• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

Things to note when assembling a water cooler & miscellaneous things to note of.

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

Blazing fire

Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2007
Things to note when assembling a water cooler & miscellaneous things to note of.


Table of content

1) Importance of thorough cleaning
2) Washing procedure
s
3) Installation procedures
4) Important notes
5) Credits


1) Importance of thorough cleaning

Watercooling parts contain manufacturing residues or particles which can clog up the system and may result in higher temperatures or damaged components. In other words, left over solder flux from the manufacturing process needs to be removed. Unfortunately, this aspect is often overlooked and not pointed out to individuals new to the watercooling world. A proper preparation job will ensure that the watercooling loop is clean, and hence reduce risk of problems. Note that the WC loop still has to be cleaned every year. This annual maintenance is the time one must be prepared to devote.



2) Washing procedure

Radiator


  1. Boil sink water and let it cool for ~5 minutes.
  2. Pour the hot water into the radiator until it is completely filled up. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain ~1/2 of the water into a clear container. This creates some air space and allows you to check the cleanliness of the water.
  4. Shake and rotate the radiator for at least 5 minutes. After which, drain it into the clear container.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until the water is crystal clear, and that no gunk forms once the water settles.
  6. Repeat steps 2-4 two more times with distilled water.


Pump


  • Open and take apart the pump.
  • Inspect for dirt and packing material.
  • Rinse it with distilled water.


Blocks

Just rinse the block(s) with distilled water. It is not recommended to take it apart as you may not have the right tools, or may face difficulty re-assembling it.

Note: Before opening the blocks, be sure to wipe your hands with alcohol as the oils on your hand will cause oxidation on the copper surfaces. However, do not let alcohol come into contact with acrylic; it will crack it. So keep the alcohol far away. Alternatively, as pcarini mentioned, you can use gloves.

Note: Remember to remove the plastic cover at the bottom of the block during installation as some have a plastic cover on the block bottom.


3) Installation procedure

Play with how the barbs work. Get a 'feeling' on how a tight barb tightening is right. The same goes for putting hose onto the barbs/compression fitttings. An inch or two is enough. Get some rest for a while, as conundrum puts it, "Take a long break. Get away, do something else, gives a fresh outlook.
"

  1. Install the barbs/compression fittings on the block(s), radiator(s), pump(s) and other components first.
  2. Install the blocks onto the respective PC components.
  3. Install one end of the hose and measure the amount of tube required to reach the other barb. I suggest cutting it longer than required; you can cut it shorter later on.
  4. Inspect the clamps for over-tightening and inspect the tubes for kinking.
  5. Your hands will be sore at this point so take a break. After which, inspect again.
  6. Unplug the PSU from everything except the pump and unplug from the wall power. Jumper the 24 pin PSU by connecting the green wire to any black wire. Make sure the PSU is OFF before plugging back the power cable.
  7. Add distilled water to the reservoir till it’s full.
  8. Turn on the PSU. The pump should run dry in a second or two. Turn the PSU off. This process is called bumping. Do not let the pump run dry for too long (not more than 10sec) as the ceramic bearing needs water to stay cool.
  9. Repeat steps 7-8.
  10. Rotate the reservoir and case in all directions. Tap the side of the radiator with a screwdriver handle to break bubbles loose. Also tap and pinch the tube to remove small bubbles accumulating on the inner walls of the tube. A big bubble may appear when inverting the radiator. At which point, fill up the reservoir again.
  11. The loop will appear to be full and the bubbles will disappear after an hour or so, depending on the layout and position of the reservoir.
  12. Wrap paper towels around every fitting and beneath it too. Let it run for a day. This is called leak testing.

If a small leak appears, tighten the barb and/or check the clamp, depending on where the leak appear to originate from.
Should a major leak occur and wet the computer, dissemble the computer (meaning Mobo, GPU etc). If the coolant contains dyes (strongly unrecommended), use alcohol and scrub using a clean toothbrush. Then blow dry on LOW heat, and leave to dry for at least 24 hours. Pay close attention to the PCI slots as they get full of liquid. Compressed air helps to blow them out.


4) Important notes




  • I strongly advocate learning how to put the hose over the barb and clamping before installation to familiarize yourself with this process. This helps you build-up confidence and reduce the risk of damaging your PC. Exercising the clamps or compression fittings by opening and closing them several times to make them smoother is also recommended.
  • Tighten down the barbs using your finger until the o-ring makes contact and tighten it further by ¼ to ½ turns. Do not over-tighten barbs especially those which are installed on acrylic materials (like the reservoir) as it may crack and leak. Try to use barbs with recessed O-rings like bitspower's fat boy so the chances of squished/deformed/pinched O-rings maybe reduce. This is my opinion and not widely accepted. According to martin,
The Danger Den FatBoy barbs are my favorite amongst all the options available for G1/4 threading. They have an oversized 11.0mm ID at the barb end, tapering down to 10.0mm at the threaded end, nice sharp barbs for holding onto tubing, chrome finish, and that nicely retained o-ring groove.
  • Ensure that the radiator screws are of proper length. If it’s too long, be sure not to over-tighten or it will puncture the fins and cause a leakage in the radiator. This mistake is often committed. Also ensure that the screws and holes go together. Difference in threading may cause the screw to break in the bracket.
http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6363382&postcount=55

  • deadrad_detail_large.jpg
  • Before opening the blocks, be sure to wipe your hands with alcohol as the oil will stain the copper blocks. However, do not let alcohol come into contact with acrylic; it will crack in time.
  • Don't add too much PT_nuke (active ingredient: CuSO4). Use at most 2 drops for a normal system. It may cause green gunk to form on blocks, pumps, barbs and radiators. Happened to this guy.
  • Try to use new tubing as PVC plasterizes after a while. Some tubes are more susceptible to this than others. It's really up to you though.
  • Don't use dyes. Only use distilled water and PT_Nuke or silver. If you want colour, use coloured tubes.
  • If possible, try to connect the pump to the part(s) and run it with distilled water for a day or so. The water flow could help to dislodge particles not removed during rinsing.
  • Using vinegar is not recommended to clean the radiator. Just use hot water.
  • Use isopropyl aclohol to remove oxidised copper. It will appear on copper parts. Eg, base of the CPU block.

5) Credits
Credits to Conundrum for most of the information here, including washing procedures and link to the picture. This is the original thread.
Credits to myself for formatting.
 
Last edited:
OP
Blazing fire

Blazing fire

Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2007
Thanks for your kind words! It's a good feeling to have one's work appreciated. :)

Don't forget that it's Conundrum who started the ball rolling.

Cheers!
Blazing
 

Moto7451

Senior Something
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
LA, CA
A method I use is to connect a length of tubing between the faucet and the radiator. I let the hot water from the tap clean it out. It usually takes about 5 minutes total.
 

Spawn-Inc

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2007
A method I use is to connect a length of tubing between the faucet and the radiator. I let the hot water from the tap clean it out. It usually takes about 5 minutes total.

i've done that lots too, but it should be known people have blown up a rad by putting full tap pressure to the rad. most residential water supplies are about 45-60 PSI, most rads can only handle i think 30.
 
OP
Blazing fire

Blazing fire

Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2007
@Moto, as spawn says, there are quite a number of people who damage their radiators because of the pressure. Somehow, I only see such cases at xtremesystems.org, and not in ocforums. :)

@pcarini, gloves are a good idea. I will add them in.
 

4GHZ_or_bust

Now 6GHz or Bust!
Joined
Aug 1, 2002
Location
Michigan
You left out 1 important detail: leak test. No one wants to ruin a $1,000 rig because they started everything without a leak test first to rule out loose fitting, cracked part, or improperly installed parts. Or even a little hole in radiator because no one noticed the screw was a tad too big.

If possible, assemble the set outside the PC first, leak test it, then move and install without disconnecting anything, If you can't do that (ie hoses through case panel for external rad/res) then have some dry towels on hand in case there's a leak after you installed and tested.

There's some info on how to start the PSU without polugging it into mobo if you need to run a 12v pump. I use ATX power supply tester, it works as well on turning on the PSU to run the pump and force remaining air out.

Ideally the leak test should stay dry and leak free for about 24 hours before you actually power up the mobo and other components.
 

jr1

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
norway
Personally i wouldn't bother leaktesting outside the case ( exept if i had a punktured rad that was fixed and was leaktested after the fix ) since as soon as you install the system you will have a different stress on the barbs and new chanses of leaks
 

muddocktor

Retired
Joined
Nov 1, 2001
Location
New Iberia, LA
I just added a link to this thread in Hokie's original post of the WaterCooling Thread sticky. This is a good thread so let's keep the BS to a minimum in this one. If you want to fart around, use the old thread that BF linked in the first post.
 
OP
Blazing fire

Blazing fire

Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2007
You left out 1 important detail: leak test. No one wants to ruin a $1,000 rig because they started everything without a leak test first to rule out loose fitting, cracked part, or improperly installed parts. Or even a little hole in radiator because no one noticed the screw was a tad too big.

If possible, assemble the set outside the PC first, leak test it, then move and install without disconnecting anything, If you can't do that (ie hoses through case panel for external rad/res) then have some dry towels on hand in case there's a leak after you installed and tested.

There's some info on how to start the PSU without polugging it into mobo if you need to run a 12v pump. I use ATX power supply tester, it works as well on turning on the PSU to run the pump and force remaining air out.

Ideally the leak test should stay dry and leak free for about 24 hours before you actually power up the mobo and other components.

It's actually in there already. "Wrap paper towels around every fitting and beneath it too. Let it run for a day. This is called leak testing." and " Jumper the 24 pin PSU by connecting the green wire to any black wire." Thanks for pointing it out in any case!

I just added a link to this thread in Hokie's original post of the WaterCooling Thread sticky. This is a good thread so let's keep the BS to a minimum in this one. If you want to fart around, use the old thread that BF linked in the first post.

Thanks muddocktor! However, could I suggest that this thread be left "open" for the time being please? In other words, don't lock it yet. There could be areas where I have left out, and other good suggestions to consider.

Thanks boucher91 for your kind words!



 

aphellyon

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
4) Important notes
I strongly advocate learning how to put the hose over the barb and clamping before installation to familiarize yourself with this process. This helps you built-up confidence and reduce the risk of damaging your PC. Exercising the clamps or compression fittings by opening and closing them several times to make them smoother is also recommended.

Typo?
 

Hsnopi

Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
Location
Maryland
so i read somewhere that you should take apart the block and use catsup (ketchup) to clean them. but is it the vinegar int he catsup that is cleaning the block?

I ask because I have some growth in my block and I am pretty sure I need to take it apart. Will cleaning with a toothbrush destroy the face of the block?
 

hokiealumnus

Water Cooled Moderator
Joined
Oct 14, 2007
From about 1/2 way down Conumdrum's excellent cleaning/rebuild post:
Inside my CPU block – This is always interesting
My Swiftech GTZ CPU block opened up. Looks like the world is coming to an end? Look closely, each pin still is fully exposed to the water flow. It’s not corrosion, it’s not gunk. It’s expected. It’s oxidation and does not affect temps. My GPU blocks inside have the same discoloration, but it is fine for now and doesn’t affect temps at all. In the second photo you can see how good it cleaned up with a nice soak in ketchup and a few minutes under a toothbrush. The block is 100% fine. I showed the photos to Gabe from Swiftech (he’s the maker of these blocks) at a CES event. He was a bit surprised, but when he saw the cleaned pictures he felt better. You’ll get a bit of buildup, there is metal ‘leaking’ molecules and they like to stick to stuff. This is a perfect example of why we must perform the annual cleaning. Even though it’s working perfectly, you need to clean and inspect. Better on your time and terms.
Read the whole thing here. :)
 

Conumdrum

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Location
Small town Emlenton, PA
ketchup and a toothbrush is a very gentle way. The amount of vinegar is very low, just enough. I let my copper parts sit for ohh maybe an hour covered in kechup, get a nice drink, and relax and scrub away nice and smooth. Rinse and done.
 

elysion

Registered
Joined
Nov 9, 2010
Location
Noonu Atoll
thanks for the this thread.
I have sort of an issue with my single XSPC rad, there was a lot of green oxidization inside, when i glimpsed in the openings.

I washed and rinsed the rad with boiled de-mineralized water 5 times, still bits and chunks coming out.

then despite your info of not using vinegar I added 20% vinegar to the water and filled it up to the top left it over night in there.

This morning i washed it out and the water was all blue ;-) i used another 2 goes with hot boiled water and rinsed with de-mineralized water again for 2 times. I still have little bits coming out which looks kind of yellowish.

The dual and triple rad were all fine though, I assume this is not normal and should i refrain from using the single rad, will continue today with more hot water until i hope its all gone....

thanks for the advice