Let's Make Robots!

Water Cooled PS3 60 or 80GB & Case mod

First off, I would like to mention I got this PS3 for free, somewhat. After replacing the power switch&eject board and doing the reflow process mmm.. 5 times, I’m up to $80. Due to the $10 thermal compound, fixing it over and over again isn’t practical (plus downtime from BoarderLands is no good). Doing some research I have found water cooling to be an aggressive, hazardous, and practical method of getting that heat away from the chips. I’ve seen pics of others water cooling job and its annoying. Clunky, odd holes in and out of the ps3 case, strange units left next to the ps3 with tubes going to it. YUK! So my plan is a complete case replacement...

Reason for me not knowing if its 60/80 GB... Doesn’t matter to the build. There is no reference material out there particular to each unit. I’ve almost completed doing rough dimensions of all circuit boards, bluray drive, and power supply. I say rough only because I’m not using a micrometer. They will be posted under projects once i get myself more organized. I have extreme A.D.D. I would be on meds but unfortunately i also have seizures so that puts the kibosh on that and leaves me to fend and battle it myself. I’m either uber deep into one thing, or mind floating on 30 topics. But i digress.

I managed to find some cheap copperish water heat sinks for about $15 plus shipping from eBay. I think a overall copper look to the new case would really look sharp. I’ve experimented with solder/copper wire sculptures so i may be able to toss in some style points easily with that.

From top to bottom, the console is set up with cooling system at the base, then main PC board, then Blu-ray, Power supply, and other misc. boards. My plan is to flip the Blu-ray so that i can turn the whole thing upside down to expose the chips up top. That will leave me with a solid base containing all the essentials and a top. I can then tactfully place the cooling system on top in a tasteful, if not artsy fashion.

This will be a multi stage build. Mostly due to the fact I want to be able to play my damn ps3. First it’s going to be a rough one. And i mean real rough. I bought a $20 pump that will kick out over 1000 liters an hours. Team that with a 5 gal bucket and some tubing and it will be up in running in next to no time.

Next will be the decision of finding/creating custom fittings to go from the heat sink to standard copper pipe, or just simply run the included rubber tubing through that standard copper pipe to get the same appearance, with a different set of nuisances. Tit for tat is my view on that for now.

From there, i crave more control and easy knowledge of what’s going on while I’m playing. To achieve that, ill have to toss in a microcontroller or two. I have some experience with a STAMP 2 so ill probably start there. Incorporating temp sensors (on heat sinks, reservoir, maybe diff parts of the system..) display, cooling fan, controls, and control how much of the pumping goes to each chip.

As for the case itself. I’m thinking the copper sheets from hobby shops can be a great start, what i do with them once they’re in my hands will be anything but boring. One idea for a cheap appearance booster is hacking used florescent house lights. The ones with the spiral glass. Yea, going to try a few things to get that glass separated from the casing. Yes i know there is toxic crap in their but I’ll take precautions. May not be text book, but i don’t care. It will look sick when the colored coolant is flowing through it (toss in an air pump for bubble effect... hmm).

If I’m able to find longer cables to connect the pieces to each other, i may go as far as removing the power supply from the mix and making its own separate case. I’m dreaming for that possibility but I’m not holding my breath. Flipping the Blu-ray may be daunting enough..but it will be done.

Besides mindless tinkering and observations after observations, this will be my first true build. Wish me luck, and any questions, opinions, critiquing is appreciated.


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I was planning on going with the closed loop, but I didnt specify in the post. As for the microcontroller. Picaxe definitly beats the BS2 in cost field. But due to the fact I already have a BS2 in my arsenal, thats what ill go with. Plus if i remember correctly, to get started programming picaxes you need a tool that can cost in $30-40 range.


P.S.  I knew this site would rock for helping me organize my info and thoughts, but i think the feed back is goin to be the most rewarding. Im more techi than anyone around me so its refreshing to see someone understanding my thoughts.. silly, but thanks


FYI, Picaxe programming is free, because it already has the bootloader/interpreter burned to the chip. Raw PIC programming is another story.

However, as you already have the BS2 on hand, use what you have. ; j

is the programming cable. If he has a serial port on his computer the cable would be in the $6 range, however, if he needed a USB cable the best quick search price I found was $22. And yes, I agree use what you have. :) My suggestion was merely based on price and comparable features ie if you need a car don't buy a Cadillac when you really only need a Ford/Chevy/Chrysler/etc :)

Unless you enjoy refilling your system regularly, you should really consider a closed loop system. You should also do some checking into the pump you are considering using. Flow loss due to restrictions will negatively affect your cooling system. As to the microcontroller choice, I would suggest you consider the PICAXE line instead of Parallax's Basic Stamp. I say this because, the first BS1 I found via google shopping was $29 before shipping with 8 I/O and the first PICAXE 14M was $3.95 before shipping with 5 inputs, 6 outputs, and 2 8/10 bit ADCs.