch engineering.

The watercooling setup is amusing, but the real star of the show is the custom copper heatsink that transforms the camera’s performance without spoiling its practicality.

Upon its original release, Canon had the R5 camera simply shut off on a 20 minute timer when recording 8K video. When the userbase complained, an updated firmware was released that used an onboard sensor and would only shutdown when excessive temperatures were reached. Under these conditions, the camera could record for around 25 minutes at 20 °C. [Matt] set about disassembling the camera to investigate, figuring out that the main processor was the primary source of heat. With a poor connection to its heatsink and buried under a power supply PCB, there simply wasn’t anywhere for heat to go, leaving the camera to regularly overheat and take hours to cool down.

After whipping up an amusing but impractical watercooling solution and verifying it allowed the camera to record indefinitely, [Matt] set about some proper thermal engineering. A custom copper heatsink was produced for inside the camera, bonded directly to the processor and DRAM with thermal paste instead of poor-quality thermal tape. This then directs heat out through the plastic back of the camera. In cool environments, this is enough to allow the camera to record continuously. In warmer environments, simply adding a small fan to the back of the camera was enough to keep things operational indefinitely.

[Matt] finishes the video by pointing out that Canon could have made the camera far more useful for videographers by simply investing a little more time into the camera’s cooling design, while also generating more profits by selling a cooling accessory for extended recording. We’ve seen some of [Matt’s] work before too, such as this DIY 4K projector build. Video after the break.

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