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Windows 7: Notebook cooling.


06 Feb 2013   #1

7 Ultimate SP1 x64
 
 
Notebook cooling.

Hi all. Decided to put this here as this would otherwise be a case mod. Let’s just call this a case extension as that is sort of the equivalent with mobile systems for something like this.

Basically, I am considering an unorthodox cooling alternative for my notebook which seems to tend to the warmer temperature these days irregardless of load (despite my efforts with the can of air to prevent that, for the dust and such - I'm not willing to dismantle it half-way just to get the dust so...). Today it peaked at 77C/170.6F with ambient room temperature being 12.7C/55F (I keep my window open no matter how cold it is). Not good at all and the 90-110F temperatures will be approaching soon and I fear for this system’s ability to handle it without putting unnecessary strain on the CPU/GPU.

So to get to the point, here is what I am considering in theory.

I would like to modify a Styrofoam cooler, cut it down to appropriate height. Put that into something else to keep the “sweating” from that off of my desk and contained. A bit of sheet metal to fasten a sort of lid on top after drilling some ventilation holes for the fans of a ‘cooling’ pad (as it will serve to better make use of the cool air the packs will provide – even more so if I use wiring to directly transfer it). Then which I would prop up my notebook on top with a little air-flow maximizer thing (basically an X that raises the system up a fair amount). When I need to use it, I will put the gel packs into a zip lock and with a medium hand towel on top of them and I think you get the general idea of where I’m going with this. If not please don’t hesitate to ask me to elaborate further.

Now… I understand the potential for humidity here. But I am thinking so long as there is no direct contact between the metal sheet and the notebook chassis, then there will be no “sweating” phenomenon and due to the space between this, the ‘cooling’ pad and the air flow prop it should not give off much more or possibly the same equivalent of an open window during winter (25-50F). I will definitely be using a zip lock bag over the packs and also a hand towel, which I believe should mitigate as much of the potential humidity as possible and I will also not be having the fans of the ‘cooling’ pad funnel it straight into the intake vent… not the goal, just thermodynamic transference strictly via the immediate ambient air… If that makes sense.

My question is if I am more or less correct in my assumptions or if I should give this up as a bad job while I’m ahead.

Though, I do feel certain without this measure if only in the hellish summers… the system will take on more damage from the heat than it will from the humidity of something like this (and if I’m not mistaken there are some non-powered dehumidifier devices out there I could potentially toss in there to further decrease it like one of these).

By using only one pack, without the insulated cooler, metal sheet or fan ‘cooling’ pad and with it propped up to ensure there is no direct contact between the pack and the bottom of the chassis, it lowers the temperature by an awesome 10-15 degrees. So I believe, if the humidity would not be too threatening with this proposed method… I could get that down considerably further.


I thank you sincerely for taking the time to consider this post. Any and all opinions and input are greatly appreciated.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

06 Feb 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Quote:
Basically, I am considering an unorthodox cooling alternative for my notebook which seems to tend to the warmer temperature these days irregardless of load (despite my efforts with the can of air to prevent that, for the dust and such - I'm not willing to dismantle it half-way just to get the dust so...).
Laptops/notebooks by their very design have limited cooling capability. The heat generating components (like motherboard, HDD, CPU, GPU) are shoved into a very confined space with extremely restricted air flow ... usually one puny fan. No matter what modifications you might do to the outside, if the inside is clogged with dust you're going to have an overheating problem. Dust is most attracted to the fan and heat sink(s). They've gotta be kept reasonably clean to do their job.

Sometimes the easiest way to provide added cooling is to simply keep the lappy on a flat surface and raise it up by a half inch or so. This allows much greater air circulation around the underside. And this article gives a few more suggestions.

HowStuffWorks "How to Keep Your Laptop Cool"
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2013   #3

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

The idea sounds good except the difference between the temp and the humidity will still give you moisture droplets to my thinking.
Cool dry air yes
Cool moist air on hot computer NO.
Like marsmimar has posted the problem is getting the air in and out of laptop/notebooks to remove the heat. A desktop handles hot summers just because they can mover the air through the case removing heat.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


06 Feb 2013   #4

7 Ultimate SP1 x64
 
 

Mmm. I have kept it propped up since I got it and I do my best to blow the canned air through the intake and outtake to get some of the junk out of it. I suspect despite those efforts there may be somewhat of a a dust bunny on the fan side fins but it would entail me having to dismantle half of this thing (including keyboard and screen) to get to it and I just don't feel confident enough to do it. Desktops I could do that with all day long... but not mobile systems like this. I only wish I could get to it from the back I just can't... there's a stupid middle plate for the Mobo and the heat sink and fan sit on it from the top side instead of the backside (huge design flaw IMO, wish I'd known). So there's really not much else via conventional means that I can do about it at this point and I feel it is simply just too risky for me to crack into it and clean it the proper way... don't even have thermal paste and wouldn't want my first use of it to be on this anyhow. Figure something with cooler air is better than just leaving it alone you know? There's still plenty of air flow coming out of it it's just more hot than it used to be (this is a three year old system now).

However, 86 the initial thought. I think I have found a potential and seemingly superior solution...

Coolest Hack Ever? Cool Water + Pipes + Fan = DIY AC | Gadgets, Science & Technology

Homemade Air Conditioner simple DIY AC uses 45 Watts - can be solar powered! - YouTube

Probably still gives off some humidity but I imagine it would produce far, far, far less than the packs and blowing that straight up near it instead of through the pipes and fan to the DIY reservoir. I'm sure I can put some cloth over the fan and coil to mitigate what little there would be. Or something else... I'll keep thinking about it and looking for further solutions to that.

I'd modify and downscale it too of course, remove the fan from the stand and build a box for it to sit in blowing up towards the laptop (low speed, I know too much would definitely not be a good thing for the internal fan - perhaps I'll actually rig up a 120mm to be a USB and just do it that way or something to ensure there's not too much force). And a smaller fish-tank pump/mini cooler.

Probably even add another, larger fan for my use on the same loop LOL.


So what's the verdict... better or worse? I can probably pick up everything needed apart from the copper tubing on Craigslist, estate sales, garage sales, thrift shops etc. and build it for hardly anything...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2013   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

I think you found a good solution. It looked like the ice was frozen inside the plastic gallon jug. Is that correct? The warmer the room the faster the ice would melt. (I know ... well duh! ) Any idea how long the ice would last if the room was at say, 85 degrees? Warmer than that? Just wondering how many frozen jugs would be needed per day.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2013   #6

7 Ultimate SP1 x64
 
 

Wicked! Alright, I will keep my eye out for the necessary items and start as soon as I obtain them.

Well, what I was thinking with this is I would get some of the big freezer ziplocks and freeze water in them so they are still one big chunk of ice but which would save freezer space over the jugs and the bags can be reused. I also intend to get an insulated cooler to use as the ice/water and pump reservoir so that way the ice would last considerably longer than with a non-insulated container and the ambient room temperature will thus not really matter that much (I feel certain it should last at least twelve hours if not a full 24, but that does depend on how much ice and water the cooler can hold too so I don't know for sure). I'm going to try to find a tall cooler as opposed to a wide one so a few bags of the ice will sit at the bottom with the pump and water being mostly on top of them, and that way there's more room to put the vinyl tubing in/out holes into the upper sides of it rather than through the top of the lid which is where all of the condensation will be trying to escape from, so that would stop it from getting out a lot better (I'd rather not get mold in my room from this).

Also though, I'm pretty sure dry ice is an alternative to actual ice for this. But that is a bit more costly of course. I might just have to try it at least once though. Good contingency plan at any rate.


But apart from all of that, I think the most difficult part of this for me is going to be building the box stand to prop up the notebook with and to house the fan, blowing the air underneath the notebook. I've never done anything like this before so it should prove challenging (need it to also slant at a bit of an angle - the air intake is in the very front and I like it that way to type on when I need too... just adds some difficulty lol). I will definitely need to figure out how best to situate the fan (which I will have to remove out of the stand/casing for it to work how I need it) so I can still access the controls without having to remove it to do so, but while still having it blow the air towards the ceiling and onto the underside of the notebook... that'll take me some time to think about once I find the right one for it (I'm thinking a smaller 'box fan' than 20"... 10"-15" if I can find one and in black or I'll just spray paint the sucker lol).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2013   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Quote:
I'm going to try to find a tall cooler as opposed to a wide one ...
Just a thought but perhaps a used insulated beverage cooler like you see filled with Gatorade at football games? You could always seal the spigot with silicon to prevent leaks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2013   #8

7 Ultimate SP1 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by marsmimar View Post
Quote:
I'm going to try to find a tall cooler as opposed to a wide one ...
Just a thought but perhaps a used insulated beverage cooler like you see filled with Gatorade at football games? You could always seal the spigot with silicon to prevent leaks.
We must be on the same wavelength, was just looking into those. I'll try and find an Igloo one somewhere. I'm sure there's bound to be one or something just as good kicking around the garage sales. I'd be sweet if I could find the one that keeps ice for 5 days rather than just the 3 days for about $15-20 (you know, all uglified and well worn but still intact). Either one would be a great find for this that's for sure.

And actually, perhaps I could make use of the spigot part for one of the tubing lines or else the water pump line-out itself. Would seem more practical to me, so long as it wouldn't burst on me one day... that'd be a frickin' nightmare to clean up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2013   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Your idea sounds totally doable. Rubbermaid and Coleman also make those coolers. If memory serves, the spigots are replaceable (they usually unscrew) so that might give you one less hole to drill.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2013   #10

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Lot of nice gadgets. They will cool the room and therefor help laptop/notebook cooling. So would a air conditioner. Small air conditioners are priced very reasonable in my location. A little duct work twords the computer might help also.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Notebook cooling.




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