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Weird and Wonderful PCs: Your Stories Part 2

Heavy Metal Water Cooled Case

From: Kjell Arne

My old computer sat in the living room. Back in 2001, my computer's noise level was over 70dbA. My wife complained about the noise. So I decided to try a water-cooled solution and to build a cabinet that would keep things quieter.

I spent some time planning and then began the project. The main cabinet would have a steel frame and aluminum side and top plates. The cabinet would be divided into two chambers. I will talk more about water cooling and the chambers later.

I am an electrician, and I work with PCL-controllers and such. At my workplace, I began collecting components that weren't being used anymore. Among the components were a Mitsubishi PLC-controller, some Omron temperature regulators, and of course, the material for the cabinet itself.

Below the diskette drive you can see the green LED for power and an unlit orange LED for HDD-activity, as well as the power and reset buttons. All this is from an old AOpen HX08 cabinet. Above the diskette drive are the DVD drives.

On the top-right corner are three Omron temperature regulators indicators. Respectively, two measure the temperatures in the left and right chambers of the cabinet; the third measures the temperature in the water cooling tank. The temperature regulators have three levels: (1) below user settable set point (fans are turned off); (2) at set point (fans are turned on and run at 7 volts) and (3) above set point (triggers an alarm and fans run at 12 volts). The red-button has two functions (1) when the computer is off, you can run the water pump manually and (2) when the computer is running, you can switch all cooling fans to maximum speed at 12 volts. The green led below also has two functions. It lights green when the water pump is running and computer is on. It lights red when fans are running manually at full speed or the water level in the water tank is low. There is a sensor for the water level in the tank.

Nothing much to say here. You should be able to easily recognize the components.

Here you see the water tank (the pump is inside), the HDD bay, the PLC-controller, a start relay for the water pump (the pump runs on 220v), a 12 to seven volt converter, the water radiator, the 24 volt power supply for the PLC-controller and some coupling points for the system.

General info:

The water cooling system is open so I don't have to worry about air in the water tubes.

Most of control functions are taken care of by the PLC-controller.

The water blocks are from Swiftech.

Current system specification:

  • Two 300W power supplies (sync start / stop)
  • Asus A8V Deluxe motherboard
  • AMD Athlon 64x2 4400 CPU
  • 2 GB Ram
  • ATI Radeon 9800Pro graphics card
  • Two NEC DVD writers
  • Two 74 GB Western Digital Raptor HDDs configured as RAID 0
  • 250 GB Western Digital HDD
  • Western Digital 320Gb HDD
  • Eheim 1046 water pump
  • The rest of the components are detailed in the descriptions of the pictures.