Introduction: Mineral Oil Bitcoin Mining for Aquaponics
A while back I embarked to proefneming with mineral oil cooling for computers. It sounds ridiculous (it sort of is) but it has some benefits that are worth exploring.
Very first it’s worth exploring some of the cons of running bitcoin mining (or strenuous computing ter general)
Trio. Did I say noise?
The noise isn’t from the computers but the ventilatoren keeping air overheen the parts.
So instead of deep-throating air, wij’re just going to bath te oil. Oil has some special properties that help with this.
1. Thermally conductive, better than air, not spil good spil water
Two. Electrically insulating, at least spil good spil air and and better than water!
Three. Specific warmth. Basically the watts to raise the temperature by 1deg are more for water than air (but again not spil good spil water)
Step 1: But Why?
Well, one other benefit of oil overheen air isn’t fairly spil visible. The warmth wij capture te the oil doesn’t attempt to float away like hot air. The fever can be pumped and used for other purposes. like heating an aquaponics pond overheen the winter. One more practical application would be to pre-heat your hot-water heater. but who wants to be practical?
Step Two: What Do You Need?
Two. container (utility drown)
Three. pc (raspberry pi)
Four. radiator (transmission fluid radiator)
Five. Fountain pump (60GPH)
6. Heat-sink (pond/bucket/etc)
7. Something to protect the electronics that don’t go ter the oil: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006EUHT2W?psc=1.
USB thermometers: temperature monitoring isn’t rigorously required, but it’s interesting to know whats going on.
One of thesis is truly handy too for taking spot measurements that won’t get messy te the measure: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SSYGR6G?keywor.
When I began, I had a bath with a motherboard and I pour oil right on top, the laptop didn’t generate much warmth and the surface area of the bath wasgoed enough to calmly cool things down.
Straks I upgraded to a Five gal fish waterreservoir and an old mini ITX pc. Which wasgoed straks upgraded with bitcoin mining hardware and a fountain pump that shoved oil however a pair of power-steering fluid radiators.
*don’t use spandex based tubes, they will dissolve ter warm oil. It makes the oil look funky too 🙁
Eventually I upgraded to 60GH (GigaHash) bitcoin miner and the power wasgoed too much, I saturated my passive system and it almost melted the waterreservoir!
I took a long pauze from oil-mining to figure out how to do it smarter. Oil is thick and hard to pump, plus the oil-pumps that aren’t industrial aren’t meant to pump 24/7. Furthermore, oil doesn’t like to be shoved tho’ radiators. Basically everything about oil is hard!
BUT, water. water is cheaper, more thermal-good, and it works well with cheap fountain pumps and slips right tho’ a radiator! But water makes electronics sad.
Long story brief, use the oil spil a heat-conductor and pump the water tho’ a radiator dunked into the oil.
Step Three: Calculations
Zeroth, I’m an engineer but not specifically trained te thermodynamics, but I did get an A te class.
Very first, wij presume that the oil pulls the fever from hot things quicker than air (thermal conductivity better than air) and it spreads the warmth overheen the entire mass well. The metal ter the radiator is effectively semi-transparent (to fever) and the water flowing ter the radiator will conduct fever quicker than the oil can transmit it. Thermally, the entire system should flow nicely without any bottlenecks.
*one early test I did wasgoed with a submerged movie card. The heatsink/fan had burned out from dust years ago, so I just eliminated the fan and dunked it. The card wouldn’t work without a heat-sink ter the air, but it wasgoed blessed to sit ter oil. It did make a indeed cool visible katern of hot oil but could work without complaint.
So the question i had wasgoed, how much sexier would the fish-pond be when I applied
300 watts of bitcoin mining to it?
100 gals and that turns out to be 378kg of water. Water holds 4kJ/kgC which means it takes 4000 watt*seconds to fever 100gals by 1degC. So the ponds needs 1500kJ (Four*378) to raise the temperature 1degC
The bitcoin miners draws about 300watts, and a watt is just 1 J/s, so my miners is producing 0.3kJ/s
Overlooking all the effective losses, the system could warm the pond no more than 16.4degC / day.
This tells mij, this just might have an effect, I won’t be able to keep tropical fish, but I think it will keep the pond from freezing overheen. 2nd, I don’t have to worry about saturating the pond with fever, so I can run my mining without automated controls (but wij’ll add them te anyways)
Step Four: Keep It Clean
I reminisce how pristine and surreal my fish-tank utter of oil and pc looked. The blue lights glowing, everything wasgoed awesome. Then I attempted mixing stuff te, and it just got nasty. Plus I didn’t do a good job of keeping stuff out so I got bugs and dust and mess. Pretty soon my oil looked more like vegetable oil than mineral oil.
Now I’m taking my hardware outside, and computers don’t truly like the outside. I got a sheet of poly-carbonate to voorkant the top, but anytime you’ve got it open for work it will catch dust.
Additionally, water doesn’t behave a well spil I expected. Instead of getting a nice lean speelfilm I get bubbles of water floating threateningly overheen my hardware! I lost my very first (and remarkably hard to substitute) power supply to a rouge water bubble.
Step Five: Setting Up
For my “pond” I’m using a 100gal stock waterreservoir.
I found a large outdoor electrical opbergruimte to store the raspberry pi, USB hub (powers the pi and smaller bitcoin miners)
I have a utility drown spil my mineral oil chamber, covered with a sheet of Plexiglas/poly-carbonate
The submerge isn’t totally utter of oil (that stuff is kinda expensive), I’ve placed the radiator plane on the bottom and placed the warmth submerge on the mining hardware vapid on top with enough oil to just voorkant the hardware. I’ve determined to keep the power supply out of the oil, mostly because it’s still not super-clean and I don’t trust the setup for to keep the elements out just yet.
Step 6: Results
I added a pair of USB thermometers to monitor the temperature of the oil and the pond.
The pond began at 0’C (had frozen ice) at the beginning of the proef. The last duo of days have bot warm but the very first Four’C temp rise were shade/nighttime so I assume it wasgoed due to the waste warmth from the bitcoin mining.
*The last duo of days have bot warm, but wij’re expecting colder weather this week so I’ll update the chart (and eliminate this caveat) but I expect to see the temperature delta to hold around 6’C until the weather heats up again.
I’d love to hear some suggestions on how to probe the thermal effect I’m having on the pond. So far I know it wasgoed able to quickly raise the temperature Four’C. Perhaps I need to budge the thermal probe from the to the environment so I normalize the weather out of the pond temperature. (see not a thermal engineer)
Long term, I project modify the thermal monitoring code to include temperature cut-offs to terminate mining when/if the pond gets too warm, but I suspect the mining hardware will throttle due to its own fever thresholds well before that.
Step 7: Next: Add Fish and Plants
I’m still experimenting with aquaponics, and I’d like to get something to grow before I get to far ahead of myself.
The point of this exercise is to find a way to keep the fish waterreservoir warm during the winters te Colorado so our fish might get through from year to year.
Some things I’m observing.
1. 300W isn’t close to enough to warmth the waterreservoir tho’ the cold winters. I’ll have to get more bitcoin mines 🙂
Two. The root of the problem is the waterreservoir/pond is loosing more than 16 deg/day so some insulation is ter order. I’d like to (partially) bury the waterreservoir but that will have to wait until summer and more commitment to the project.
This is my very first instructable, I’m sure I’ve left out critical details, or pictures that you’d like to see. Please feel free to recommend improvements, I’ve got thick skin 🙂