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DirtyHarry3033

Need some advice from the watercooling experts!

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Hi all, I'm new here and I've got a major (for me anyway) disaster, and could sure use some advice from people that know more about watercooling than me!

 

Last year I bought a kick-*ss All-American Computers LiquidXS with a 1-year parts and 3-year labor warranty. 2 months after I took delivery, the chipset fan started making a horrific rattle whenever I 1st started the system. Once it got warmed up, it would quiet down. Called AAC repeatedly for several weeks with no answer and no returned call :( Finally, browsing another forum where I knew the owner posted, I learned that AAC was forced to bankruptcy the week before my fan started acting up.

 

So anyway, the chipset fan struggled on for 8 months, and finally died last Sunday. Takes some effort to turn it with my finger, and it won't budge when I blow canned air on it. So it must be replaced, and since the company is no longer in business I have to do it myself.

 

Problem is I have NO experience with working on watercooled systems. I've read a lot here, including Watsonte's guide but there are still some (possibly stupid) questions I have.

 

1st, here's a pic of my system taken at All American Computers near the end of the build:

 

IMG_0739.jpg

 

That will give an idea of how the cooling system is laid out and designed, if that's important!

 

OK, let's get to my stupid questions ;)

 

1 - What is the "best" way to drain my system? Haven't really seen much about draining here at all. I watched a vid on Danger Den's site about draining, the guy pulled the pump & t-fitting outside the case and disconnected the t-fitting from the pump to drain into a bucket. But I don't have a t-fitting and as you can see from the pic, there is just about no slack in my tubing. Closest I could come to what's shown in the vid is to pull the bottom rad out and disconnect there, but it would be awful close to the case, big chance for a mess!

 

Also, I'd rather not have to drain the lower half of the system (below the upper UV light) if it can be avoided, seems refilling would be simpler. (and less risk to the pump) Could I maybe siphon thru the fill port in the res? Then plug the tubes from pump to CPU block, and from res to upper rad to prevent spills? Or would it be better to completely drain the system?

 

2 - I saw another vid on Danger Den site showing total disassembly of a system. Guy was cutting the tubes after system was drained. Sure that makes it easier to get things apart, but you want to put it back together after you're done with your upgrades, right? Can I assume from that vid that if you disassemble your system, you need to install fresh tubing? Or is it OK to re-use the original tubing? My system is using 1/2" ID Tygon, fwiw...

 

3 - Coolant - I really don't want to discard my coolant if I can help it. It looks as clean as the day I got the system, no particles in it or anything. I'm just wondering if it's a good idea to put the same coolant back in, or should I bite the bullet and try to mix up a replacement with no experience at it? Coolant's about 10 months old at this time.

 

4 - Radiator flush - Would it be worth the time to flush out the rads at this point? Like I said, the coolant is totally clean. And when I asked Kyle Felstein, owner of AAC (and who built the system) if there was need for regular flushes like with your car, he said PC watercooling doesn't require regular flush/fill's unless you have dissimilar metals in the system that lead to corrosion. Frankly I don't know the metals in my blocks and rads, it's all Danger Den stuff. So, should I flush the rads and blocks?

 

OK, I've asked way too many stupid questions! Forgive my noobishness, but you gotta start learning somewhere, right? I'm grateful for any advice you guys can give, cause this whole thing has got me right nervous!

 

BTW, I'll be replacing the chipset fan with the Evercool VC-RE after watching Angry_Games tutorial vid ;) Thanks Angry, I found that vid less than a week after my fan started making racket, and bookmarked it. Now 10 months later, I finally need it!

 

Thanks for any help!

 

DH

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There is no need to drain the water cooling system to change a chipset fan.

 

Going off of the picture you posted you should only need to do the following:

 

- Wear a anti-static wrist strap or ground yourself out against the PSU before touching any components

- Remove the retention screws for both video cards

- Remove video cards from slots and lay aside

- Remove failed chipset HSF

- Install new chipset HSF

- Install both video cards back into their respective slots and secure with screws

- Done!

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Ace, I thought about just what you describe but maybe 2 problems that I see:

 

1 - The case is totally 100% acrylic, the mobo is bolted to an acrylic plate with 1/4" standoffs, and that plate is bolted to the outside of the case. Sure I could cut the fan's pins off and pull off the fan but no way the pins would drop out. I'd have to get flush-cut nippers and cut 'em a 2nd time really close to the mobo (hoping not to damage anything!), try to push 'em thru the mobo, and maybe they wouldn't drop out even then.

 

2 - I might be a little worried having the vid cards dangling by the tubing. How much chance of "stressing" the connections if I did that, and maybe risking a leak in the future?

 

Thanks for the input, I'll keep it in mind and sleep on it. Would certainly rather do it that way than take everything apart ;)

 

DH

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maby not economical but u could trash 1 hose and use a needle 2 drain it if your that woried about it.

 

also u need 2 refill it somehow also might be a good idea 2 add a fillport to it

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I think I would be able to replace the chipset cooler. Here is how I would do it judging from the picture.

 

I'd remove the rad, waterblock and gpu's to completely take the mobo out of the case. The positions of the tubes will dictate the order of removal. Each of the components can be protected with bubble wrap, the small ones, because you will need to put them aside along the cdrom/hd and keep them there.

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Another alternative to flush-cutting the pins is to get a drill bit (several sizes smaller than the hole) and carefully drill the pins apart. If they don't fall out then, they'll at least be out of the way of the new pins. Just don't touch the board with the bit.

 

If your modding skills are confident, you could also perform some surgery to the outside of the case. In any event, you should be able to do all of this without having to drain the system.

 

That's an awfully weird setup though. Usually the res/fillport should be at the top of the system, so the bubbles collect there and not in your $70 pump.

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I think I would be able to replace the chipset cooler. Here is how I would do it judging from the picture.

 

I'd remove the rad, waterblock and gpu's to completely take the mobo out of the case. The positions of the tubes will dictate the order of removal. Each of the components can be protected with bubble wrap, the small ones, because you will need to put them aside along the cdrom/hd and keep them there.

 

 

Bingo! This is the way to do it and besides you will finally get some experience with water cooling etc. The main reason why it is such a pain on your rig is because the case is so small and all the WC hoses so short. Well, I'm pretty sure you'll do it. Make sure you replace it with something good like this so it won't happen again.

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I think I would be able to replace the chipset cooler. Here is how I would do it judging from the picture.

 

I'd remove the rad, waterblock and gpu's to completely take the mobo out of the case. The positions of the tubes will dictate the order of removal. Each of the components can be protected with bubble wrap, the small ones, because you will need to put them aside along the cdrom/hd and keep them there.

 

This might be the best way to do it, because then you could take the whole loop and let it hang right out of the box as you're working. If you didn't want to unscrew the VGA blocks, you could just remove the cards.

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To keep the stress on the hoses at the absolute minimum you could also take-out the rear 120mm radiator. This will also give you a bit more room to work in.

 

Voltes-5's suggestion is another way to do it, and is much safer. Make sure to wrap up the CPU water block to keep it from getting dinged or spreading thermal compound over everything.

 

When you are ready to put the CPU block back on, make sure to clean it, and the CPU off and apply a fresh coating of your favorite thermal compound.

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OK guys, thanks for the input! Think I'll go with Voltes-5's method, sounds like it will let me get the mobo out of the case without too much trouble.

 

I would have been too uncertain to try it that way on my own, concerned about damaging the tubing and springing a leak but you guys know a ton more about it than I do so I figure there's little risk.

 

HITandRUN, yep I've got the VC-RE on the way, UPS should be delivering it within an hour. I also considered that Thermalright HR-05 SLI but studying the pictures of it, don't think it would fit in my SLI system unless I wanted to lose a vid card! Think they named it wrong...

 

That's an awfully weird setup though. Usually the res/fillport should be at the top of the system, so the bubbles collect there and not in your $70 pump.

 

Yeah, it's strange but that's how the guy designed it. Works fine though, the outlet from the res is on the bottom-front, the upper UV light in the pic is blocking the view of where it enters the res. There's no way a bubble is gonna enter the line and end up in the pump, unless the water level in the res drops 1/2". In fact I've never seen a single bubble in the system.

 

One reason he did it that way I think, is the guy is fanatical about neatness. He had practically every wire in the system custom-cut to the exact length needed, no more, no less. Then bundled neatly and tucked almost out of sight. Guess he wanted the same neatness with the plumbing ;)

 

Thanks again for the advice guys!

 

DH

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Good luck with your project and let us know how it worked out for you! Make some pics as well! We love pics! :)

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OK, my Evercool VC-RE arrived this evening, and I just spent the past 2 1/2 hours installing it. Ended up using AceGoober's method of just removing the vid cards and laying them out of the way. Just barely enough slack in the tubing to do that ;) And just barely enough room in the case to get the job done! (Thanks Ace, that saved me a LOT of time!)

 

Since I'm writing this on my LiquidXS, guess I didn't mess up too badly!

 

Right now the system has been up 20 minutes and according to Smartguardian the chipset temp is steady at 48-49c @idle with fan turning 4821rpm, normally it would be at 52 or 53c and 7000rpm. I understand temps will come down even more when the A-S Ceramique "sets up" or whatever?

 

Did get one scare, when I cut the posts off the old fan, I accidentally cut thru one of the springs. I found 2 pieces of it, but not enough to make a whole spring. Spent at least 30 minutes looking at every inch of the mobo to see if it got lodged somewhere but couldn't find it. Finally said "Well it must have flown out and landed on the floor". Must have been right, nothing has shorted out!!!!

 

May have made a mistake, don't know. Read a post from a guy who failed to properly seat his VC-RE, one of the pins popped out and shorted out his chipset since he didn't install the insulating foam pad from the original fan. So I carefully peeled off the pad and put it on the VC-RE. So far seems to be working fine - was that maybe something I shouldn't have done? Just wondering if it impedes contact between the chip and fan enough to make a difference?

 

Hardest part of this was getting the old TIM off. Never done that before, Angry's tutorial vid led me to believe I'd have a thick gooey paste to simply wipe off. Maybe a few minutes tops. Instead I had a hard yellow "cement" all over the chip, took over an hour with 91% isopropyl alcohol to finally get all of it off. And there was a much larger rectangle of this stuff on the bottom of the old fan. Looked to me like a piece of double-sided tape...

 

You can tell I'm a total newb at this! I can install an OS, can install a vid card or sound card, but stuff like this is new to me. A modder I ain't ;) Your help is much appreciated!

 

Now a stupid question for anyone who's read this far. Right before my old chipset fan started making racket, I cleaned the system for the 1st time. The fan was right nasty with dust, I used canned air to blow off the worst of it then dampened a q-tip in alcohol to wipe off the rest. (wiping the blades only...) Less than 2 days later the thing started making the awful grinding sound when I booted, and that racket kept up until it died.

 

So question is, did I clean it wrong? Or was that just coincidence? If I did wrong, what is the right way to clean that fan?

 

Thanks for your support guys!

 

DH

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