Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Overclocked, Liquid Cooled Arduino

Sometimes I just get this idea in my head, and no matter how stupid or impractical it may be, I'm not going to stop until it's done. Talking about Open Source Hardware theory, economics, and strategy so much recently is making my head explode with ideas, so I figured it was time for a gratuitous display of silly engineering. And with that, I'm quite pleased to present the world's first overclocked, liquid cooled Arduino :-)

This is a picture of the Arduino completely submerged under Eco-Earth FluidXP Non-Conductive coolant:

This is a shot of me holding up the Arduino just slightly out of the coolant, which I chilled by putting in the freezer for about 20 minutes, and also keeping it chilled while transporting it with a cold compress:

The overclocking part wasn't so bad, but the problem with overclocking the Arduino is that once you swap out the crystals or tamper with the oscillator circuit in general, you can't really program the Arduino with code any more. So I downloaded the simplest sketch I could think of, the Blink sketch. That's the one that blinks on and off every half second.

The normal Arduino is a 16 MHz chip. Mine runs at a little over 32 MHz, and is a Duemilanove. Here's a little video of the "behind the scenes" of how I soldered the new crystal in:

I was pretty nervous putting the Arduino into the liquid coolant for the first time, so I loaded it up with the TempSensor, and had it kick back readings to the computer as long as it could. You can't really tell from the video, but the liquid is freezing cold. The tips of my fingers were a bit numb after a few videos :-)

Anyway, these are probably my favorite pictures of the project - I uploaded some more pictures over at flickr:



Unknown said...

HAHAHAH Brilliant! I take it this is just an intermediate step, next onto Gigahertz, multicore and eventually a supercomputer that blinks an LED so fast, it appears to be constantly on!

Anonymous said...

actually, you can program the board with the faster crystal, you just need to change the delay for the serial. you didnt do anything ground breaking, sparkfun has done this a long tme ago, tested to 32mhz and fully documented it. guess what, no blue goo needed.

Matt said...

@valid - thanks :-)

@nvrtiltablackhat - ha ha ha. the blue goo at 10-20 degrees is what made the project fun. it's about having fun and being silly, not being competitive! nate's a cool guy, btw!

Matt said...

WHOA! someone posted me this project to hackaday :-) thanks!

i just read all the comments, and i'm literally bursting at the seams ... ha ha ha ha. my favorite comment was this one, by "pooky":
Recipe for a thermonuclear weapon:

1) Fabricate a titanium metal sphere, 10 meters in diameter

2) Fill with readers of Hackaday

3) Inject an article about arduinos

Approximate yield: 100 kilotons


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sitwon said...

It appears that submerging it in blue goo had absolutely nothing to do with overclocking it since it wasn't necessary... so essentially you accomplished nothing by doing that. It just looks silly (hence, makes you look silly).

Unknown said...

So in the video you said you connected power to the 3V3 line of the arduino. Well this comes from the regulator of the USB bridge and not the arduino so I guess you are mistaken or this is a hoax.

Joe said...

Wow, Hackaday is turning into Slashdot with all you haters! This was a silly and funny experiment. It seemed also like a tongue-in-cheek poke at all the overclockers on those huge processors. Leave the guy alone.

Unknown said...

@nvrtiltablackhat - you say they've documented it at 32mhz, I can't seem to find it, you got a link?

Anonymous said...

Calling ALL Overclockers! Please help in anyway you can!
Thanks David