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Thread: Swiftech MCP355 pump catches fire. (sort of)

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    Swiftech MCP355 pump catches fire. (sort of)

    Sitting at my computer Saturday I began to smell burning plastic. Right away I see smoke and my temps climbing fast.

    After about 2 months of about 8 hrs/day one of my MCP355 (MFR: 12/09) had a little bit of a burn out. You'll have to excuse the iPhone pics, my wife dropped my camera.




    I'm about to call them but that I'd post this first. Is this a fluke or common with particular model/build run?

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    Eh, I've seen worse... much worse. Granted, in my experience, roasted PCBs (like that and worse) aren't particularly common.
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    I have seen another mpc355 being burnt at the same place...
    I suppose that you have to replace it from the shop you 've bought it or directly from swiftech...


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    Jeff - There are many guys here at XS who run that MCP 355 and claim great results. I, on the other hand have owned 5 of the higher powered DDC 3.2 18w or MCP 3.25 18W pumps and 3 out of 5 have failed. After finally tracing the circuit board last week, I consider the design flawed. The reason on the 355 and 3.25 is that there are two cheap capacitors (from Lin Wuan in China I believe) that are easily effected by either water leaking in from the top, or the strength of the magnetic field generated by the coils. Simply put, on the less expensive MCP 350 (which has a much safer reliability record over many tens of thousands of owners), the strength of the magnetic field, along with the lower current, mean that the cheap Chinese caps dont operate near their limits, as they do on the MCP 355 and MCP 3.25. And in turn, that means, your chance for a melt down, LOL (well, you have seen it, ....literally, ... so you know I am not $hitting you) is much less. The 355s and the 3.25s need to be re-engineered so the space between the PCB and the coil is about 19 mm (this is a result of the Maxwell derivative for field strength affecting charge), and the $hitty Chinese caps need to be upgraded to decent higher charge Japanese caps.

    You need to talk to Debbie at Danger Den to get an RMA, and when you do, ask for a MCP 350 replacement.

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    Cool, thanks for the replies.

    Will call and see what's what. Hopefully they don't deny me a replacement because I shortened the external wires. But who wouldn't do that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jayhall0315 View Post
    snip/
    Very nice explanation indeed
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    Are you the same jeff who sold that fake power book to a london scammer?

    If so YOUR LIKE AN EPIC FOLK LEGEND.

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    jay, I can tell you with 100% certainty that it wasn't a cap that went on Jeff's, it was a FET. In fact, it was the FET at Q1.



    The FET's on the MCP355 have been known to be bit buggy at times. I remember a on guy here that got some replacement FET's from Laing Hungry and was able to replace it and got his working again, though that won't do Jeff any good as the PCB is torched pretty good. When they first came out, the 3.2 had a very good reliability record, now as it seems they are coming to what may be EOL on Laing's end, they seem to have joined the DDC-2 is regards to reliability. Maybe it's a planned move by Laing to get us to buy the 3.25 or the newer yet PWM versions, don't really know.

    Jeff, were you using a custom top? If so, which one (I'm gonna guess XSPC)? Most of the companies that re-brand the pumps won't honor the warranty if a top has been used. This is because you've modified the pump from the original sale condition and are asking it to work out of spec's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sirsiddius View Post
    Are you the same jeff who sold that fake power book to a london scammer?

    If so YOUR LIKE AN EPIC FOLK LEGEND.
    lol yeah that's me. Yeah I can prove it for non-believers. So long ago, I'm surprised people still remember it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterlogged View Post
    Jeff, were you using a custom top? If so, which one (I'm gonna guess XSPC)? Most of the companies that re-brand the pumps won't honor the warranty if a top has been used. This is because you've modified the pump from the original sale condition and are asking it to work out of spec's.
    Crap. Yeah, the XSPC dual acrylic. If they give me guff I will throw one MASSIVE hissy fit!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterlogged View Post
    Jeff, were you using a custom top? If so, which one (I'm gonna guess XSPC)?

    Due to your educated guess here, is it safe to conclude XSPC tops design might
    be flawed too? Now if I try to remember all pump failures I've read about here,
    something rings like majority of them were with XSPC's tops.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erklat View Post
    Due to your educated guess here, is it safe to conclude XSPC tops design might
    be flawed too? Now if I try to remember all pump failures I've read about here,
    something rings like majority of them were with XSPC's tops.
    That was exactly why I asked. It does appear that the majority (if not all) of the current rash of DDC failures also has the XSPC tops in common. Plain and simple truth is, if you want your pump to live, avoid XSPC tops. . .regardless of how good they look or perform.
    Last edited by Waterlogged; 09-20-2010 at 10:38 AM. Reason: D'oh, "they" is not spelled "the"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterlogged View Post
    jay, I can tell you with 100% certainty that it wasn't a cap that went on Jeff's, it was a FET. In fact, it was the FET at Q1.



    The FET's on the MCP355 have been known to be bit buggy at times. I remember a on guy here that got some replacement FET's from Laing Hungry and was able to replace it and got his working again, though that won't do Jeff any good as the PCB is torched pretty good. When they first came out, the 3.2 had a very good reliability record, now as it seems they are coming to what may be EOL on Laing's end, they seem to have joined the DDC-2 is regards to reliability. Maybe it's a planned move by Laing to get us to buy the 3.25 or the newer yet PWM versions, don't really know.

    Jeff, were you using a custom top? If so, which one (I'm gonna guess XSPC)? Most of the companies that re-brand the pumps won't honor the warranty if a top has been used. This is because you've modified the pump from the original sale condition and are asking it to work out of spec's.
    Interesting Waterlogged, on the one I traced, no problems with the FETs. But the capacitor had blown. But, now that I look at his scorch marks in Jeff's, I believe you are right. Looking at mine right now, those FETs look cheap too. Need to be replaced with decent Taiwanese MOSFETs. Poor design all around, I must say.

    I would like to add though, to those who dont fool with electronics or electrical engineering, ... and the main take home message..... the MCP 350 is basically fine, but the MCP 355 and MCP 3.25, and you are gambling. Some may go fine for 10 years with zero problems and others may burn out in 8 hours. That is the nature of poorly made capacitors and FETs that sit too close to the magnetic field.

    I also, dont believe the XSPC tops are the culprit. Measured two last week (one on the DDC dual bay reservoir, and one on the regular reservoir top) with calipers and give or take 0.3 mm, they are same as in critical dimensions as the stock top. While I would guess that input nozzles on the XSPC could induce slight cavitation and higher temps on the bearings and PCB, or the build up of thermal heat at the output could do the same, the effect is not as great on the PCB as the effects from the higher current (amperage) and the electrical effects of the EM field at 7mm or so. The XSPC tops are (in my opinion) if anything, a far secondary cause for the rash of dead pumps.
    Last edited by jayhall0315; 09-20-2010 at 10:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterlogged View Post
    The FET's on the MCP355 have been known to be bit buggy at times. I remember a on guy here that got some replacement FET's from Laing Hungry and was able to replace it and got his working again, though that won't do Jeff any good as the PCB is torched pretty good.
    Meh, it may be the original DDC-3.1/3.2 PCB but someone might find it useful...



    Most of the catastrophic failures that I saw in the DDC-2 and DDC-3.2 involved toasted FETs. Thinking on it briefly, if a cap fails it's going to either short or go open circuit (the latter being more common, as I recall)... the result of which would depend on what the cap was doing in the circuit (in a motor like this, I suppose it could be anything from borking the time constant to maybe leading to an overcurrent situation if they're somehow using the cap to throttle current through the FET... a complete circuit diagram of the pump's PCB would take the mystery out of it).
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    I disagree with the blame for XSPC tops. I have the same top running flawlessly with my two DDC 3.2's.

    I helped Jeff put his rig together and where I'm using a MM U2-UFO and two lower power pumps with plenty of air flow, Jeff is using two DDC 3.25's in a Corsair case with only about .5 inches of breathing room between the bottom of his pump and the top of his optical drive.

    I personally wired his pumps and hooked them up and they had been running fine for a few months. I think the pumps didn't have enough breathing room and active air flow, got too hot and burnt out.

    I had been using the XSPC restop for over a year and have recently switched to the XSPC dual res for a cleaner installation and have zero issues. I think blaming the tops without any direct evidence is a bit hasty.

    EDIT: Keep in mind, XSPC products are on the cheaper (cost wise) side and therefore more people will buy them. In turn more people with problems will also have common affordable parts. I'm not affiliated with XSPC whatsoever, I am just a consumer that has never had as catastrophic problems with their products and see no need to say a blatant bias statement like "if you want your pump to live, avoid XSPC tops" without hard facts. I know they had some problems with the first runs of their products and fully understand people criticizing them for that, but if they fix the issue, you should revisit your bias.

    Koolance is the prime example. Full disclosure, I also use Koolance products, but a big part of that is because I want to support a local Washington company and they also make good stuff nowadays.
    Last edited by S3RV0; 09-20-2010 at 10:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by S3RV0 View Post
    I disagree with the blame for XSPC tops. I have the same top running flawlessly with my two DDC 3.2's.

    I helped Jeff put his rig together and where I'm using a MM U2-UFO and two lower power pumps with plenty of air flow, Jeff is using two DDC 3.25's in a Corsair case with only about .5 inches of breathing room between the bottom of his pump and the top of his optical drive.

    I personally wired his pumps and hooked them up and they had been running fine for a few months. I think the pumps didn't have enough breathing room and active air flow, got too hot and burnt out.

    I had been using the XSPC restop for over a year and have recently switched to the XSPC dual res for a cleaner installation and have zero issues. I think blaming the tops without any direct evidence is a bit hasty.
    Not hasty at all, Just do a search for dead DDC topics and you'll see rather quickly that at least 95% of them were using a XSPC top of some kind. I'm not saying every XSPC top is a pump killer but, a lot of them are. . .especially the newer batches.
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    Here we go.

    You don't have any issues. Previous poster stated a component may run 10 years with zero problems, and others might hiccup and die in the matter
    of hours.
    That said, the fact you are not having any issues does not erase the fact that more than a dozen of pump failures had - try to guess - XSPC's top.
    I'm no coincidence type of guy. Great deal of reports with the exact same configuration smell like one thing to me - better to be avoided.
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    Well I certainly hope I'm in the 10 year group!

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    Nah, you're in the two-months-type-of-a-group
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erklat View Post
    Nah, you're in the two-months-type-of-a-group

    Ha!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Petra View Post
    Meh, it may be the original DDC-3.1/3.2 PCB but someone might find it useful...



    Most of the catastrophic failures that I saw in the DDC-2 and DDC-3.2 involved toasted FETs. Thinking on it briefly, if a cap fails it's going to either short or go open circuit (the latter being more common, as I recall)... the result of which would depend on what the cap was doing in the circuit (in a motor like this, I suppose it could be anything from borking the time constant to maybe leading to an overcurrent situation if they're somehow using the cap to throttle current through the FET... a complete circuit diagram of the pump's PCB would take the mystery out of it).

    Looking at what I found Alex and your feedback from those who sent in dead pumps to ya (I was one of them .... damn, I wish I could still be giving my money to you, than to some of these other online stores) and I would tend to agree with the FETs as a main culprit as well. Basically, if I remember correctly, Laing said that the MCP 355 and MCP 3.25 where going to be redesigned circuit boards .... uh, yeah....they are redesigned all right ..... for the worse. It has been a while since took all the circuit classes as an undergrad, but this PCB is not a good design for 1.5 Amps.

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    I have to go with s3rvo on this one . its the same with all Items, higher rate of sale/usage higher rate of Listed and public failures ..people who've never had problem with em don't chime up most of the time. Xspc tops for 3XX series were considered the best or some of the Best for quite a while so how many do you thing were actually sold. Vs how many people had pumps break and blame it on the top. Same with the pumps what do you think the failure rate actually is, 5 % is normal in electronics (that's after sale randomly dying for various reasons ) ?

    *edit* ok so if 95% of listed burned out pumps same config ...I'll just add some ketchup to my foot before it goes in my mouth.
    Last edited by MagisD; 09-20-2010 at 11:08 AM.
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    "I regret to inform you that the use of the after-market top automatically voids your warranty.

    Regards,

    Michelle"

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    At least you were honest about that. I'm guessing that 75-90% of RMAed pumps might have been used with aftermarket tops, just that user was hiding the fact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterlogged View Post
    Not hasty at all, Just do a search for dead DDC topics and you'll see rather quickly that at least 95% of them were using a XSPC top of some kind.
    The trouble is that, even if the statistic you provided is accurate and representative of all failed pump configurations (including those not posted in forums), the statement does not prove a causal relationship between pump failure and the use of XSPC tops. For example, I could correlate the death rate of female humans in the US aged 16 to 26 with the wearing of Uggs... and, even if I happened to find that those who wore Uggs within that age group were more likely to die prematurely, it wouldn't mean that poor taste in footwear was the direct cause of premature death.

    Now, in cases where there is obvious physical evidence that the Uggs... err, XSPC pump tops were not manufactured to specification and made contact with the pump's impeller, that's different. However, it still doesn't establish the tops as a sole cause (a significant contributing factor, yes) because other factors would have to be taken into account as well (e.g. tolerance stack issues between the height of the rotor's bearing, impeller's lower section, impeller's upper section, and the innards of the XSPC top, rotor balance and how it could impact the angle of impeller deflection in high-head situations, etc... yes, it's also kinda XSPC's responsibility to take those factors into consideration during the design and manufacturing of their product)... anyone remember the bunch of DDC-2's which shipped from Laing with warped/malformed/improperly installed impellers that would hit the ceiling of the stock tops?

    Ultimately, these correlational links that people keep making in forums with inadequate data/investigation do little more than reinforce the "easy out" warranty voiding tactic that resellers and distributors have adopted. Laing knows that a properly designed and produced straight-inlet top will not significantly impact the life expectancy of these pumps, otherwise they would not have tooled up and produced such a part themselves and they wouldn't have green-lit warranty coverage for Swiftech's MCP35X or MCR Drive products (unless, of course, there was some sort of financial loss sharing deal struck or the potential losses on Laing's part from pump failures would be made up for through sheer volume of sales). Granted, the catch there is "properly designed and produced"

    Quote Originally Posted by jayhall0315 View Post
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