Question Have purchased 3 AIO liquid coolers in a row and every single one of them has failed to work. I have got to be doing something wrong... right?

Jul 22, 2022
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So I recently decided to switch over to an i9 12th gen 12900k (there's a seperate Best Buy related horror story involved in that but it's for a different time) and upgraded my MB to the MSI Pro Z690-A DDR4. My old Thermaltake AIO liquid cooler didn't have a bracket or backplate to fit the LGA 1700 CPU mount, so I decided to go out and buy a new one at my local Best Buy. This is where the nightmare begins.

First up is the Corsair H100i Elite Capellix. I install it and immediately there is an issue, the iCue software cannot detect the commander core no matter what usb header I plug it into. It will also randomly shut the pump off for no discernible reason. I try everything for several hours before I decide that it must be defective, pack it up, and bring it back to best buy.

Time for Round 2. I decide well, maybe I'll just avoid Corsair and try out NZXT. So I pick up a NZXT x63 360mm from a different Best Buy and get to installing it. When I boot it up, the fans on the radiator start spinning immediately, but the pump unit does not light up, and the pump itself does not come on. I once again try every single different configuration of Fan and USB header, mess with the SATA power cable, uninstall and reinstall from scratch, mess around with the godawful proprietary software, update my BIOS, every conceivable thing. Yet again I pack it up, return it, and start trying to decide what to do next. At this point I am seriously irritated.

Jump to today. I decide "screw it, there's no way 2 of the same company's units from the same Best Buy could possibly both be defective". I go and purchase the NZXT z73 360mm. I just got done installing it right now. The LCD screen lights up, radiator fans turn on... no pump sound... temps climbing rapidly to 100° within minutes... godawful proprietary software reports back 0 rpm on pump. I haven't even bothered trying anything yet. I feel like I'm being gaslit or something, what are the odds of batting 3 for 3 on defective pumps? Please help, I'm losing my freaking mind here.
 

Karadjgne

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Aios generally have a failure rate of @ 0.1% or lower. If 1Million units were sold total so far this year, out of all the brands and models, that's closer to about 10 failures yearly for each model. The chances that 3 of those ended up at 2 different best buys, and you managed to purchase all 3 in a row are so small as to be well beyond microscopic.

Which leaves user error or some other factor outside of the coolers control.

Should double check that All connections that are required are actually connected, that includes any USB, Sata etc. Also includes making sure the cpu_fan header is populated with that wire, Cam is installed and running, bios settings for the aio needs are set (pwm for the cpu_fan header, not Auto) etc.
 
Jul 22, 2022
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Aios generally have a failure rate of @ 0.1% or lower. If 1Million units were sold total so far this year, out of all the brands and models, that's closer to about 10 failures yearly for each model. The chances that 3 of those ended up at 2 different best buys, and you managed to purchase all 3 in a row are so small as to be well beyond microscopic.

Which leaves user error or some other factor outside of the coolers control.

Should double check that All connections that are required are actually connected, that includes any USB, Sata etc. Also includes making sure the cpu_fan header is populated with that wire, Cam is installed and running, bios settings for the aio needs are set (pwm for the cpu_fan header, not Auto) etc.
I have checked, double checked, and triple checked every single connection. All of my fan headers are receiving a constant 100% power, I checked each one with a fan individually. The device is recognized in CAM, I can edit the lcd display, monitor temps etc. The pump RPM is always at 0. I have reinstalled the pump and radiator in different positions, shook the radiator to try and dislodge any bubbles, still nothing. When I plug my old cooler core into the SATA power and CPU_FAN header, immediately you can hear the pump begin to spin up, even though it isn't even mounted to the CPU. I just don't understand what I could possibly be doing wrong at this point. Would the pump not run, but still report CPU temps if it was improperly mounted? At this point that's the only thing I can think of that might explain this. Either that or software / firmware shenanigans, but again, the device is recognized in CAM, I can change the LCD display, add gifs, monitor the pump and radiator fan RPM. I've even tried reinstalling the USB driver they have on their website, still nothing.

I agree that the odds must be insanely low, but I can't see how I would have managed to fail to install every single time. Maybe I'm just mentally deficient and need to stick to an air cooler? I don't know man, it's just insanely demoralizing.
 

Karadjgne

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Well there's a wire to cpu_fan header. It's important that that's actually there and seated correctly, it's not unheard of for it to be off a pin and seated on only 3 not the 4 pins, which will give you a zero rpm reading. If you had a Dell mobo, that's almost always the case, but you don't, so no worries there. Cpu_opt shouldn't be used, nor aio_pump or cpu_pump etc as those are power ports, not hooked to the cpu.

You'll have Sata power connection to the pump. You'll have a USB header to the pump. Iirc the x73 doesn't use rpm wire to pump, but that's where you plug in the fans, at cpu_fan header.

AIO's don't all hook up the same way, each has its quirks, but if you are getting 0 rpm on the pump and it doesn't sound like it's working, with multiple different AIO's, I'd be wondering if the Sata power is actually powered up from the psu. If you have a standard type drive you know is actually working, I'd pull it's Sata and put that on the pump temporarily, and take the one that's in the pump and stick it on the drive. At boot, you'll either get drive or pump, the pump being powered directly from the psu will work at 100% in bios
 
Jul 22, 2022
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If you have a standard type drive you know is actually working, I'd pull it's Sata and put that on the pump temporarily, and take the one that's in the pump and stick it on the drive.
I already have a Samsung SSD connected along the daisy chain SATA power cable, it works, b7t the pump still doesn't. I've also tried disconnecting that and only having the pump on the cable, still no dice. Do you think it might not be receiving enough power from that cable?
 

Karadjgne

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I'm wondering if the actual Sata connector you are using at the pump is actually working, if there's a broken pin or wire at the connector, everything else on the daisy might work except for that specific connector. So by swapping them around you'd be able to tell if power is good, or if that's the reason the pump isn't working.
 

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