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Oil cooled PC, advice on which oil to use?

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September 17, 2012 4:46:16 PM

Hi,

I'm making an oil cooled PC. The reason I'm doing this is because I've been assigned to complete a senior project of any sort based on some form of technology. This is for my Computer Networking II class. I've already seen this type of cooling before in videos, and I'm very good with computer hardware. Help me out here with my most important question... What oil should I use for this build? Thanks!

PS: Types of oils I've heard of using... Mineral oil, motor oil, and vegatable oil (not going to use veggie oil). Does anyone have any other recommendations? I'm leaning towards mineral oil, but I don't know which type of mineral oil I should use. Thanks for any help! I hope this thread helps others in the future...

More about : oil cooled advice oil

September 17, 2012 4:58:19 PM

Definitely mineral oil. Its best on your components. And once you submerge them its almost impossible to clean it off all your components. So your build will have to always stay in the oil. When you get done post some pics up haven't seen any oil cooled PC on toms. Good luck.
September 17, 2012 9:13:08 PM

Kk...

I went to two local supermarkets and found that they sell the same product. 99.9% Mineral oil. That's good right? It is a laxative for like bowel movements or something, but in our case its for a PC cooling solution =]

- The fish tank/aquarium... 15 gallons, or maybe just 10 gallons of maximum fluid capacity. How many gallons I'm going to use... Probably just 8 to 9 gallons.
- The bottles... 16 fl oz. (128 fl oz. = 1 gallon. 128 fl oz x 8.5 gallons = 1088 fl oz. 1088 / 16 = 68 bottles) My cost... $1.64 x 68 = $111.52. $111.52 x 0.0675 = $119.05 which is my average final cost out the door including tax, depending if I go with 8 or 9 gallons. This calculation was based on the average which was 8.5 gallons. Not too bad to be honest.
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September 17, 2012 9:22:12 PM

I'm planning on taking 1080p video of this, and how I go along constructing this build.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2012 9:23:23 PM

Just wondering on my end, but doesn't the oil still require some sort of cycling/movement? Is it really enough to fill a tank with the oil and just dunk all the appropriate components on it? And how are you managing the I/O ports?
September 17, 2012 10:23:04 PM

I'm glad more people are recognizing this thread. I should have told you guys my other thoughts, which is what Chugot9218 pin pointed. I'm going to try keeping the overall temperature of the oil cool by doing these simple things, now correct me if these concepts will not work...

Six or so fans on the bottom which render the oil to move in a circular pattern. One fan moving oil through the heatsink while one fan is on top of the heatsink like normal, but instead pushing the hot oil upwards. There's still hot oil in the rig, so I'll have multiple fans on top blowing air on the oil on the surface to keep it as cool as possible. Keeping the oil moving is a good thing, and hot oil rises above cold oil which is why I thought of this method.

I'm well aware that there are such things called radiators and pumps. Unfortunately as much as I know about PCs I haven't got much into PC water cooling. I have no idea as to how I should incorporate a radiator and pump in this build. I'm steering away from that method.

Keeping in touch with the interfaces... I have USB extensions laying around. I have a 3.5mm audio extension too that is laying around.
September 17, 2012 10:28:55 PM

have a quick google for the 'bioshock pc' for any tips on this. Im sure that used horse laxative.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2012 10:31:50 PM

chugot9218 said:
Just wondering on my end, but doesn't the oil still require some sort of cycling/movement? Is it really enough to fill a tank with the oil and just dunk all the appropriate components on it? And how are you managing the I/O ports?


Yes you will still need some sort of pump and heat exchanger. If the tank is big enough it may be able to dissipate the heat well enough by pure conduction but a little bit of convection is desirable.
September 17, 2012 10:33:23 PM

I think your going to need a radiator of some kind and pump combined with some fans. Or your just gonna get to hot. My opinion... But that's very simple to do. Check out this link it will help you along your way. Answer a lot of the questions you may have. Good luck and I look forward to seeing what you create!

http://www.pugetsystems.com/submerged.php
September 17, 2012 10:36:42 PM

Just gotta watch those temps like a hawk, I've seen where temperature differentials on the glass have caused blowouts and seam failures. Not fun dumping 10gallons of oil onto your floor/desk. I'd also worry about the oil's reaction with silicone seams over the long haul, but others seem to be okay. That's just my aquarium experience paranoia kicking in.

Cleaning them isn't horrifically hard, just expensive. I think alcohol is used. That was just something I read in the comments back in an article on Toms about oil cooled servers. Go check it out, there may be some useful information, it was within the last week or so I think. But its possible the guy was making it up, your results may vary, and all that. Sounds messy and fun!

edit: a cheap submersible pond pump from a local hardware store would probably serve you better than fans, you'd get a better flow rate. It would also let you hook up tubing for a radiator or similar. I have one for my fish that ran me about $15 and can pump a vertical column up to 7 feet, plenty of oomph for circulating.
September 18, 2012 12:38:25 AM

gilamonsterz said:
Just gotta watch those temps like a hawk, I've seen where temperature differentials on the glass have caused blowouts and seam failures. Not fun dumping 10gallons of oil onto your floor/desk. I'd also worry about the oil's reaction with silicone seams over the long haul, but others seem to be okay. That's just my aquarium experience paranoia kicking in.

Cleaning them isn't horrifically hard, just expensive. I think alcohol is used. That was just something I read in the comments back in an article on Toms about oil cooled servers. Go check it out, there may be some useful information, it was within the last week or so I think. But its possible the guy was making it up, your results may vary, and all that. Sounds messy and fun!

edit: a cheap submersible pond pump from a local hardware store would probably serve you better than fans, you'd get a better flow rate. It would also let you hook up tubing for a radiator or similar. I have one for my fish that ran me about $15 and can pump a vertical column up to 7 feet, plenty of oomph for circulating.


^ Okay, yeah this is something I would like to imagine going on in the aquarium tank. How do they work? I'm planning on buying a minimum of two of them to keep up efficient circulation. Keep in mind when viewing these pumps, we are working with oil here which is thicker and harder to move around than water. Take the wheel if these suggestions are off the hook.

Does this look good? -> http://www.ebay.com/itm/Submersible-Koi-Pond-Fountain-P... (200GPH)

Should I get a weaker one? -> http://www.ebay.com/itm/132-GPH-Submersible-Water-Pump-... (132GPH)

Should I get a stronger one? -> http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Active-Aqua-Submersible-Pum... (250GPH)

You probably never dreamed of this, also a suggestion? -> http://www.ebay.com/itm/44GPH-DC-4-5V-12V-3W-USB-Submer... (44GPH)
September 18, 2012 4:23:12 PM

I went about this project doing a test run on an electrical driven fan... Success!

I took a screw-on cap that seals up a DVD or CD stack, in this case we'll call it a container cap. It was deep and wide enough to fit the fan inside with no problem. The fan was laid on it's flat side for full submersion. Soon after, I poured the mineral oil inside of the container cap. The fan surely slowed down, but operated just fine even after a good amount of minutes. This was a major step in the right direction for the process of making this build possible because it proves this mineral oil is basically fully non-conductive.

Also, I figured out what type of aquarium tank I'm using, and how oil I will actually be buying. A 15 gallon, 24x12x12 sized aquarium tank will be used. 11.5 gallons of mineral oil will be used to fully submerge the PC and for it to look good.

Any ideas on the pumps?
September 19, 2012 10:54:59 AM

You could maybe look at getting a pump from a car wreckers as it will already be designed for a 12v system and easy to connect into the systems power, and they are also going to provide enough flow, you could also use a cars radiator and run the oil through it, this would however increase your fl oz required.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 20, 2012 1:25:49 PM

Another user on here was looking into Oil cooling, I brought up possibly using air pumps to circulate air through the oil, creating movement and dissipating heat, although I do not know how effective it would be at cooling (not like theres many benchmarks or examples out there!).
a c 105 B Homebuilt system
September 20, 2012 1:38:10 PM

I believe this may be of use.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/276288-29-mineral-lin...

From what I understand, to cool the oil you just pump it through an external radiator. That seems to be how all the oil-cooled rigs I'v seen online seem to work.

Also I have heard that vet clinics are a good place to get mineral oil in large quantities, as someone pointed out before, they use it as a laxative for horses.

Best of luck.
September 22, 2012 9:48:41 PM

I apologize Ginga_nz for neglecting your suggestion. I told my father about this project and he had a radiator sitting around at work. He let me take it home, I'm going to use this thing.

I'm making great progress into this build. I think its time to start providing pictures and links to videos that show what I've been doing so far.
September 22, 2012 10:16:16 PM

Videos

Fan Operates in Mineral Oil:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqyogFaEfK4

Scratch Build Operates in Mineral Oil:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SouAgN_ylA

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Pictures

Fan Operates in Mineral Oil:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/65651590@N04/8013348415/si...


Scratch PC Submerged in Oil:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/65651590@N04/8013359362/si...


Close-Up of Scratch PC in Oil:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/65651590@N04/8013351939/si...


Radiator Before Restoration:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/65651590@N04/8013363108/si...


Radiator After Restoration:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/65651590@N04/8013362291/si...
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