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Liquid cooling system and electronic device including the same

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Liquid cooling system and electronic device including the same


Disclosed is a liquid cooling system mounted on an electronic device. The liquid cooling system includes flow path (20) through which a refrigerant circulates, and pump (21) and reserve tank (22) arranged on flow path (20). A part of the side face of reserve tank (22) is set back to the vicinity of the center of reserve tank (22) to form concave portion (40). on the front center of concave portion (40), outlet (42) through which the refrigerant flows out is formed.

Inventor: Naoki Masuda
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120298339 - Class: 16510433 (USPTO) - 11/29/12 - Class 165 
Heat Exchange > Intermediate Fluent Heat Exchange Material Receiving And Discharging Heat >Liquid Fluent Heat Exchange Material >Cooling Electrical Device

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120298339, Liquid cooling system and electronic device including the same.

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TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a liquid cooling system mounted on an electronic device.

BACKGROUND ART

An electronic device such as a personal computer or a projector includes an element or a light source for generating heat during an operation. The electronic device also includes a component or an element heated by the heat generated from the element or the light source. For example, a CPU (Central Processing Unit) included in the personal computer, or a discharge lamp or a LED (Light-Emitting Diode) included in the projector generates heat during its operation. Further, a memory or a hard disk included in the personal computer is heated by the heat generated from the CPU. An image forming element (liquid crystal panel or DMD (Digital Micro-mirror Device) included in the projector, or a mirror, a lens or a polarizing plate disposed on an optical path is heated by the heat generated from the light source (heat of light output from the light source). This necessitates cooling of the element, the light source or the component. Hereinafter, the element, the light source, or the component is generically referred to as a “cooling target”.

Systems that cool the cooling targets are largely classified into an air cooling type and a liquid cooling type. The liquid cooling system cools the cooling target by heat exchanging between the cooling target and a liquid (refrigerant). Therefore, a general liquid cooling system includes a flow path to circulate the refrigerant, on which a pump for circulating the refrigerant and a tank for storing a predetermined amount of refrigerant are arranged.

In the tank, there is formed a gas layer for absorbing volume expansion of the refrigerant caused by the temperature change. A gas may be mixed in the flow path against the aim. The entry of the gas from the tank or the flow path into the pump may cause a pump operation failure.

Thus, there is proposed a technology for preventing the entry of the gas from the tank or the flow path into the pump. For example, Patent Literature 1 describes a liquid cooling system (water cooling system) that includes a reserve tank. An inlet is formed on the right side face of the reserve tank disclosed in Patent Literature 1, and a hollow tube having an outlet is formed on the left side face. One end (outlet) of the hollow tube extends to the center of the reserve tank. In other words, the outlet is located in the center of the reserve tank. Locating the outlet in the center of the reserve tank enables the outlet to be always held below the water surface of the refrigerant. As a result, even when the posture change of the reserve tank is accompanied by the change of the water surface of the refrigerant, the gas does not flow out from the reserve tank through the outlet.

CITATION LIST Patent Literature

Patent Literature 1: JP2003-78271A

SUMMARY

Technical Problems

However, the technology disclosed in Patent Literature 1 has the following problem. In Patent Literature 1, there is no description as to whether the hollow tube is formed integrally with a tank body. Supposing that the hollow tube is formed integrally with the tank body, the following problem occurs. Generally, the reserve tank is formed by using a mold. However, it is extremely difficult to manufacture a molded article where a slender tubular portion and a body portion are integrally formed by using a mold.

On the other hand, when the hollow tube and the tank body are separately formed, the following problem occurs. When the hollow tube and the tank body are separately formed, the hollow tube must be inserted into a hole formed in the side face of the tank body to be fixed. This increases the number of manufacturing steps. Specifically, the step of fixing the hollow tube inserted into the hole formed in the side face of the tank body by fixing means such as adhesion or welding is necessary.

Generally, in the case of the reserve tank disclosed in Patent Literature 1, manufacturing the reserve tank is difficult, or manufacturing takes time and labor, and costs are high.

SOLUTION TO PROBLEMS Solution to Problems

A liquid cooling system according to the present invention is mounted on an electronic device. The liquid cooling system of the present invention includes a flow path through which a refrigerant circulates, and a pump and a reserve tank arranged on the flow path. A part of the side face of the reserve tank is set hack to the vicinity of the center of the reserve tank to form a concave portion. On the front center of the concave portion. an outlet through which the refrigerant flows out is formed.

EFFECTS OF INVENTION Advantageous Effects of Invention

In the liquid cooling system according to the present invention, the outlet is located near the center of the tank by setting hack the outlet of the reserve tank to the tank center. As a result, without using any slender tubular member such as a hollow tank, the outlet can be disposed near the center of the tank.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the built-in structure of a projector in which the liquid cooling system of the present invention is mounted.

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view showing a light source unit shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing the main flow of a refrigerant in the liquid cooling system shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is an appearance perspective view showing a reserve tank shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a plan view showing each surface of the reserve tank shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view showing the reserve tank shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view showing the reserve tank shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 8A is a perspective view showing the first posture of the projector.

FIG. 8B shows the posture of the reserve tank when the projector is in the first posture.

FIG. 9A is a perspective view showing the second posture of the projector.

FIG. 9B shows the posture of the reserve tank when the projector is in the second posture.

FIG. 10A is a perspective view showing the third posture of the projector.

FIG. 10B shows the posture of the reserve tank when the projector is in the third posture.

FIG. 11A is a perspective view showing the fourth posture of the projector.

FIG. 11B shows the posture of the reserve tank when the projector is in the fourth posture.

FIG. 12A is a perspective view showing the fifth posture of the projector.

FIG. 12B shows the posture of the reserve tank when the projector is in the fifth posture.

FIG. 13A is a perspective view showing the sixth posture of the projector.

FIG. 13B shows the posture of the reserve tank when the projector is in the sixth posture.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

A liquid cooling system according to the first embodiment of the present invention is described. FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a part of the internal structure of a projector in which the liquid cooling system of the present invention is mounted. In FIG. 1, a case is omitted to show the internal structure.

The projector according to this embodiment includes image forming unit 1, three LED (Light Emitting Diode) light source units 2 arranged around image forming unit 1, projection lens 3 for projecting an image formed by image forming unit 1, and liquid cooling system 4.

Three LED light source units 2 respectively include red light source unit 2R that generates red light, green light source unit 2G that generates green light, and blue light source unit 2B that generates blue light. As shown in FIG. 2, each light source unit 2 includes at least a pair of holders 11 in each of which LED 10 is mounted, cooling mechanism 12 for maintaining the temperature of LED 10 equal to or lower than a predetermined temperature, and condenser lens 13. The components of each light source unit 2 that includes holder 11, cooling mechanism 12, and condenser lens 13 are received in box 14 to be integrated. The pair of holders 11 in each light source unit 2 are arranged to face each other, and light generated from LED 10 mounted in holder 11 is condensed by condenser lens 13 to enter image forming unit 1 (shown in FIG. 1).

Referring again to FIG. 1, image forming unit 1 includes at least a cross dichroic prism, and three liquid crystal panels arranged around the prism. The three liquid crystal panels are prepared for the respective light source units. On each liquid crystal panel, light output from each light source unit 2 is modulated based on a video signal. Specifically, the light (red light) output from red light source unit 2R enters a liquid crystal panel for a red color that is to be modulated. The light (green light) output from green light source unit 2G enters a liquid crystal panel for a green color that is to be modulated. The light (blue light) output from blue light source unit 2B enters a liquid crystal panel for a blue color that is to be modulated. The lights modulated on the respective liquid crystal panels are synthesized by the cross dichroic prism to be projected to a screen or the like via projection lens 3.

Next, liquid cooling system 4 according to this embodiment is described. Liquid cooling system 4 includes flow path 20 laid via light source units 2R, 2G, and 2B, On flow path 20, there are arranged at least pump 21, reserve tank 22, radiator 23, and fan 24 for supplying cooling air to radiator 23. Further, liquid cooling system 4 according to this embodiment includes two radiators (first radiator 23a and second radiator 23b), and two fans (first fan 24a and second fan 24b) for supplying cooling air to radiators 23a and 23b. Flow path 20 includes a flexible tube.

FIG. 3 schematically shows the flow of a refrigerant in liquid cooling system 4. Each arrow shown in FIG. 3 indicates the flow of the refrigerant in liquid cooling system 4. However, the arrow shown in FIG. 3, which indicates the main flow of the refrigerant, does not completely match that of an actual flow path design.

Before the refrigerant that flows out of pump 21 reaches radiator 23, it is divided into two flow paths so that it flows into first radiator 23a and second radiator 23b. The refrigerants that flowed into radiators 23a and 23b are cooled by heat exchanging. The refrigerants that flow out of first radiator 23a and second radiator 23b are merged to flow into reserve tank 22. The refrigerant that flow out of reserve tank 22 flows into red light source unit 2R to cool the LED therein. Then, the refrigerant returns to pump 21 via green light source unit 2G and blue light source unit 2B. The refrigerant that flowed into green light source unit 2G and blue light source unit 2B cools the LEDs therein. In other words, when pump 21 is set as a starting point, the refrigerant circulates in the order of pump 21→radiator 23→reserve tank 22→red light source unit 2R→green light source unit 2G→blue light source unit 2B→pump 21. Because of this circulation route, the temperature of the refrigerant is lowest immediately after its flows of radiator 23, and gradually increases during the passage through light source units 2R, 2G, and 2B.

The amount of heat generated by the red LED included in red light source unit 2R is smaller than that of the green LED and the blue LED respectively included in other light source units 2G and 28. However, the change in luminance of the red LED that is caused by a change in the temperature is greater than the luminance of the green LED and the blue LED. In other words, by the temperature change, the luminance of the red LED changes greater than those of the green LED and the blue LED. However, the red LED is more sensitive to the temperature change than the green LED and the blue LED. In other words, the change in temperature characteristics of the red LED is greater than that of the green LED and the blue LED. Accordingly, temperature management of the red LED is most important. This is why the abovementioned flow path design is employed. Specifically, the flow path design where the refrigerant cooled at radiator 23 is first supplied to red light source unit 2R is employed.

Further, as described above, each light source unit 2 includes a pair of LEDs 10. Accordingly, it is preferred that the temperature difference between the pair of LEDs 10 be small. It is particularly preferred that the temperature difference between the pair of red LEDs 10 included in red light source unit 2R be maintained at zero as much as possible. Different flow path designs are therefore employed for red light source unit 2R and other light source units 2G and 2B. Specifically, red light source unit 2R has a parallel flow path, while green light source unit 2G and blue light source unit 2B have serial flow paths.

As shown in FIG. 2, in box 14 of each light source unit 2, a pair of holders 11 having LEDs 10 mounted on the surfaces are arranged to face each other. Each heat discharge elements (Pertier element 15 in this embodiment) is disposed in close contact with the rear surface of each holder 11 of red light source unit 2R. On the back surface of Pertier element 15, cold plate 16 is disposed in close contact. In box 14, two assemblies including holders 11, Peltier elements 15, and cold plates 16 are arranged. However, FIG. 2 shows only the structure of one assembly. The two assemblies have identical structures.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120298339 A1
Publish Date
11/29/2012
Document #
13577864
File Date
02/10/2010
USPTO Class
16510433
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
28D15/00
Drawings
11



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