Smoke tests.

  wolfie3000 05:40 03 Jul 2006

Just got off of msn with an american friend,
We were discussing how our pc,s overheat during prolonged gaming sessions and the fact that airflow might be a factor.

Well he talked about smoke tests where you pump a small amount of smoke into the pc case to see where the airflow goes.

Has anyone heard of these tests and are they any use?

  Mr Mistoffelees 07:34 03 Jul 2006

If your case has a large window, so you can see what is going on with the case closed, I should think it could be very useful to help identify any problems with airflow.

  wee eddie 07:51 03 Jul 2006

Take the sides of your PC off and replace them with Cling-film. Place it in front of a white ground and back light it.

You may need to experiment with the colour of background and lighting to get a clear view of the smoke trail.

I have not done one of these since the late 1950's when we were trying out different wing shapes for the model aircraft we were building at school.

  wolfie3000 07:58 03 Jul 2006

Interesting stuff,
just one thing how do i generate the smoke?

I guess buying a few smoke bombs and then let one rip next to a fan,

I like the cling film idea i would be interested to see how the air circulates round my pc as i have custom fans fitted.

  wee eddie 08:09 03 Jul 2006

The fact that they were illegal at school added to the frisson of the tests.

p.s The planes always crashed, it was just a matter of how long they flew for.

  jimv7 08:27 03 Jul 2006

Just read an article about this,

Remove the side panel, cover the side of the computer with clingfilm and use a lighted incense stick to supply the smoke.

Also having rounded ide and floppy cables aids the flow of air through the computer, that is unless you use sata.

  De Marcus™ 08:53 03 Jul 2006
  wee eddie 16:40 03 Jul 2006

The joss stick sounds a much more PC! way of providing the smoke.

I assume that you will place the smoke source in just in-front of the lower front inlet.

Remove the front filter and the decorative grid if it can be.

It may help the flow to bundle any cables and move them toward the case wall.

Ribbon cables can also be used to direct the air-flow, in another direction, by placing them at an angle across the flow.

  spuds 18:29 03 Jul 2006

Smoke 'bombs', try a good plumbers merchants.

Be careful though, they can get very hot, if handled.

  Forum Editor 19:30 03 Jul 2006

will generate far too much smoke, so don't contemplate using one.

If you must try this - and frankly I don't see what you'll learn from it - use an incense stick.

There's a lot of nonsense talked about airflow, and it's important to understand the principles involved. What you're aiming at is a consistent flow of (preferably cool) air across the components inside the computer's case. It's a complex subject, because fan placement and speed play an important part in preventing eddies and what are called Lee rotors. These are familiar to hang-glider pilots, and are what happens when a wind blows across a hilltop. Inside a computer casing you get eddies and lee rotors behind some of the components and cables, and what you want to aim at is reducing or eliminating these as far as possible.

A smoke test will reveal these problems if carried out under lab conditions, but eliminating them is another matter altogether. Most computer users go for the broad brush approach of pushing/pulling a large volume of air across the components, and this is effective in most situations. Intake/exhaust fans working together will be your best bet.

  wolfie3000 20:59 03 Jul 2006

i understand what you are saying FE,
But for some time now iv been considering getting into the whole overclocking thing so i guess if i want to keep my box cool i should look at water cooling.

Or maybe taking out the fans in the box and fitting bigger ones.

Getting the airlflow right so my box is being cooled efficiently could take alot of time so i might just go for the water cooling option.

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