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firezab 11th February 2006 02:22 PM

water cooled zen amp.
hi all,

I am trying to build a zen amplifier. I would like to use a water cooled heatsinK that they use in a PC system.

My plan is to used a large radiator and stack them if it is not enough. The cpu waterblock will be mounted directly behind. if it is not enough i can add another waterblock to remove more heat. The fans for the radaitor will be controlled by a fan controller with a temp sensor and also i can control the fan noise level.

Have anyone tried this method as i think it can reduce the amount of heatsink to be used.

Anthony Koo

Raoul 11th February 2006 02:48 PM

There are a few threads about water cooling. For example:

Try searching for water cooled or water cooling. You will probably have to dig through a lot of threads, though.

edit: Nelson also posted a motor controller circuit somewhere in the Pass Labs forum.

BillH 11th February 2006 03:39 PM

Hi, Anthony.

I haven't tried water cooling an amplifier, but have water cooled my PC for about two years. The best source for technical information on water coling I've found is the forums at It's aimed at PC cooling, but it applies to your amplifier as well.

If noise is an issue, you could use a passive radiator with no fans. I'm using an 8' length of 3/4" diameter copper tube on the floor as a radiator with no fans other than one 120mm fan on a speed controller in the PC case. The CPU it's cooling dissipates ~70 watts and the radiator keeps it at about 40 C.

Good luck on your project, and let us know how it turns out.

firezab 12th February 2006 08:01 AM

hi ,

Thanks for your reply. I am going to start buying the part.
and for the casing, i will be using a spare tower server case that i have.

one more question, I cannot find the 2 MH inductor coil in the MCM website. I do not know if i can get that locally in singapore. Any other replacement that i can use ??

carpenter 3rd November 2007 05:02 AM

Ok, so my amp is the F4, not the Zen, but water cooling is what I'm interested in.

My question: does the water conduct enough voltage to become problematic between fets should I decide to not use mica isolators?

I will daisy-chain plastic tubing between fet cooling mounts--the mounts will be some type of brass plumbing fitting from Home Depot that accepts compression connectors.


Magura 3rd November 2007 05:31 AM

Unless you got somewhere like a pond in the garden, a huge radiator or the like, where you can dump the heat.....the point of water cooling is moot. But you already knew that, didn't you?

The math behind cooling is fairly simple. You got X watts of energy, and you got Y surface area to loose that energy from, which results in Z temperaure rise per watt. All you have to add to this simple math, is the thermal resistance figures for the path from the device to the finns of the heatsink.

Now if you mount the devices in need of cooling directly on the heatsink, or you put a heat transfer system in between the device and the heatsink, makes only one difference, and that is the thermal resistance of the heat transfer system, that being water or just a plain lump of aluminum. So you actually need to ADD heatsink if you use water to transfer the heat from the device to the heatsink, in order to keep the device at the same temperature as if it was just bolted onto the heatsink.....bad business!
The reason to use watercooling in a computer, is the space constraints, you have no such when building an amplifier, so you can just bolt the devices directly onto the heatsink.

There are options that can lower the working temperature of the device, like a copper heatspreader, or even better, a carbon heatspreader, but we are talking details here, not something in an order of magnitude worth considering generally.

Magura :)

carpenter 3rd November 2007 04:16 PM

Hi Magura,

My primary concern is that voltage may carry through the water to the other fets if I don't use mica isolators.

For the sake of simplicity, I prefer not to use isolators; I'd rather physically separate--and isolate with plastic tubing--the water cooled fet mounts.

At low voltages, I'm inclined to think that voltage transference through water will be negligible; just wondered if anyone else had experimented with this concept.


Yes, I realize that there must be a means of extracting waste heat from the coolant.

Nelson Pass 3rd November 2007 06:05 PM


Originally posted by carpenter
My primary concern is that voltage may carry through the water to the other fets if I don't use mica isolators.

If you are using resaonably pure water, there should be no
problem. Sea water would probably conduct too much.


carpenter 3rd November 2007 09:37 PM

Thanks Nelson, now that's what I was hoping to hear.:)

Check: no seawater!

Magura 3rd November 2007 09:58 PM


Originally posted by carpenter

Check: no seawater!

The water will become contaminated over time no matter what you do. However there is another solution that looks somewhat more attractive.
If you use oil you will largely be able to ignore the issue of conductivity of the coolant.

Magura :)

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