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Water Cooling Components - Adapter Fittings
Welcome back to the Component Series. We hope to help builders both new and old to understand their options when it comes to the components in their custom water loops. We’re moving deeper into understanding water cooling fittings today with a close look at a very useful category: fitting adapters.
There are dozens of different adapters available for whatever you may need.
What do I need adapters for?
When we’re talking about PC water cooling fittings, the term “adapter” covers a lot of ground. Essentially any fitting that changes or adapts the function of another fitting is an adapter. Since there are so many different kinds out there we’ve broken them into four categories: angled, extenders, multi-port and offset. Each serves its own function in assembling your custom water loop, and many of them provide a function that’s not found anywhere else.
Angled adapters can take your fitting connections anywhere you need.
Angled adapters do just what their name implies: they change the angle of other fittings. If you’re running a rigid-tubing run for instance, and you need to make a 90-degree turn that’s too sharp to make with the tubing, you might use a 90-degree angle adapter for the fitting that’s going on the tubing itself.
Full set of matching male/male double rotary angled adapters from Bitspower.
Angled adapters come in 30-degree, 45-degree, 60 degree and 90-degree angles.
Like most adapters, the ends of the fittings can be male or female and either fixed (non-revolving) or rotary. Some even have multiple rotary joints, giving you even more flexibility in where and how the fitting is directed.
This combination of angles, ends and rotary joints will let you point your tubing runs in just about any direction from any source.
Extenders can not only extend the reach of your tubing but also add a rotary segment in a small package.
Like angled adapters, the function of extender adapters is easy to guess. They extend the reach of other fittings. Often used when the parts around a water-cooling port make it difficult or impossible to reach, extender adapters are always straight and come in a variety of lengths. Like angled adapters, they can also come with either end as male or female and will be either fixed or rotary.
Some extender adapters are actually adjustable – their length can be changed within a specific range of size. These are made of two parts: an inside tube and an outside tube. Internal o-rings let the internal tube slide in and out without letting coolant leak.
Adjustable extenders cover lengths from 16mm all the way to 69mm.
While almost all extender adapters are made of plated brass, a few are available as female threaded tubes made from acrylic. These come in lengths from 15mm to 200mm. While not as strong as their brass counterparts, they offer a clear view of the coolant inside, matching the rest of your water loop if you’re using clear tubing.
Acrylic extenders are like combining tubing and an extender fitting.
Multi-port fittings can help you add valves, fittings or even another branch of your cooling loop.
Multi-port adapters are used when you need to branch your cooling loop for another component. They simply add female ports to be used as needed.
The most common form of multi-port adapter is the tee fitting. Typically a single solid block of metal or acrylic with three female G1/4 ports, it’s commonly used to install drain valves or exhaust valves. Some tee adapters come with a single male rotary connection – perfect for turning your valve to the proper orientation. This type of adapter is available as a solid block, a tee shape with extended ports, and even a Y shape if that fits your build better.
Multi-port adapters are available with as many as six female ports.
Offset adapters are for that port that your tubing barely missed – helping keep your runs clean and straight.
Offset adapters are a fairly recent addition to water cooling. They’re designed to allow you to connect tubing to a female port that’s slightly off its path. By providing a horizontally offset port you can make connections that would otherwise require very tight bends or angled adapters.
Offset adapters are all rotary and come in specific lengths, from 6mm up to 14mm. This length refers to the distance between the center of the inlet port and the center of the outlet port.
An example of how offset fittings can make components work where they otherwise wouldn’t.
Adapter fittings are among the most useful additions to your water-cooling loop. Whether you need to change your angle of approach, extend your reach, make multiple connections in a single point in your loop, or just make that tiny little sideways move with your coolant to keep your tubing runs perfect, adapter fittings can make it happen.