Reserator 2 problems
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Author:  velis [ Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:54 am ]
Post subject:  Reserator 2 problems

Hi guys

Been reading SPCR + forums for quite a while, but now it seems I have a problem I can't solve just by reading.
This is what I sent to (support at zalman dot co dot kr) hoping that they will reply.
I'm also hoping any of you can help me with this, except for the RMA issue, of course ;)

Dear Zalman,

I apologize in advance for the length of this request, but the issue went through quite some lenghts already.
Please bear with me as I have a serious problem and the retailer here in Slovenia seems unwilling to help me further with this issue.

Last July I bought a Zalman Reserator 2 unit. I chose your product because I've been using Zalman air coolers for the last 6 years and have always been happy with them. The retailer was www dot mlacom dot si
The Reserator 2 unit also looked high quality as well as stylish which made me very happy installing it.

Initially I installed the system with only the CPU block, step by step as the manual instructed.
I had to destroy (cut) the degassing tube to get the quick coupling fittings, but otherwise had no problems.

After a week or so, the flow indicator started making noises (cricket-like sounds), but otherwise worked fine.
After another week, the unit began shutting itself down due to insufficient water flow.
I did all kinds of stuff to make it work including emptying the tubing and refilling it again. At this time I also did a little calculation of water flow in the system. There is some 0.1l of water in the tubing, maybe a bit more. It took the Reserator unit to fill the tubes some 20 seconds. A quick calculation shows that the water flow is: 0,15l * (60 sec / 20 sec ) * 60 min = 27 l/h, which isn't even 10% of the rated water flow of the pump in the unit.
I was forced to request service from the retailer. The unit was in service from the beginning of last august to mid september (more than a month). Finally the retailer decided to replace my unit with a new one. However, at that time, they refused to provide me with a new degassing tube and also gave me just about 1/4 of the coolant liquid. The head of service insisted that my original problems were due to using too much coolant and that 1/4 was plenty. Originally I mixed the coolant as instructed 1/4 with distilled water (1l of water + the entire flask of coolant).

Naturally, lacking the degassing tube, I had serious trouble installing the new unit. The pump is simply too weak to push the air through 2m of tubing. So, in the end I bought another water pump and added it into the loop (serially). That allowed me to properly degass the unit. I spent 3 hours degassing, turning the unit on its side as instructed and additionally making pauses for the air to settle. I stopped degassing when there were absolutely no air bubbles left.

I have additionally bought the ZM-GWB8800 GTS VGA water block and used the original VGA block to cool the chipset.
The new loop was setup like this: Reserator 2 --> CPU --> North bridge --> Additional pump --> VGA --> Reserator 2

I have tested the system and it worked fine. I could even disconnect the additional pump or the Reserator pump and each of the pumps was able to move the water fast enough for Reserator not to shut down with the warning tone. Again I calculated the water flow with both pumps working and this time it was some 60l / h. (The second pump is rated 360l/h)

The system worked fine for about two months, until december.
Then the unit again began shutting itself down because the flow indicator just stopped spinning, even though there was enough water flow in the system. In order to make the flow indicator start spinning again, I had to tap gently on the indicator glass window. Initially this worked fine, but during some 2 weeks, I had to tap harder and harder to make the indicator start spinning again. After these 2 weeks, the indicator won't start spinning no matter what I do.

Since the additional pump provides enough waterflow to cool the components, I just disconnected the Reserator unit so that it doesn't scream alarm all the time.

After reporting this again to the retailer, I also opened up the computer only to discover that since I disconnected the Reserator unit, some air started gathering in the tubing.
I have no idea how the air got to be there, but I can only see two reasons: either I failed degassing or the loop setup is such that the pumps "merge" the air which is in the water into bubbles.
Since I was unable to move the air out, I again emptied the tubing to refill it again.
Doing so I discovered that algae started growing in the water, which I attribute to insufficient quantity of coolant in the water. At least I believe that was algae as there was a thin slimy film on surface of the water in the glass. Similar film is also on the surface of the water in the reserator reservoir.

One other bit of information, before I move to questions: the Reserator unit is placed on top of the computer. The lowest / highest point of tubing have some 40cm of height difference.

1. Why is the water flow so low, even with two pumps installed? Even the original Reserator pump should be able to fill the tubing in 2 seconds, if the rated flow is really 300l/h as I read in some forums.
2. Is it possible, that I received two faulty units in a row?
3. What else could I have done wrong?
4. Using 1,25l of cooling liquid only filled the reservoir in the unit some 2/3 if not less. Is this OK? How high should the cooling liquid reach in the reservoir?
5. How can I clean the algae from the system once this problem is resolved?
6. Also there were small grains of blue material in the water when I last emptied the tubing. Since I refilled the tubing it seems that the grains gave dissolved into the water again. What was that?

And most importantly: I currently have a disfunctional Zalman Reserator 2 unit. I believe it should be replaced, but I am not sure with what. This is the second unit and like the first, it failed quickly and (almost) completely. I already suggested the retailer that additional payment to get a more suitable replacement is not a problem for me, but I cannot just trash this unit and forget the 250€ (Reserator) + 70€ (VGA block) + a lot of my time - investment.

I would appreciate any help you can give me on the subject.


Author:  Olle P [ Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:39 am ]
Post subject: 

My first reaction:
- Why not write in your own language? The same language (formerly known as Serbo-Croat) is used in Slovenia and Croatia, right?

Regarding your problems:
- The low flow is only to be expected. The small diametre tubes, not least in the reserator itself, induce a lot of restriction to the flow, and the pump is very weak. (The pump's rated maximum flow is of much lesser importance than the "head", the ability to create a flow through restrictions.)

- Your main problem is obviously the faulty flow indicator. How to handle that problem I don't know.


Author:  velis [ Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:21 pm ]
Post subject: 

About the language: nope, sorry. In slovenia, we speak slovenian. It's quite different than croatian or serbian although it's still a slavic language. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slovene_language
Besides, this is an english language forum, right? ;)

Yes, it seems the problem is in the flow indicator.

However, yesterday I also discovered that the pump in the reserator unit practically doesn't work any more. I can still hear the humming if I press my ear against the unit, but starting the pump makes no difference to water flow any more. I determined that by observing an air bubble in the tubes. However, the water is still flowing through the indicator. The blue grainy stuff I mentioned in the original post was quite visibly whirling about before it dissolved.

Anyway, I have finally found an email address for Zalman that isn't rejected immediately by the server. Hopefully I will get an answer soon.

Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:52 pm ]
Post subject: 

ever try a phone call? they are really nice on the phone. they have gotten bigger since I have called them. However, I am sure their techs are still available.

Author:  velis [ Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

The trouble is i can't seem to find any contact info on them.
No mail, no phone, not even a fax...
I'd appreciate it if you could PM me the info.

Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:03 am ]
Post subject: 

thats terrible. they yanked that. sux. was great.

theres a company that directly sells parts and talks to them on a regular basis


Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:18 am ]
Post subject: 

(714) 530-0700
10531 Garden Grove Boulevard,
Garden Grove, CA 92843

That's Zalman USA.

Just ask for tech support.


THey have the best tech support on the planet. They agree that the zalman2 has some issues they did not foresee. They can be rectified however.

Best tech support I ever have seen.

Author:  velis [ Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for this info. I just called them and some nice guy in the tech support gave me two emails. I requested that since the problem is quite long to explain. I'm sure nobody would be thrilled to listen to my english (I have a terrible accent) for half an hour straight :D

Will post the results when I get some :?

Author:  velis [ Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

OK, here's the latest update.
Of course, the U.S. office actually exists and a guy named Keith was kind enough to patiently answer all of my enquiries :)

We came to an agreement that the flow indicator and the pump are defective and now I'm waiting for the Corean office to send me replacements together with a new coolant. This will take a while so I'm not holding my breath just yet.

As for the algae, vinegar was recommended. I hope it works.

OK, this is it for now. Will update as things progress.

Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

I recommend somehow flushing the system. I would use like cheap vodka. Kills basically anything.

I would also recommend using Water Wetter from a company called, Redline. It makes all watercooled systems happy. Add like a few ounces, not a lot, depends on liquid volume of your system. That, coupled with heat, would kill anything.

I use my zalman reserator 1 with around 5 ounces of water wetter and the rest Steam Distilled water from the grocery store. That has worked for 4 years now keeping all quite clean, clear and happy. I do game however, so my temps can rise to 45C at times. I am certain this is also killing any algae as well.

I do not use any zalman coolant. it's fine stuff, just my way has more water vs. anti-freeze. more water, the better the heat capacity and better the cooling. Im the only one that does the water wetter and steam distilled water that I have met so far.

Author:  johnyj [ Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:18 am ]
Post subject: 

I had the same problem and have to switch back to using Resorator 1, which provide much higher pressure. I also heard that many complains about the R-2's pump/flow indicator etc... :?

But yesterday I finally disassembled the whole R-2 unit and figured out the root cause of the problem!

It is an old problem back to the time when I first opened the R-2 packages 1 year ago: The tube sucks.

The transparent tubes comes with R-2 have nicer looking compared with R-1's blue tube, but they are less flexible, that makes them very easy to become jammed when they were bent.

There are 2 places where the tubes jammed altogether in the R-2 assembly. One is on the top, from the flow indicator to the radiator, it was a 180 degree turn, although zalman has already installed some metal spring to prevent the jamm, it just can not cover all the area so the tube eventually jammed somewhere there is no spring. Another one is near the bottom exit, where there are very small rooms for tube to turn.

So, no matter how many pumps you change, as soon as the tubes jammed one day (eventually), you end up with a non-working device.

Today I will try to fix this and see if I can bring it back to operation. Actually I found out the radiator is very nice, if there is no jam, I hope I can get a very high flowrate. Of course the quick coupling also sucks, they just bring lots of pressure drop.

Another question I wonder: The pump is so weak that it can not lift water to 50 cm high, this makes the degassing difficult and the overall flow rate very low since the radiator it self is already 40cm high.

But I do not know if this situation will change after degassing, e.g. I get a much higher flow rate after all the gases have been pushed out of the system. Is there someone can explain this or have tested?

Author:  velis [ Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:06 am ]
Post subject: 

@El Jefe: I'm sorry, but water wetter is not available in my country and I also don't know what it's composed of, so I can't find a substitute. But I also believe that Zalman's liquid should be capable of preventing algae growth when there's sufficient quantity of it. So I guess, I'll just throughly clean my system and hope everything works :)

Thanks for the heads up. I will be disassembling the unit when I get my replacements. I will be sure to check the state of tubing while at it.

Yes, I agree that the quick coupling is very bad for flow rate. I have to blow into the tubes to create enough pressure to empy them (when I'm emptying the system). And my lungs nearly explode doing this. It needs so much pressure just to move the water little by little.
Quite frankly I also worry about this for my "cleaning session". While blowing into the tubing, I surely inject gazillions of bacteria as well. So I'm not really sure of how to do this properly and I sure wouldn't like to clean my system only to have it polluted right away by my own actions.

About your question: the problem with pump's weakness and air in the system is that the pump is unable to push the air out. And since the air is in the tubes, you get little or no water flow simply because the water has to go "around" the bubble which means that instead of flowing through 8mm diameter tube, it flows only on the walls .5 - 1mm thick. So you're losing water flow big time at these air "infested" points. Degassing the system removes these restrictions and I can certainly confirm that in my case air in the tubing made the system a no-go while a properly degassed system worked fine with just the Reserator's pump working.

The worst that can happen with air is that it also gets into the pump. And the pump is not designed for it. It's simply too thin for the impeller and a pump with enough air wil be unable to push anything around. The most a pump can do in such a case is "wait out" the bubble through moving water inertia and hope the bubble will be through by the time water stops flowing.

Just to be quite clear on this: the water flow wil never be "much higher". If you ask me, this is because of the quick couplings. I have calculated the flow several times and the only time it was noteworthy was when both pumps in my system were working. But I can see that the R2 flow indicator wasn't really designed for such a high flow since it was spinning like mad - very fast. I guess in the end the integrated pump is a tad too weak (head pressure - wize) and two pumps are simply too much.

Author:  Olle P [ Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:10 am ]
Post subject: 

johnyj wrote:
The pump is so weak that it can not lift water to 50 cm high, this makes the degassing difficult and the overall flow rate very low since the radiator it self is already 40cm high.
The actual height shouldn't matter at all (once the system is filled). Since it's a closed loop the water moving up at one end is balanced with an equal amount of water moving down at the other end.

The weak pump will have problems negotiating all flow resistance though, causing a limited flow rate.


Author:  johnyj [ Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:12 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks Olle for the explain! :)

I spent 2 evening, now it's up and running again.

Replaced jammed tubes, covered most of the turning area carefully with the metal spring, test!

Even the degassing went much quicker, done in less than 2 minutes. I have never seen the flow indicator spin like this fast, before I can even see the blade rotating, but now all the blades are too fast to be visible. The pump is not that weak at all! :D

Put the whole system on: one cpu block, one NB block, one Graphic block, Some bubbles in the system flow not as quick as R1, but still much faster than when I first installed R2. (Seems I get a defective R2 from the beginning and has been using it like that for 1 years!)

Another observation: To be on the optimum side, the water should flow from bottom to top to bring out any potential bubbles more easily, but unfortunately most of the computer case orientation is not designed for that, so the water always flow from top to bottom: CPU->NB->GC. This made the air very difficult to come out of each water block. Degassing those airs also took quite a while.

The metal spring that holds the tube shape has a tendency to retract, I guess after some time of use, it will shrink back slowly, especially under the heat from the water. I have to check it periodically.

Final test shows the overall cooling effect is about 2 degree lower than Reserator 1(which has double amount of water), so it really works! 8)

Author:  velis [ Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:28 am ]
Post subject: 

Great info Olle P and johnyj.
I've been thinking about inserting fixed plastic L-joints in those nasty corners. This way I'd be sure that the tubes would never jam at the bends.

johnyj: is there enough room to do that in the unit?

just to be clear, i'm thinking about this (sorry about the languange on the page, but it's the pic that matters in this case):
It looks to be some 4cm by 4cm size

Author:  johnyj [ Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:44 am ]
Post subject: 

velis wrote:
Great info Olle P and johnyj.
I've been thinking about inserting fixed plastic L-joints in those nasty corners. This way I'd be sure that the tubes would never jam at the bends.

johnyj: is there enough room to do that in the unit?

just to be clear, i'm thinking about this (sorry about the languange on the page, but it's the pic that matters in this case):
It looks to be some 4cm by 4cm size

Probably not, at least at the lower part near the pump, very limited space to put anything else in. But if you cut it to be shorter, maybe it works.

I noticed that if the tube is longer than necessary, it is more likely to jam. There is another solution: to put the metal clamps which originally seal the joints on those jammed point, that will surely make the tube shaped as round as the clamps! If I can get 4 of these clamps, then it is permanently fixed! Anyway the flow indicator will act as a warning sign if the blades movement can be identified.

Author:  johnyj [ Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:43 am ]
Post subject: 

The pink dot indicate the problem, coolants accumulated and left blue mark inside that corner of the tube.


Author:  Dakhor [ Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:41 am ]
Post subject: 

I think the prob is the Zalman Coolant - its jammes up the Pump, and Waterblocks with blue goo or crystals - the ones you saw in the tubes.

Open one of your blocks and see if you find any of the blue stuff -

I sent my Reserator 2 back cuz of this -


Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Sat Apr 18, 2009 6:34 pm ]
Post subject: 

I wonder if pouring like 180 degree water or such would dissolve them.

Author:  Olle P [ Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:24 am ]
Post subject: 

~El~Jefe~ wrote:
I wonder if pouring like 180 degree water or such would dissolve them.
Possibly, and it would most probably kill the pump in the process (unless it's removed first)!

Pumps are designed for water temperatures <35C, and should preferably only be exposed to water temps cooler than that.
Source: Aquatuning
... die Wassertemperatur sollte 35°C nicht überschreiten, da dann die Lebensdauer der Pumpe herabgesetzt wird. Beachten Sie diesbezüglich die Pumpenanleitungen der jeweiligen Hersteller. Schäden, besonders an der Pumpe, die durch überhöhte Temperatur entstehen, fallen nicht unter die 2Jährige Produktgarantie.


Author:  velis [ Fri May 22, 2009 1:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

OK, I finally managed to solve my problems though I'm still holding my fingers crossed. The finaly repairs have been made just two weeks ago.
I have documented everything here. Pictures in high res included.

To answer the latest posts:
The blue material is a component of the coolant. Probably just color. It seems it's not completely solveable in water and if water flow is insufficient, it will start accumulating. Basically it relies on the pump stirring it up.

JohnyJ, I managed to replace the unit's over-bent tubing with the L-joints mentioned in a previous post. I'm quite happy with the results though it wasn't exactly easy.

El Jefe - I don't know the scale of your 180 degrees, but I'm assuming fahrenheit since in celsius you're talking some extremely hot steam. Such (fahrenheit) hot water would damage the PVC tubing and probably the pump as well. Even at 40 degrees celsius the tubes are significantly softer.
However, I can testify that the pumps survive water temeratures higher than 40 degrees celsius. During my testing (prime 95 with my E8400 @ 4.6 GHz) it wasn't uncommon for me to reach water temperatures around 50 degrees celsius. So far both pumps still work though I can't tell if their efficiency is reduced (also by having water too hot). With the 30 deg hot weather we have here ATM I just can't expect the water to be any cooler than 40 deg...
Perhaps someday I'll install an additional radiator in the shade on the balcony :)

Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Sat May 23, 2009 6:27 am ]
Post subject: 

Hows the ResII work vs. the Res I cooling wise?

Author:  velis [ Sat May 23, 2009 7:57 am ]
Post subject: 

I don't know, since I only have v2.
However, judging by design, v2 should be able to dissipate more than v1.

Mine manages room temp + 10 deg celsius for a 120W load. Naturally, fully loading my computer (220W) would raise water temperatures further, but I don't recall it ever exceeding 20 degrees celsius above room temp, even when I was playing around with my E8400 @ 4.6GHz.

I'm talking about water temperatures, naturally - not CPU or GPU.

I'm now trying to figure out a way to make it a bit more active - dissipate even more heat without visually or acoustically ruining it.
A peltier element might be nice but they are too power hungry and I can't figure out a good way to integrate it into the radiator itself.
Adding a second radiator may yet be the best way, but I'm not too keen on drilling holes in my living room wall yet :P Plus I'd need a third, pretty powerful pump to help fill the tubes, just for jump starting the loop.

Author:  Olle P [ Sat May 23, 2009 3:30 pm ]
Post subject: 

velis wrote:
I'm now trying to figure out a way to make it a bit more active - dissipate even more heat without visually or acoustically ruining it.
One quiet fan should be able to do the trick. Any added air flow will help a lot.


Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Sat May 23, 2009 11:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

peltier makes one surface ice cold the other really hot.

this actually ADDS to the overall, total heat. It is great if you want to hit 5 ghz though, works well then.

I'm thinking 2 reserators in sequence and a double rated pump for that, or some other absurdly expensive solution.

Author:  velis [ Sun May 24, 2009 9:27 am ]
Post subject: 

@Olle P: Yes, that may do the trick. I just need to find good placement for the fan.

@El Jefe: I know peltiers add to the total heat. I only mentioned it because in this case it would be rather ideal. The greater the temperature difference, the more energy is released from the radiator. So a peltier that would manage to turn a 40 deg water into a 60 deg heatsink would in the process cool the water substantially. Any way, my mechanics aren't good enough for me to be able to sufficiently integrate a peltier into the system like that. Also, I forgot all those high school physics equasions that would tell me what I would even accomplish by (optimally) installing a peltier device into the system. In terms of water temperature vs peltier device power, naturally.

I'm still tempted to solve the problem long term by installing a radiator on the balcony. There is always air flow on the balcony :)

Author:  Olle P [ Sun May 24, 2009 11:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

I agree with El Jefe, stay well away from peltier elements.
There are too many factors involved as to why it won't work, but it all boils down to the fact that you get far more heat generated in a small spot than can be sufficiently well removed by natural convection!

If a peltier element with a passively cooled heatsink mounted directly onto the CPU doesn't work, it doesn't help putting a water cooling system in-between.

As for mounting a fan for the Reserator you should look for tangential blowers. Then you could simply place the Reserator on 5cm raisers, allowing you to place the fan underneath the heatsink, blowing air straight up.
(I've got a tangential blower with a nominal 24V rating. When fed 12V it's very quiet yet provide a nice air flow.)


Author:  velis [ Mon May 25, 2009 6:14 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for the info Olle P.
I've managed to find one online store that sells these in Slovenia.

But I don't know what to buy!!!

What's the difference between Q,QL, QLK, QLN and QLZ lines? I've looked at 24V ones as suggested and comparing specs among them really doesn't tell much...
And what about the cables? What's the provided connector for these fans?
Also, how much should the rated flow be? I'm thinking 60 should be enough, but one never knows...

I'm also afraid to take the plunge since I don't know how much noise these make. Currently, my computer is almost completely silent. Only at 3am in the morning can one hear it humming along.

Also, did you experiment with blowing just on one side vs blowing from underneath? Can you tell me the difference in cooling performance?
I have a few 12cm Papst fans at my disposal. I could mount one at the back of my monitor and have it blow at one side of the radiator.

Author:  Olle P [ Mon May 25, 2009 6:54 am ]
Post subject: 

velis wrote:
Also, did you experiment with blowing just on one side vs blowing from underneath? Can you tell me the difference in cooling performance?
I haven't done any such tests. The fan I just ran "free" to see if it worked.

Then I know for sure that any forced air flow will increase the cooling performance.

velis wrote:
I have a few 12cm Papst fans at my disposal. I could mount one at the back of my monitor and have it blow at one side of the radiator.
There you have it! Don't spend any money until you've tried the stuff you have at hand.


Author:  velis [ Tue May 26, 2009 4:21 am ]
Post subject: 


After ONLY two weeks, it fails again!!!!! Grrrrrrr!!!!! :x

This time it just sounds the alarm although the indicator still spins like mad. Even after it shuts down its own pump, the secondary pump I installed pushes the water around just fine and the indicator is still spinning.

This is driving me insane. Just how bad can a piece of equipment be?


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