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Author Topic: Mineral oil submersion?  (Read 7890 times)
P4man
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March 11, 2012, 12:15:15 PM
 #21

Im building an oil/water cooled setup.  The idea is simple: invert the motherboard, place only GPUs in the oil bath, pump the oil through a cooler, and in my case, the cooler will be placed in the filter of a large pond.

I have been doing experiments with an old frying pan and aquarium pump and an oil cooler. Lessons learned so far:
- mineral oil here is difficult to find at reasonable prices. I am going to use vegetable oil and replace it every year if needed.
-  As expected, the aquarium pump (even though a very powerful one at 1600L/H) was utterly inadequate. I gave almost no flow when the oil was cool, only at ~60C+ did the oil become fluid enough to generate some flow, but still way too little. I ordered this:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-12V-DC-CPU-Cooling-CAR-Brushless-Water-Pump-DC50C-1240-High-performance-/120828500685

And I hope that will work better (4m pump head is a fair amount) because the others need 24V and thats no so easy to generate at those amps. 12V can be powered by a PSU. If its still not enough, Ill may just add more.

- air cooled, my small radiator was completely unable to cope with the 1750W frying pan. That too was expected. Submerged in cool water it seems like it should work, although I have yet to generate high enough oil flow to be sure.

- reinforced garden hoses seem to work fine, even at 60+C they didnt become weak. They are cheap (I have to run them a few meter distance to the pond). Dont use clear tubing if you opt for vegetable oil, sunlight is the prime cause for oxidization (=oil going rancid), far more than humidity or air.


Ill post some pics later when the pump arrives and I begin testing with an actual rig.

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March 11, 2012, 03:25:26 PM
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Sorry, I just have to add on this that refined mineral oil submersion is being used to cool datacenter servers.

It is a workable solution.  If mineral oil was potentially damaging over long term to so many possible board components then they probably wouldn't be submerging rackmount servers in mineral oil baths.

http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2011/04/12/green-revolutions-immersion-cooling-in-action/

"A four-rack installation of the Green Revolution liquid coolings solution, which submerges servers in a coolant similar to mineral oil."

As I indicated above there are lots of plastic safe, ion blocking, dielectric fluids.  They tend to be very expensive.  As in $50 to $200+ per gallon.   It isn't that it CAN'T be done it is that for mining GPU are 90% of the heat.  It is simply cheaper to put a waterblock on the GPU.

Still a cool link thanks for sharing it.  There are energy cost savings to immersion cooling or liquid cooling.  AC is expensive.   Removing 10KW of electrical load will require another 3KW (or so) in AC power.   If you can get the heat into a liquid you can remove 3KW easily with a large heat exchanger and fan (for the company in the link they are using evoporation coolers due to larger scale).

It just becomes INCREASED CAPITAL COST vs INCREASED COOLING COST.  There is a payback period involved.

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March 11, 2012, 03:33:12 PM
 #23

And I hope that will work better (4m pump head is a fair amount) because the others need 24V and thats no so easy to generate at those amps. 12V can be powered by a PSU. If its still not enough, Ill may just add more.

If that doesn't work out you may want to look into Iwaki MD series pumps.  Monster head and flow.  Normally used in commercial aquariums or industrial process water pumping.   I am almost certainly using an Iwaki for my watercooled server rack.    I am just not sure on MD-40 series or MD-55 series.

I wish I had a pond like you do (or stream would be even better Smiley ).  Having a giant water sink as the terminal source would make things much easier.
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