How I spent my Saturday afternoon

PSUs: The source of DC power for all components in the PC & often a big noise source.

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StealthGirl
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How I spent my Saturday afternoon

Post by StealthGirl » Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:47 am

Or “The Thermally Enhanced PSU”

Hi guys and girls,

Yep, I spent all day Saturday modifying my cheapo PSU to run quieter … and *almost* fanless. Here is what I did. I took my old, generic Linkworld 430w PSU and added 6 aluminum heatsinks, effectively quadrupling the thermal area. I have one 80mm fan in it (an old Vantec Stealth) running at 7v, and I can’t hear the PSU at all. In fact when I walked in this morning after getting coffee, and saw much screen was off, I panicked until I moved the mouse (energy saver had kicked in). I could NOT hear my system running!

So, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out a PSU is only as quiet as the area of its heatsinks. Take a unit designed for 2 or 3 fans, strip it down to one, and what do you get? A hot PSU. Want to run the fan slow? You get a REALLY hot PSU. So, what do we do? ADD HEATSINKS! It’s cheap; REALLY cheap (like I spent all of about $2.35 on this project).

Here is a picture of the original configuration. You can see that this had some pretty skimpy heatsinks. What it did have was a lot of space, once the 3 fans were removed (Your mileage may vary).

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/stealthgi ... m=b41e.jpg

By the way, DON’T try this at home kids unless you TOTALLY DISCHARGE the PSU. Unplug it, hit the power switch, and then let the thing sit there and cool off. You can’t work on it until it cools off anyway, and I don’t want to hear of anyone killing themselves for a quieter PC.

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/stealthgi ... m=b27e.jpg

So, here is a picture of the 6 heatsinks I added. As long as they are thermally bonded and secured, it doesn’t matter what size they are, as long as they fit and have nice wide fins for low airflow. Now, like you would do, I first thought of using Artic Silver Epoxy as a short-cut … but then decided to take the high-road and do it right. Yes, it took MOST of the afternoon to drill, polish, and screw down the heatsinks, but I think it was worth it. (And yes, I used regular Artic Silver thermal compound on all of the surfaces).

My biggest problem was keeping the aluminum shavings and power off of the circuit board. So, I wrapped the whole thing is cling-wrap and tapped it the best I could. Then I brushed and vacuumed the assembly afterwards. Don’t screw this up! One silly millimeter of aluminum caught in the wrong place and POOF!

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/stealthgi ... m=ecac.jpg

Here is a picture of what I thought would be the key heatsinks, a pair of 2” x 2” placed inside, and on the back of the existing heatsinks. This is the hottest part of this assembly, so I made sure this was a good fit. I angled the fins upwards on this because there wouldn’t be much airflow between the transformers anyway.

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/stealthgi ... m=465f.jpg

So here is the final assembly. The once empty PSU now is full of pretty black anodized heatsinks. The screws didn’t need to be much, just 1” 4-40 machine … enough to secure the new heatsinks. (I chose these because my PSU already had 4 threaded holes of that size in the original heatsinks).

Conclusion

I tried running the thing fanless, but it got just a bit too hot to feel comfortable with, so I left it running with my quietest fan at 7v. Now, with just the slightest air-flow over these new heatsinks, my PSU temps are running between 30-40 degrees C. Not too bad for a girl, huh?

P.S. How do I get my pictures to show up in this post? The [img] tag didn't work

DryFire
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Post by DryFire » Mon Sep 27, 2004 12:41 pm

wow very nice work. where did you get the sinks from?

Rusty075
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Post by Rusty075 » Mon Sep 27, 2004 12:56 pm

The goofy Yahoo Photos formatting makes linking them tricky, but here's how to get them to work: Right click on the Yahoo Photos image, click "Properties", and copy the actual address for the image listed there.

Then put that mess of an address within the "Image

EDIT: Doh! Maybe that doesn't work afterall. Solution #2: find someplace to host the pics that doesn't use funky fomatting. Your dsl provider probably offers some sort of online file storage, you could use that :lol:


Very nice work.

Dryfire, I've found allelectronics.com to be a cheap source for odds-and-ends HS's...second only to finding a friendly tech at your local mom-and-pop computer shop. :lol:
Last edited by Rusty075 on Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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ceraf
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Post by ceraf » Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:02 pm

awesome work! I would have never thought of that idea.

Just to be picky on things, shouldn't the middle two small heatsinks be rotated about 90 degrees so that air passes through nicely?

Oh, whatever. It still works well. :D

Spinner
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Post by Spinner » Mon Sep 27, 2004 2:33 pm

Really nice work !
ceraf wrote:Just to be picky on things, shouldn't the middle two small heatsinks be rotated about 90 degrees so that air passes through nicely?
I guess the original idea was to run the thing fanless, so convection would be more efficient with the fins aligned vertically :wink:
It's a modest start, but it's worth doing...
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Ned Slider
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Post by Ned Slider » Mon Sep 27, 2004 3:49 pm

Great job, and thanks for sharing the pics :mrgreen:

Ned

DryFire
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Post by DryFire » Mon Sep 27, 2004 8:15 pm

Rusty075 wrote:Dryfire, I've found allelectronics.com to be a cheap source for odds-and-ends HS's...second only to finding a friendly tech at your local mom-and-pop computer shop. :lol:
Ahh i've been shopping there for a while but never looked there. thanks rusty.

Dobby
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Post by Dobby » Mon Sep 27, 2004 9:14 pm

Thanks for sharing idea. :) This could be very applicable to the older computers with a low power draw.

pangit
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Post by pangit » Mon Sep 27, 2004 9:31 pm

Nice job, I'm well impressed. It's something I've thought of before, but never gone to the time or trouble to do it. I'm surprised nobody else here has tried it up to now, though.

Also I don't want to destroy my shiny new PSU yet! It's a FSP300-60PN which I think could be a prime target for this approach. It has small heatsinks due to the 120mm fan, so you could mount the fan on the outside of the PSU, which would leave plenty of room for additional heatsinks inside.
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[url=http://www.mypage.tsn.cc/pcsilencing]Pangit's PC silencing project "on the (not so) cheap"[/url]
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StealthGirl
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Post by StealthGirl » Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:25 am

Thanks for the kudos and nice comments. As a response to where to get heatsinks, if you don't have a local electronics surplus store in town, you can get them on e-Bay or any number of internet stores.

I'm really pleased with this simple mod ... I can't believe I didn't do it before. Although, I *am* waiting for my heatpipes so I can go completely fanless, I'll do that with my new Antec Aria case. THAT will be a totally fanless PC, and we're planning on marketing the kit.

As a final note, I just ordered a Nexus 80mm fan I'll put in the PSU this weekend, so I'll post a picture later of the finished assy.

Thanks again to MikeC and everyone here on SPCR. This is a great forum and resource for us all. I think we should all pitch in and give a PayPal donation to help Mike out.

Kate

ChrisH
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Post by ChrisH » Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:14 am

StealthGirl wrote:Thanks again to MikeC and everyone here on SPCR. This is a great forum and resource for us all. I think we should all pitch in and give a PayPal donation to help Mike out.
Some of us have already done so. Read this thread.

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