Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Air-conditioned Laptop

This decidedly low-tech version of CPU cooling was inspired by a recent 1,300-mile marathon drive in 100ºF weather (37.8ºC for metric based mentalities)
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The problem:
My laptop is, for the most part, an automotive computer. It keeps me entertained with music for 100+ hours, but its most important function is the GPS function<link>. The program shows where I am, gives audible warnings of turns, gas stops, rest breaks (mostly ignored) and shows exit services. All of this computing power comes at a terrific cost. My CPU tends to overheat while sitting on a sun-drenched seat and sometimes shuts down.

Being the responsible driver, I always pull off the road to reboot the computer and wait through the “You stupid dolt! You didn’t turn off your computer properly. Now you will be punished by being forced to sit through a long scandisk session” and then re-launch all of the programs.

All of this occurred while I was basking in the breeze of CFC-free air-conditioning. I tried sharing with my laptop, but couldn’t angle the vents down far enough.

The solution:
Air-conditioning for laptops! By taking a rectangular-shaped, flexible tube (similar to clothes dryer ducting <link>) and attaching 4 small hooks to each end, one end can hook up to the air-conditioning vent of the car. The other end would hook into the air intake for the cooling fan of the laptop. Now, with my air-conditioner on, I can keep cool while my laptop does the same.

Klaatu, Jul 28 2004

(?) Like this, but with rectangular ends http://ts.smoothcor...143476.306x467.jpeg
[Klaatu, Oct 05 2004]

Delorme Earthmate GPS http://www.delorme.com/earthmate/
[Klaatu, Oct 05 2004]

(?) Targus Notebook ChillHub http://www.targus.c...ils.asp?sku=AWE01US
This slightly more sophisticated solution to the problem seemed to be advertised everywhere this Christmas. US$49. [jurist, Dec 27 2004]

[link]






       As soon as you build it, let me know and I'll buy it.
robinism, Jul 28 2004
  

       I almost considered MacGyver-ing something together while on the road, but with only 24 hours to travel that distance, just had time to think about it.
Klaatu, Jul 28 2004
  

       Saw the new Mercedes SLK on TV the other night. Apparently, with the top down, there's a little doobrie on the seat that directs warm air to the back of your neck. They call this an Airscarf. (TM), probably.   

       Aside from being the sort of thing we should have thought of here, this could be adapted and sited slightly lower to blow air from the AC onto the seat squab. Arse-scarf, maybe? ("No, I want it for my armpits".)
egbert, Jul 28 2004
  

       i am not able to understand the innovation involved. would you please explain ? if a/c does not function properly, can hot air go inside laptop ? your car a/c controls your body temperature or the space inside the car ? is it possible to put sunscreen on car windows to avoid direct sunlight falling on your laptop ?
vedarshi, Jul 28 2004
  

       Klaatu was driving not running.
po, Jul 28 2004
  

       Cool idea! (sorry)   

       I'd buy it.
bpilot, Jul 28 2004
  

       //i am not able.....falling on your laptop ?// please explain the innovation involved & comments on points mentioned earlier.
vedarshi, Jul 28 2004
  

       [vedarshi] My laptop resides on the passenger seat of my car while driving. The vents from my air-conditioner cannot be directed low enough to effect cooling of my laptop. My laptop is running full-time. It overheats. It shuts down. By taking some of the air-conditioned air from the car vents and directing it to the fan opening in the case of the laptop, it would cool the CPU and hard drive to prevent shutdown.   

       I thought the idea was simple and quite low-tech. I apologize if I was unclear with the problem or the idea/solution.
Klaatu, Jul 28 2004
  

       ved
patience is a virtue
possess it if you can
sometimes found in a woman
never in a man.
po, Jul 28 2004
  

       You could buy a car that has a computer built in...
ato_de, Jul 28 2004
  

       //You could buy a car that has a computer built in...//   

       ...on YOUR salary, or mine?
Klaatu, Jul 28 2004
  

       So . . . where, exactly, on the typical laptop, would the airconditioning duct be connected? There seems to be no consistent cooling design for laptops. On my M60 I a single sculpted air intake on the side but no other vents, on others, I see a large number (8 or more) of small vents across the bottom of the unit.   

       You might have to build a plenum box that mates to the bottom of the laptop for the latter example.
bristolz, Jul 28 2004
  

       [bz] I was thinking that a foam mating-surface would allow for differences in laptops. Alternately, I could make one for each model and charge exorbitant prices. <wink, wink, nudge, nudge>   

       I wasn’t thinking in terms of an absolutely airtight seal, but just enough cooling to drop the temperature a few degrees to prevent a CPU overheat.
Klaatu, Jul 28 2004
  

       Maybe you could cool a flat plate of copper that the laptop rests on?
bristolz, Jul 28 2004
  

       Since I first read this, I've been thinking that a good design might be a fairly universal base (acting as a plenum) upon which the laptop could rest: a flat, hollow box with perforations on the top face --think air-hockey table in minature, with bigger holes. I doubt that any air-tight seals would be necessary. Even if it doesn't direct cooled air directly in to the laptop heat sink/vent, it would provide a bit of an envelope of cool air and would directly cool parts of the laptop case thereby allowing them to transfer more heat away from the interior components.   

       Having used a laptop on top of my lap, it seems like a lot of heat is radiated out the bottom of the machine. I'm wondering if the machine resting on the soft seat might be contributing to the overheating by reducing convection cooling that would happen if it rested on a hard surface (elevated by the little rubber footies).   

       If I had the originally stated problem, I might try making some sort of platform or legs that would still prevent slipping, would not harm the seat and would keep the bottom of the machine from being in contact with the insulating seat. Passive solutions are generally cheaper and more reliable in the long run.   

       Of course, any solution must also be effective, so the active cooling might yet be necessary. The ducting could be integrated in to the platform.   

       I keep visualizing some kind of lower profile, baby-seat like (attachment/mounting-wise) contraption for promoting cooling (convection or a/c assisted) and securing and better positioning the laptop.
half, Jul 28 2004
  

       [po]thanks for the poem written for me. [half]there you are-poor (no) convection is the reason for overheating. [klaatu]please check whether your computer has heat pipe based heat sink (i think it doesn't have).btw i am still trying to find out the innovation involved which has earned so many positive votes.
vedarshi, Jul 29 2004
  

       i'm really sorry. i forgot it is a HB.
vedarshi, Jul 30 2004
  

       Paint the laptop white?
JKew, Jul 31 2004
  

       I don't know if painting the laptop would really help. I have it set on a white, plastic cutting board and it still overheats when the hard drive is running continuously. The cooling fins are blown regularly to make sure they are clean and clear.   

       I have held it up to the air-conditioning vent and the internal fan usually shuts off within 2 minutes. That was why it occurred to me that just diverting a bit of the air-conditioning would be enough.   

       Googled for anything like this and have found nothing yet. Maybe it is time to make my millions. ;)
Klaatu, Jul 31 2004
  

       You stay in touch, Klaatu, if time allows...k?
blissmiss, Jul 31 2004
  

       Shouldn't a laptop be able to operate normally in ambient temperatures of like 90 or 95 (F)? If it's only 100 outside, your car should easily be cooled below 90 by the A/C.
half, Jul 31 2004
  

       This would come in handy when viewing porn, too.
Ander, Jul 31 2004
  

       Surprisingly, most electronics I've ever bought (including an old laptop that I no longer have) list an operating range that peaks at 85 degrees F.   

       Setting your laptop on a surface which restricts ventilation could certainly lead to overheating.
Freefall, Apr 04 2005
  

       You wanna try plugging in to a boiler control panel in the basement at 30+ DegC with no real ventilation. Big cables and laptop outside the door was the accepted fix (not available in cars!).
gnomethang, Apr 04 2005
  

       It's funny that this should come up now. It was very hot yesterday and I had serious problems with cooling. My CPU shut down 4 times.   

       I am going to try to bake this at some level soon. My only problem is what type of clips to use to attach to the air conditioner and to the intake vents of the laptop.
Klaatu, Apr 04 2005
  

       + and thanks for the desert link on my island.
pashute, Aug 10 2014
  

       I don't understand why we don't yet have a computer case with an air conditioner that senses temperature and humidity and keeps internal air just above the dew point.
Voice, Oct 18 2017
  

       //It was very hot yesterday and I had serious problems with cooling. My CPU shut down 4 times.//   

       Sounds like careful and rigorous stress testing on the part of the manufacturer. I've had similar problems with Machines from manufacturers rhyming with Groaney and Domodedovo. Particularly when I do outlandish things like tick all the overpriced performance options or ask it to do something difficult. My own fault I suppose, I pick these small-time inexperienced companies, they can't be expected to test ALL of them... Have you seen the price of big SSDs?
bs0u0155, Oct 18 2017
  
      
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