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Silent But Deadly

Discussion in 'Recording' started by RL Wall, Sep 5, 2002.

  1. RL Wall

    RL Wall Guest

    OK. This cockamamy idea will probably get me branded as a physics phool and an airflow airhead. OR -- I'm giving away a money-making idea for free.

    Here it is:

    Count Rumford Meets Steve Jobs

    You know how we would all love to string a mike boom over the keyboards and in front of the monitor -- kinda like a giant gearshift, and drag down a vocal mike and hit the red button -- but WE CAN'T because the darned Mac/PC under the table is droning so loud, your vocals sound like you recorded them in a laundromat?

    You know how the current solutions are cumbersome and expensive, involving soundproof computer closets, etc, etc?

    You know how only the star-crossed iCube was a virtually silent Mac, but stunk for several reasons, i.e., no PCI slots, yada yada? (Stay with me here.)

    Well, the other day I was reminded of Count Rumford, the guy who, oh, 200+ years ago (!) figured out the way to build a fireplace and chimney system that would deliver more heat to the living space, yet draw the smoke and combustion by-products out of the house more efficiently. Also, I was musing on the convection currents employed in the iCube -- and then...

    Eureka? Not sure, but --> what if I removed the fan from the Mac case and used it's housing to trace and cut a 1/8" aluminum flange, attached a length of 4" aluminum dryer vent pipe to the flange, bent the vent pipe to the vertical, and attaching the whole unit to the Mac, began wrapping 120v electrical heat tape (or some other safe source of heat) around the vent pipe until the volume of warmed air exiting the pipe (from the convection created) equalled the volume of the original noisy fan ?

    It would look like a demented barber pole, and introduce a new heat source into the room, but shouldn't it produce an equally-cooled and virtually silent Mac? Remember -- the air coming out of the case is already warm, we only need to add enough heat to boost the convection....

    Am I nuts? Guys?

    :cool: RW :cool:
  2. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    Central A/C for a mac? Why that's the craziest damn thing I eve..... Wow. It could work.
  3. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    Boy those importers of Mexican pottery are going to make millions off of the new computer embedded chimenias...
  4. RL Wall

    RL Wall Guest

    There you go...ceramics. That adds a whole new twist to the project. Heat your home while you cool your Macintosh...

    We could offer attachments --

    • Cup warmer (good for chili and toasted Fritos)

    • Air popper for between-takes snacks

    • Fondue kit

    The possibilities are endless....
  5. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    Man, whatever happen to Fondue? I see those things at Goodwill all the time. It was like the 'bong' of the non-weed smokers of the 70's.
    I tell you what, if my mac could do fondue, my sessions would get real groovey. Ya dig?
  6. BrockStapper

    BrockStapper Guest

    I dig...
    The heat from the mac could possible keep a lava lamp going...
  7. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Distinguished Member

    Apr 7, 2001
  8. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Jan 18, 2002
    You could also put the upper end of the exhaust thru the roof, put the heating coils up there, and control the heat coils from the PC/Mac inside temperature - more heat in 'puter, more heat on coils - plus, you could save power by painting the stack elm green so it absorbed more solar radiation, wouldn't need the coils as much. Now, if you cut a hole in the floor and run duct to the 'puter air inlet from that (sealed) you would be getting cooler air into the box in the first place (provided you live in a house with a perimeter foundation)

    Hey, Opus, I like this guy - let's keep him around, OK? ... Steve
  9. RL Wall

    RL Wall Guest


    Spoken like a true Rumford Ranger --

    Modern adaptations of his fireplace use piped in combustion air to keep from losing the air you've already heated. In my part of the country, though, the air on my studio floor is cooler than the air outside through probably 9 months of the year. But your suggestion brings up another good point: the cooler the intake air, the less of it we have to move, hence the less energy we need to spend in our convection engine. And your clever thermo-control concept would be cheap and easy, and an extra margin of safety for the Mac.

    Definitely more to chew on.

    I have my doubts, however, about going outside with my "chimney". Though it IS an energy plus, it also starts my cash register clanging again. Maintaining my noise isolation gets called into question too. Actually, my very first weird idea on this deal was to put the fan outside on the end of a duct. Maybe that's not so weird after all, but again, the money piles up.

    There are other nagging questions too, any of which has some potential of becoming a fatal flaw:

    • What if sufficient convection produces airflow noise of its own from the cool air whistling IN to the Mac? This could already be there, "included" in the noise of the fan.

    • Hard drives clacking. Masked now, sore thumb later?


    I wonder if Rumford had a family that has a website....

    :cool: RW :cool:
  10. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2000
    I've been toying with an idea for my peecee which involves a piece of PVC pipe running through the length of the case. You cover one end and have a piece of flexible tubing on the other. In the summer, you place the end of the tube over an AC vent, and in the winter you run it through an outside wall and put a fan on the end. You drill holes in the PVC in the puter to direct the cool air where you want it, and leave or put holes in the case to allow for circulation, no fans needed. All you would need is passive heatsinks on your cards, memory, and mobo chips, and a Vantec flower H/S on your CPU. The only flaw that I've thought-of is that there are some times here in Pahrump when it's not hot enough to run the AC but perhaps not cool enough outside to provide adequate cooling. I'm not sure that the one fan on the end of the tube, when outside, would be adequate when it's, say , 70 to 80 degrees outside.
    Some of you may be interested in the cooling method that I'm currently using for my PC. My case has the old U-shaped metal cover that covers the sides and top of the puter. The temp goes up 15 degrees when I put the cover on. I was going to install case fans. Instead, I bought a $6 cleanable HVAC fiber filter from Ace Hardware, cut it to the size of the U-shaped cover, & attatched velcro to the case and filter, front and back. It looks funky, but I have no case fans drawing power off of my P/S or creating noise, I can barely hear my CPU fan (which is pretty noisy), and my temp only goes up 3 degrees with my "custom case cover" on! I'm now tempted to buy a Vantec flower heatsink, modify it to fit in this little case, and see if it can provide enough cooling to give me a completely fan-free system. With the low heat associated with P4 CPUs, this method might be a possibility, too ... ??? This could very well be a very inexpensive, simple fan-free solution for DAWs ... if you can overlook the 3/4" thick bright blue fiber where your case cover(s) used to be.
  11. RL Wall

    RL Wall Guest

    Now you see? And they say it's the keyboard guys who have all the brains.

    My mac clone also has a u-shaped cover -- and...

    Hey. Wait a minute.

    What about that $99 Sanyo Cube fridge over in the corner? No noise! Couple of cable holes 'n some leftover silicone "Mac-quarium" sealant..... easy access to the drives, etc...

    If I can make a Mac into a fish tank, why not make a cube fridge into a computer case????

    :cool: RW :cool:
  12. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2000
    A couple of flaws there...
    1) Refrigerators DO make noise.
    2) Every time the fridge starts up, you're going to get a power glitch, which could possibly cause you some recording nightmares.
    I like Zalman's passive approach to CPU cooling, and I think there's a lot more room for further imrovements and innovation there. The problem they're having right now is cooling efficiency versus weight. Their most efficient heatsinks weigh a ton! Also, their (standalone) flower heatsinks are great for CPUs which don't generate too much heat, but for big Athlons, they're not up to the task.
    Now the only fan left to eliminate is the power supply fan(s). I don't know squat about what's in a power supply ... so what's in there that needs to be cooled, and how could it be passively cooled?
  13. RL Wall

    RL Wall Guest

    Sorry, Smawg,

    When I said "no noise", I should have been more illuminative. This fridge is one of those NASA-derived "Absorption-Cooled" models with no fan, motor, compressor or freon. It's operation is absolutely silent.

    I don't know what NASA's goal was -- usually it's energy-related -- but whatever they were after, this sucker also makes NO noise.

    I was only guessing at the $89 price though -- it was a birthday gift from my daugher so I wouldn't have to schlep from my 2-car studio to the kitchen for a Diet Pepsi. I frowned when I opened it, fearing noise and she told me she had thought of that too and wouldn't have bought it; then she ran into this one.

    Actually, the ones I have just finished scoping out on the web that are the same overall dimensions as mine are more like $300 !
    Gotta love that kid of mine....

    I have punched up a NEW TRACK on this: I will now try to find out how this absorption cooling thing works....

    Necessity is getting pregnanter and pregnanter.

    :cool: RW :cool:
  14. RL Wall

    RL Wall Guest

    Absorption cooling:

    Mix helium and ammonia gases and heat -- gases alternately combine and separate and absorb energy from their containment in the process, removing energy in the FORM of heat, leaving the containment COLD.

    No compressor, motor or noise.

    Available component absorption cooler capable of producing the requisite cooling power, combined with a soundproof, insulated "fridge" containing a hot Mac or PC would cost more than the Mac or PC in many cases. Also, and this could be the killer -- without an extensive evaporative system to remove condensation (like a frost-free fridge), the resultant moisture in humid conditions could wreak havoc....

    Am now on the trail of a soundproof box with baffled silent fans and a nice glass door -- should be able to build it fairly cheap...
  15. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    Home Page:
    Hey, Robert,

    Let us know of your progress on the baffled box idea. I'd like to make one for my Mac and hard drives.
  16. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Oct 5, 2000
    Didn't Harrison Ford come up with something like this in "Mosquito Coast"?
  17. RL Wall

    RL Wall Guest

    Didn't see that one.

    I've chased enough other tails on this one -- I guess a trip to Blockbuster won't kill me...

    BTW, e-cue, what ever happened to your dead U47FET?

    :cool: RW :cool:
  18. Tommy P.

    Tommy P. Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    Heat pipe, hmm? Its a great idea, as a matter of fact, lots O people think so...

    (Dead Link Removed)
  19. RL Wall

    RL Wall Guest

    Similar, yes -- but most available heat pipe technologies require assisted airflow, e.g., fans, bringing us back to the noise we started with -- and they are not cheap. The DIY heatpipe guy you linked has my respect and his project looks like it has promise, but I'm not in his tinkering league. I do better with wood and foam than I ever could with copper and aluminum and refrigerant. My test gear consists of two ears and the palm of my hand to tell me if my idea is quiet and cool enough.

    I was also trying to find something relatively cheap -- but frankly, a cardboard box lined with styrofoam and crammed with cooler-cubes wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Maybe if I was on the street and running a home recording studio out of my shopping cart..... nah.

    At present, I think the baffled, Pabst-fan-cooled, Sonex-lined cabinet with a nice thick glass door is the best compromise between esthetics and economy.

    I'm going to build a prototype before I say any more. Putting up or shutting up, as it were...
  20. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Sep 10, 2000
    I took apart a 250w Sparkle power supply yesterday. My goal is to figure out how to ditch the fan. Any suggestions? I'll even put the power supply outside of the puter case if necessity requires it. I have several different initial ideas, but I don't want to spend a fortune on this, and I want to keep it as simple as possible.
    I'll be building a new Athlon XP2000+ based puter in a couple of weeks (not overclocked), and I want it completely fan-free. I'm hoping that a Zalman flower CPU heatsink will be adequate without a fan, and I'll be using Zalman heatsinks for the graphics card and the chipset. I'll again be using the Ace Hardware HVAC fiber filter to replace the metal sides of the case. So, provided that the Zalman products can keep my temps down low enough with the open airflow provided by the fiber filter sides, the only fan left to dismiss is the power supply fan.
    Please give me any reasonable, cost-effective, relatively simple, do-able ideas that you may have to help me get rid of the power supply fan. This is the final step of the totally fan-free DAW computer. The only puter sounds left will be the CDRW and the harddrives ... but I have plans to quiet and passively cool those, too!

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