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Method for Low-volume leak detection in a computer system

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000224823D
Publication Date: 2013-Jan-07
Document File: 3 page(s) / 26K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is an indirect-sensing method that accurately and quickly detects as little as single drop of escaped water within a server system and provide input to a system management controller such that appropriate action may be taken.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

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Method for Low-volume leak detection in a computer system

Low-cost warm water cooling systems are becoming increasingly viable and popular for server systems. Unlike other water-cooled systems, these designs use standard plumbing fittings and require water-cooling pipes to be introduced inside the system chassis where any leakage of water may be disastrous.

Existing leak detection methods use one of two approaches:


• Sensing differential pressure and assuming a leak if there is an unexplained pressure drop


• Directly detecting the presence of water where it should not be

Both of these methods require a significant amount of water for activation, at which time significant damage or possible loss of data may have already occurred.

The invented solution is an indirect-sensing method that accurately and quickly detects as little as single drop of escaped water and provide input to a system management controller such that appropriate action may be taken.

The novel contributions of the invention include:


• Integration of color-changing moisture detection material into a fitting designed to be applied directly to a joint in a water-cooled computing appliance

• Use of an integrated light emitter-sensor pair to monitor the state of color changing moisture detection material to create a sensor element
• Connection of such a sensor element to a system management bus


• Incorporation of such a sensor with moisture absorbing aspect (hygroscopic material)


• Use of such a sensor to trigger system actions to protect system and workload (as listed)


• Use of such a sensor in multiples or in combination with other sensing types to provide multiple levels of reaction


• Use of such a sensor where the amount and velocity of color change is used to determine level and type of system reaction


• Use of multiple color-changing materials in conjunction with a single sensor tuned to detect a particular color change within an enclosure (including use of lens(es), mirror(s), fiber optic, or other optical methods


• A sensor (as described above) where the fitting is allowed to rotate to assure the sensor element is positioned by gravity to best use position

The components and functions of the indirect-sensing method include:


1. Use of a detection material that changes color when exposed to water

2. Incorporation of such detection material into an enclosure designed to be attached to potential leak points

3. Use of an optical detector to monitor the color of the detection material within the enclosure

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4. Creation of a serviceable signal (e.g., instant messaging alert (IMM)) when color change is detected


5. Interpretation and handling of signal generated in this manner

The primary embodiment consists of:


• A ring-shaped housing holding containing the color-changing element


• An attached housing containing a light source and a sensor


• The sensor connected vi...