Canon has patented an internal liquid cooling system for mirrorless cameras
Well, this is a not unexpected patent filing, really. With all of the overheating issues surrounding the EOS R5 and EOS R6 bodies on release, it’s obvious Canon has heat issues. Even though firmware updates have improved it somewhat, their existing passive cooling isn’t really great. The EOS R5c solves the overheating issue with an active fan cooling system that makes the camera pretty chunky, but can Canon do better?
It looks like they want to, as a new patent application from Canon describes a liquid cooling system for mirrorless cameras. This one, though, shouldn’t make your camera all that much bigger. It’s a pretty interesting idea which uses a magnetic cooling fluid. This is pumped through the camera by magnetic fields. So, it’s not the typical sort of pump we’d find in other liquid-cooled devices, like desktop PCs.
The patent abstract describes the system:
APPARATUS HAVING MAGNETIC FLUID HEAT TRANSPORT SYSTEM
An apparatus includes a condiuit configured to circulate magnetic fluid, and a magnetic field generator that applies a magnetic field to the magnetic fluid. The conduit includes at least four areas of a first conduit area in which the magnetic fluid receives heat from a heating unit, a second conduit area from the first conduit area to a cooling unit, a third ocnduit area in which the magnetic field is cooled by the cooling unit, and a fourth conduit area from the cooling unit to the heating unit. When the apparatus is used, a volume of the magneticfluid in one of the first to fourth conduit areas, in which a flow direction of the magnetic fluid coincides with a gravity direction, is laarger than that of another conduit area, in which the flow direction of hte magnetic fluid does not coincide with the gravity direction.
Essentially, a magnetic field generator “pumps” magnetic fluid around the system absorbing heat from components that get hot and taking it away to an area where it’s cooled. It’s the same principle as any liquid cooling system, except using a magnetic fluid and magnetic fields to move that fluid instead of a typical pump is a pretty novel idea and one that shouldn’t really add any bulk to the camera. Or at least, not much. Cameras are pretty packed full of electronics these days, so there’d have to be some room for the cooling pips to snake their way through the system.
Has Canon finally figured out how to stop their mirrorless cameras from overheating? It’ll be interesting to see if this is the method they actually go for in the future. I mean, they may have patented it simply to prevent their competitors from pursuing it so that they can keep selling two versions of each of their mirrorless cameras – releasing a “Cinema” version long after everybody’s bought the regular one.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.