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Old 03-27-2007, 02:50 PM   #1
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Diy chiller again

Hi guys I know everyone has seen this question before, but is there anyway to build your own chiller???
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Old 03-27-2007, 03:07 PM   #2
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This guy used an old water fountain but still ended up costing $150 and it's a lot of work.

Most people who have tried the DIY dorm fridge idea say it isn't powerful enough.
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Old 03-27-2007, 03:09 PM   #3
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There's no reason why you couldn't build one, but without trial testing, there isn't a good way to tell what your heat transfer rate is going to be on a completely custom built unit.

Copper has the best heat exchange rate of any material that is readily available to the common person, but in order to calculate your exact heat exchange rate, you're going to need to know a lot of information. You need to know the flow rate of your water in your tank through this make shift heat exchanger. You need to know the temperature of your cooler water as well, along with the thickness of your copper tubing.

Simply put, you can just run your tank water down into a sump with copper piping, put cooler water in the sump, and by testing know what temperature you need to keep the sump. It may take some time, but I think you can figure out how to control the temperature during a day. Maybe you'll need to pour a new batch of water into the sump every day to make sure it cools enough.

At that point, is the work worth a custom built unit? It might be easier to buy one.
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Old 03-27-2007, 03:43 PM   #4
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How big of a tank is this on and what kind of lighting are you using?
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Old 03-27-2007, 03:44 PM   #5
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Considering this is for a SW tank using copper tubing isn't going to work. (not that theotheragentm knew that).

Most use vinyl tubing (and lots of it) but it doesn't exchange heat as well as metal. With a powerful enough chiller it can be done though.

Considering it's a 55 gal and depending on the current temps a 5 cu. ft. freezer would be huge but would probably work much better than the smaller mini type freezers. Of course at $200+ your getting close to the price of regular chillers.
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Old 03-27-2007, 03:53 PM   #6
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Oh yeah. I keep forgetting people do saltwater as well. All my knowledge for heat exchangers is industrial, and normally involves steam and more expensive metals. I could recommend some heat exchange metals that will stand up to saltwater, but will cost more than some cars. Doubt anyone would want that though.
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Old 03-27-2007, 04:34 PM   #7
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There are a lot of crude methods that can work but i wanted a sure fire one that would work without my intervention, if i went on vacation.
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:18 PM   #8
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The problem is you're talking about heat exchange needs that change. Unless your system can change with it, it's not looking good. Since it's so warm where you are, you're likely to have the temperature of your cooling water to rise with the tank water, leaving you with no cool water to lower the tank's temperature. The last thing you would want to see is a cooling system that heated up with the tank and becomes worthless, or worse yet, a system that has a constant cooling with no feedback from the tank that makes your tank too cold.

The only thing I can think of is hoping your air temperature is cooler is put a fountain in a sump and hope air heat transfer works enough.
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:40 PM   #9
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A 55g tank.....hmmm...I still don't know what kind of lighting you have here...I have a 72g with 570w of light 2 175MH and the rest VHO. I have fans in my canopy and my heaters cycle on and off to keep the tank arround 80-82...I'll have to kick my heaters back a bit now that it is warming up....I'd be interested to know exactly what your setup looks like if you are having this much trouble with heat.
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Old 03-27-2007, 06:22 PM   #10
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IU agree with Ziggy, have you tried a simple floor fan? I had to use one in my back room, where the 125G was getting over 83 degrees. I set the fan at the end of the tank and it dropped to 78. Try that and see if it works. You probably have a fan sitting around somewhere.....
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