Watercooled Raspberry PI


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by raspb » Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:21 pm
Could the Raspberry PI have watercooling apparatus included to cool the processor? Water cooled retailers have developed a niche offering various things for water cooling, radiators, water blocs, tubing, reservoirs, pumps etc. Latest / Recent issue in Custom PC magazine in Britain, #108, has a feature about building a custom water bloc, could a copper water bloc be made or sourced and perhaps smaller watercooled parts?
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by nidO » Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:31 pm
You'd perfectly well be able to do this yes, the massive overriding elephant-in-the-room question though, is why?
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by raspb » Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:47 pm
nidO wrote:You'd perfectly well be able to do this yes, the massive overriding elephant-in-the-room question though, is why?


This site provides information about watercooled PCs, http://computer.howstuffworks.com/liquid-cooled-pc.htm .
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by bursar » Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:00 pm
raspb wrote:
nidO wrote:You'd perfectly well be able to do this yes, the massive overriding elephant-in-the-room question though, is why?


This site provides information about watercooled PCs, http://computer.howstuffworks.com/liquid-cooled-pc.htm .

I don't think the question was 'why water cooling rather than air cooling', I think it was more 'why would you water cool a pi'.

I think the biggest problem will be physcially attaching a waterblock to the SoC. It's not very big, there's not much clearance around it, and there's no mounting holes on the PCB. You'd probably need to look at video card waterblocks (but even those are quite a size these days), and something like Artic Silver Thermal Adhesive to stick the block on,
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by Wolfram23 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:57 am
Wat. That would be ridiculous. Yeah sure you can easily get some copper machined to build a block. Of course, the pump will add more heat than the pi :lol:
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by raspb » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:39 am
This thermal image is quite interesting showing the Raspberry PI heat spots, http://www.element14.com/community/serv ... 12x346.jpg

Water cooling could help reduce the heat?
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by raspb » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:48 am
raspb wrote:This thermal image is quite interesting showing the Raspberry PI heat spots, http://www.element14.com/community/serv ... 12x346.jpg

Water cooling could help reduce the heat?



"This is Remy's thermal image captured with a Fluke Ti35 during H.264 video and AC3 audio playback at 1080p and with Ethernet connected, which yielded the highest temperature recorded, peaking at 65.1C. " (morgaine, Hardware and Software Engineer and Educator) http://www.element14.com/community/thread/18991
Last edited by raspb on Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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by raspb » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:51 am
raspb wrote:This thermal image is quite interesting showing the Raspberry PI heat spots, http://www.element14.com/community/serv ... 12x346.jpg

Water cooling could help reduce the heat?



"This thermal image taken by "Remy" from Spain shows really where the heat is, if you follow the orange haze you can see how heat is being conducted by the board and not just staying around the hot components.

I wonder how many Raspberry Pi's will get "cooked" when people start to put them in cases." (jamodio)
http://www.element14.com/community/thread/18991
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by robwriter » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:33 am
As far as I know, heat is not a limiting factor in how much you can overclock the Pi, nor will heat dramatically reduce it's lifetime.

I'm all for doing weird and wonderful things that serve no purpose, but before anyone does this, it's worth being clear that this would be one of them.
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by drgeoff » Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:09 pm
Since the 486, 'performance' (ie not those like the low power offerings from Via) x86 processors have been designed on the premise that additional heat removal measures will be be necessary, typically a heat sink and fan. As such the die packaging allows for that. The same cannot be said for the SoC in the RPi. Indeed, there is a RAM chip attached to the top of the CPU/GPU.
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by raspb » Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:42 pm
With regards the physics basis for water cooled Raspberry PI that we are discussing.

Googling 65.1° C (see above) in fahrenheit is 149.18°F
Googling acrylic (Raspberry PI material for popular acrylic cases) melting point is 160° C / fahrenheit is 320°F

Acrylic starts softening from 210°F, see http://www.plaskolite.com/AboutAcrylics/HowItsUsed
or is it 160°F, see http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_-F9 ... en&f=false ?

Not that much difference between 149.18°F and 160°F or 210°F if the Raspberry PI is used continuously as above?
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by Justwondering321 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:34 pm
It would be such a fiddly USELESS piece of work. Honestly what is the point. The CPU and GPU don't even get that hot in intensive use. You could but it would be a total waste of time... :P
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by raspb » Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:32 pm
Justwondering321 wrote:It would be such a fiddly USELESS piece of work. Honestly what is the point. The CPU and GPU don't even get that hot in intensive use. You could but it would be a total waste of time... :P


Repeat from earlier with emphasis put on the temperature reached: "This is Remy's thermal image captured with a Fluke Ti35 during H.264 video and AC3 audio playback at 1080p and with Ethernet connected, which yielded the highest temperature recorded, peaking at 65.1C." (morgaine, Hardware and Software Engineer and Educator) http://www.element14.com/community/thread/18991

65.1° C in fahrenheit is 149.18°F and acrylic (Raspberry PI material for popular acrylic cases) start softening from 210°F, see http://www.plaskolite.com/AboutAcrylics/HowItsUsed or is it 160°F, see http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_-F9 ... en&f=false

From physics and health & safety perspective if it's built nicely, water cooled Raspberry PI would be great.
Last edited by raspb on Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by raspb » Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:43 pm
Possible Radiator for water cooled Raspberry PI http://www.micropumps.co.uk/TCSimages/T ... diator%201).jpg ?

Possible Pump for water cooled Raspberry PI http://www.micropumps.co.uk/TCSproducts.html ?
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by robwriter » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:12 pm
raspb wrote:With regards the physics basis for water cooled Raspberry PI that we are discussing.

Googling 65.1° C (see above) in fahrenheit is 149.18°F
Googling acrylic (Raspberry PI material for popular acrylic cases) melting point is 160° C / fahrenheit is 320°F

Acrylic starts softening from 210°F, see http://www.plaskolite.com/AboutAcrylics/HowItsUsed
or is it 160°F, see http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_-F9 ... en&f=false ?

Not that much difference between 149.18°F and 160°F or 210°F if the Raspberry PI is used continuously as above?


Does the acrylic touch the chip? I can't remember how to do the maths, but assuming there's some air in the case, I don't think there'll be any issues.

One of the nice things about the Pi is that it is small, quiet and doesn't use much power. All of these will be made worse by using water cooling.

I'm not saying that it isn't a cool and wacky thing to do - but please don't suggest there's any need for it. If you're really worried about heat then a heatsink would be a better place to start, combined with some vents in your case. And if that wasn't enough, you could always try a fan.
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by raspb » Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:40 pm
robwriter wrote:Does the acrylic touch the chip? I can't remember how to do the maths, but assuming there's some air in the case, I don't think there'll be any issues.


Then why is there this comment, "I wonder how many Raspberry Pi's will get "cooked" when people start to put them in cases." (jamodio) http://www.element14.com/community/thread/18991

robwriter wrote:One of the nice things about the Pi is that it is small, quiet and doesn't use much power. All of these will be made worse by using water cooling.


You could say exactly the same thing for air cooled PCs then why is it that water cooling is chosen, why is noise reduction or performance factored into as reasons for water cooling builds?

robwriter wrote:I'm not saying that it isn't a cool and wacky thing to do - but please don't suggest there's any need for it. If you're really worried about heat then a heatsink would be a better place to start, combined with some vents in your case. And if that wasn't enough, you could always try a fan.


Reasons are there for water cooling this should not escape from the computing reasons. It is said 'where there is smoke, there is fire'. So similarly, 'where there is computing, there is water cooling.' It is time to move beyond our fixed conceptions and become practical.
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by Wolfram23 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:58 am
Desktop PCs are only watercooled to look neat and waste some money. A typical desktop CPU puts out upwards of 100W when overclocked (although I suppose current Ivy Bridge are lowering that number), and most of that is heat. So yeah sure you need pretty decent cooling whether it's a large active air cooler or a water cooling loop if you want to spend extra for a little lower temps. (FYI, I've got my i5 750 under water :D)

A Pi uses... 2 watts. Just 2 watts. Know how much it takes to cool 2 watts of energy? Very, very little. Go buy a set of copper VRAM heat sinks (talking desktop GPU heat sinks) and stick one on the ARM chip if you want, that would probably drop temps quite dramatically. If you must, you could get a little tiny fan to blow over it too. As it is, at 65C tops without any cooling whatsoever, it's not going to take much to drop the temp.

But water cooling? That really, really defeats the purpose of the Pi (as in, low cost, low power).
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by tvinzant » Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:39 am
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by waldojim42 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:49 am
raspb wrote:You could say exactly the same thing for air cooled PCs then why is it that water cooling is chosen, why is noise reduction or performance factored into as reasons for water cooling builds?

Watercooling for PC's is used when extreme air cooling is no longer a viable solution. IE: when pulling 300 watts through a CPU.

Watercooling is absolutely not needed, as you are dealing with less than 5W TDP. First, your 5w chip cannot generate enough heat to melt the plastic - as it would dissipate far more than the chip could produce. Second, do you understand what a heatsink does? If you did, you would understand why the chip is absolutely safe - even inside a case, and does not need external cooling.

Now - submerging the entire board in mineral oil... that just sounds like fun! Dress it up like a fish, and let it swim in a little 2.5 gallon aquarium! :lol:
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by Lob0426 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:46 am
First of all you would have to build the water blocks unless you can find some real small ones. You would have to attach them with thermal tape as there are no mounting points for them. Routing those really small water tubes is going to be a headache. Also you will have to very carefull about their length or they will pull lose the thermal tape. And finally; even though I am an advocate of heatsinks on RasPi, I really see watercooling as a very involved project for little or no gain over heatsinks or fans. But, I say go for it if it is what you want to do. There is not going to be any market in the idea or much help, as most people are against the heatsinks and fans also. Just MOD away.
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by raspb » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:18 am
Wolfram23 wrote:Desktop PCs are only watercooled to look neat and waste some money. A typical desktop CPU puts out upwards of 100W when overclocked (although I suppose current Ivy Bridge are lowering that number), and most of that is heat. So yeah sure you need pretty decent cooling whether it's a large active air cooler or a water cooling loop if you want to spend extra for a little lower temps. (FYI, I've got my i5 750 under water :D)

A Pi uses... 2 watts. Just 2 watts. Know how much it takes to cool 2 watts of energy? Very, very little. Go buy a set of copper VRAM heat sinks (talking desktop GPU heat sinks) and stick one on the ARM chip if you want, that would probably drop temps quite dramatically. If you must, you could get a little tiny fan to blow over it too. As it is, at 65C tops without any cooling whatsoever, it's not going to take much to drop the temp.

But water cooling? That really, really defeats the purpose of the Pi (as in, low cost, low power).


There are some categories now in our discussion that have not been mentioned and thus it is better that these categories be put into our discussion otherwise there is going to be misunderstandings.
Last edited by raspb on Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by raspb » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:22 am
tvinzant wrote:Just to offer a simple inexpensive solution...
http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=62&t=9460&p=134098#p134098


Repeat: It is said 'where there is smoke, there is fire'. So similarly, 'where there is computing, there is water cooling.'
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by raspb » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:28 am
waldojim42 wrote:
raspb wrote:You could say exactly the same thing for air cooled PCs then why is it that water cooling is chosen, why is noise reduction or performance factored into as reasons for water cooling builds?

Watercooling for PC's is used when extreme air cooling is no longer a viable solution. IE: when pulling 300 watts through a CPU.

Watercooling is absolutely not needed, as you are dealing with less than 5W TDP. First, your 5w chip cannot generate enough heat to melt the plastic - as it would dissipate far more than the chip could produce. Second, do you understand what a heatsink does? If you did, you would understand why the chip is absolutely safe - even inside a case, and does not need external cooling.

Now - submerging the entire board in mineral oil... that just sounds like fun! Dress it up like a fish, and let it swim in a little 2.5 gallon aquarium! :lol:



The no cooling or air cooling only is a sand desert approach. Water cooling is a rice paddy approach.
Last edited by raspb on Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by raspb » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:34 am
Lob0426 wrote:First of all you would have to build the water blocks unless you can find some real small ones. You would have to attach them with thermal tape as there are no mounting points for them. Routing those really small water tubes is going to be a headache. Also you will have to very carefull about their length or they will pull lose the thermal tape. And finally; even though I am an advocate of heatsinks on RasPi, I really see watercooling as a very involved project for little or no gain over heatsinks or fans. But, I say go for it if it is what you want to do. There is not going to be any market in the idea or much help, as most people are against the heatsinks and fans also. Just MOD away.


Thanks for those tips.

Once there is increased understanding and need for ideal human comfortable room temperature in / on computer components based on humanity requires water to cool principle that's going to be useful for water cooled computing growth.
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by raspb » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:28 am
raspb wrote:
Lob0426 wrote:First of all you would have to build the water blocks unless you can find some real small ones. You would have to attach them with thermal tape as there are no mounting points for them. Routing those really small water tubes is going to be a headache. Also you will have to very carefull about their length or they will pull lose the thermal tape. And finally; even though I am an advocate of heatsinks on RasPi, I really see watercooling as a very involved project for little or no gain over heatsinks or fans. But, I say go for it if it is what you want to do. There is not going to be any market in the idea or much help, as most people are against the heatsinks and fans also. Just MOD away.


Thanks for those tips.

Once there is increased understanding and need for ideal human comfortable room temperature in / on computer components based on humanity requires water to cool principle that's going to be useful for water cooled computing growth.


Some additions to previous:

Once there is increased understanding and need for ideal human comfortable room temperature and ideal human comfortable external / outside temperature and ideal human comfortable under the tree temperature in / on computer components based on humanity requires water to cool principle, then that's going to be useful for water cooled computing growth.
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