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Author Topic: Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.  (Read 2781 times)

IainB

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Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.
« on: February 13, 2013, 03:34:40 AM »
I am a longtime laptop user, and I usually take a laptop apart at 6-monthly service intervals and clean up its airways, fan(s) and heat exchanger(s) to restore the cooling efficiency to its as-new state. The cooling efficiency can otherwise degrade quite significantly over time as the insides get clogged-up with fluff and dust. The tools I use are a screwdriver, a toothbrush, a small paintbrush and a vacuum cleaner with a narrow nozzle.

However, if the service is overdue, or if the PC has got some seriously heavy CPU load on and it's a hot day, then I set up a Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification that I invented years ago. The other day it was a case of "some seriously heavy CPU load on and it's a hot day", and I was in a non-airconditioned area.
It's moving towards midsummer where I am in NZ and after a bit of a cold start it's getting hotter, grassy areas are turning brown, and the fire danger warning signs along major roads through country areas are up to "High" (which is typical for this time of year). My laptop's Intel i7 was running a couple of CPU-intensive processes at about 13 percent each and the cooling fan was working at high speed but holding the temperatures stable. I could see the hot spots by looking at the Speedfan monitor display.

So I enabled the Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification:

Laptop cooler 01 - tray + cloth.jpgHi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.

Laptop cooler 02 - laptop in use.jpgHi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.

I got the idea after driving with my brother in his old Jaguar Mk10 across semi-arid desert from LA to the Sequoia National Park, some years ago. Before we set off across the desert, he did something I had never seen done before: he pulled into a gas station, opened the trunk and took a large burlap canvas water bag with "Water Camel" and the picture of a camel printed in red and black on its side. Then he opened a stopper on the bag, filled it up with water from a nearby tap, closed the stopper, opened the hood and strapped the bag onto the front of the radiator, using straps attached to the bag.
Me: "What's that for?"
Bro.: "It'll keep the water temperature down. The water slowly soaks through the burlap, evaporates, and the water vapour gets blown into the radiator core. Cools it."
Me: "But won't it block the airflow?"
Bro." "A little bit, but the cooling effect will far outweigh any increased risk of heat build up from restricted airflow."
He then explained the physics of it to me and said that these bags had been used since the '20s.
My brother is a boffin and an aeronautical engineer, and never does anything without good reason - if he says so, it's likely to be right. And it was - the engine ran a degree or so cooler across the desert than it did in LA traffic. An example of the use of dead basic science.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 03:45:49 AM by IainB »

Renegade

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Re: Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2013, 04:33:45 AM »
 :Thmbsup:

I have a Dell, and it runs HOT. I have a cooling pad for it, but in hot weather, I've had to take it and put it in the freezer or fridge to cool it down. More than once.

Before the cooling pad, during a short deadline, I soaked cloths (same kind) and had a layer of ice between them, then coins (or something - I forget) to prop up the laptop.

The Dell just quits when it gets hot. Poof.
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techidave

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Re: Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2013, 05:30:41 AM »
Ianb, wouldn't it be better to not have the moisture or "warm humid air" going into the laptop?  I have not been sold on the laptop cooling pads that have the fans in them and are powered by USB. 

But I also have to wonder about putting it into the freezer... how good can that be for it??

Renegade

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Re: Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2013, 05:43:43 AM »
But I also have to wonder about putting it into the freezer... how good can that be for it??

Desperate times... ;)

The cooling pads work incredibly well. I have nothing but good stuff to say about them. They work far better than a damp cloth, or the fridge. :D
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

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Re: Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2013, 06:30:40 AM »
Ianb, wouldn't it be better to not have the moisture or "warm humid air" going into the laptop?  I have not been sold on the laptop cooling pads that have the fans in them and are powered by USB.  
But I also have to wonder about putting it into the freezer... how good can that be for it??
My answer to the first question would have to be "No". The empiric approach described actually works, and so far unfailingly, over the several years that I have used it.
Normally humid air is going to be sucked into the laptop anyway. The HTLCM (Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification) just makes it more humid, that's all.
If you are worried about condensation, don't be. You would be unlikely to get condensation forming inside a warm laptop, but I suspect that dropping it into a freezer could cause condensation to form somewhere - probably on the copper heatsinks especially - until it has all warmed up. Being a bit paranoid, I wouldn't advocate the freezer approach for that reason, though I could be wrong, of course.

I think @Renegade's idea of putting ice as the filling in a sandwich of cloth is worth exploring for laptops that seem to run critically hot, though in my experience, laptops that might run that hot may often be overdue for an inside clean, as described.
If your cooling air pathways are clear, then using the HTLCM could significantly drop the CPU (and maybe also disk) temperatures in a short space of time.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 07:46:23 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor edit. »

Renegade

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Re: Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2013, 06:41:40 AM »
I would typically only keep it in the freezer for a few minutes, and usually place it on top of something in there. I had the same worries, but... tight deadlines and a laptop that just shuts off completely... yeah... desperate measures. The laptop spent more time in the fridge. :D
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

techidave

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Re: Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2013, 07:19:56 AM »
Renegade, maybe you should get a walk in freezer, then there would be enough room for you and the laptop.  A guy could work all day at that rate.  But then you might have to worry about freezer burn!

40hz

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Re: Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2013, 07:23:19 AM »
Never brought a laptop into the desert. I don't lead that interesting a life. But I have worked with them in non-air-conditioned environments where the temperatures were well over 100 and the humidity not much less.

A few times, when I was in places where I really needed to worry about heat, I've used those flat hot/cold-gel sheets (such as are employed to treat  sports injuries) with good success. Toss one in a freezer for a few hours, drop it in its sheath, and you're set to go. I have an 8x16 very similar to the one pictured below that works really well for laptops. (Works pretty well on me too!)

gel.JPG

 :Thmbsup:

Renegade

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Re: Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2013, 07:34:04 AM »
Incidentally and way off topic...

Screenshot - 2_14_2013 , 12_30_48 AM.png

 :Thmbsup:

Never brought a laptop into the desert. I don't lead that interesting a life. But I have worked with them in non-air-conditioned environments where the temperatures were well over 100 and the humidity not much less.

That is soooo begging for sarcastic comments on how horribly underpriviledged and hard done by you are for *having* worked in a non-AC place once upon a time. ;D :P But, I'll leave the sarcasm to someone else~! :P
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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Re: Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2013, 08:23:51 PM »
Never brought a laptop into the desert. I don't lead that interesting a life. But I have worked with them in non-air-conditioned environments where the temperatures were well over 100 and the humidity not much less.

That is soooo begging for sarcastic comments on how horribly underpriviledged and hard done by you are for *having* worked in a non-AC place once upon a time. ;D :P But, I'll leave the sarcasm to someone else~! :P


Have your laugh. But I have worked in more non-conditioned places than I have the opposite in my lifetime. Put in many years in hot humid commercial kitchens and warehouses during my school years - and for a while afterwards while interviewing for my first "real" job. Did a lot of outside work in all seasons too.

And although I do (now) mostly wear the stereotypical geek polo shirt and khakis (actually black jeans) these days, I'm still not one of those corporate IT guys comfortably ensconced in an ergo-chair behind five or six 24" flat-screens with a 'hands-free' wrapped around my head.

Nope! I'm more the dude you'll see up in some 100+ degree crawlspace holding a wire probe, or hanging out with the vermin down in the waterlogged basement where the T1 'demarcs' come into the main utility core, or standing in a corner of a cold and noisy server room with a freshly unracked NetServer or Proliant in several pieces around me. Not very glamorous work I'm afraid.

So as you might surmise, doing something where I would need to lug a laptop out into some desert doesn't sound all that bad to me. As the matter of a fact, it sounds like a considerably more interesting work locale than most I usually find myself in,

Y'know, I think I might actually enjoy doing something like that every so often...

Moebius-3.jpg

then again...

moebius9-550x388.jpg

Maybe not! :P 8)
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 08:41:07 PM by 40hz »

Renegade

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Re: Hi-Tech laptop cooling modification for laptops.
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2013, 08:49:26 PM »
Have your laugh. But I have worked in more non-conditioned places than I have the opposite in my lifetime. Put in many years in hot humid commercial kitchens and warehouses during my school years - and for a while afterwards while interviewing for my first "real" job. Did a lot of outside work in all seasons too.

Oh, I know. It's just that the way you'd phrased that was just painting a target for a good ol 'el cheapo~! :D

Off topic comment on grammar
"have <past participle>" indicates a more distant past than the simple past. It also creates ambiguity in many cases. Interestingly enough, this grammatical structure is favoured in British English (Australian as well, etc.) where the simple past is favoured in American English. The simple past is a more direct statement.

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker