Ever since I first saw the Oilcomputer, I was impressed. I wanted to do something Similar, yet different. I did not want a blatant ripoff of the Oilcomputer, that would accomplish nothing. I wanted to take the oilPC concept and make it a little bit more refined. I wanted it smaller, and i did not want it to look like your regular rectangular aquarium. Oh yea. and i wanted it documented in english.
5k1ttl3's OTPC: The beginning
The Brand spankin new PC chips Flex-atx motherboard to be used in this project. Comes with 800mhz processor on the board and VIA chipset providing Audio, Video, LAN. so far im impressed with this board. Its a small form factor board with a built in Processor and onboard everything for just over $60 after shipping from Newegg, and my Gift certificate brought the price to about half of this. Add ram and a hard drive and youve got yourself a nice little web or game server.
Total Out-Of-Pocket cost: $34.00
The Hexagonal Fishtank, freshly released from its Fedex Cocoon. Some wonderful company donated this to me, after a very odd email. something about pissing on ropes. anyway, This puppy was free.
Total cost: FREEBIE!!!!!!
(Insert Monster Garage sound effects here)
Adding the Radio Shack Power button to the Lid of the tank.
Shot of the underside of the tank, with switch mounted and leads soldered.
I was going to have a reset switch, but it turns out radio shack parts are worthless.
The Oil PC mounted to the plexiglass motherboard tray, running on my couch. No oil yet. This thing produces a great deal of heat for its small size, it will be interesting to see how well the oil acts as a coolant.
5k1ttl3's OTPC: Hard Drive Troubles
So I Decided to do something about the data storage problem
Rocking out with my caulk out: I squirted Silicon and latex caulk all over the underside of the drive, let it dry, and then started wrapping with industrial electrical tape.
I proceeded to wrap with yellow Duct tape
After completely wrapping the drive in yellow duct tape, I decided to give it a name. I dubbed this device the "Liquid Sealed Data Storage Unit" and proceeded to write on the drive the acronymn "LCDSU" ...it turns out 'Sealed' dosent start with a C. In fact there isnt even a 'c' in that entire phraise. Oh well. il chalk that one up to the fact that its 2:30 and im tired.
It also turns out that when the drive manufactureres write "do not cover breather hole" on their drives, they arent just barking arbitrary commands. I plugged the drive in and listned for it to spin up....nothing. I held my ear to the drive to listen for signs of life. I heard kind of a deep wheezing, sick sound. It was kind of popping and wheezing and grinding, and just generally acting pissed off. So i guess this drive died of asphyxiation. Damn. It looked really cool too.
Several days later at work, Dave donated to me this beauty:
Thats right - A Seagate 2 jiggabite hard drive. FOUR TIMES BIGGER than the drive that suffocated.
Although the prospect of making another LCDSU was tempting, I decided to go a safer route and mount the drive above the coolant. I drilled two holes in the Lid of the tank for the case screws to pass through, and mounted the drive on edge.
5k1ttl3's OTPC: The OIL Stage
The oil PC rocked. the OilPC kicked ass. the Oil PC died of ass cancer.
More details in a minute, but first, a very scientific diagram of the cooling properties of oil.
It started out allright. Dave came over and we went to walmart and bought $15 worth of cheapass brand cooking oil. (11 bottles). we bought the bottles home and set up shop in the basement. We hooked up my old school 640x860 CRT and set up X to use it. It looked bad. The KDE splash took up more than the whole screen. So we decided to go all out and bring in my 15" g@teway LCD - the display linux was installed with. It looked pretty, but X wouldnt start and we screwed arround with it and blah blah blah blah. linux sucks to configure if you dont know WTF your hardware is. We tried 20 different configurations before dave suggested we delete the config file and see if it 'just works'. heh.... it did. flawlessly. So with that little problem out of the way, we now had a fully functional, beautiful Linux desktop.
In came the oil. Bottle after bottle, the coolant level continued to rise. Up past the power supply, up past the ram. Up past the CPU fan, which instantly dropped in speed. We filled it to about an inch above the ports. The system still ran fine. It ran just as good as it did before. we decided to go into the bios and check our temps. They were considerably lower. We were both amazed that the cooling actually improved, considering this oil is for cooking things. I was VERY pleased with the results. This thing was awesome.
heh. so the oil PC was kicking ass. I had a screensaver running, counting the uptime. I saw no problems at all. It totally pwned ass. I went upstairs and started relaxing fer a while before class. i took a shower and got out at 5:00...went downstairs to turn off the OTPC, and the first thing i noticed was that the coolant level was down an inch or two....i started to wonder 'was dave right? does oil evaporate?' and then i saw the real problem:
- one and a half gallons or so of oil were all over - the floor - my equipment - my dads workbench......'sh*t'.....aparently a crack had formed from the bottom to the top of the tank while i was upstairs.. had like 30 minutes before class to get this stuff taken care of. I ended up getting most of the oil back in the containers, but 3 and a half containers worth were on the floor and table. My sister took over until i got back from class. everything was sticky and slippery and just overall a pain in my ass when i got back. I ended up dumping kitty litter all over the floor and letting that soak it up. two hours later - turns out kitty litter is a halfway decent oil picker upper. Damnit :( More images of the aftermath are available in the Flickr page, but are of lesser quality due to the fact that i was..... yknow, more interested in cleaning this up than documenting it.
5k1ttl3's OTPC: Summary
All in all i have to say that the OTPC was a success. The tank was obviously a piece, but it was a freebie too, so i cant complain. To the surprise of both of us, the Oil actually did cool the system. it cooled it very well i think. The CPU temp. dropped 21 degrees under oil, and it just looked cool as hell. I am definently interested in attempting this again, and maybe running some more tests on it as soon as i find a suitable container.