Our ProjectsProduct Development

Ionic Wind PC Cooling

Due to popular request we have built this miniaturized ion cooler as a second step in its evaluation. We chose to use an external design for several reasons, all of which mitigate concerns from people on our initial prototype. One of the biggest concerns was with regards to the air moving through the computer possibly having a imbalanced electrical charge or alternately producing to much ozone and possibly damaging components in the system. By mounting the unit at the rear of the case with it sucking air out of the case we are able to still achieve beneficial results and address these issues. The rig overall is basically the same as in the initial tests with one change that we used a more standard PC case with a normal 2 fan push pull type arrangement.

The Power Source:
We picked up this high power ion generator from amazing1.com for about 30.00. This is a far cry better cost than the disassembly of an ionic air cleaner for the components. This unit is a 12V native unit so we can run it off the internal power supply with out any major issues. This unit puts out several thousands of volts. it can hurt or even kill you. do not do this project unless you have a firm grasp of electronics.

The Project Housing:
So attempting to address other complaints with the original ion cooler we will be taking a more direct scrounges approach to save some money. We chose to use the clear plastic part of a case for cd’s that we had laying around for this project.

120mm Case Fan:
Once again trying to do this project on the cheep we will be using this case fan that we just had layout around. We will be only using the outer frame for mounting the cooler to the case as well as so we have some bling lighting for it.

The Guitar String:
We chose to use an easily available part for the emitter wire in this project. We picked up a replacement high E steel guitar string (.008) for 60 cents at our local music shop.

The Grounding Rod:
For the grounding rod we needed something strong and very straight. We didn’t want to try to straighten out a copper wire and mess with that whole process. So we picked up some copper plated steel wire (14GA) from our local hobby store that worked out really well. Also another alternative would be brazing or gas welding rods.

The Hot Glue Gun:
This is the most important part of this projects assembly. We will be using hot glue for all of our structural support and electrical insulation as well. Its important to use a high temperature hot glue as its more durable as well as stronger bonding to plastics and has a higher electrical insulating property than the low temp alternatives.

Step one in our construction process is to cut the fan out of the fans mounting bracket. This is easily done with some wire snips. If your want to keep the lighting ring functional on the fans bracket make sure to leave some leads to work with. Also save the connection to the Molex connector to the power supply and the wire length for later on in the build.

Next up is to take our cd case and cut the top off of it. This can easily be done with a sharp razor. But use caution in doing this step as plastic can be tricky and slip or crack with out warning.

The next step is to attach the cd case to the fans mounting bracket using a few dabs of hot glue tack it in place. There will be some minor gaps between them but that’s ok at this point.

Once the glue has hardened and you have the position of the cd case even, use some hot glue to fill any gaps between the 2 peaces to help prevent air leaks and provide additional structural support.

Now that we have this nice mountable tunnel for the air to flow threw we will need to install the electrical elements. This is really an easy step and requires 4 holes per emitter or collector. To do this we used a set of pliers and a hot nail. The reason we chose to melt the holes is it doesn’t allow micro cracks to form that can cause problems later as we found that the plastic was rather brittle. You will want no more than one inch between emitter and the collector or the unit will not perform well for you.

With the holes in place we will add the collector wire first. Using some pliers bend the wire into a U shape and then slide it into the holes you made. Its important to try to get the arch of the wire to match the same contour of the tunnel walls. Use ample hot glue to secure the collectors wire to the tunnel. But leaving enough exposed wire to attach the wires from the transformer later on.

With the collector wire in place and secure thread the guitar wire threw the holes and lightly twist them together. Using some hot glue make sure the wire is secure and as tight as possible. If you do this step before you install the collector wires the tunnel will flex under the wires tension and it will be very hard to get the wires tight. Use ample hot glue to secure the collectors wire to the tunnel. But leaving enough exposed wire to attach the wires from the transformer later on.

So here is what you should have going into the rest of the steps for this project. The tunnel created by the cd case should be ridged and the wires should be tight. The unit as a whole should feel solid.

Using the hot glue gun coat any externally exposed wires with a 1/8th inch layer of glue. Depending on the type of glue and the temperature of your glue gun it may be necessary to use a few layers to build up the necessary thickness. One way to speed up the process is to use a computer air duster upside down and spray the cold mist on the glue. Just don’t hurt your self doing this.One other note is that the mist it sprays out is flammable! Don’t spray an operational ion cooler or an open flame! Trust Me! But I am looking into an electrostatic jet engine project now!

Now we have things nicely insulated we will attach the emitter and collector wires from the power supply. This is a simple process and a drop of solder for the connections never hurts. Use ample hot glue to insulate the connections and any other externally exposed wires.

With the leads attached we will splice in the wires for the lights in the fan and the transformer to the wire lead we had left over from the fan. This is really simple, positive goes to positive and negative goes to negative. A little electrical tape and then I used some hot glue to attach it to the fan mounting bracket to keep it all nice and neat. at this point it would be smart to test the unit and make sure it works prior to installing it in the computer. we wouldent want to blow up the computer if we did somthing wrong…

So here is where we leave the norms of fan placement. We will be mounting the fan externally. So we will be using the screws internally to the case. This is simple but if you have a large CPU cooler it will likely obstruct access to the screws and you may have to uninstall it or use a stubby screw driver..

So here is the mounted unit to the case. We have used some self adhesive Velcro to hold the transformer to the case. Most cases have a punch-out for a serial port that the power wires can easily pass threw so you can close the case.

Summary / End Results:
Once again this is a prototype that we tried to do to meet the needs and requests of our readers. This projects total cost is under 40.00 USD. While not as powerful as its bigger brother it’s still enough to cool this computer with no problem. The trade off is we had to drop the high end gaming video card. But if you wanted a truly silent work station this may be the right solution for you.

Here is a quick movie of the unit in use. Here is the deal, this is freaking huge bandwidth wise and hosting this stuff is expensive so click lightly or send us a donation please!! Our projects are funded 100% out of pocket other than the revinue we gain from the ads on our site. Additionally we used some super light weight Mylar that I have for another project for the tassels, so that’s why the steamers are rather energetic.

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  1. Avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 5:52 am — Reply

    I was looking at your project and thinking it might be applied to water cooling.

    I also had a few other ideas about materials that might make it work better and be easier to build.

    I have included a link where I reference your work as well as my ideas if you are interested.


  2. Avatar
    January 7, 2016 at 3:44 am — Reply

    Wouldn’t this electrocute you, if you stuck your fingers into the pipe while it is working? Doesn’t that make it a kind of crazy thing to have on the back of your computer, with such a wide opening and no protective grating? I am also interested in which parts, exactly, become an electrocution hazard during the build process. Great work, thanks!

  3. Inventgeek
    January 20, 2016 at 12:20 pm — Reply

    @jordan, You are dead on with your comment, this thing would knock your socks off and send them soldering into the wall. This is merely a proof of concept for the idea. Further refinement is a must for any sort of practical use. The two sets of wires are what become energized and can blast you. Just don’t touch anything connected while its turned on and you will be fine. If you look at the other ionic cooling projects you can see we wrapped them with a aluminum mesh that was grounded. This protects it perfectly so a similar concept would likely do well here.

  4. Avatar
    November 17, 2016 at 12:05 pm — Reply

    Do you have some more information on the transformer? I bought one but it is making high pitched noise so the silent cooling idea is lost. I can’t find the exact same you have. I know you built it a long time ago but do you have any clue about specs? Is it a neon transformer? What is the input current, output voltage etc. Oh and of course many thanks for posting this great idea, I love it.

  5. Avatar
    April 22, 2018 at 11:09 pm — Reply

    I was talking to my flatmate about this, it looks like a good idea but he mentioned with regards to the Ozone being produced that this should only happen if sparks occur – do sparks occur?

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