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Thread: When watercooling goes bad.. [added EM pics]

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    When watercooling goes bad.. [added EM pics]

    I've suspected that my watercooled build has been suffering from contamination - at the weekend I took a closer look.. For info i'm using ultra pure water, silver kill coils and Pulse Modding BioClear PT

    First, here's the contents of my reservoir in a jug - the kill coils are lying at the bottom. Bear in mind the jug itself isn't clear but there's a reasonable murk:



    and here's what the coils looked like:



    Yuck. So this white crap is all over the shot - a very light coating in the tubing and also in the reservoir:



    Here's the crusty bottom of my res:



    and here's the inside of the fitting off the bottom of it (note that some sealant is round the outer edge and is a rubbery substance when dry):





    So I washed out the system and then I've flushed it for about an hour with SysClean-HPD, and then flushed everything with 7.5Litres(!) of distilled. It's done a very effective job of cleaning things and i intend to refill with Mayhems XT-1 Concentrate Coolant + ultra pure. I'm dumping the coils idea on the suspicion I've had some horrible chemical reaction - other than that it's either flux from the rad (i did flush it prior to use though) or biological (doesn't seem likely and it's definitely not black/brown).

    I probably ought to strip and de-construct the lot but it looks pretty clear now so I'm wondering if I can get away with HPD/flushing. I have a new res on the way as mine was old anyway.

    So what the heck happened? Chemistry fail on my part? Opinion away..

    Things were simpler with Redline Water Wetter.. (not perfect mind)
    Last edited by dangel; 14-12-2012 at 03:41 PM.
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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    I would imagine the white stuff will be the corrosion on the coils, indicating they are doing their job. They're there as a sacrificial anode to help prevent corrosion on any other part of the watercooling loop. A similar thing is used on the hulls of boats, namely those with a steel or metal hull. Wikipedia explains it better than I ever can http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_anode

    If you do use the coils again, it might be worth fitting some sort of fine filter to stop the substrate from spreading?

    Hope this helps somewhat!

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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    Wait . . ignore that post, just read they're silver so nothing that I said applies lol my bad

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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    Eww that dont look right.

    Hmm not being funny but ive run my xbox for a year on nothing but cheapo deionised water from halfords and theres been no buildup of anything visible - infact when I emptied it (to move it downstairs) the water that came out looked better than the water that comes out of my tap!!

    I take all the reccomendations of silly additives and kilcoils etc with a big pinch of salt as i've never seen it happen. Maybe it does if you usedirty tap water and your tap water is awful.

    I recommend cutting all the crap and just using some clean deionised water - see how that goes for month or two. At the very least it should clean out most of the gunk you got.

    Butuz

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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    There's solid science behind kill coils, as is avoiding tap water (the impurities will kill your system rapidly). I've been there with just distilled before and ended up with algae (not fun to clear out). I do want to run with an inhibitor too as it significantly reduces corrosion.

    When I ran with redline the only real side effect was discolouration of pipes after about 2-3 years which was OK - this weird build up is horrible and i'm just curious as to what it is. I guess if push comes to shove I could always take some into the lab and see if an xray spectrometer will reveal much about it

    I've been doing this a long time and aside from the first-time-algae-thing i've not had this sort of build up (and over a relatively short period too - a few months since mid septemberish).
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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    Science aside - theres certainly plenty of marketing and profit behind the "you need 5 kill coils and eight different super expensive additives" mentality.

    Personally I only think you need to actively treat your liquid if you are mixing metals internal to the waterloop or you are using plain tapwater. But thats my 2p - I'll keep using 2 quids woth of battery water once a year - you guys keep using £30 worth of treatment and cleaning the thick white goo (?!!!) out every few months.

    By the way thats a joke about the thick white goo - clearly theres something seriously wrong there. Maybe try the coil wothout the addiditve or vice versa rather than both?

    Butuz

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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    I'm pretty sure I can avoid it by not playing chemist god and mixing stuff randomly (wrongly?) - i'll be hard pressed to stuff up mixing a premix concentrate with just water (well..). I just want to figure out what happened and whether i've got a larger problem at hand (I don't think i've got incompatible metals in the loop) or whether it's likely to have done more serious damage. I haven't stripped the (3) blocks so I don't know for sure. Cooling was OK before I pulled the plug (literally) last night.
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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    You can still get limescale from supposedly ultra pure water - any exposure to air will start dissolving CO2 of course. If your biocide didn't also include a limescale inhibitor then that'd doubly make me suspect limescale.

    Don't know why there would be a sudden build up though - maybe it just reached a critical saturation so started precipitating. Could be worth double checking there's not a route for exposing to the air as well, though I'm sure you'd notice this more quickly as a leak.

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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    Yup, no leaks i'm aware of at least! I've brought a sample in today so i'll try and get some analysis done later and report findings.. Very curious.
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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    Could be plasticiser leaching from the tubing, what type do you use?

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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    Quote Originally Posted by Macadee View Post
    Could be plasticiser leaching from the tubing, what type do you use?
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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    I have the exact same tubing and the same problem, noticed patches forming on the tubing walls, then inside my bay res.

    Reading around forums I believe it is plasticiser leach from the Masterclear, I have got some XSPC Highflex to replace mine over Christmas.

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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    Didn't Cray used to cool their supercomputers with hydrogen peroxide?

    I think I am starting to see why

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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    Quote Originally Posted by Macadee View Post
    I have the exact same tubing and the same problem, noticed patches forming on the tubing walls, then inside my bay res.

    Reading around forums I believe it is plasticiser leach from the Masterclear, I have got some XSPC Highflex to replace mine over Christmas.
    Reading round myself, and comparing photos this does indeed look like leeching from the bloody tubing. Of course this was different on this build and so i've never had the problem..

    Question is, what's safe? Is XSPC Highflex OK? More flexibility suggests plasticiser has been used doesn't it?
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    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    Hmm more musings - I'm thinking that the copper sulphate (bioclear) has accelerated this reaction..
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      • Intel 520 120GB, Samsung 840 250GB, WD Caviar Black 1TB
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Tri-Fire 7990 / 7970
      • PSU:
      • EVGA Supernova 1300-G2
      • Case:
      • Lian Li PC-75
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2713HM
      • Internet:
      • VM

    Re: When watercooling goes bad..

    Quote Originally Posted by dangel View Post
    Reading round myself, and comparing photos this does indeed look like leeching from the bloody tubing. Of course this was different on this build and so i've never had the problem..

    Question is, what's safe? Is XSPC Highflex OK? More flexibility suggests plasticiser has been used doesn't it?
    Can't remember where I seen it, but I do remember when searching for info that people on various forums with similar set-ups seem to get differing results.

    I added in one length of XSPC tubing about 6 months ago with the existing Masterclear tubing installed 5 months previously, and it still appears free of any build up.

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