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Winter Windowsill Cooling

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NV

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Hey guys, I know it's pretty common for people to leave windows open in the winter to coax some cold air into their computer rooms to help bring temps down, and I've also heard of a few instances of ducting the cold air from outside to the computer's intake fans. I don't really have the ability to do that kind of ducting (space concerns, and in the short term materials too, I suppose) and I can't just let the whole room get cold, since I live in a dorm with two roommates. Besides that, leaving the window wide open right now isn't getting the room that cold (it was in the upper 40s today and my ambient temps were like 25-26C), although being in Ithaca it sure will be cold later.

Anyway, here's the solution that I've come up with: I want to put my computer on the windowsill and duct the cold air from outside to the intake with a couple pieces of cardboard (readily available). I'm not going to try to describe the windowsill, but just trust me that I can set it there without it being precarious. For precaution against weather I intend to tape up a plastic garbage bag to the part of the screen that will be directly in front of the opening to the duct, as well as another garbage bag (and maybe some cardboard too, although I think the garbage bag is really the key thing here) to the side of the case that will be towards the open window as well.

A second way to describe what I'm doing would be this. I'll open the window to the height of the highest intake fan on the front of my computer. I'll put a plastic protective layer over the half of the open portion that my computer will be blocking, as well as a protective layer on the screen everywhere that the computer won't be blocking. Because it gets windy up here on the 5th floor, I'll leave a decent amount of overlap here. Then I'll simply build a structure out of cardboard (and duct tape, yay duct tape! :clap:) that will basically serve to keep the cold air from going into the rest of the room. Basically one wall of this structure will be the intake fans of the computer.

Alright so I hope between those two explanations something clicked and you can visualize what I'm doing. If the whole windowsill idea is still throwing you just imagine the bottom of the window is on the floor. Seriously this is a beast windowsill. If it's still not clear I can sketch something up.


The reason I've come to OCF with this detailed concept is because I want to know what you guys think of the safety of the idea. Am I just asking rain or snow to be pulled into my computer? I have dust filters, and will probably rig up some stockings in addition to those (just so it's easier to clean, getting at my dust filters is a pain. But hey the stockings are extra protection too!). I intend to make this quite secure, but honestly my only resources are thin cardboard, plastic garbage bags, and duct tape. I really don't expect any problems, how much water could get in? Even with significantly reduced precautions?

But what do you guys think?

The only additional protection I can think of is I can insert something perpendicular to the screen to block part of the gap between the protective layer on the computer side and protective layer on the screen side. I wouldn't expect to see a reduction in airflow (I'd still leave it wide enough open for air to get through) but I guess this could cut the angle off for things like droplets of water to get closer to my fans. I think this would be entering the psychotic zone though.

I don't mean to be pushy, but I need replies kinda fast. Gotta get this rigged up before I leave for thanksgiving or my roommate is likely to close the window and turn on the heat, choking my poor folding machine :cry::eek::cry:. No pressure though :p. Thanks for the help, OCF rocks!
 

MattNo5ss

5up3r m0d3r4t0r
Joined
Aug 11, 2008
I doubt your fans will be pulling hard enough to actually pull in rain/snow from the end of the duct; but that depends on the duct's length. How long will the duct be?
 
OP
N

NV

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
No length. It's not really a duct so much as a covering between the window and the rest of the room.
 
OP
N

NV

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Haha, will do with the pictures.

I'm judging by the lack of "Wow it's so obvious that this is a bad idea because of xyz" that this is at least reasonably safe and probably won't mess me up, so I'm planning on going through with this some time tomorrow.
 

MARCI

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2008
Location
Folding for T32 in Lawrenceville, Ga
I'd be inclined to think this was potentially dangerous, depending on the level of storms you get. It doesn't take much liquid to do bad things if it ends up in the wrong spot.

I would not do it with a machine that was important, or who having a catastrophic failure in would prevent my work, homework, or break my heart or budget.
 

MattNo5ss

5up3r m0d3r4t0r
Joined
Aug 11, 2008
Could you possibly make some sort of overhang to go on the outside of the screen over your intake?
 
OP
N

NV

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
I definitely cannot make an overhang. I was factoring in heavy rain but I guess you've got a good point, if it gets really stormy/windy this could be dangerous. I'm now modifying my vision a bit so that it'd basically be a 12-18 inch duct.

I'll post pictures when I do it later and if the consensus is still that it's potentially dangerous I'll have to either try something else or scrap it completely.
 
OP
N

NV

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Get Ready! (Double post... but I think it's appropriate)

So I went ahead and did it today... took roughly 2 hours because it's in a toughish spot to reach and I work pretty slowly. Here are the results.

Before:
dsc03452e.jpg


And the final result:
dsc03474nm.jpg


Note that I started when it was light out and finished after dark.


Anyway, a bit on the process. I started by cleaning my current dust filters because... they needed in and the computer was off anyway, so it was a prime opportunity.
Before:
dsc034541.jpg


Ok, so the forum thinks I have more images than I do.... Dunno why, but here's a split :shrug:

That's a custom front panel there. Works at about 60% initial intended capacity. When I fix it over winter break I might make a thread about it. Good stuff. And for reference, although I did do some soldering, I'm pretty sure it wasn't that that killed all but one channel on my Lamptron. Cannot recommend it.

Cleaning the upper dust filter was a royal pain. It hadn't been done in ages, and that fan was basically useless. I went in with an unbent paperclip, and scraped all the dust into the center. That worked probably a lot better than it sounds. Then I picked a little dust out with a pair of tweezers, right through the little mesh stuff. If I was lucky and it came in a nice clump, it was easy to take out with my fingers after that.

After the cleaning I rigged up some panty hoes for extra dust(/whatever else) protection! Not the most beautiful or most effective job ever, but I think it does the trick just fine for now. Later I'm planning on putting up some actual air filters, my dad has some stuff lying around and I'm going to experiment a bit. Here's the after shot.
dsc034591.jpg



Alright but this is really all about the window duct, isn't it?!? :salute::thup::salute:

Don't worry, I got you covered. I started with one garbage bag folded in half (4 layers of plastic!) taped up to the screen. Luckily the screen has a nice big frame right at halfway that I could tape it to, because taping to the screen itself doesn't really work. I added another part of a folded plastic bag to cover the bottom that the first one didn't get.
Results:
dsc03462t.jpg


Honestly, I'm not convinced that's going to hold up too well in a stiff wind. The upper part especially. The bottom is a little more secure. I'm only worried because I'm going to be away for a while, if I were here I can just rip the duct off and close the window if anything bad happens. We have rain in the forecast, and 16mph winds max.... Then there's this too
dsc03461em.jpg
 
OP
N

NV

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
I didn't think of that gap when I was planning this. I didn't really have a way to stuff it shut. But even given all of these potential sources for error, I feel good about this duct. Here's why

dsc03464x.jpg


THAT plastic covering is pretty darn sturdy. Not like holds-up-to-a-punch sturdy, but I'm-confident-(especially with my computer practically butting up to it)-that-it's-not-going-anywhere sturdy. Here's a shot with the computer:

dsc03465nb.jpg


I'm pretty happy with that length of 'duct' there. I want to know what you guys think though. Finally here it is with the walls of the duct up, and the top is in the final pic up in the beginning.

dsc03472a.jpg


The top was tricky to put on because I only had one box to work with (I had more if I needed it bad, but I was able to do it with one box and that was a significant convenience), and at that point I really couldn't push the duct tape too hard to get a good seal.

The resulting duct is roughly a foot long. I dunno about exactly how sturdy that inner plastic is, but I think it's decent. What do you guys think? Am I asking to fry my hardware?

Anyway, hope you guys have some comforting words of wisdom and I hope you liked what I managed to do here. Ambient temps right now are around 10C. Much more awesome than the ~25 in this room most of the time. Still have to fire things up all the way and see what kind of real gains I've gotten. Also, its night now, so it's a bit cooler than usually during the day.

So now that I've falsely ended this post a couple times, this is where I leave you. C+C!
 

staticpage

Registered
Joined
Sep 29, 2008
Location
cincinnati
I'm did the same thing with my water cooled system.
I piped the rad out side with 1/4 hose. It got down to 25f last night and I had condensation on every thing. my system is setup for subzero temps so it was ok, but be careful.
 
OP
N

NV

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
Well, I think what you did is... a LOT different. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the condensation you got was a result of the still sub-room temperature water being in the room (or probably warmer-than-room) temperature air inside your case. What I'm actually doing is pulling that cold air inside my case. There should be no condensation because the air is only going to get warmer. Someone please correct me if I have this process incorrect, as if I do I intend to rip this all down immediately. I am NOT trying to mess with a setup that will produce condensation. The main concern with this, as far as I can tell, is rain getting into the duct and in the computer. I'm pretty sure this won't happen unless there's some pretty vicious wind to mess up my plastic sheets first though.

Edit: I just realized that I do have 1 "warm" intake fan on the side. Mixing the two under the right circumstances could probably cause condensation, couldn't it? I'm thinking about flipping this fan around and then taping up all of the large holes in the case (WC tubing holes, unused PCI slots..) so they don't suck in dust.
 
Last edited:

four4875

Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2003
Location
I can see walmart, 44906
I would worry about snow particles coming in the screen, making it back and forth through the labyrinth of duct, through your filters and fans, and then finally landing somewhere and being a big enough particle to do some damage. I wouldnt worry about it. While first reading the thread I was planning on saying to build a duct out of cardboard, but you beat me to it. I wouldnt have even bothered with all the plastic in the window, would have put one sheet flat over the opening, with a hole in it. then a duct from hole in piece over window to a shroud of sorts over a fan or fans. I might put a fan on the window side of the duct to help things move along.

The bigger the volume of the duct per airflow, the more likely that water will fall out of suspension in the air. so if you can make a bigger duct for the same airflow, you're less likely to get water particles blowing in.

but like i said, I personally wouldnt be worried unless i had some crazy winds that faced the wall my dorm window was on. Note that i've never experienced a window on a 5th floor, closest i've been is working on towers and similar structures 150 feet in the air.
 
OP
N

NV

Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2009
At first you said you would worry about it, and I got a little concerned. I agree though, even if some water manages to make it to the front of my case I think it's going to take something special for anything to get inside. And I don't think any normal wind or rain will even get water that close.

When I have more time and resources (so over winter break) I'll probably scrap together something a lot more like what you described. This was a quick fix because my roomies like it pretty warm. In fact when they're comfortable I'm usually sweating. I am pretty happy with it though.

Honestly it doesn't get too windy up here usually. Most of the time the wind is going in the opposite direction, but there's a certain time of evening that it seems to switch, but it's really just a cold breeze I suppose. I'm actually somewhat protected because the building sort of folds back on itself, and straight across from my window is actually another window.
 

WayOut

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2009
Location
Seattle, WA
Something I did with an air conditioner over the summer (it got up to 100*F in Seattle :shock:) was a little less complicated and really worked well.

1ed57b1b.jpg

The big machine at the bottom's the air conditioner; there was a big plastic pipe-type thing that came with the air conditioner. I stuck one end into the top of the conditioner, and the other end out that hole in the cardboard there. Duct-tape everything together and it works wonders. If you're up for something like that (you should be able to buy just a tube thing somewhere, hardware store probably) then this is a great, effective investment.
 

jeckulz

Registered
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Location
Wigan UK
Something I did with an air conditioner over the summer (it got up to 100*F in Seattle :shock:) was a little less complicated and really worked well.

1ed57b1b.jpg

The big machine at the bottom's the air conditioner; there was a big plastic pipe-type thing that came with the air conditioner. I stuck one end into the top of the conditioner, and the other end out that hole in the cardboard there. Duct-tape everything together and it works wonders. If you're up for something like that (you should be able to buy just a tube thing somewhere, hardware store probably) then this is a great, effective investment.

This guy is talking most sense to me here.
Ducting pipe is the way forward dude. And would be very easy to knock up a long term solution in under an hour.
Im thinking about this stuff
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/4-in-100mm-AL...arden_Hearing_Cooling_Air?hash=item3c9937436c
Get this stuff, some MDF thats the width of your window, one of these
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/VENTILATION-D...arden_Hearing_Cooling_Air?hash=item1c0dd08244
and another box.

Cut the MDF to about 175mmX(the width of your window), cut a port hole to accept the duct end.
Attatch the hose to the duct, take the other end to your tower, on the desk where it belongs, away from the precarious possition on your window ledge.
(and lets be honest, your room mate MAY wish to OPEN the window, this would destroy your card duct, and make it very easy for your tower to fall to its death.)
Use some card to tightly box in the PC intakes under a single shroud, attatch to other end of the hose to the shround...

...and bob's your mother's brother.
A re-usable, removable and replaceable duct system that allows full use of the window for people cooling/warming, as well as keeping your PC safely on the desk.

:thup: