Building Arcturus Part 3 Pump and Block Problems
So in the last part of this series I covered the final assembly of the initial design for Arcturus. In this post I will start to cover some of the issues I had after the rig was completed.
The first issue that I had was with the pumps, as you know from the previous pumps, the main pump was built into the reservoir and the secondary pump was its own separate entity to boost the flow rate of the loop in order to achieve the best possible cooling performance. After about 3 weeks of the machine running the primary pump started making a horrible noise. Came to the conclusion that one of the D5 pumps had failed. So for extra good measure I ended up replacing BOTH of the pumps to be sure. After replacing the pumps things were back to normal.
Fast forward about 4 weeks after this initial issue, the primary pump in the reservoir fails AGAIN. This time I disassembled the entire loop, and checked everything for particles etc… There was nothing found floating in the water, near as I could tell the pump issues were being caused by a clearance issue in the Danger Den Monsoon reservoir. And this was with the standard black O-ring and not the red one that brings the impeller closer to the housing. I bet it would have failed almost instantly with the red O-ring in place.
In order to mitigate this issue once and for all I got an XSPC Dual bay reservoir and a Bitspower dual D5 pump top. I redid the loop with this configuration and the pump issues disappeared, I have not had a single issue since. So I clearly had a bad reservoir.
Shortly after I assembled the rig, I discovered many many forum posts covering issues with EK’s nickel plating process that resulted in parts of the nickel peeling off and chipping and resulting in a sort of bi-metallic corrosion that would discolor the blocks and generally make them look like hell on the inside. I thought I was ok since I had the new electroless nickel plated blocks. So after having the machine running for 3 months, I decided to pull the loop down to do some maintenance and cleaning. When I pulled the hoses off I noticed a black residue inside the blocks, so I decided to pull them off and disassemble them. What I discovered was nothing short of horrific.
All of the blocks in the system were corroded inside, and they displayed clear evidence of the nickel plating flaking off. So much for EK’s new Electroless nickel plating huh? Here are some pictures of what I found inside the blocks:
As you can see in the above photos, the copper is showing through the nickel and the rest of the discoloration is a result of the corrosion that occurred due to both metals touching each other and being open to the water. There is noting in the coolant that would cause this, contrary to what Eddy from EK would like us to believe.
I ended up replacing all of the blocks in the machine with copper blocks to ensure that this would never happen again. Here are the blocks that I used:
- EK Supreme HF Copper (had one from my previous build that was still clean as new)
- EK Rampage 4 mobo Blocks (since the Koolance ones are Nickel)
- Heatkiller GTX 580 Hole Edition Blocks
I re-assembled the loops with the above blocks and have not had a single block related issue since. So if you are looking to water cool your PC, stay far far away from EK nickel plated blocks. The copper ones are fine…..for now.
Stay tuned for the next post where I will be covering some interesting things about tubing. Will be a good read for almost anyone who water cools or is planning to water cool in the future.