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

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by Maleko48, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Maleko48

    Maleko48 Notebook Consultant

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    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:
    https://therandomlab.blogspot.com/2012/01/laptop-cooling-mod.html?m=1
    SEE HERE: https://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/adding-heatpipes-to-a-richland-laptop.197346/page-2

    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: https://sc02.alicdn.com/kf/HTB18Vj4...soft-red-brass-copper-tube-font-b-water-b.jpg

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

    ==================================================================

    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.

    ==================================================================

    NOOB STORY: https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/how-do-they-solder-heatpipes-to-heatsink.2256994/

    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.

    ==================================================================

    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.

    ==================================================================


    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:
    https://www.digikey.com/products/en/fans-thermal-management/thermal-heat-sinks/219?FV=2dc1e7e,ffe000db&mnonly=0&ColumnSort=0&page=1&stock=0&pbfree=0&rohs=0&cad=0&datasheet=0&nstock=0&photo=0&nonrohs=0&newproducts=0&quantity=&ptm=0&fid=0&pageSize=25

    ==================================================================

    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:
    https://www.qats.com/DataSheet/Heatpipe_Datasheet_R4

    ==================================================================

    INDIUM CORPORATION: http://www.indium.com/solder-paste-and-powders/low-high-temperature/

    INDIUM CORP PRODUCT DATA SHEETS: http://www.indium.com/technical-documents/product-data-sheets/

    SOLDER ALLOY SELECTOR GUIDE: http://www.indium.com/solder-alloy-guide/

    SOLDER ALLOY COMPARISON TABLE: http://alasir.com/reference/solder_alloys/


    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: http://www.indium.com/blog/low-temperature-indalloy-solder-alloys-for-heat-pipe-attach.php

    BUY INDIUM #290 ALLOY (wire): https://buy.solder.com/Indium-Silver-Wire-97In-3Ag-3-FT/P177_61/

    BUY INDIUM #290 ALLOY (ribbon): https://buy.solder.com/Indium-Silver-Ribbon-97In-3Ag/P158_52/

    BISMUTH SOLDER DATA SHEET: http://www.indium.com/technical-documents/product-data-sheets/download.php?docid=713


    ==================================================================

    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: http://www.hpl.hp.com/hpjournal/96aug/aug96a10.pdf

    ==================================================================

    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: http://www.indium.com/blog/solder-redefined-part-4-baseplate-to-heat-sink.php

    BUY HEAT SPRINGS HERE (warning: expensive! group purchase anyone?): https://buy.solder.com/Thermal-Interface-Materials/C1013_1/

    TIM PROCESS ENHANCEMENTS: http://www.indium.com/thermal-management/tim/

    BROWSE INDIUM CORP.'s OTHER PRODUCTS: https://buy.solder.com/

    ==================================================================

    That's all for tonight I guess. Let me know what you think. Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  2. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Deity

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    Before you go and work on more heatpipes, finding the right solder etc. You need to understand how to diagnose where the problem is coming from. More than anything the main cause for bad cooling are contacts, not enough mass and bad airflow. These are far more likely your problem than anything else, attaching more heatpipes will very likely result in no difference or very meh difference in temps.

    In the case of the person who modded his sandy bridge, having a single heatpipe (although bigger than average) is not enough to tranfser the heat generated, so in his case it was effective. I assume you try to improve temps on your Dell inspirion, which has 2 large heatpipes which are shared with the GPU and CPU. The heatpipes are not the problem, they are more than plenty to cool down your system. Your issue is more than likely bad fit and terrible tim. Getting Conductonaut and doing a proper lapping job on your GPU and CPU heatsink plates, will give you the results you're looking for.
     
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  3. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 thwink

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    @Mr. Fox and @bloodhawk have experience in custom soldering job for heatsinks.

    @Donald@HIDevolution (or the company) has experience in soldering shims for laptops they sell, last I called you can get the soldering job if you request.

    I forgot there's also one more tech here that understands the chemistry behind using liquid metal on heatsinks but I can't remember name. @D2 Ultima ?
     
  4. Maleko48

    Maleko48 Notebook Consultant

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    Naw, it'll likely be years before I go that far with my Dell. I understand the primary concepts and reasons why heat transfer is poor from the factory. This is mostly just a theoretical discussion to present various data and info and get opinions from others because I have a genuine interest in this sort of stuff. But I do have a 3rd Gen i7 3632QM system w/single fan that is on its deathbed I may end up experimenting on for fun. It currently idles around 45-55 *C. It's been a while since I repasted it.

    I'm somewhere between a computer science, mechatronics, and materials science/mechanical engineer. Who knows if I will ever actually finish school for any of the above, but I've at least have credits towards CS and been accepted for a couple of the other programs if I ever arrive.

    My main points with presenting my findings in this thread are:

    1.) Using Indium Alloy #290 (73 W/mK) in place of whatever the factory uses which is likely NOT 97% Indium and 3% Silver like alloy #290 would likely yield better thermal transfer from die to heat pipes. #290 is pretty much the highest thermal conductor besides pure tin (73 W/mK) [EDIT: or pure Indium (86 W/mK)] which matches it at 73 W/mK. Pretty much all other alloys are worse conductors. I am mostly interested in what alloy the factories use to do the job and if it is pure tin (73 W/mK) or some other worse-conducting alloy. Even the worst conducting soldering alloy should still yield better results than the best thermal epoxy adhesives though.

    2.) As I mentioned above on the other thread related to thermal pastes and compounds last night, I am curious why people who use NON-conductive TIMs aren't just going with Fujipoliy XR-m pads (17 W/mK) which are superior to the two highest regarded NON-conductive TIMs GELID Extreme (8.5 W/mK) and TG Kryonaut (12.5 W/mK).

    3.) Same as my second point, why aren't people using CONDUCTIVE TIMs like TG Conductonaut (73 W/mK) experimenting with Indium Corporation metallic "Heat Spring" TIMs (rated at 86 W/mK) ? This just seems like a gain in thermal throughput with even less risk and more longevity imo.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  5. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    I think @Khenglish has us all beat. And, he lives not very far from you, bro.
     
  6. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 thwink

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    Ah yes, how could I forget about him.



    Khenglish even has experience soldering BGA components, definitely would vouch.
     
  7. Khenglish

    Khenglish Notebook Evangelist

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    When soldering heat pipes I end up using 63/37 solder paste since it's cheap. Heat pipes will start to expand when heated over 200C, but usually this is not a problem as I'll have areas that need to be thin clamped down, so the expansion just improves heat transfer by widening parts that can be widened. When going over 250C like the guide says to avoid they explode.

    I've attached an image of my current custom built GPU heatsink. I built my own denser radiator, added a 3rd 6mm heat pipe to the core, and added 5mm heat pipes to a copper fan shroud.

    This is one of my uglier mods as I modified a previous custom heatsink I had, but despite how they look I managed not to pop or kink any heat pipes.

    I have to say the hardest part in these mods is bending heat pipes without kinking them. I'll clamp the heat pipe in a vice, bend it a little, reflatten, then bend a little more, reflatten, etc until I have the bend I want (or something good enough).

     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  8. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Deity

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    Jesus that is one heavy mod. Why the copper plate on the CPU tho?
     
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  9. Maleko48

    Maleko48 Notebook Consultant

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    THANK YOU @Khenglish for sharing what essentially amounts to trade secrets with myself and others. This is exactly the kind of response I was interested in hearing. I really appreciate the info coming from someone with first hand experience. You are my heatsink hero and I really admire your amazing work there.

    This is my kind of pr0n, considering I love to weld and do custom metal work (primarily in relation to bicycles, but I do other fabrication projects as well). Do you use torch, heat gun, or oven to heat your work prior to soldering?
     
  10. Falkentyne

    Falkentyne Notebook Deity

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    Ok I'm a noob but I have to ask.

    Can these "heat springs" be used on our own laptops, like the BGA turdbooks like the MSI GT73VR?

    If someone like me were crazy to buy something like this, how exactly is it installed?
    Do you cut it to shape to match the BGA silicon slug? Or a larger cut (taking care to use proper SMD component insulation as always)?

    And still the question no one has answered:
    What is the clamping force used in BGA turdbooks like the MSI GT73VR? And on LGA superbooks like the MSI 16L13 and Clevo P870 DM3/TM1?

    I have a GT73 so I'd like to know, and I am not interested in spending $300 on a piece of fancy technology and wasting it unless I am 100% sure it willi work.

    tl;dr; need MSI clamping force pl0x :)
     
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