VapoChill PE by Asetek
Product: VapoChill PE (Intel Model)
Street Price: ~$550 USD
Date Reviewed: February 6, 2003
Reviewed By: Jason R.
Many people wonder exactly what a VapoChill is, and how it works. In layman's terms it is simply a form of a refrigeration unit. Air conditioning / refrigeration is nothing new to me, my father has been a HVAC contractor all his life, and I've had to help out quite a lot while I was growing up. The heart of any refrigeration system is a refrigerant called Freon. Freon is really a generic term used for any of various nonflammable fluorocarbons. There are many different kinds of Freon to fit various applications, like a residential AC system, automotive AC systems, walk-in freezers, etc.. The Freon used in a VapoChill is known as R134A, which is one of the newer "environmentally-friendly" Freon's.
If you have central air conditioning, then no doubt you have seen your condensing unit next to the house. They are usually rectangular or cylindrical in shape with a set of coils on the sides and a compressor in the middle. This unit outside is only half of the system, the other half is in your attic which is the evaporator coils. The line going from your condenser to the evaporator is known as either the liquid line or high-side, and the line going from your evaporator back to the condenser is known as the suction line, or low-side.
The cooling cycle is quite simple. Freon starts out at the compressor, being compressed into a hot high-pressure gas. This hot gas runs through the condenser coils to cool down and condense into a liquid (hence the name condenser). The liquid Freon now travels to the evaporator coils, which attached right before is either an expansion valve or a set of capillary tubes, both do the same job which is to allow the Freon to quickly expand and "flash" back into a gas, this is when the Freon gets extremely cold! Now the low-pressure cold gas flows through the evaporator coils which allows air flowing over the coils to cool down (and the Freon warms up). The cool Freon returns back to the compressor now to be compressed once again, and continue through the cycle.
That was a VERY basic explanation of how the cooling cycle works, but hopefully give you enough understanding of how a typical refrigeration system works so that when you look at the diagram below of the VapoChill system you know what is going on. Again the Freon goes from the compressor, to the condenser, to a set of capillary tubes, to the CPU-kit (which is the evaporator), and back to the compressor, a very simple process.
By now you are wondering what the buzzword "phase-change" is that you hear all the time in terms of cooling. I did talk about this above, just not using the same words. When the Freon expands from a liquid to a gas, it is changing phases, hence the name "phase-change". Simple as that... (Don't you feel smart now?)
Now we can close our textbooks on refrigeration 101 and start to talk about the VapoChill.
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