Custom laptop cooler

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daboosh
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Custom laptop cooler

Post by daboosh » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:13 pm

Hey all! Well, I recently purchased a Clevo P170HM, top of the line, nvidia 580M GTX video card, all the bells and whistles. With a 2 year old son and another baby on the way, my office is being converted to a bedroom for the new baby, hence I am now using a laptop instead of a desktop.

That sad, gaming is now done on the couch. However I haven't found any decent laptop coolers that are made for good cooling on your lap. Everything is oriented for desks.

I am a CNC programmer/Mechanical Designer and have at my disposal several industrial machines for processing sheet metal. 3 turret punch presses, a Mitsubishi industrial laser, an Amada Pulsar, and a Trumpf 6000L laser/punch combo. So I've decided to make my own laptop cooler out of 0.060" aluminum.

It's Sunday night and I've already sketched out a design. At work tomorrow I will whip up a model in Solidworks.

So the design is all taken care of. The difficulty lies in powering the fans. I am no electrical engineer and have only basic understanding of electrical components. Ultimately, I want to power the fans via USB. If I am not mistaken, USB only provides 5V, is that correct? If so, that really limits my choice of fans, correct?

I would like to use either these 8mm fans: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811999199" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Or these 120mm fans: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835103091" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Am I correct in assuming that once I know how many fans USB will support it is simply a matter of splicing the wires together correctly and then plugging in the USB cable to my laptop?

If anyone can help me out and figure out how many and which fans power over USB will support, I will be very grateful.

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jaqiefox
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Re: Custom laptop cooler

Post by jaqiefox » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:55 am

usb spec is 5v@500mA per port, and you can wire things directly to the power pin so long as you never take over that much power, even on spinup.... but you aren't going to find many 5v fans especially within that spec, your better bet would be running either a 9v rechargeable battery or something of the sort in it, or running a 12v wall-wart to power them.
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daboosh
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Re: Custom laptop cooler

Post by daboosh » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:50 am

Here's a model of the unit. It's incredibly basic. This is going to be an initial prototype that I'll use for a month or so and then tweak to come up with something much nicer and complete.

The general design is similar to the Targus Chillmat which in my opinion is the best design for using a laptop on your lap. It provides a solid surface to place on your lap and only the sides are open which allows airflow out the sides, away from your body.

Image

Going to use a LianLi PT-FN03 to control the fans.
I would like to go with 3 120mm Enermax Clusters

And an external 110AC to 12V DC to Molex power source.

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jdmlight
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Re: Custom laptop cooler

Post by jdmlight » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:18 pm

daboosh wrote:Here's a model of the unit. It's incredibly basic. This is going to be an initial prototype that I'll use for a month or so and then tweak to come up with something much nicer and complete.

The general design is similar to the Targus Chillmat which in my opinion is the best design for using a laptop on your lap. It provides a solid surface to place on your lap and only the sides are open which allows airflow out the sides, away from your body.

Image

Going to use a LianLi PT-FN03 to control the fans.
I would like to go with 3 120mm Enermax Clusters

And an external 110AC to 12V DC to Molex power source.
Is there a particular reason why you wouldn't just buy the Targus Chillmat? :? The fan controller you mentioned is $25, and the fans you mentioned are $15 each. That brings the total parts cost to $70, not including some form of a case. The Targus Chillmat is $40 retail, or $32 with free shipping no tax on Amazon.

If you're looking for control of the fan(s) or LED lighting, you may be better off buying the Targus Chillmat and modding it as necessary, rather than completely coming up with your own design.
--John (and please call me John, it's really weird to be called by my username)
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daboosh
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Re: Custom laptop cooler

Post by daboosh » Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:59 am

My wife has a Targus Chillmat. Love the design, the cooling is virtually nonexistant. It uses two weak 80mm fans and is basically unmoddable due to fused plastic holding everything together.

Money really isn't an issue. If money were ever an issue I doubt many people would hack and mod anything. :P I'm not doing this to save money or anything; I'm doing it because I have identified a need that no product currently addresses: Significant cooling for lap top computing in a lightweight form factor.

For the prototype, I used a venting pattern of .130 diameter holes with .250 spacing.
Image

I have lots of other patterns but I want to see how this one works first. Alternatively I can cut a logo, words, or something fancy in the laser once I determine the best approach to venting for airflow while still mainting structural integrity. I don't want the whole unit to bow in the middle under weight of the laptop. There is also the option of bumping up to a thicker gauge aluminum although I'd like to keep it at 0.060 so the unit stays very light.

I did make holes for 140mm fans. In the next prototype, I will most likely provide various hole spacing for 140, 120, and 80mm fan configurations.

I ordered my parts and they should be here this week. I'm going to have the shop guys run the metal under the timesaver and then form the unit today.

For fans I went with two Noiseblocker PK1s. With a 9dBA rating, these things should be silent. I also like how they come with silicone gaskets, short and long cord extensions, and rubber fasteners.

The fans will be mounted and then connected to a LianLi PT-FN03 PCI fan controller. The fan controller will be mounted on two tabs on the right side of the unit which is not visibile in my picture above. This unit also gives me the option of going with 3 fans.

Lastly, the unit will be powered by an external 110v AC to DC 12V power adapter with molex connector. I wanted to avoid external power units but USB power just isn't a viable option for considerable cooling. I also didn't want to mess with drawing too much power or screwing with the electronics of things that are plugged into my brand new laptop. The good news is that with a 6 foot wall to brick extension, I can mount the brick inside the back of the laptop cooler so the only thing needed to plug in is the cord from the wall to the brick.

I'm interested to see how it all works and what types of temperatures result. I have no doubt a second or third interation will look much much different. My primary goal was to create a unit that would provide more cooling than anything else out there that is for true lap top (as in, on your lap...not a laptop computer) gaming. First I wanted to get the cooling system sorted out. On my next prototype I will focus on the ergonomics, non slip materials, perhaps a USB hub, and the aesthetics of the thing. I do know that I want to keep the general design the same, as I personally think the Targus Chillmat is the best design for lap top computing. It just, well frankly, it sucks when it comes to cooling. Fine for a 15" business laptop but severely lacking for a 17" gaming rig.

Hopefully I'll have everything assembled and can provide pictures by this weekend.

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jaqiefox
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Re: Custom laptop cooler

Post by jaqiefox » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:07 am

I'm a modder on a very tight budget. ive got a nes mod going on.

hope your mod goes well, sounds to be a cool project.

if you want to make sure it does well at cooling you should look into some small blower fans. they do a lot better with backpressure
Jaqie Fox, Genuine girl techie | http://foxtecha.com

daboosh
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Re: Custom laptop cooler

Post by daboosh » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:05 am

Well I did the prototype and immediately made some changes. Changed the venting entirely (holes were too boring) and increased the height of it by half an inch.

For the 140mm fan holes, I went with a design I have seen on laser cut fan grills.

Directly underneath the fan holes I used a custom font. It says FSEVEN which is the handle I use for all of my online gaming.

Image
Image

Hope to have this cut and formed today, if not then early next week. If it comes out good, I'll assemble the entire unit with the fans.

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bicostp
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Re: Custom laptop cooler

Post by bicostp » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:44 pm

Remember the fans should blow up toward the laptop, not down away from it. All blowing down does is fight with and nullify the laptop's internal cooling system. Nearly every laptop 'cooler' I've seen blows down, which just makes the laptops run hotter.

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Custom laptop cooler

Post by nher » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:37 pm

Bare in mind that laptop keyboards are very different to desktop keyboards and you'd obviously need to remember your mouse, as I imagine touch pad WoW'ing would be tricky... that being said it's just something you need to get used to...

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