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Old December 20, 2010, 10:04 PM
gray mole's Avatar
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Location: BC Canada
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Default Mini-Box Cascade -100c cooler

I'm working on finishing this Cascade up, but I just signed up here and thought I'd share it.
This is one I posted at XS as well, so it's easy to cut and paste a thread here, sorry if it's like spamming, but I'll be updating this as I go, til it's done.
It's my first cascade since I moved back from the UK to Canada, and it's gone pretty well :)
Got ahold of a cool little condensing unit. The curved condensor is awesome! It's about double what I would normally have on something like this, since it's a 'wraparound' style, just means a different thinking on the fan.
1 x LG 12cc Rotary 1st stage
1 x Toshiba 12cc Rotary 2nd stage
12000 btu curved condensor
18 plate HX
6' .040 captube 1st stage
6.5' .031 captube 2nd stage
3' hydrogen flex 2nd stage (cool ebay score, rated to 3000psi)
Big stepper Evap, can't remember who's but Duniek comes to mind.
The chassis frame is about 1' Square. Everything fits though, just barely, with room for insulation and wiring.
Barrel fan setup is in place, It adds around 5" on top but it's not too awkward and I can set up the panels to pretty it up. I figured out the low fan setting on it, and it's around 200 cfm, but less noisy than the compressor at that speed so I'm happy enough with it.
High pressure came WAY down with that, still frosting about 1" from the compressor, or just after the accumulator. 110psi high and -8psi low with the fan at low speed. -50ish HX temp. After a slight increase in charge, more like -3psi low/120psi high with the second stage running unloaded, and up to 5psi low/140psi high at the 350w test, so the first stage is pretty solid.
About -45 running no load, and -32 full load on the HX.

I had to give up on the 'guts' being that pretty with the space being so confined, but the panels will make it look nice on the outside, and being a 'sealed' box environment it should keep a lot of the compressor noise inside.

The insulating is all there, found a basic HP cutoff switch to throw on for 375psi (highest I could find in the range I was after) and I have a probe on the HX now too, so it's all more or less there, waiting for final wiring.

MAN it's tight in there! I had to shave the HX insulation down just a hair to fit, since the foam expanded the cardboard 'form' I made. I usually use foam tape for the wrap afterwards, but I don't have the 1.5mm to spare,so the black duct tape is fine. Not really a big difference, I didn't need any more insulating, just the tape's not as pretty but whatever. It's sealed and the insulation is very good. Wish I could find non-expanding insulating foam.

When I finalised the charge and took off the lines, I gave the second stage a slight boost of gas, so I'm around -107 or so, might get to -110 eventually if I wait long enough but that's not really that big a deal. I'm good to 350+ watts and that's the more important part.
Final tests saw -93 at 350w even with the boost in gas, so the insulating gave a bit, and the extra gas took it away :D but that's fine with me.
I could get a lot better temps tuning it for 300w, but really I think that to be sure about 6 core load, especially with the temps of a cascade and the extra OC you 'should' get, you'd likely be ramping up to 350w or close. SS temps I think would only see more like 320w or so, but I've been starting to tune them to 350 as well for 6 core prep.
I got that final frame piece in after reworking the HX box, and made up a couple of 'dummy panels' out of styro so I could seal the chamber. The air is pulled through the condensor, into the box, then out the top, so the panels have to be on for the air to cool the condensor. Those stryo panels are just temporary though, til I have the real panelling done.
It's great though, the 'guts' are all done, just need to clean up the wiring, mount the capacitors, install the switches, etc.
There's no pressure guages on this one, and in a way I've never really seen a critical need for them. I mean, if it's not working it's easier to diagnose, but most guys using a cascade don't need or often really understand what they mean.
So that as it is, I'm just setting it up with plugs for a K type meter to work with it. I don't have any displays left really to put on it, though I am considering using a Carel controller for the switching of the second stage. The probes will give real accuracy but the controller would be nice so that a person can just switch it on, and it would take care of the second stage. Would make sure someone didn't switch it on before it's ready too. So I probably will do if I can work out the programming on it. I have a couple Carel controllers, and I remember them being pretty odd to program.
So the final results look like the 'no load' temp of around -107, maybe a touch colder. HX temp unloaded around -45.
350w is giving a result of -93c evap, and the HX is pulling up to -32 after a long while on that load.

Sorry about the awful pic on the last one, should be -93c but the light was hitting it. I'm terrible at photography.

Those are the other pics from before I boosted the gas, but not much different than now. -107 seems like the coldest it goes though it will very slowly creep down and probably still hit -110 if you wait long enough.

So I'm pretty happy with that. I'll do another 'full range' of tests on the unit when I have the wiring and panels and stuff done. This was just to give me an idea of what the last insulation job would do, and where I'd stand on final results, from 0w up to 350w. Probably good to closer to 375w with the extra gas, but I'll test that out when it's a lot prettier :D

Funny, it's not a lot bigger than the Xmas box project, but it's SO heavy. 50+Kg in a pretty compact setup, kind of tricks you when you go to pick it up.

I'm thinking it's gone a lot better than I'd expected, being my first cascade in a long time (been around 4 or 5 years now?) and the first with R1150, so I'm pretty stoked that it's working 100%.

I'm even happier that it's got that high load I was hoping for. I really want to see in the hands of someone with a 6 core CPU to see if I'm close in my thinking of 6 core load. Now that I'll have a good temp/load database off this unit, when it does see a 6 core full load test I'll know what load it's at based on the comparison.

So she's running nice :)

Good to see that -100 too :) Something amazing about that kind of temperature.

So yeah, now it's just the panels, and some final wiring.

The temporary styrofoam panels make it look a bit funny but they do enough to make it work so I know when it's panelled out, it'll work well :)

I've just made it 'automatic' now, so it's got a little controller that turns on the second cooling stage for you. It's pretty neat, it'll also shut it off if the first stage gets warmer than -30 so it's much safer to use.

I'll post some pics of all that too, once I get some decent panels made up. Hoping to do that sometime tomorrow if it works out :D but a few projects going, so can't say if it'll get done right away or not.

I like the cold...

Last edited by gray mole; December 20, 2010 at 10:11 PM.
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Old December 21, 2010, 06:47 AM
gingerbee's Avatar
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My System Specs


-100c wicked cold
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