Water cooling a 19" server enclosure

Has anyone ever set up water cooling in a 19” server rack enclosure?

I have a 25U enclosure that I’d like to mod with water cooling. I’ll want to lean toward DIY methods, but I want to try and make it look nice too. (Using some real PC water cooling components for the visual appeal.) I want to take an automotive radiator and mount it at the back of the cabinet. I want it to cool 3 rack mount 4u servers. One of those servers would probably house a thermal controlling and monitoring unit and be connected to the Smart UPS. (Warning the other computers that UPS power has initiated and to shut down, then sending WOL signals in a series when it is safe.) It would essentially be a weak server that controls the cabinet.

I don’t really have a budget in mind, this is still in the early idea phase.
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  1. Sounds like quite a challenge, especially with the data relay portion. As for the remainder of the project, sounds like something I would attempt if I had a rack full of equipment. Where should we start?
  2. I just want to focus on the watercooling portion. The data portion is easier than it sounds.

    I stumbled across this thread while researching for this:

    So the concept is similar only he had an open server rack with more servers, while I'm trying to build this into an enclosed cabinet as though it is one giant water cooled computer case.
  3. Ohhh...I like that. Very neat project. I've built my own reservoirs, so something like that would just be another step in a bigger project.

    You could run a giant loop like that, a lot of people have done it. You'll need bigger pumps or more than just one normal WC'ing pump. (might consider Iwaki or pond pumps, but we can look into that as you go). Depending on actual budget, you could do a couple of things: run serial or run parallel. Depending on how many pumps you are willing to run would likely depend on which route to go.

    I also don't know how well a car radiator would flow in a scenario like this as they are built for water pumps powered by the car's engine...I know people have used them, so maybe it's a matter of finding the best for this scenario...like a small Honda or Toyota radiator? A lot of the tubing will be custom, obviously, so expect to spend a lot of time at the local hardware store playing with PVC fittings. A site I found to have all sorts of cool PVC components is www.flexpvc.com They have about anything you'd ever need or imagine for a build like this. You're also going to need to build a custom mounting system for everything, but pretty sure you are aware of all the custom work needed. :)
  4. Here is the cabinet now:

    that Antec case will be replaced by a 4U server case to house my Xenserver. Probably with this simple case:
    -this case would need to be modified to run the hoses through, but it's cheap so no big deal.

    Then I plan to use this case for a storage server:
    -It has 2 hot swap fans on the back which can be removed to run the hoses through

    If you notice in the picture at the back of my cabinet are 2 holes for wall-mounting the entire unit (you can only see one of them in the picture), I think these would do nicely for mounting the radiator. The trick is planning the airflow from the radiator to the vents at the top. Another option would be to mount the radiator on the back of the cabinet, which would probably be more effective for heat removal but then I have hoses running in and out of the cabinet.

    I've also considered, instead of the car radiator, mounting 2 of these:
    to each side of the top of cabinet, where the vents are, and mounting the fans to blow the air out of the cabinet. Which would make it double as the radiators and general exhaust for the whole cabinet. Even if I still go the car radiator route, I plan to put a strip of fans on each side.

    The reason I want to use a car radiator is because you seem to get more surface area radiator for your dollar, secondly for style points, and thirdly, more water volume can absorb way more energy, and car radiators can hold way more water. Since I have the space that a typical water cooled PC doesn't, it seems to make sense to go this route.
  5. I also came across this in my research, it looks like crap but the concept is sound.

    Phase 1
    Phase 2
    Phase 3

    I like the tall plumbing pipe idea as a reservoir and for bleeding the air out of the system. Also, this project gave me an idea about how to control the heat captured from the water. The idea is building a box that houses the car radiator, that pulls in cool air from some vents at the bottom of the cabinet and then an exhaust vent would run up the back of the cabinet and pipe out of a hole at the top of the cabinet. This would separate the heat from the air in the cabinet.

    The other idea I got from this was running two main loops. The first loop runs to the computers and back to the reservoir, the second from the reservoir to the radiator and back. This allows the flow to the components to be maximized. (Although the flow within a car radiator may not be that restrictive)
  6. You might want to go with bigger radiators than that:


    Depending if you are only cooling CPUs or going to include video cards...if only CPUs, you could be fine with your idea (depending CPUs total).
  7. I'm going to build a water cooling rig into my computer rack case. It's a Compucase 4U S401 model:

    Basically CPU block, Chipset block, 2x Universal GPU blocks for the 6950's so I can use them when 7970 comes out.

    The way I'm gonna go is bring the tubes out the back and mount a 360 rad with a stand bracket on top of the case using one of these:

    However, yesterday I was browsing through Tom's articles and stumbled upon this:

    I truly believe that that is the coolest thing ever! :D Too bad it's discontinued. I think I'll build one just like that some day (I recently bought the wc parts so it's a bit of a financial dent for awhile :D). One thing I'll probably change is the radiator itself to a copper one like the Phobya Xtreme Supernova 1260. All you need additional to that is a rack enclosure, fans and some accessories.

    Sorry if I hijacked your thread but just wanted to share, g'luck with the rack rig :sol:
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