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Modify flash cooler into water chiller

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bremen1874

Registered
Joined
Sep 16, 2003
Location
United Kingdom
I wanted to play with using chilled water in my cooling system and decided that a flash cooler was the obvious candidate (If you don't know what a flash cooler is, it's what cools beer between the celler and the beer tap).

While I appreciate that this has been done before, there doesn't appear to be much mention of these units on the forums. Most people seem to butcher fridges or air con. units and end up with something that performs well but is the size of a small house.

I got hold of small single line flash cooler on ebay. It measures 14" x 14" x 12" and contains a compressor and an insulated water container. The coil from the compressor runs around the outside edge of the inside of the water container. Inside this cooling coil is another coil that the beer travels through to be cooled.

By removing the inner beer coil there was plenty of room to submerge a pump. The input and output pipes are routed through existing holes in the casing, one through the overflow, and the other through the water fill hole.

I just gave it its first test run (outside the PC) with promising results :). I ran it for just under two hours and had significant ice and frost on the water block and a coolant temperature of -5 degrees Celcius. I'm not intending to run it that cold and I'm going to add temperature control based on a lcd temperature module (most flash coolers have thermostats built in, but this one doesn't).

The best bit is that all the changes I had to make were none destructive. I could rebuild it back to original spec in half an hour and stick it back on ebay.

If there's any interest I can provide photographs, and the results once I get it connected to by Barton 2500.

Had to tell someone as my GF doesn't seem very interested for some reason :rolleyes: .
 

crimedog

Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2003
Location
South of Boston
just insulate those lines and give it a shot. hard to say if it'll handle the heat though... one way to find our right? if you temps climb expidentially then put a heatercore before the chiller.

the GF... she won't care don't bother :p
 

kayl

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2003
Location
australia
does it look like this
its a Cornelius Maxi 110 Flashcooler
 

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bremen1874

Registered
Joined
Sep 16, 2003
Location
United Kingdom
Yes, it's a Maxi 110.

I've no idea how it will perform once it's connected to the PC, but it's keeping me amused playing with it.

I just want it as a replacement for my rather noisy heater core with twin 12cm fans. When running the flash cooler make less noise, with its single mains powered 12cm fan, than my current radiator setup.

If I can hold the coolant at or below ambient I'll be happy for the moment. If necessary I may later resell the cooler and get hold of a larger twin line version.

All the bits I need for building the thermostat arrived in the post this morning so I should be able to get everything running over the weekend.
 

pwnt by pat

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Location
Cranberry Twp. PA
Can you take a pic of the specs of the compressor? How much did you pay for the cooler? That compressor looks pretty promissing if it can be modded to run 404a. R22 would work though... I bet that if you replace that condensor with a bigger one or a second one that the temps from that thing would be amazing.
 
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bremen1874

Registered
Joined
Sep 16, 2003
Location
United Kingdom
Flash cooler - first test run complete

I finally got everything in place to do a test run this evening.

The Maxi 110 flasher cooler I'm playing with doesn't have a thermostat, it just has a ice sensor. When the ice that forms around the chiller coil extends far enough into the water the sensor detects it and shuts the compressor off until enough of the ice has melted. This is fine for its original purpose, but when you add anti-freeze into the water it isn't much use.

I have now built and connected a thermostat based on a LCD temperature module. I can enter the temperature I want, and then when the water goes over temperature it triggers a relay that turns the compressor on. It stays on for at least 1 minute, and then stays on until the water temperature drops back.

I'm testing on my Barton 2500 @ 210 x 11 1.775v in a NF7 2.0. The water block is an Asetek Antarctica, and the pump an Ehiem 1048, with 1/2" internal piping throughout. I just booted into the BIOS and used the health monitor to watch the temperature. If I remember correctly the CPU should be fully loaded while in the BIOS.

I just ran a 1 hour test with the water temperature set to 10 degrees C. I recorded the temperature immediately after boot and then every 5 minutes for the hour. The air temperature was 25 degrees C.

Immediately after boot the temperature according the BIOS was 10 degrees C. I found this a little surprising as I expected more variation from the MB sensor.

Over the first 5 minutes the temperature slowly went up to 13 degrees C. Then for the rest of the hour it stayed at 13 degrees C, with the occasional brief moment at 14 degrees C.

The compressor came on about once every three minutes, and ran for one minute as dictated by the thermostat. The one minute run was enough to drop the water temperature back down.

The only noisy thing is the mains fan that kicks in when the compressor starts. The compressor itself is very quiet. I intend to replace the mains fan with a 12v one that will run continuously and which I can control the speed of.

A promising start anyway. Tomorrow I'll try it in Windows and give it a run with Prime95.
 

pwnt by pat

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Location
Cranberry Twp. PA
Pull that thermostdat out. That will allow the compressor to run constantly and give lower temps. It'll be fine. Also, use windshield washer fluid, it can take the cold.
 

Alacritan

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Location
Kingston, NY
How much did that run you? I'm looking to get into phase change possibly, but cost and size is prohibitive. I'd like something small since I'm only cooling the CPU and I'm not aiming for subzero temps.