1. ## Finding your airflow WITHOUT SMOKE!!!

Okay, I'm reading the thread here on different smoke sources and why each one is in some way harmful / not making enough smoke...

And I had an idea !

.... whyyy not NOT use smoke? Let me pose another question:

How do you determine which way the air is blowing outside, say on a golf course or a baseball field? I can think of three ways (none of them involve smoke):

1) you drop some sand/ soil and see which way it veers on its way down (NOT a good idea inside our cases )

2) You stick your index finger in your mouth to give it some saliva, and subjectively determine which side of your finger gets cold first (this would work in principle, but it's not accurate)

3) You watch the flags on the stadium bleachers / on the golf course holes and see which way they are pointing.

This third method isn't always great outside, because at times wind is changing direction quite randomly, but in a controlled environment like a computer case (where the fans and vent/intake holes/cracks) aren't moving around, this would be an IDEAL method to determine the direction of the airflow at different points, and thus determine how air is moving through your case!

I know you many good-willing case-cooling fanatics will try to shoot my idea down ASAP, in the interest of challenging and defeating any foolish ideas for the good of the masses, so let me address a few arguments against my idea beforehand (I'll start with the expected dumb ones first):

Argument 1) You can't fit a freakin pinnacle inside your case, and the airflow isn't strong enough anyway to show where the air is moving at any one point.

Retort 1) We could avoid that problem by using a light "flag," like a down feather or two tied to a stick with a short section of string so it may rotate freely.

Argument 2) You are assuming that cases do not contain any situations where the direction of the airflow doesn't change direction, but turbulance / odd shapes can create quasi-vortexes of air which might make your "feather-flag" not point in any one direction for a long time

Retort/Acknowledgement 2) That's a good point, but if you do run into that sort of situation at any one point you should be able to check points radially around it to determine the sense of the vortex (clockwise/counterclockwise), and from that whether it's hurting/helping your case flow

Argument 3) You're an idiot and I think your idea is dumb coz' you made me look foolish earlier/ have a weird avatar/ use AMD processors (i.e. I don't have a reason but I like to talk)

Retort 3) Go argue with your wall for awhile, your fingers won't get as tired

so what do you think?

EDIT: And if I didn't fully respond to any of these arguments/ or missed some logic/reason that would actually make my idea invalid, please don't hesitate to point that out - I know I'm not always right

2. Air goes in and air comes out. nuff said

3. I'd say "not 'nuff said," actually... how and over which components the air flows/doesn't flow does matter....

For example, if the air flow in your case results in most of the air going in a beeline from your low-frontal intakes to your high-backend exhausts - a majority of the circulating air might not be circulating past your CPU HS... in my case, the majority of the air being blown into my CPU HS (which has one fan on top) may well mostly be air recirculating from the sides where the hot air leaves the heatsink, as opposed to cooler air from the intakes, which may well be effectively bypassing the entire CPU !!

I think it's a great and useful idea to examine HOW your air is moving through the case, and how attempts to direct it within the case affect temps

4. and people use smoke to check the air flow with the case closed, and to see how quickly the intake air is exausted. you dony want your air just hanging around in there, you want it to cool stuff off and get OUT.

5. good point, using a "feather flag" wouldn't tell you how fast air getting in and out of the case (though that can be figured pretty easily by figuring out the net CFM of your fans)...

But you have to admit this is a pretty good method of determing the *sense* of the airflow in different parts of the case (which is difficult to do with smoke anyway, completely aside from all the potential problems it can cause with the eletronics by humidity/soot etc...)

6. You could get a clear sheet of plastic~plexi and have a few holes in it. Then just stick a thick gauge wire/peice of plastic tubing with some of those plastic streamers or something else not too heavy. Just remember to coat it with anti static spray....you dont want to zap any components. I am thinking just using DUST and have a plexi window would work pretty good also. You could take the window off, blow into the case and then put the window back on and watch the dust. You might be able to see the dust better with the lights off and using a flashlight. Usually you can get some plexi at a hardware store for cheap if that helps.

7. another nice "flag" idea

and the dust idea isn't too bad either - no soot from smoke/ condensation from fog machines to worry about... at least it's easier (relatively) to clean

8. Yep, dust probably would be something most people have. I just cleaned my case,heatsink etc and if you do have a dusty case just look at areas that dont have dust on them...or very little. Chances are those areas dont have alot of airflow. Also using dust would be pretty simple~cheap/FREE!

9. Chix, that was beautiful, I got a kick out of your format, and the idea, very nice.

I have often wondered the same thing time and time again. You may have just pushed me over the edge. Oh, Look, there I go.
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Will be administering tinsle in case tonight (unplugging board and using pin mod trick on psu to give fans power and not board to avoid static mishap).

Will report results ~ Viewing through transparent side panel tightly gripping the clip board.........

10. hehe, thanks Lan

and tinsel is plastic, if i'm not mistaken, so I wouldn't worry TOO much about short circuiting things

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