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My Attempt at External Fan Cooling

Rhino

New Member
So I decided to dig around my parts bin and using my "street smarts" fabricate a fan for my Surface. After spending so much for the SP3 set-up I have already, this is pretty much my only choice anyway as I really like my marriage. Here's what I gathered initially:
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The broken USB male end is from the dual fans that are on the right. These came out of a cool-pad that was stepped on at some point. I also grabbed a DC/DC 3.5-30V to 4.0-30V booster (because I have a few) leftover from a previous project. For the housing I used 7.6" X 11" X .060" white styrene sheet. The Geforce cooling fan you see was not used.

I hooked up a single fan to the booster and was able to get it up to a stable 9.00V off of a USB port and not trip the "high draw" warning from the laptop. I let it run a good 15 minutes just to make sure. I pushed it up to about 12V and the warning tripped. I dropped it down to 10V, cleared the warning and all was good so I figure 9V should be safe. Once it was dialed in a dab of hot glue on the adjustment screw keeps it from being bumped.
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I just kind of winged it from there, and made a fan housing that would blow in the top right vent above the video port and into the top vent from the webcam area and to the right. I also made it large enough to blow across the screen to help with cooling as well.

A few hours and 3 hot glue sticks later, this is what I ended up with:
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It's not pretty, but it works for me. I haven't benchmarked it, but it keeps the SP3 pretty cool during World of Tanks. It moves a decent amount of air with moderate sound due to the confined box. This was just for fun with slight practicality; I'm definitely no engineer. I may drill a few vent holes in the to blow some air across the backside of the SP3 just to see if there is any improvement. I also need to finish the cover over the booster. I don't need that adjustment screw knocked out of whack!

Thanks to user Cothek for the inspiration to do something like this.
 

GreyFox7

Super Moderator
Staff member
I think it would be very interesting to see the difference between back cooling alone vs the forced air vent cooling vs combined vent + back cooling.
 
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Rhino

Rhino

New Member
I mainly purchased as a laptop replacement. Times are changing and I'm try to integrate evolving technology into my daily work. I prefer Windows, and it is compatible with my job. So far it seems a good fit.

I definitely won't be needing to take the fan with me. It is not practical at all.
 
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Rhino

Rhino

New Member
I think it would be very interesting to see the difference between back cooling alone vs the forced air vent cooling vs combined vent + back cooling.

This is why I had initially considered the Geforce cooler. It has a solid copper base and I was going to grind off the board stand-offs and mount flush with the back case. That little unit gets surprisingly cold in hand when running on just 5v. I just personal didn't think there would be enough good surface contact without some kind of thermal compound to make any kind of difference, and the possibility of scratches. I may look at it another time when boredom sets in.
 

bluegrass

Well-Known Member
There are millions of Surface 3's in use without any outside cooling fan. Not sure why you thought you needed it. If you were getting overheating messages all the time, I would take it back and get MS to replace it.
 

kundas1

Well-Known Member
There are millions of Surface 3's in use without any outside cooling fan. Not sure why you thought you needed it. If you were getting overheating messages all the time, I would take it back and get MS to replace it.

it has nothing to do with overheating messages, it has to do with throttling when you play a game or intensive apps and then the SP3 throttles and drops to lower speeds... due to the thinness of the device it heats up fairly quickly ;)
 
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Rhino

Rhino

New Member
it has nothing to do with overheating messages, it has to do with throttling when you play a game or intensive apps and then the SP3 throttles and drops to lower speeds... due to the thinness of the device it heats up fairly quickly ;)
Exactly. Plus, heat is inherently bad for electronics. The lower your average temps stay, the longer the lifespan of your components.
 

Cothek

Active Member
This is great! Nice work Rhino!

Question, the top is mostly an intake for the internal fan and the side an exhaust, have you tried removing the side vent to see if it prevents throttling any better?
 

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