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SEEKING: Thermal Guru | Metalurgist | Extreme Custom Modder | Scientific Opinions on Heatsinks/Pipes

Computer Hardware Forum - forum.notebookreview.com
Custom heatsinking upgrades and thermal management solutions have long been an area I have been interested in for various reasons. I know how to MIG weld and solder copper pipe with Oxy/Ace as I used to work doing full-service appliance repair (including refrigeration system rebuilds) for a while.

I have seen some impressive laptop heatsink upgrades and mods on the internet but nearly all of them opt for thermal adhesive rather than a quality solder job.

SEE HERE:

SEE HERE:

Some range from bad/janky by just adding more copper mass which really only extends the length of time until heat soak occurs, while others at the more pro-end of the spectrum actually take air flow into consideration and don't just add a ton of mass, while still others at the more extreme/full-custom end of the spectrum properly integrate additional heat pipes and spreaders with thermal adhesive. (Nods to @iunlock and others here at NBR for being in this category.)

There are also questionable and head-scratching laptop mods such as adding liquid cooling loops, that has admittedly crossed my mind even before I sought out the pictures online, but would defeat the point in owning a laptop, at least for me. For now, my mods need to stay in the case and look stock on the outside for the mostpart. I even thought about how to add quick connect chucks and have a desktop stand-alone radiator with burping valve at the highest point and a small water reservoir that would rarely ever need to be refilled or topped up, due to only losing a drop or few each time you connect or disconnect. Am I the only crazy person who thinks of these sorts of things?

SEE HERE FOR QUESTIONABLE UNOFFICIAL LIQUID COOLING UPGRADE:

SEE HERE FOR PRODUCTION VERSION OF LIQUID COOLED LAPTOP OUTLINED ABOVE:

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I don't know a whole lot about a lot of this stuff, but I can read and form some thoughts. That's where you all come in. I want your thoughts and opinions and corrections. Especially if you've got first hand experience or already tried any of this or know people who have. Links and resources are ideal.

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NOOB STORY:

So I started researching heatpipes and heatsinks and the low temperature (< 500*F) soldering methods used to join them which made me wonder... Does anybody know what the standard low temp solder alloy used to join the heat pipes to their finned heat sinks is in most laptops (composition / name of alloy / metalurgic properties)?

I ask because I am curious what its thermal conductivity is rated at. I can't imagine mass produced laptops are using the most thermally conductive alloy, but rather the cheapest and/or most durable alloy instead to keep their bottom line in check.

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So I started researching what all it would take to either:

[A.] *properly* add additional heat pipes to a laptop

or

[B.] reflow / replace a stock heatpipe with the exact same (or slightly larger) heatpipe size but with a better solder job that is both more thermally conductive in the alloy of choice and surface finishes (lapping, etc) as well as more thoroughly joined to the finned heatsink in terms of solder coverage maximizing heatpipe joining area to the heatsink since a one-off custom modder job can spare the time and attention-to-detail as well as the cost to see that these specs are met.

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Cheap heat pipes can be bought from Digi-Key among other vendors. I like the fact that Digi Key has all the relevant specs and data sheets in one place with an easy to use filtering system to sort through the tons of choices.

SEE HERE:

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Advanced Thermal Solutions Inc. has a very nice PDF general spec sheet for all of their heat pipes listed on DigiKey that mentions important details such as the working fluid being distilled water (I have seen others on the internet say it is acetone inside), the proper methods for joining, the suggested bend radii, and perhaps most importantly- the suggested low temp soldering range of temperatures. "For optimal results, heat pipes should be soldered using low temperature solder at temperatures above 139* C (282* F) but no greater than 250* C (482* F)"

SEE HERE:

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INDIUM CORPORATION:

INDIUM CORP PRODUCT DATA SHEETS:

SOLDER ALLOY SELECTOR GUIDE:

SOLDER ALLOY COMPARISON TABLE:

Next I set out to find a source of low temperature solder that had the best thermal transfer properties and arrived at Indium Alloy 290 by means of analyzing raw specs, but not knowing much else about the metalurgic properties in terms of application, ease-of-use, and durability. After narrowing my alloy choices down to only a few, I tried locating information on actual usability for my intended application of joining heatpipes to heatsinks. I came across an article that laid out my choices perfectly, and in fact the Indium Alloy 290 was one of the two suggested alloys mentioned in a blog post for exactly the purpose I was intending to use it for.

SEE HERE:

BUY INDIUM #290 ALLOY (wire):

BUY INDIUM #290 ALLOY (ribbon):

BISMUTH SOLDER DATA SHEET:

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I wonder if the correct solder alloy could be used to permanently attach a heatsink to CPU & GPU by either reflow oven or heat gun so as to avoid the hassle of having to worry about repasting and/or liquid metal leakage or pump out / bake out... Can anybody say with a degree of certainty what the maximum temperature is that a motherboard can safely be taken up to while removed from a system for maintenance/modding without damaging any of the other chips or components?

Here is an interesting case study I found on thermal cycling of various low temp solders.

HP CASE STUDY ON LOW TEMP SOLDER ALLOYS:

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Non-traditional superior-performance (compared to pastes / greases / and possibly even liquid metals) TIMs can also be found in the form of thermal pads as well as what Indium Corp. calls their " heat spring " AKA metallic TIM that does not suffer from the breakdown and degradation in performance that traditional TIM greases, pastes, and liquid metals do. It yields 86 W/mK of thermal dissipation using 35-100 psi clamping force. It is also safer in terms of melting and spilling when comparing it to liquid metals. Does anybody happen to know what the average amount of clamping force used on most processors and traditional modern heat sinking systems is?

SEE HERE:

BUY HEAT SPRINGS HERE (warning: expensive! group purchase anyone?):

TIM PROCESS ENHANCEMENTS:

BROWSE INDIUM CORP.'s OTHER PRODUCTS:

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That's all for tonight I guess. Let me know what you think. Cheers.

 
Date: Dec 7, 2017   


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