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  • Water Cooled amplifiers


    cowwboy
    • Year: 2002 Brand: Malibu Model / Trim: 21 VLX Cost: (unspecified) DIY or Professional Install: I installed it Sound Project Components: Upgraded Amps, Other

    Well after constantly fighting keeping towels, purses, bags, etc, off of my amps I decided why not utilize this abundance of water the boat sits in. 
    That and it's pretty dang fun to have water cooled amps. I knew bazooka had a water cooled kit back in the day. And my buddies shop had modified amps before in show cars.
    So why not.


    The Digita Desgins amp I did have to mill the cooling fins down to attach the tanks I built. But the DD amp is hidden between the seatback and the hull so was not worried about the appearance. 20140222_160710_zpsaydhl2db.jpg.5793be0aca48591944729871080b7df0.jpg20140222_160815_zpsj6lvby96.jpg.2dbbcb34fc0d6c55e4bfbcc3fb7f1ef5.jpg20140227_165115_zps6fod31n9.jpg.ad1aba87dafffa9c4a0354952a55af5e.jpg20140304_204646_zpsbphy2rqv.jpg.38a9797a7dc19afc837d65d25edcc5d4.jpg20140308_203233_zps6tb4jfsl.jpg.fd2b40e281ef15afc451d41fb5fd5f91.jpgamps1.jpg.3f3145815c5f5d464f1ca4fb8bdc17bf.jpg

     

    Don't crucify me on the power distribution, it had a poly cover over it and has since been swapped for a fuse block.  

    Now for the Arc's I wanted the heat sinks to look nice. I wanted the open side to be poly-carbonate so you could watch the water go through. 
    So I worked with a buddy to put my idea into a 3-D model. They are 1" thick aluminum with the passages milled out with 3/8" NPT ports.
    5abd04d22fab3_ampcooler.jpg.b5f9cd4e1cb63606b11f989c19f5b9cf.jpg

    I run Arc ks series for all but my sub. They utilize the bottom of the amp for the heat sink rather then the top so it was easy to sandwich a water jack to the bottom of the amp without modifying the amplifier. 

     

    11128193_10153233347783245_8632115553889423318_n.jpg.98494d1bad103d1201a880924ac30a94.jpg11091219_10153233347153245_5931099166321061173_n.jpg.91e4b3d2d8f4f97b6b11416a482b47a4.jpg603765_10153233347023245_6360929685862881801_n.jpg.d13e8ab99c5e4b5300b961131fc7963f.jpg20150510_215345.thumb.jpg.284384b15b59e0b2e5c7ca9ae3ba7f1e.jpg20150510_215414.thumb.jpg.a0e9cec36872d8c4d5f47baa3e279ec0.jpg20150510_215403.thumb.jpg.88e5dddbde5daed4baeb52ad63fe3056.jpg

    One thing I did have to change was adding more bolts to hold down the poly front cover to prevent leaks as the original design didn't have enough holding pressure when using O-rings. 
    I have also switched to using RTV to help with the seal.

    This picture is after two years of service. You can see the crud from the water and how over time some of the poly has cracked around the bolts.20170611_182859.thumb.jpg.41415502bcbace042e40466f9497cf18.jpg

    I pressure tested all of the coolers before they went into the boat. The tank coolers were pressured up to 300 psi and held for 12hrs with no loss of pressure. 
    The poly fronted coolers I was afraid of cracking the poly so only tested them to 50psi for 12 hrs.

    Now for the lessons learned, Oklahoma / Texas water is quite nasty. So while it looks cool seeing the water go through, the water itself is quite nasty looking. Also kind of sucks having to  winterize your stereo.

    We do an annual multi city river trip that we have to carry our overnight stuff as we stay in hotel as we go along the river. It was nice being able to have my entire compartment full of overnight gear for 10 people and not worry about the stereo overheating in 100 Degree weather. 
    It really is nice when I can run the stereo full tilt in 100+ weather and the amps are ice cold. 


     

     

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    User Feedback


    I don’t think I’ve seen water cooled amps in a boat.   Like it.    Love the comment about having to winterize your stereo.  

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    I obviously love modifications and outsidethe box thinking.   Appreciate you sharing this; looks great!  

    I’m probably the least knowledgeable stereo guy on the site... what happens when the amps get too hot?  Do they get distorted or just fail quicker?   I’m in California and my cabinet constantly gets crammed with gear up to the amps.  I thought about putting a separated plate over them or something.  

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    When they get to hot they will shut off.
    It's not good for the components to get to hot, but then again we are putting complex circuitry into a rather physically abusive environment and expect it to work flawlessly in extreme summer heat. lol 

    This is what my the observer compartment looked like for the last river trip. 20150725_134308.thumb.jpg.6c09356ee0fdb458607e98de53bddb0e.jpg

    Edited by cowwboy
    spelling

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    Yup I know what a stuffed compartment looks like.  Lol  we always take people and always stuff that thing to the max.  

    Great project and great install! 

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    Quote

    Don't crucify me on the power distribution, it had a poly cover over it and has since been swapped for a fuse block.  

    LOL...yeah, that looked pretty sketchy.  I know someone who got their face "upgraded" due to a battery explosion so I get nervous with exposed terminals.  Anyway, that's an insane upgrade.  You didn't mess around!!!  Would love to hear it, but maybe not all day ;) 

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    It is was kind of frustrating trying to find an off the shelf distribution block for the amount of components I have. 
    The batteries are in the rear compartments in front of the ballast bags. I tried having them in the observer compartment, but they just take up to much space. Running golf cart batteries and the backup battery. 

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    On 4/3/2018 at 9:02 AM, cowwboy said:

    It is was kind of frustrating trying to find an off the shelf distribution block for the amount of components I have. 
    The batteries are in the rear compartments in front of the ballast bags. I tried having them in the observer compartment, but they just take up to much space. Running golf cart batteries and the backup battery. 

    Were your batteries in the rear compartments to start with or was that a mod you did?  Mine are up front next to the amps and shut off switch, etc.  But i could definitely gain a lot of usable room moving them elsewhere.  I'd have to measure my space, but if i could put them under the rear seat backs before the ballast area that would be awesome.  Do you have any pictures of this or is this a thread on the site?  I would be interested in more info...  Thanks

     

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    The batteries were originally in the observers compartment. They are now in with the ballast bags right up against the seat backs. 
    The space gained by moving the batteries is amazing on my boat. 

    I now have golf cart batteries and a custom built hdpe battery holder. This was with a 4d deep cycle.

    My starter/ backup battery sits on the drivers side and then my golf carts sit on the port side. 
     battery.jpg.870473ceca0f3124319fd1f2e86f82af.jpg

     

    I ran the stock 4AWG and then added a 00AWG ground and positive wires to the observer compartment where the fuses are. My battery switch sits under the corner seat by the batteries. 
     

    Edited by cowwboy

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