Aquaero for beginners. What else do I need?

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Feb 6, 2013
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So after listening here and doing some research I decided I wanted to dive a bit deeper into this hobby and control my loop based on coolant temperature. So I ordered this https://www.performance-pcs.com/wat...o-usb-fan-controller-grafik-lcd-aq-53145.html and this https://www.performance-pcs.com/cab...nal-thread-g1-4-for-aquaero-5-6-aq-53257.html. I wanted the Aquaero 6 for the 4 pwm hubs as I will be controlling 12 unifans. Also for the voltage control in case I ever wanted to fire up my 3 pin NBEloops. Temperature sensor seemed essential for obvious reasons. Did I get the right one? Do I need a flow meter? How will a flow meter help in terms of a better experience? Cant I just monitor the pump rpms and achieve something similar? I dont want to go off the deep end but I am willing to throw down another 20ish bucks to round out the experience so tell me what essential add on i still need. Thx.
 
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Flow meters are not necessary but they do give you a more reliable failsafe method than pump RPM.

Your Aquaero has an "RPM" header which you will plug into your motherboard's CPU_FAN header. The Aquaero will spoof a tach signal over that cable to keep your motherboard happy, thinking it has a fan on the CPU and that it's functioning. You can condition alarms to halt this tach signal, sending your machine into a shutdown if something fails.

You could base that alarm condition on pump RPM, but pump spinning ≠ water flowing. If you have a clog or a catastrophic leak and your fluid stops circulating, your pump will just keep on going.

Granted we're talking severe edge cases here that shouldn't happen if you're taking good care of your loop, but that's the only real thing of value that a flow meter can offer.
 
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I appreciate both points. Thanks for responding. I do want to go with a flowmeter that will be plumbed in behind the motherboard, I am thinking right after the temp sensor. Can I get a recommendation?
 
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I appreciate both points. Thanks for responding. I do want to go with a flowmeter that will be plumbed in behind the motherboard, I am thinking right after the temp sensor. Can I get a recommendation?
I'm fond of the MPS line from Aquacomputer (unsurprisingly). They use a differential pressure measurement across an orifice plate and as such have no moving parts to bind up or make noise.
 

Hakaba

Gawd
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Jul 22, 2013
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My setup adjusts the fans based on the delta temperature between the loop/room. I attached a few pictures below to give you an idea of how it's done. As for the fan RPM, I normally game on the headphones. Also two chasses with 16 drives spinning easily drown out my setup on the desk.

Virtual Sensors.pngController from delta temp.pngHades.png
 

Hakaba

Gawd
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One more thing Brisket, I was messing with point controllers today instead of the normal curve controller from above. This route lets you set a temperature (going with 3c delta), and it adjusts the fans as needed to keep the temperature in check (or close as possible). In comparison, the curve is set to adjust the fans as the temp increases.

Finally, I am trying to mess with alarm conditions/profiles. The goal was to say use 450 rpm till 10c, then ramp the fans up to bring it back down to 3c (if possible, usually not under full loads). I could get the alarm condition to trigger profile 2 but not switching back to profile one when 3c was hit.
 
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Ordered the High Flow 2 it has a built in temp sensor. Just got the email from Germany it will be here Friday. Thanks for all the advice I am sure I will have lots to talk about.
 

Zarathustra[H]

Fully [H]
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The minimum you need are temperature sensors where you want to measure them and the Aquacomputer Unit.

Keep in mind, I have found that the screen on the units is not terribly useful. I almost never look at it. If I were doing it all over again, I would buy the base Aquacomputer 6 (LT? can't remember naming scheme) that is just a board, and 3m tape it somewhere hidden inside the case.

If you use PWM fans and use more than 4 of them, you might want a PWM splitter. Aquacomputer sells one, but there are plenty others on the market. If you voltage control and draw a lot of power for fans you may want one of the optional heatsinks, as they can get hot, but I've never personally run into the issue.

Flowmeters are not a necessity, but can be nice to have some visibility to what is going on in the system.
 
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I bought the Aquaero 6 pro and the high flow next 2 flow meter with temp sensor. This is all I need right? I have 12 unifans but they will only require 4 pwm connections. So I believe I am set to control fans and monitor water temps and flow rates. I see some people using multiple water temp sensors in a loop but thought that was nonsense due to loop temps being stable throughout the loop.
 

Zarathustra[H]

Fully [H]
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I bought the Aquaero 6 pro and the high flow next 2 flow meter with temp sensor. This is all I need right? I have 12 unifans but they will only require 4 pwm connections. So I believe I am set to control fans and monitor water temps and flow rates. I see some people using multiple water temp sensors in a loop but thought that was nonsense due to loop temps being stable throughout the loop.

If everything is working right, you only need one. Similar to having a flow sensor, sometimes having multiple temp sensors can aid in troubleshooting a loop that isn't performing as well as desired.

I agree, that in a good loop, flow should be high enough at full pump speed that the temp is almost the same everywhere in the loop.

That said, you may wish to speed control PWM controlled pumps to slow down the flow when it is not needed, at idle or near idle conditions.

I usually use two temp sensors in my builds. One positioned after my blocks in the loop. This one I use to control pump speed. The theory here is that if flow is too low, then coolant will sit too long in the block and warm up too much, thus, the fastest way to cool things down, is to speed the pump up and bring in more fresh cooler coolant fast.

The other temp sensor sits before all blocks in the loop. The theory here is that if water is entering the blocks too warm, then your fan speed is too low.

I usually set the pump target a degree lower than the fan target to make sure that by the time I spin up the fans audibly I'm already at a good steady flow rate throughout the loop.

The above is not strictly necessary, and there are many other theories. It's just one I arrived at after some thinking on the subject, and decided I liked.

-------------------------

Worth considering is trying to use setpoint controllers (also known as PID controllers) instead of fan curves for both your pumps and fans. If done right, this will result in lower fan/pump speeds when not needed than a fan curve does.

With a fan curve you typically set a max coolant temp you want, and design a curve below that. As an example, 100% fan at 35C, maybe 80% fan at 30C.

What this results in is that the fan is usually spinning faster than you really need it to, because you have your fans at 80% maintaining 30C, but really all you care about is keeping it below 35C.

With setpoint controllers they monitor the rate of change of the coolant temperature and take predictive action to try to maintain temps at or below your setpoint. So, if you are ok with - for example - a 35C coolant (I tend to set mine at 32C but every system is different) at low load the fans will spin slowly and maintain 35C, at high load the fans will spin faster, but still maintain 35C. It's a more stable, and less wasteful way of controlling things than fan curves (which you cna also use if you want)

You may have to play with the variables a little, but the Aquaero has some pre-programmed (low medium high) type settings that usually do a good job. Otherwise PID controller optimization for industrial control systems can get very complicated and is a discipline in and of itself.

A recommendation would be to set a minimum speed for anyfans or pumps you control with setpoint controllers, because otherwise you will likely wind up with violent oscillation (off -> super fast -> off -> super fast, etc) due to the delay in starting and stopping the fan/pump.
 
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I bought the Aquaero 6 pro and the high flow next 2 flow meter with temp sensor. This is all I need right? I have 12 unifans but they will only require 4 pwm connections. So I believe I am set to control fans and monitor water temps and flow rates. I see some people using multiple water temp sensors in a loop but thought that was nonsense due to loop temps being stable throughout the loop.
I have two water temp sensors in my loop. They are located at the coldest and hottest points of my loop (before and after the blocks). I take the average of those two to get my coolant temp.

I also use them to control my pump speed. Since they are positioned before and after my blocks, I can take a delta from them to get my 'block heat rise,' which is a direct way of looking at how much wattage my components are dumping into the coolant.

When my block heat rise is low, I run my pumps at an inaudible speed. As my sensors detect heat entering the system, the pump speeds up.

(This is completely unnecessary. I just do it because I can and I'm an industrial controls engineer who nerds out over this stuff.)
 
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