Maintenance and Service
Although maintenance and service may be the last thing engineers consider when designing a liquid cooling loop, including this consideration in the design process will help to reduce problems over the long term. Several different types of questions must be answered. For example:
- Will the pump need lubrication over its life or is the coolant going to perform that function?
- Will the fluid reservoir need topping off?
- Which components are field-replaceable?
- What is the maintenance schedule?
- What is the required pump life?
- If pump replacement is needed, how does one charge the system and start the system up?
Other questions concern what the user must do to get the system working again.
- Does this require removing the electronics and cold plate, or just the electronics, and can both be easily removed and replaced merely by snapping in a new one?
- If the cold plate is replaced, will it be shipped with cooling fluid?
- Does the OEM ship the system or field-replaceable unit filled with fluid?
- If so, freezing of the fluid may be a concern, such as in aircraft cargo holds that get very cold.
These questions must be considered by members of both design, operations and maintenance teams. Involving all affected individuals in the decision will help to ensure smooth operations in the future.
Materials compatibility, corrosion prevention, condensation control, the position of the liquid cooling loop, standard versus custom parts, joints, fittings, connectors, hoses, and maintenance and service requirements all must be considered when designing either a modified standard or custom liquid cooling loop. When properly integrated into a system, liquid cooling can provide highly effective heat removal with low risk. Today, tens of thousands of cold plates and heat exchangers are liquid cooling electronics in some of the most demanding and high-performance applications.
Written by Richard Goldman and Tracey Barber
Original Published in RTC magazine, July 2006