EK Nickel Plating Flaking

Written By Pinoy Tekkie on Linggo, Setyembre 2, 2012 | 4:34 AM

EK Waterblocks Nickel plated products have been under lot of public interest recently due to reported flaking issues. So it seems there is a problem with the nickel plating flaking off and the copper corroding.

I strongly deter anyone from purchasing any EK Nickel plated products, if you do decide to take the risk, know that you have been so advised of the possible outcome. If you are a current owner of any EK Nickel Plated products then consider having the waterblock stripped and re-plated by a reputable nickel plater.


EK will not RMA waterblocks if you use silver killcoil in your loop or PTNuke or PHNuke or use Distilled water. EK has blamed every other product as cause for nickel flaking except their own FAULTY nickel plating process.

<click here for link> – EK’s public statement as to cause for nickel flaking

As for the silver killcoil being the culprit for flaking – the same has been debunked as no other waterblock suffers from flaking – in conjunction with the abovementioned products aside from EK’s products.

Read the scandal EK has been facing – from the mouth of the proprietor of sidewinder himself and realredraider at realredraider.com.

<click here for link> – sidewinder clearance sale of EK products and drops EK from its portfolio

<click here for link> – forum warning people of purchasing nickel plated blocks of EK

Test performed by RRR
<click here for link>
“The nickel plated blocks are known to be good, but there is some problem when some other element reacts with it, in that case the silver. If the nickel plating peels off, obviously it has some manufacturing problem.

Non-nickel plated blocks, like copper is prune to oxidation specially when exposed to air, you can notice it as it slightly turns black.

Also, nickel blocks are more expensive than non nickel plated blocks.”
Oxidation is inevitable – and a natural process with copper.

The silver killcoil as being the culprit for nickel flaking has been tested and has ultimately been proven untrue, waterblocks produced by other manufacturers (also nickel plated) have not flaked despite being exposed to silver killcoil/ptnuke – which means the silver killcoil is not the problem. Even if you use pure distilled water ther would still be flaking on the EK nickel plated blocks.

Please read the testing performed at RRR – the test was done by a chemical engineer and has addressed all the statements made by EK (kesho killcoil, distilled water, PTNuke was said to be the cause of flaking) about their nickel plating nightmares.

Simple solution – just replate your blocks so it wont flake even if you put killcoil or PT Nuke in the loop.
A good nickel plating will prevent the flaking. It is the micro holes or porousness in the nickel plating that exposes the copper underneath that is the culprit. A cheap nickel plating and bad prep of the copper is the cause of this. The problem is to find a good nickel plater who is sure to charge you for a lot of money. <click here for link>

Anything inundated in water eventually breaks down/dissolves. To emphasize, “It will tarnish OR degrade” – and eventually anything inundated in water for a very long period of time will dissolve, maybe not in a few years – maybe not even in a millenia but eventually it will.

Technically, nickel or chrome plating should unilaterally solve the corrosion problems without the need for additional help from chemistry. Regarding plated blocks by the manufacturers, it’s really hard to find quality in the plating. This is largely because they aren’t attentive to the detail of buffing out the base copper to a mirror finish prior to plating. Rather, most of the blocks that come plated still exhibit the “swirls” and other surface irregularities produced by the milling machines upon which they were made. They just plate over those imperfections. Buffing out the imperfections prior to plating is manually intensive and so raises the finishing costs significantly. But this is exactly the how the RRTech plating service came about – to provide the absolute first-class plating job that pays special attention to detailed surface preparation prior to electroplating. It costs more, but you get what you pay for.

My next build is going to involve a fair bit of “bare” copper, including a pair of CPU blocks and several copper reservoirs. I personally have somewhat of a “fetish” for the look of polished copper rather than head down the plating route. That’s just me and my taste. Accordingly, the price I have to pay for that personal taste is the need to investigate and apply effective methods to avoid oxidation/corrosion. Benzotriazole is effective, but unfortunately casts a yellow tinge to polished copper. That’s just due to the nature of the coordination complex benzotriazole makes with copper, which has a particular molecular size and thus preferentially scatters particular wavelengths of light – in this case in the yellow region of the spectrum. I’m fine with that for the internals of a block or reservoir, but I’m looking to do something else to preserve the polished exteriors of copper articles without departing from their untainted “copper color”.

Koolance, Aquacomputer and Heatkiller are coming up now, because of EK having plating problems and design changes. With the design changes they have to make new moldings and testing on each block, so expect the raise on prices since making molding are not that cheap.

You should also consider after sales support when choosing which block is better. EK maybe is a more popular than XSPC but they are known for crappy after sales service, while the latter has far better after sales support based on my experience and user feedbacks in overclock.net.

Let see, what will EK do now for their FTW CSQ designs which are not selling much!
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