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My cooling unit


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#21 vraev

 
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Posted 11 May 2009 - 16:04 PM

fantastic Martin. Thanks for sharing. I have always considered about trying something like this...although I didn't want to deal with getting a freezer just for the plant cooling. Canada's winter generally lasts from october to march. Then early spring of april and half of may isn't too bad. Its just june to october beginning that is dreadful and hot. I just got myself a new air conditioner. I am planning on putting it right next to my nepenthes setup and experiment with venting some of the cooled air into the setup....perhaps intersect the airflow mid-way with the flow from a humidifier and I think I should be golden. The only problem is controlling to cooling in both the "apartment" and "the nepenthes enclosure"

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 08:12 AM

Hello everyone. I liked Martin's setup so I made my own following his examples (I posted more info here, but it was mostly about automation and not about cooling, so I cut some text to stay on topic):

Radiator
Posted Image


The chiller and a bucket to catch condensation
Posted Image

Control unit (not too involved with cooling)
Posted Image

About the Cooling

The cooling component involves an aquarium chiller (JBJ 1/15HP), a aquarium powerhead (a kind of pump, I used a cheap one called Marineland), some tubing, a 12cm fan from a computer store, and a used computer water cooling radiator I found off ebay. It follows the same principles as Martin's setup.

Currently, my setup is not insulated, and I have a huge gap at the top of my terrarium, which is 50gal. Also, I did not use any antifreeze. The setup is still able to achieve day temps of 24C and night temps of 12C. I have set my chiller temperature to 50F. Without the cooling system, the temps are 30C in the day and 21C at night. I have some microcontrollers that control the fan so that it throttles to 24C in the day and turns on continueously at night (otherwise turning the fan on constantly will cause day temps of 18C, a little too low).

Cost of Cooling

I’d have to admit it was a little on the expensive side:
$560 for the chiller (including shipping, UPS got me with their brokerage fees)
$30 for the pump
$10 for the tubing
$33 for the radiator (including shipping)
$7 for fan
Total: $640 (Canadian)
converts to 410 euros

So yea, it is hard to justify the huge cost. I had to save up for quite a while. However, I do not have any cool room in my house that would be cold enough. In fact, my whole house is very cp hostile; I don’t even have a good windowsill!

What didn't work for me

Ice on top of a small terrarium does not work well too well, and changing it every morning and night gets old real fast. The condensation is also a problem if your floor can get damaged.

Blowing air through a mini fridge and back into a terrarium does not work too well either.

Combining the mini fridge and the ice can get really good temperatures, but again the condensation is a problem, and the noise and size is unwieldy for me. It was cheap though; however I gave up and returned the fridge within the 30day period (I didn't drill into the fridge, I just taped over the opening with some cardboard).

Keeping a layer of water on the bottom of the terrarium with your plants in water trays separate from the water and having the terrarium water cycled through a chiller does not work well either. It can cool the soil down, but the air temperatures remain high. Also, condensation forms on the glass.

If I were to do it again

If I were to do it all again, I would have just skipped to the chiller. Although it is expensive, it works really well and it is really quiet, which is important since my terrarium sits right beside where I usually work.

#23 Delwin

 
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Posted 18 August 2009 - 09:01 AM

Hello everyone. I liked Martin's setup so I made my own following his examples (I posted more info here, but it was mostly about automation and not about cooling, so I cut some text to stay on topic):

Radiator
Posted Image


The chiller and a bucket to catch condensation
Posted Image

Control unit (not too involved with cooling)
Posted Image

About the Cooling

The cooling component involves an aquarium chiller (JBJ 1/15HP), a aquarium powerhead (a kind of pump, I used a cheap one called Marineland), some tubing, a 12cm fan from a computer store, and a used computer water cooling radiator I found off ebay. It follows the same principles as Martin's setup.

Currently, my setup is not insulated, and I have a huge gap at the top of my terrarium, which is 50gal. Also, I did not use any antifreeze. The setup is still able to achieve day temps of 24C and night temps of 12C. I have set my chiller temperature to 50F. Without the cooling system, the temps are 30C in the day and 21C at night. I have some microcontrollers that control the fan so that it throttles to 24C in the day and turns on continueously at night (otherwise turning the fan on constantly will cause day temps of 18C, a little too low).

Cost of Cooling

I’d have to admit it was a little on the expensive side:
$560 for the chiller (including shipping, UPS got me with their brokerage fees)
$30 for the pump
$10 for the tubing
$33 for the radiator (including shipping)
$7 for fan
Total: $640 (Canadian)
converts to 410 euros

So yea, it is hard to justify the huge cost. I had to save up for quite a while. However, I do not have any cool room in my house that would be cold enough. In fact, my whole house is very cp hostile; I don’t even have a good windowsill!

What didn't work for me

Ice on top of a small terrarium does not work well too well, and changing it every morning and night gets old real fast. The condensation is also a problem if your floor can get damaged.

Blowing air through a mini fridge and back into a terrarium does not work too well either.

Combining the mini fridge and the ice can get really good temperatures, but again the condensation is a problem, and the noise and size is unwieldy for me. It was cheap though; however I gave up and returned the fridge within the 30day period (I didn't drill into the fridge, I just taped over the opening with some cardboard).

Keeping a layer of water on the bottom of the terrarium with your plants in water trays separate from the water and having the terrarium water cycled through a chiller does not work well either. It can cool the soil down, but the air temperatures remain high. Also, condensation forms on the glass.

If I were to do it again

If I were to do it all again, I would have just skipped to the chiller. Although it is expensive, it works really well and it is really quiet, which is important since my terrarium sits right beside where I usually work.


This is great. How you manage to control the day and night different?? Can share the thing involove??

Thks.

#24 Guest_Z_Canada_*

 
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Posted 19 August 2009 - 06:48 AM

This is great. How you manage to control the day and night different?? Can share the thing involove??


You kind of need a little bit of electronics experience to know what I'm talking about:

In order to control the day and night differently, I used a thermistor and a some microcontrollers to control the day/night cycle. I have an RTC clock that keeps track of the time. The microcontroller retrieves the time from the RTC. If it finds that it is night time, it will simply turn on the radiator fan. If it finds that it is daytime, it will use a analogue to digital converter on the microcontroller and convert voltage signals form the thermistor (and a few resistors) into a value that it will use to determine the temperature. If the temperature is above 25C, it will turn on the fan until it is below 22C. I find that on average, the temperature buffer causes the day temperature to linger around 24C.

I guess a simpler way would be to connect the fan to a timer from a store, and have it turn on at night and a few times during the day, although you'd have to experiment with the on/off intervals.

#25 Delwin

 
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Posted 19 August 2009 - 15:07 PM

You kind of need a little bit of electronics experience to know what I'm talking about:

In order to control the day and night differently, I used a thermistor and a some microcontrollers to control the day/night cycle. I have an RTC clock that keeps track of the time. The microcontroller retrieves the time from the RTC. If it finds that it is night time, it will simply turn on the radiator fan. If it finds that it is daytime, it will use a analogue to digital converter on the microcontroller and convert voltage signals form the thermistor (and a few resistors) into a value that it will use to determine the temperature. If the temperature is above 25C, it will turn on the fan until it is below 22C. I find that on average, the temperature buffer causes the day temperature to linger around 24C.

I guess a simpler way would be to connect the fan to a timer from a store, and have it turn on at night and a few times during the day, although you'd have to experiment with the on/off intervals.

Thks,
If this case, the chiller will have to work 24hour/7/365days??

#26 Guest_Z_Canada_*

 
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Posted 30 August 2009 - 06:44 AM

Thks,
If this case, the chiller will have to work 24hour/7/365days??


Sorry for the late reply.

The chiller I have is plugged in all the time, but it automatically turns off when it reaches the desired water temperature (I set it to 50F). At night, the fan is always on, which causes the chiller to be on too in order to until the whole tank cools down. During the day, the chiller sometimes turns off since the fan is not always on. I haven't really paid attention to how often it turns on, but there is definitely periods of time where it is off.

#27 Delwin

 
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Posted 30 August 2009 - 15:59 PM

Sorry for the late reply.

The chiller I have is plugged in all the time, but it automatically turns off when it reaches the desired water temperature (I set it to 50F). At night, the fan is always on, which causes the chiller to be on too in order to until the whole tank cools down. During the day, the chiller sometimes turns off since the fan is not always on. I haven't really paid attention to how often it turns on, but there is definitely periods of time where it is off.


I have just set up a set like yours, but with a little bit more hp. now the main problem is that i dont know where to place the temp prop. With the high temp here with the lights on( can get to 38degrees), the chiller work non stop inorder to lower it to 20degree. At night, the chiller will have some rest.

#28 Guest_Z_Canada_*

 
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Posted 31 August 2009 - 06:12 AM

I have just set up a set like yours, but with a little bit more hp. now the main problem is that i dont know where to place the temp prop. With the high temp here with the lights on( can get to 38degrees), the chiller work non stop inorder to lower it to 20degree. At night, the chiller will have some rest.


Are you also using T5's? 38C seems pretty high, mine only reaches 30C without cooling. Is your setup insulated? I have no insulation around my tank, perhaps allowing excess heat to dissipate.

If you have any space between your lights and your tank, I heard that adding a fan to blow the air in that space can help prevent heat buildup. Otherwise, the only good solution I can think of is either getting a bigger chiller :D .

#29 Delwin

 
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Posted 31 August 2009 - 09:20 AM

Are you also using T5's? 38C seems pretty high, mine only reaches 30C without cooling. Is your setup insulated? I have no insulation around my tank, perhaps allowing excess heat to dissipate.

If you have any space between your lights and your tank, I heard that adding a fan to blow the air in that space can help prevent heat buildup. Otherwise, the only good solution I can think of is either getting a bigger chiller :D .



Yes, i am using 4 tubes T5HO. 38c is temp without chiller. With cooling, it will drop to 20C. I do insulated the tank with close cell rubber insulation.
The distance between the lights and the cover is ard 1ft( i think i will add another pic of glass to insulate the top).
I dont think by adding a bigger hp chiller will help, i think it is the placement of the temp prop.

#30 Guest_Z_Canada_*

 
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Posted 06 September 2009 - 05:23 AM

When you say temp prop, do you mean the radiator? I just have my radiator in a corner of the tank.

#31 Delwin

 
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Posted 06 September 2009 - 09:13 AM

When you say temp prop, do you mean the radiator? I just have my radiator in a corner of the tank.


Yes, but i place it in the centre of the left side glass. Now the temp is more stable after i drill one more hole of the top of the tank to let air exchange. :sun_bespectacled:

#32 twigs

 
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Posted 08 September 2009 - 20:49 PM

I wish I could find a cheap solution for cooling a terrarium. My house is kept pretty cool, but there is only a few degree drop in temps during the night. I really think my plants would benefit from a cooler night temp.

Cool setups though. I was looking at aquarium chillers until I found out how expensive they were =(

#33 Delwin

 
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Posted 09 September 2009 - 09:24 AM

You alway can find one second hand cheaper in the reef keeper website.

#34 Sebulon

 
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Posted 16 February 2010 - 13:56 PM

Hello,

I might receive a stipend this year, from the biology teachers institute or whatever it's called. Hobbyists can receive a stipend, if they have a special hobby that is related to biology. So my biology teacher wanted, that I tried to get that stipend. He said it's 100-200€, depending on the hobby. And I think carnivorous plants is pretty expensive hobby.

So, to my point. If I get that stipend, I would be using it to buy a cooling setup for my terrarium. I found a finnish website, but it has most of the product descriptions in german. I don't understand german. :sorcerer: So what do you guys think about these cooling systems: Can someone translate the technical part of the latter two? How do they differ from the first one?

1. Kit. 102,51€
2. Kit. 112,67€
3. Kit. 153,68€

The first one is the really basic-basic one. I thought about buying that, but is it good enough? The second one is almost identical, but it has this: 1x CPU Kühler Alphacool NexXxoS HP Pro S. 754/939/940/AM2, and I don't know what it is. The first one doesn't appear to have this thing. The third one has something that appears to be a better pump.

So, is the first one good enough for cooling a minimum of 150 litres?

Edited by Sebulon, 16 February 2010 - 13:57 PM.


#35 pmatil

 
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Posted 22 February 2010 - 06:43 AM

Sebulon, those kits are for CPU cooling. In addition to one of those kits you need a peltier or a compressor to cool the liquid. A mini-fridge would be very suitable. In fact, I have been designing my own cooling setup for a while now. I even have cooling system stripped from a mini-fridge. P.S. Send me a private message on lihansyöjäkasvi forum if you want to discuss this further in Finnish ;) Oh and congratulations on your stipend.

#36 Sebulon

 
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Posted 22 February 2010 - 07:30 AM

Sebulon, those kits are for CPU cooling. In addition to one of those kits you need a peltier or a compressor to cool the liquid. A mini-fridge would be very suitable. In fact, I have been designing my own cooling setup for a while now. I even have cooling system stripped from a mini-fridge. P.S. Send me a private message on lihansyöjäkasvi forum if you want to discuss this further in Finnish ;) Oh and congratulations on your stipend.

Oh, hello and thanks a lot! You have the same nick in lihansyöjäkasvit foorumi? :thumbsup:

Yes, I know they are for CPU cooling, this topic is all about using them the other way around to cool your Tank. If I put the pump inside a fridge, with a long-long pipe, the water will cool inside the fridge and then give the heat in the terrarium. Read the first post pmatil! :smile:

#37 pmatil

 
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Posted 22 February 2010 - 08:01 AM

Oh, hello and thanks a lot! You have the same nick in lihansyöjäkasvit foorumi? :thumbsup:

Yes, I know they are for CPU cooling, this topic is all about using them the other way around to cool your Tank. If I put the pump inside a fridge, with a long-long pipe, the water will cool inside the fridge and then give the heat in the terrarium. Read the first post pmatil! :smile:


Oh, sorry. I somehow thought that you wanted to use just the kit for cooling :smile: Didn't made sense anyway. And back to the topic, the first and second kit seem almost identical, just minor differences. But the third has a different (and more expensive) pump and a more efficient radiator. I've been planning to buy that kind of pump myself that is included in the third kit, even though it's more expensive. Sorry I don't speak German, so I can't directly translate for you ;) By the way, I'm Petsku at lihansyöjäkasvi forum.

#38 Sebulon

 
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Posted 22 February 2010 - 12:38 PM

Oh, sorry. I somehow thought that you wanted to use just the kit for cooling :thumbsup: Didn't made sense anyway. And back to the topic, the first and second kit seem almost identical, just minor differences. But the third has a different (and more expensive) pump and a more efficient radiator. I've been planning to buy that kind of pump myself that is included in the third kit, even though it's more expensive. Sorry I don't speak German, so I can't directly translate for you ;) By the way, I'm Petsku at lihansyöjäkasvi forum.

Hmm... Yeah I was also thinking about the third one, though it may actually be too powerful for my medium sized terrarium. I must buy a larger terrarium! :smile: Thanks a lot!

Nice to see some other finnish members at this forum too! :smile:

#39 Sebulon

 
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Posted 22 February 2010 - 12:38 PM

DOUBLE POST, please delete this message! Having problems with internet connection...

Edited by Sebulon, 22 February 2010 - 12:40 PM.


#40 Martin Hingst

 
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Posted 25 June 2011 - 15:23 PM

Hi,

here two pics of my tank from today that I wanted to show you. Rather untidy I have to admit. Since my last move in 2010 I didn`t have much time for my plants, I gave away many, some didn't survive the move and the following months of neglect...but I had to keep my highland tank of course. I have now a cool cellar with electrical connection, that has a perfect temperature year round. So I could switch off the cooling unit. The good lighting, ventilation and the sprinkler system provide ideal conditions, as it looks Posted Image

Posted Image

And a detail - the jamesoniana pot looks very promising:
Posted Image

Oh - and another picture that may explain my recent lack of time for the forums Posted Image little Ilva was born on Mar 29

Posted Image

Regards from a proud daddy

Martin

Edited by Martin Hingst, 05 September 2012 - 18:56 PM.