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Via Aqua 1300 Pump

Integral to any water cooling system is the pump. It is the de-facto heart of the system and it is a sad fact that there are NO purpose built pumps made for the water cooling enthusiast. We have to make do with fountain and fish tank pumps that are not really meant for this application.

However there is a reasonably wide range such of pumps available. You have your 12v pumps and you have your 110v pumps (OK…220v for the Europeans among us). 12v pumps are pretty much a rarity and come principally from a German source… they are expensive and tend to be somewhat anemic but have the distinct advantage of not needing to be switched on from a secondary power source… not having the pump running when the computer is on is a Bad Thing. 110v pumps are where it is at; they are powerful, relatively inexpensive and compact. Hydor, Maxi-Jet, Via-Aqua and Eheim are but a notable few of the choices you have. I prefer inline pumps myself. There are pumps designed to work submersed (in-line pumps CAN double as submersible) but they dump their working heat into the reservoirs in which they are submersed…not really a good thing for performance enthusiasts.

I had a few problems with my last pump… like waking up to find a puddle on my desk. This would classify as a fairly major problem! I ended up disassembling the cooling loop any number of times to trouble-shoot the system and finally just coated the pump liberally in Quik Epoxy…which still didn’t work! So I called Danny at DTek and asked if he could shoot me a low cost replacement… he ended up sending me, at my request, a Via Aqua 1300.

The Via Aqua 1300 is the stuff of whispered rumors…it is an inexpensive ($23.00 USD) and seemingly reliable in-line pump displacing an advertised 370GPH. Among our staff members who previewed this review there were pointed questions about the pumps Head and other performance figures… Gozlandog… so I went looking for documentation…after much Googling I found a single chart:

Via Pump Chart

Head is the height to which the pump can push water at a given flow rate. This pump can push water a maximum of 6 feet at 0GPH or 1 foot at 260GPH. In other words Head measures the pumps ability to overcome resistance to flow. This is important since a cooling loop is filled with pinch points, bends and other restrictions and a pump with a weak head may suffer a drastic performance hit. Yes, I did notice that this chart places the maximum flow of the VA1300 at 400GPH…but I am sticking with the figures published by DTek.

Now let’s get into what I hear persistently in my forum crawling. There are dogged mumblings of excessive EMI, noise, vibration and the dreaded “sudden death syndrome” This made it an excellent candidate for testing – we want to see if there are any truth to the rumors and “We Laugh at Danger!” – OK… I laugh at danger…the others just watch…from a cautious distance.

Let’s get a look at the pump:

Via Aqua Pump

What a handsome devil! The VA1300 is not large but it is larger than the other pumps I have used:

Misc Water Pumps

See? The far left is a German 12v 170GPH pump @ $150 USD, the middle is an Italian 340GPH in-line @ $50 USD…and the far right is the VA1300 370GPH @ $23 USD. Does it make noise? Nope. Quiet as my Ex -Wife during whoopee it are. It does jitter a bit during start up however.

Does it emit excessive EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference)? Nope. It is as good as or better than any other pump I have used and appears to have a threshold of about 10” before there is noticeable distortion in the CRT. Is it a good value? Absolutely. At less than HALF the cost of comparable pumps it is an excellent value!

How did it perform? Equally with my last pump. There was no significant change in system temperature from the Italian 340GPH pump though there appears to be a bit less turbulence within the reservoir… perhaps signaling a lesser true flow rate than the previous pump. Is it reliable? Yes. I have been running it constantly for about 10 weeks now and have not experienced a single problem. At one point I left it on for an entire week non-stop though many water coolers never turn their pumps off.

Has there been any problems? Yes. When I first ran the pump I noticed a slow leak in the front intake bezel… I managed to get a picture for you guys:

Via Aqua Leak

Look just north of my fingertip for the green drop. If you aren’t sure… this is Not a Good Thing! But it is not necessarily a Really Bad Thing either. I am not trying to gloss this over but this was quite an easy fix…

Via Pump Fix

When sealing the leak I used a fast drying two part epoxy and applied it to the main housings inner surface in a thin layer then removed the O ring (working quickly now the epoxy is already starting to take a set) from the front intake bezel and smeared it into the raceway then I replaced the O ring and added a thin layer around the outside of the O ring and reassembled the pump. The pump is now permanently sealed and in about 30 minutes the epoxy is cured enough to run the pump. Should you ever need to do this please remember that too much epoxy can interfere with the impeller and plug the intake port.

For those who are curious this is called a Centrifugal Pump. The impeller spins around and flings the water out through the main housing; you can see the output port located above the impeller. The resultant drop in pressure causes the pump to suck in more fluid through the input port. Nearly all pumps used in water cooling work on this principle. So… what if you gotta get into the pump for repairs? At $23 it just isn’t worth it to repair it and you can’t get parts anyways so why bother!

Conclusions and Mumblings:

This is a great, inexpensive pump that I feel has got a real bad rap from the Water Cooling community. Buy one! Heck, at $23 USD buy two!

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Reasonably powerful
  • Quiet

Cons:

  • Mine leaked…but it was an easy fix
  • A little bit large compared to its contemporaries
  • A bad rap as a “Less Than” pump… completely unfounded as far as I am concerned

Added: May 16th 2003
Reviewer: Outcast
Score: 8  
Hits: 39173
Language: english

  

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