Question Dark rock tf leaking oil?

Andres9213

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Jan 10, 2016
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Hi. I purchased a brand new Dark Rock TF on Amazon a few weeks ago but only got to test it this past weekend.

After the first day of usage, i noticed a small amount of some sort of liquid (see picture below) on the inner side of the casing of the top fan, that turned out to be some sort of oil for which I don't know where it's coming from.



I contacted be quiet's tech support and they mentioned it's totally abnormal and i should to ask for a replacement. However, they didn't provide any possible expalanations as to where was the fluid coming from.

After reaching out Amazon's support they issued a refund in the end and allowed me to keep the defective cooler, as it was more expensive for them to cover shipping expenses for both the broken part (from colombia back to their offices in the us) and sending me a replacement. Of course, that means the apparently defective cooler would be out of warranty after the refund is made effective.

So here i am now, in a weird spot:

1. In my opinion, the cooler is working just fine: So far, my CPU temps (ryzen 5 3600) have been between normal ranges both iddle (average of 40°C on at 20-25% fan speed) and while gaming (reaching 75-79°C at around 80-90% fan speed, with battlefield 5, which happens to be the most demanding game on my library) - For context: PC case is a phanteks p400s eith tempered glass pannel and the top sound dampening pannels on, and with 2 of the stock phanteks fans on the front and 1 cheap thermaltake fan for exhaust, on the back, plus a vertically mounted gtx 1080. I did OC the CPU with ryzen master, but only by activating auto overclocking in the game mode profile (i'm totally new to CPU overclocking and just followed the basic steps listed on a guide i found here, somewhere)

2. However, I fear that this would become an actual serious problem in the future, with the worst case scenario being a massive leak of some kind of fluid, inside my system.

With the money from refund, I could just buy a new cooler, but It actually will cost me about 30 dollars more now than what i paid before, accounting for price changes and fluctuations in the US dollar exchange rates. And, although for you 30 USD might not sound as much, after making the conversion to my local currency, it's not a small quantity for me (to keep it in perspective, it would be about 10% of my monthly savings). So i was thinking of just keeping the "damaged" cooler installed and see if the problem persists, after a few days. If so, i would get a new cooler. But if i don't notice any leaks, i could use the refund money to get some new parts for the system i am currently trying to build ( i still need power supply, a new case and a couple of SSDs).

The thing is, i really don't know from where that fluid could be leaking out. Initially, i thought it could be a small leak from the fluid dynamic bearings of the fan, but what if it's coming from the heat pipes. I don't know what kind of fluid is used in either of those cases (the fan bearings and the heat pipes), and this is an oily fluid, as i mentioned above.

If it's coming from the fan, i think it's possible to get a spare fan to replace it. But if its the heat pipes, I wouldn't take any chances and get a new cooler.

The fans don't make any weird noises and they spin normally and ramp up or down perfectly fine, according to my specified fan curves. Temps are ok. The cooler is louder than I expected (based on youtube and some online reviews), but only when close to the top speed and the noise isn't bad. Its actually less than the noise made by the case fans. I have never tested any other be quiet fans before, so I couldn't tell if the noise levels are normal or not.
 
Heatpipes are filled with a small quantity of water, not oil. So it looks like the seals on one fan's FDB (fluid dynamic bearing) have failed.

Without the oil reservoir, a FDB is just a sleeve bearing, which could actually still run for some time even on a hot heatsink. The problem with that is only that sleeve bearings can fail silently. As you have two fans this is less of a problem.
 

Andres9213

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Jan 10, 2016
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Heatpipes are filled with a small quantity of water, not oil. So it looks like the seals on one fan's FDB (fluid dynamic bearing) have failed.

Without the oil reservoir, a FDB is just a sleeve bearing, which could actually still run for some time even on a hot heatsink. The problem with that is only that sleeve bearings can fail silently. As you have two fans this is less of a problem.
Makes sense (and i want to be optimistic). I've already ordered a replacement for the fan, from be quiet. 18 eur + free shipping from Germany :)
 

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