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FanController - Page 1/5

Rating : N/A Review Date :May 16, 2001
Review By : T.W.Kwan(priller)

Disclaimer
This article for information and entertainment purposes only. If you choose to follow this guide, you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Introduction
We overclockers all use fans one way or another to help us clock higher with reliability and stability. But we always have to compromise between cooling efficiency and noise. Since we all know that PC's heat output are related to load, having powerful high speed fans pushing mega CFM while surfing the net or replying mails seems so silly. Not only will the fans' life get shorter,dust will also accumulate faster. In addition to that, we usually listens to music while we cruise around the net and or typing a romantic mail,,,,hah, the last thing we need are mini jet engines whirring away. But when we play intensive games or going for the highest benchmark scores, that's when we need airflow the most, especially when it's overclocked on the edge. So what we need is something to control the fans' speeds.

Why a FanController ?
Traditionally, the most common and popular way is to use rheostats, which are variable resistors that soak up the power before reaching the fan. That's fine, and they're very simple to install. But these are 'passive', which means the output can never be more than the input, in other words, it can only slow down the fans, can't speed it up. Which bring us to the subject of 'active' fan controllers. Not only the speeds are continuously adjustable to suit the situation, they can be 'boosted' as well. How does making your 0.15A/1.8W fan run like a 2.25W or more sound to you? Or a Delta 38 churning 4.8W instead of 3.84W? Plus, your fans won't sap power from the PC's PSU, which will free up some load from it,stability improves as well since there's less chances of interference/electrical noise causing problems. But you'll be asking, will it shorten the fan's lifespan? Well...first, it's not turbocharged 24hrs.... only when needed...and most 12V fans are rated to run up to 14V and still stay within specs. All my fans had been feeding on 16V regularly for over a year and still none of them fails or any signs of wearing out. Moreover, if we can overclock with pumped up voltage on our $$$CPU and shorten it's life, why can't we do the same on a RM$10-15 fan?

What's involved
How much would these costs? Of course you can go out and buy a laboratory bench PSU that costs $RM few grand. But if you build it yourself, it will only cost a minute fraction of that, and anyone with a PC can easily afford it. For 1 circuit board with all the components, the cost is around RM$8-10.With that kind of price, you can easily built as many of these for each of your fans, independent speed control for each fan. The transformer to power it is around RM$20-30 for a 15V-0-15V, 3A,which can easily supply 2 circuits since each of them are rated at 1.5A.All these components are easily available in electronic shops.
Now, it's very easy to build, as the circuit is one of the simplest, with only a few components. Basic soldering skills will be needed, as this guide won't be covering it. If you don't feel confident of doing it, get someone who can. In no way will this article be responsible for any electrocution and/or damage to other hardwares, as it does require power from the wall socket. Basic safety procedures must be observed.

So, let's get on with it then. First, the stuffs you need;
a. Perforated strip board 24rows X 55holes (1)
b. 1N4002 diodes (4)
c. 120 ohm resistor (1)
d. 2.2K ohm resistor (1)
e. 5/4.7 K ohm potentiometer (1)
f. 0.1uF/104 ceramic capacitor (1)
g. 1uF 50V electrolytic capacitor (1)
h. 10uF 50V electrolytic capacitor (1)
i. 1000uF 35V electrolytic capacitor (2)
j. LM317T voltage regulator IC (1)
k. Heatsink for regulator
l. Various wires,connectors,heat shrink,etc

Note : Click on image for bigger picture

Celeron 300A
(Shows from left to right, 2 1000uF caps, 10uF cap, 1uF cap, 0.1uF cap, 120ohm resistor, 4 diodes, regulator IC, potentiometer, jumper lead and sized and cut circuit board.


Cut the perforated strip board to 14rows X 23 holes

Then, cut/break the copper tracks at the back by drilling with a 3mm bit.Don't drill through, just enough to remove the copper layer.

The locations of the cuts. Only the 2 leftmost cuts are the necessary ones, the rest are for more isolation between tracks.They can be omitted if so prefered.

Now,mount and solder the low profile components(diodes,resistor,jumper lead) to the board first so that it will be easier to work on. The locations and orientations of these components should follow.

Note : Click on image for bigger picture

 

Putting it together

 
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