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Thread: Intel P4 Heat Problems

  1. #1
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    Intel P4 Heat Problems

    I started collecting parts for my carputer 2-3 months ago and finally got enough to have something that boots and plays music in my SUV.

    I was wondering if anyone has come up with a good cooling solution for the P4 (2.4Ghz) or maybe even AMD Athlons/XPs that can withstand the summer heat?

    My car stays parked outside, so its gets pretty hot during mid-day. Windows XP will start booting, but usually reboots within a few seconds. This cycle continues for awhile (maybe a minute more or less), before I finally see the desktop. It runs fine once loaded. System boots flawlessly in the morning, night, and can take quite a bit of heat during the day. But there is a certain point where the above starts happening.

    I think the problem is the heatsink. It has a tendency to absorb the heat in the car. On these hot summer days, its gets hot to touch. Significantly hotter than my indoor amd tbird heatsink gets during operation. At this temperature, the heatsink is actually doing the opposite of whats its supposed to do. It's heating the cpu instead of cooling it.

    But since the system usually starts working after a few reboots. It must only take a minute or 2 before the hs is cool enough to do its job. If this process could be sped up, maybe the sytem would boot on the first try even on hot days. I'm using a stock cooler, so maybe a noisier huge cfm fan with an alloy dissipates heat faster will do the trick. Anyone try this or have a similar experience they can share?

    Another option would be to find a way to keep the interior cooler. I'll probably look into a dark tint. It'll help hide the new valuables as well. Not sure how much it well help though.

    EDIT: Problem Solved!

    It seems the xenarc touchscreen did not like the serial extension. Possibly because of singal degradation or timing problems because of cable length. This problems was exacerbated with heat. Instead of handling the problem gracefully, the touchscreen driver was causing windows to fail at boot.

    So, it turns out power nor heat was the problem for the P4. The Opus can easily power a 2.4Ghz system with all the extras. And from my testing, the P4 can withstand temperatures above 60C in summer heat with only a heatsink fan.

    Nonetheless, there was some very good posts in this thread. I would like to thank all of those who helped out.

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate churnopol's Avatar
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    First where's your pc. Is it in the trunk? The trunk is one of the best places to put a pc. Do you have any case fans? I have a p2.4gh for my desktop, the more case fans the better. You can also use peltier element. These things are very effective for cooling a cpu. It looks like a white square. When you plug it in one side gets hot and the other side gets cold. Of coarse the cold side gets placed on top the cpu.
    http://www.heatsink-guide.com/peltier.htm

    They say there's dangers with humidity, but if you have case fans blowing the air out. You really dont have a humidity problem. Also the higher the peltier wattage the hot side gets hotter, and the cool side geets cooler, and a higher humidity risk. Stick with an 80watt
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    Maximum Bitrate churnopol's Avatar
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    this yahoo stroe explains peltier cooling even better
    http://shop.store.yahoo.com/pcpowerz...ercooling.html
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    Computer is in the back of my suv in the cargo area under the tonneau cover. The whole car warms up, including the rear.

    Right now there is no case fans, but I also took off the case panels for easy access to the hardware. The only fan is the one on the heatsink. I don't think the case fans will help yet since the panels are off.

    First time I heard of a peltier. Thanks for the link. Does it cool instantly?

    It seems a little pricey and draws a lot of power, but if its the only solution, I may give it a shot.

    Anyone try a beefier HSF in their carputer. Seems that would be an easier and cheaper route if it works.

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    Seems its getting worse. Yesteday afternoon, it refused to boot even with the cargo door open and plenty of semi cool air blowing over it. I've underclocked it a little, down to 2.2 from 2.4. After 6-8 tries, it finally started. It shows the Windows XP boot logo animation and as soon as the logon screen is about to appear or flashes onto the screen, the system reboots.

    I also thought maybe it was getting enough juice. So, I unhooked the Xenarc and cd-rom from the Opus 150W. Now only the HD, MB, USB Keyboard, Radeon Vid Card, and Audigy II are connected. This should be well under 150W now. I rebooted the system, and it took 2 tries to boot. Its getting better, but very annoying waiting for it to boot up successfully.

    I think I've eliminated both heat and power concerns from my testing. I think my next step will be to remove the video card, and switch to the onboard video. Also maybe remove the sound card, until I can figure out what component is causing this problem.

    Has anyone encountered a similar problem and can share their experience/solution?

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    First off, I'd say a peltier in a car on a whim would be a BAD IDEA™. A peltier (TEC, thermoelectric cooler), simply moves heat from one spot to another, generating subzero temperatures on one side, and very hot temperatures on the other. If he has a heaksink thats already getting heatsoaked from the daytime sun, adding a 120W peltier will only make it worse, necessitating a huge heatsink/noisy fans or watercooling. Theres also the problem of moisture, of which the car is much more exposed to than your desktop pc, and even people using peltiers on desktops used closed cell foam to insulate around the peltier/socket. And I'm not convinced that its a heat problem. P4's are designed to throttle down when they pass a certain threshold (75C? 90C?), so that they keep running, albiet slowly, but they dont fry like an athlon would. You could pull the heatsink off of it completely and have it run. I'd be leaning towards a power issue, as I dont know which radeon you have, but the new ones are power hungry, along with a P4 and a big new hd can cause quite a load.
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    I'm sorry, and you are....? frodobaggins's Avatar
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    I agree, stay away from peltiers in the car, unless you are cooling your beer in a mini-fridge
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    Newbie dieter's Avatar
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    It would be trivial to build a circuit using a thermistor, two pots, a comparator and a relay to keep the power from coming on until the temperature is okay. Doesn't solve the heat problem, but keeps the thing from operating outside its operating temperature.

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    dieter:

    it seems to handle it fine on its own. It will continuously reboot until I see the desktop.


    But maybe the P4 isnt the reason for the reboots. There may be another weak point. The hd is rated upto 55C. If the HSF is any indication of the temp of the other components in the case, it may go above 60C. Unfortunately, I have no way to prevent this. I threw in a case fan, but I doubt it helps much.

    I've put it on the back burner for now. Its not a question of not working, but how long you have to wait. During cool days, its less than 30s and boots the first time. But if its very hot, it may take a few minutes for the car to cool down as I drive with ac full and windows down.

    I doubt the PSU is to blame, because I've seen an Opus power a similar system with no problems, and once my system boots it works just fine.

    I'm open to suggestions, but I would like to keep the current system. Any ideas?

    Thanks.

    -TJ

  10. #10
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    Yeah, the circuit doesn't help you boot any faster, but I personally prefer not to run the hardware outside the rated temp for stress reasons. Maybe an unfounded concern.

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