After spending some time at the Norwegian Overclocker forums (overklokking.no),
I kept on watching a lot of people asking about peltier-cooled Coke or other liquids (mostly beer).
After talking a lot about how to accomplish such a project, many people said they were going to make
one. The worst idea was put out by Alexander Albertsen, one of the moderators and writers, who
said he was going to use 5 peltiers and a homemade PSU.
But after spending a year in total silence, I thought I might give it a shot myself.
And this is how it went:
- First, I had to get my economics right (I play paintball regularly, so that was surely the hardest part)
- Second, I made a rough calculation on the costs and materials required, and plan how to make the stuff work
like I wanted it to.
- Third, time to start ordering.
After a lot of trouble, and expensive orders from other companies, I found out that we
had some aluminium at work. This wasn’t a surprise, but I thought I couldn’t take any of it until
my boss told me it was one of the benefits of working there.
Since I’m not a mechanic, he cut the block I had drawn out of a 100 mm roundbar of aluminium.
down to a cubic aluminum-bar of about 70 x 70 x 135 mm.
Then, we undercut a hole of about 64.5 mm in the block I had measured to be about 80 mm long and approximately 70 x 70 mm.
After the undercutting , we cut out the rest of the pieces required, including two water-cooler bases to approximately 20 mm, and cold plates to approximately 5 mm.
I started to draw how I wanted the watercooler to look like, unfortunately we had to cut down the
bases a little in order to make them “gjevne”.
The next morning, we started to mill the channels in the aluminum base.
During the past days, I received two Q-tec 450W Gold PFC PSUs and a Eheim 1048 waterpump.
In about two weeks, a friend of mine was conducting a large LAN and I was put to take care of the casemod competition. I had to order stuff for a about $2500 in order to get the thing rolling, and I ordered two 172w TEC’s at the same time.
By the time I was supposed to get the stuff, I was finished with the aluminium cooler and started planning how to put it all together in a practical box.
I had also planned to anodize the cooler, but I wasn’t certain if I had the time required, and if it went wrong, I was screwed, since
it would ruin the nice finish I already had.
Therefore I decided to run a few tests on some of the leftovers from the cutting.
However, the process of cutting out the pieces right continued, and I found it hard to make 100% flat coldplates, and discovered that I had
made a strange move in the design process. Instead of making a cover to the water-channels in the cooling bases, I could turn them around, making them flat, and use
a plexi-glass piece to make a tight connection over the water-channels.
But I had only about 3 mm of aluminum between the channels inside and the backside of the cooling bases, which were not exactly flat, and I
had serious doubts whether or not to take the critical step into the process of turning the backsides flat and maybe destroying the cooling-bases.
It went fine! The results were great and a great burden was taken off my back.
After that, I went to find some other connections to the cooling system. This was a quite a challenge, since all of the staff at work were at an important meeting at the time I was about to leave.
I decided to do a test on some special quick-connect/disconnect connections I found, and at least they looked all right.
But trouble showed up again: the sponsor for the LAN didn’t respond in time and we had a huge delay on the stuff we were going to sell, and since I had made my order
together with the other stuff, I didn’t get the rig rolling at all during the LAN.
My opinion about this shop has changed dramatically, I consider them to be the most
usurious of all the Norwegian casemod companies, and there’s a lot of them. So I took my business elsewhere – even though I had to pay a little extra, it was worth every penny. Quality and service goes before prices, no matter what.
After I got home, I bought some hoses and started testing the flow in the system. I didn’t have any “Y”-or “T” connections, so it was just a temporary thing.
The project started to get really expensive, as I had ordered the TEC elements and I had payed nearly 3000 NOK for it, or about $390.
But as soon as I had gotten the TEC, I was ready to do a real test of the systems performance.
I still had some processing left on the hole for the can, so I used only one peltier at first, just to test if the system were working as it should.
Getting all the hoses right was the main problem, after that, I just had to make sure the PSU’s didn’t get in contact with any water, as I had set up my gear
so it didn’t have any ground-connection.
However, after setting it up, I made a quick test to see if it worked. I was surprised by the time it took to feel the temperature changes. In about a minute, I could tell
that there was a difference between the water and the hole in the aluminum block.
I went to the bathroom and got the digital thermometer.
The lowest rating I got was -1.9C, but I only took picture of it at -0.9C, but that’s certainly cold enough for me 🙂
Considering that this was just a test and that I had twice the power left, this was looking good.
I had only been running the Delta 120 mm at 5v to ensure that I had enough amps to power the TEC, and
I was only running one of them. Also, the aluminum was not isolated in any way. In other words,
there was plenty of room for improvements.
Strange things happened during the making: I found a thread describing the project by a fellow forum member, but his project was not as sophisticated and complicated as
mine, so I was very happy to announce that I was the first one to make such a thing and that mine actually worked as it should, except that I could have wished for 2-3 more peltiers and 2-3 times the effect.
Isolation completed, time to test more.
Unfortunately, one of the PSUs crashed, so I had to use an old one with only 10 amps on the 12v rail and zero load on the 5v rail; in other words,
I didn’t run it on max. However, I started by putting a can of hot water (60-65C) in, and after 1.5 hours with just one TEC running, I spotted some ice at the bottom of the can.
Still, a small leak prevented me from making a box around the wooden frame, but that didn’t really matter.
After a couple of weeks, nothing has really happened with the project, as I didn’t care to do anything more
without the second PSU in place. The leak is starting to bug me, but I don’t know what to do – I’m simply tired of gluing and all that **** stuff now, so I guess I’ll wait until it becomes really necessary.
Finally; I’m done, I managed to fix all the leaks and put in the last PSU, so I’m good to go. Unfortunately, I simply don’t care to make walls around it yet, so it will just have to wait.
I would suggest that NO ONE try this again. The expenses were terrible – I’m not certain if I can afford a car when I’m 18..:/ (I’m trying to cut down on my coke-drinking, so if you want to buy the damn thing, mail me 🙂
Anyhow, this is probably the funniest and most innovative project I’ve done, and by far the most expensive.
Expenses probably reached about $450 when the project was done, and that excludes the digital equipment I’m going to buy to measure temperature and other nice things..:/
Hopefully, there are a lot of comments on my work, and I’ll be happy to help anyone willing to make it even better..:)
This project is not patent pending, so hopefully, no one will profit from my work. All the technical details about the project can be provided by me upon request.
Thanks goes out to the following people that may have helped during the process:
Hans Martin Solheim,
Jan Magne Moen, Jan Hauge, Tommy Nilsson Helge Haukedal, Bredo Wang, Richard Agerup and Anders Hauge were also helpful and supportive in the process.