Mineral Oil Submerged PC

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The following link is a tutorial on how to submerge a PC in an aquarium filled with mineral oil. The results were quite astounding considering the computer being used is a server for UT2004 and CS:S. It runs at 120 degrees F and is completely DEAD SILENT. This is a fun project, and is most likely best if you use slightly older or spare parts. If you enjoy the article/video, digg it!



The 1337 Fleet Mineral Oil PC

Step 1: Gathering the Materials

Alright, so after watching this video you must be thinking either one of two things. 1. Wow, that's really cool! -or- 2. I mean, damn, his typing is so freakin' slow! Explanation: My video capture slowed it down a bit, no idea why. Moving right along, since this is so amazing, let's first go over a few things with pretty pictures. Here are the required materials, (or the things that we just used).

Materials:

  • 5 gallon aquarium
  • 1 piece of justly fit plexi-glass
  • All standard PC components
  • Hacksaw
  • Hot glue gun
  • A lot of minutes on your cellphone (I'll explain why later)
  • 5 gallons of mineral oil (or 40 pints, which is more common to find)

Step 2: Modding the Aquarium

So, your materials are gathered, now to the fun part, modding! (To a certain extent). First, we measured all the dimensions to gain the right aquarium, which just so happened to be a classic 5 gallon one from K-Mart. Tester happened to have a sheet of plexi-glass that was a bit longer than the motherboard, so we used that as the back plate to hold it firmly against the side of the aquarium (plus, it will look like nothing is holding the motherboard at all). We then cut it to size, with the plexi-glass touching the bottom of the aquarium. After that, we took it out and drilled 3 holes in proper holding places so that the motherboard would remain secure. From there, we took the spare plexi glass, and broke it into 4 small 1" X 1" pieces, and glued them together with a bonding liquid that was about the strength between superglue and epoxy. After waiting 10 minutes for it to dry for each layer, we had enough time to take the plastic lid that came with the aquarium to have it serve as a slightly moded bufferzone between air and oil. As shown in the image below, a hacksaw was used to cut the appropriate amount of space for the VGA, RJ-45, keyboard, mouse, etc. to be exposed for connection.

Step 3: Aquiring the Liquid Gold and Some Useless Information

After everything was mounted snug, much cleaning was needed. I had completely forgotten that the PSU, system and CPU fans were completely caked in dust. The most difficult part was cleaning out the heatsink underneath the CPU fan. Since this is a server of mine, it has been on for roughly 2 years straight. The hard drive alone has basically been on 9 years; good old Compaq, wish they were as good as they were back then. Nevermind that, back to the tutorial. The most difficult aspect of this tutorial was, believe or not, gaining the mineral oil. This was beyond hell. Yeah, try asking someone at Walgreens or Walmart that you need 5 GALLONS of mineral oil. Need I remind you what this stuff is. Most people don't seem to realize this, but this is the good "shit" per se. This is a last resort for the laxitive enthusiast. Mineral oil is what people call, a "Fleet Enima," hence the name of this project, The 1337 Fleet. I cannot tell you how many cringes and questions I received when asking this on the phone and in person. Getting back to how to acquire it, your best bet is a tractor supply, or a farm. Though in my region, after making 60 calls between Tester and I, we finally decided to go Walmart and K-Mart hopping. Out of all of the southern region of this state, there is NO MINERAL OIL. We consumed every last bit of it. We had to purchase 40 pints of this liquid gold. 2 Walmarts and 1 K-Mart are leeched. Success. Once we got back to my house, we placed a lot of bags on the ground, hoping not to mess up the hardwood floor. It is a bitch to get that out of the floor. As we poured in this revolting substance, we held our breath praying that it wouldn't explode in our faces for some odd reason. It posted successfully after filling it completely. Luckily, all went well with this monstrosity. After that, we took a hot glue gun and sealed the top to the best of our abilities while resting the 9 year old hard drive on top. You may ask, "Why can't you place that piece of junk hard drive in the aquarium?!" My answer to you, my friend, is that all hard drives have a little hole on the bottom of it that requires air to maintain proper preasure, if that were sealed, it would not function properly.

Step 4: Fill 'er Up!

Not much skill is needed with this part. All you need is a funnel, and a steady hand. If you have wood floors, odds are it is best to place something underneath your aquarium computer so it doesn't stain the wood. Turn on your computer and quickly fill the area as much as you can. We had to turn off the computer for a bit when it reached the CPU fan since it was disproportioned, and was setting it a bit off kilter. If we had it in gallon form, (the oil) it would have gone much smoother. After filling it up to the top with 37 pints of oil, and saw that it was functioning properly, we need to seal the top off as well as we could.

Step 5: Sealing the Deal

The final step. All we need to do now is to make it as air tight as possible. To seal off the lid, we took a hot glue gun and doused it with glue. We just placed it around the perimeter to the best of our abilities, (you can view the images below for a better idea).

Step 6: Final Thoughts

As of now, it seems to be functioning alright, but keep a couple of things in mind; velcro, as I have found out, does not hold down case fans too well. The one black fan as shown in the images and video started to fall over, but luckily was caught by the other case fan's cord. Phew! One other thing is that the case feels quite hot! Maybe it is because our summers here are pretty warm and humid. I guess certainly no hotter than it was prior in the cirulating air environment. I will certainly keep you posted in the forums about how long this piece of machinery is lasting. I am hoping that if it survives the summer, than it has passed the hardest test on any computer. And by the by, this is one of the heaviest PC's you will ever carry. Since mineral oil is 64 oz. per gallon, and there are 5 gallons plus the weight of the PSU, etc. it should be around 25 pounds. In terms of noise, it would be COMPLETELY silent, if there was no hard drive. Since the hdd is 9 years old, it was not built for silence+performance. Hope you enjoyed this somewhat of a loose tutorial, enjoy the pics and video, and try this on your own if you have computer parts to spare!

Here are some finished product pics.

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    461 Discussions

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    FrancisG49

    Question 6 months ago on Step 6

    Hi. I'm planning to do this experiment on my AMD A8 CPU computer. Can I use any brands of mineral oil?

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    walshlg

    7 years ago on Step 6

    May I remind you of some basic thermodynamics: You seem to be using the oil as a heat sump. THat's fine if you understand that the heat must go somewhere or it will just keep heating up! So eventually, the heat consumed will equal the heat radiated through the walls of the aquarium. The aquarium is not a very good way of dissipating heat! So it will get very hot, the question now becomes how hot?

    The next point is that mineral oil is a very good solvent of organics, like wiring, glue that holds labels onto the powersupply, plastic connectors that the wiring plugs into, wiring insulation.

    In summary, this approach will probably not last long. If you want to cool your computer really well then check out the DangerDen forum and learn how to water cool, its most excellent and your machine is guaranteed to weigh less than 80 pounds!

    11 replies
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    reggie88980walshlg

    Reply 2 years ago

    Oil cooled computers tend to last longer than normal pc's if built correctly. A radiator is necessary to dissipate the heat in the oil. Second, pure mineral oil will have no effect on the wiring itself, only the rubber insulation. As long as your insulation is not rubber based you should be okay.

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    chrischampionwalshlg

    Reply 4 years ago on Step 6

    I know someone who tried this with a 10gal glass aquarium instead of the acrylic one shown. The mineral oil eventually dissolved the silicon sealant that held the tank together and caused a wall to fail. Of course it happened in the office... over the weekend... ruined the carpet.

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    wontwicechrischampion

    Reply 2 years ago

    google this acrylic glue

    let dry by instructions on can.

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    wontwicebman46

    Reply 2 years ago

    sorry using 3 blade boat props

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    wontwicewalshlg

    Reply 2 years ago

    try using rc brushless motors with 2 ch radio then you can control the speed and you will need 1 esc for each motor used with rudders control which way you want the oil to go.

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    wontwicewontwice

    Reply 2 years ago

    also you will get more oil movement than with air blades. no brushes no carbon or dust in oil.

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    _Scratch_walshlg

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You could probably run the hot mineral oil through a heater core or radiator with some fans, and that would act like a whole computer water cooling system

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    M.S4

    2 years ago

    M thinking that i should use mineral oil instead of water in water cooling because it is easy and risk fre

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    M.S4

    2 years ago

    I have 2 ideas:

    1st - put fish in it
    2nd - Dont use Radiator and let it heat and fry French fries in it

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    ToastyB

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, We made our own Mineral Pc here's a video of us filling it up while it's on for any one doubting mineral oil/ baby oils ability to keep the computer running! OH and it's on windows 10!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThUEwlmSeV4&feature=youtu.be

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    joelhacks

    4 years ago

    I know someone who did something similar but they used a refrigerator to cool down the oil constantly.

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    E1Mike

    4 years ago on Introduction

    im looking forward to build a Semi-modular Gaming PC, oil cooled, and this seems to be a great idea, but does the components last summerged!? like 3 - 5 years, i really take care of my components and my oldest computer is 9 year old, so i realy need to know. THIS IS BEST COOLING EVER @ if it last!