How to plug in numerous system fans

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How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:24 am

Hi all,

Apologies if this has already been covered.

I have 4 fans in my Bitfenix Prodigy case, but my motherboard only has 1x 4-pin fan connector. I'm after something that will allow me to plug the remaining fans in. Maybe a fan controller of some sort that will fit in my 5.25" bay? But I would prefer not to clutter my case up with molex connectors.

I've done a bit of Googling but only found a couple of models which didn't look to be of the best quality. Could anyone make any recommendations?

Thanks in advance
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suicidemonkey
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Re: How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:48 am

you have a few options

if the fans are not too powerful you could probably use adapters to use them all on the motherboard header
or
if you really want a fan controller i recommend something like a scythe kaze server where you have 3 modes
1 manually adjusted fan speed
2 auto temperature adjusted speed which the fans are in a "off" state normally until it reaches a predefined temp then goes to max rpm
3 semi auto where the fans are at a predefined rpm until it hits a predefined temp then it ramps to max

i have the kaze server hooked up to my watercooling system and it adjusts the fans according to water temps - its been great over the many years i have had it and i dont have any issues with it
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Re: How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:07 am

Ah, didn't even think about an adapter. Thanks for that.

I'm using 120mm fans, would 4 of them be too much for the single PWM socket?
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Re: How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:18 am

suicidemonkey wrote:Ah, didn't even think about an adapter. Thanks for that.

I'm using 120mm fans, would 4 of them be too much for the single PWM socket?


it would be close, imo i wouldnt go over 1 amp for combined fans connected to the motherboard - some motherboards can do much more but most can handle around 1amp

something like this would be good
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Gelid-1-to-4 ... 20d944daae

if they are low rpm fans they they should use less than .25 amps i would think and if so i would use a splitter

if you are worried about running all four on the motherboard you could always just run 3 of them and have a manually adjustable controller like this for the fourth in a pci slot

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Computer-PCI ... 460a6fd6d1

edit: a noctua fan i was just looking at http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=prod ... g=en&set=1 uses .05A which you could easily connect 4 to a motherboard but the fans i use on my radiator (scythe ultra kaze's) use .6A in which case i wouldnt risk even putting two of them on a motherboard

they are examples from extreme ends of the scale (i doubt you would have anything as crazy as ultra kaze's and noctua's are very power efficient and low rpm)
if you have a look at your fans they should have a sticker on them mentioning their power draw (in amps)
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Re: How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:44 am

I have been using the NZXT Sentry-2 5.25" Touch Screen Fan Controller for over 3 years without a single problem.

It comes with 5 temp sensors to go with the 5 fan channels. when on auto it will ramp up or down the fans that are hooked to their corresponding temp sensors, so many fans can be running at different speeds depending on the temp in that area, so for example if sensor 1 gets hot fan 1 will speed up. Or you can set all 5 fans manually to whatever speeds you see fit.

Newegg has it for 26$ but you may be able to find it cheaper. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811992005

You can read the cust reviews along with this review from Legit Reviews http://www.legitreviews.com/nzxt-sentry ... eview_1249

It will give you a better idea on the wiring and if it suits your needs.
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Re: How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:24 pm

Thanks guys, appreciate the tips. I think I'll just go with an adapter, keeps wiring mess to a minimum. Just need to figure out how many amps my fans draw
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suicidemonkey
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Re: How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:38 pm

you will want to be careful with this

I did some looking into this before and I found quite a lot of variance in the numbers I was getting

Some places I read 1 amp, others I read .5 and others I read .65

It will also depend on the motherboard and the quality of the headers and wiring there with them

One thing that is fairly well known is that if the fans are larger, 120 or 140 then you can screw up the header with one of them. let alone three of them. this is because the fans will draw more power to spin up from being stopped. when they're in motion it's not a problem but will draw a lot more to spin up from a complete stop and this is where you get the highest chance of stress.

the biggest problem is there seems to be no standard, and it will vary depending on the quality of the fan, its wiring, its mechanical parts, the magnets used

and the quality of the board and its fan connectors

and good look finding good information on the setup of the fans headers and such.

see here. one guy mentions problems with a .15a fan.

_https://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=661712


so just be careful with it. I would recommend using a fan controller unless you have a nice sturdy board and can find somebody that's done something like you want with your board, and just taping the damn molex wires to the case with electrical tape or something.
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Re: How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:26 pm

Hrm ok thanks for that. The back of the fans say 0.10A +- 10%

The board is a Gigabyte H87N-WIFI. Not too sure how the headers on those boards generally do.

Maybe should just stick with 2 fans and play it safe.
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Re: How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:16 pm

suicidemonkey wrote:Hrm ok thanks for that. The back of the fans say 0.10A +- 10%

The board is a Gigabyte H87N-WIFI. Not too sure how the headers on those boards generally do.

Maybe should just stick with 2 fans and play it safe.

if it was me i would put all 4 on the motherboard on that one

newer gigabyte and asus motherboards have great fan controllers built in that are much better than anything you can buy because they will adjust according to actual cpu temps instead of an external temperature sensor

at the quoted website the person that mentions killing a header doesnt mention which motherboard he used and how long ago it was - also that whole thread was from 2010 and motherboard fan controllers have improved a lot since then

again it is all up to you but if it was me i would do it without a second thought - i have 4 corsair fans running off 1 header on my asus x79 (they also add up to over 1A) and i have built a htpc for my brother with a gigabyte h61m motherboard and 3 fans attached to the one slot

its up to you but imo you should easily be safe
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Re: How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:53 pm

Thanks f0d, I'll give it a go :)
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Re: How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:00 am

suicidemonkey wrote:Thanks f0d, I'll give it a go :)

no problems
also if you look at that fan splitter i posted it actually powers the fans from the molex connector if you are using pwm fans so it isnt even drawing the power from the motherboard but it only works for 4pin pwm fans - 3pin fans wont adjust rpm with it

if you are using 3pin fans you might have to look into getting a different cable than the one i posted - something like this
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/3-Pin-to-4-x ... 232d4676ee
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Re: How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:41 pm

That's cool I didn't know you could even get molex fan header adapters like that. If they really do work and draw all the power from the PSU then you should definitely be fine with one.

As for putting 4 120 on a single header alone, everything in the information that I have says that's a really bad idea, I mean you can find a ton of example about larger fans and headers being trouble, but maybe my information is out of date for the current hardware that exists.

And I would also say you would be better off betting on experience, so go on the other advice, but it is something to be careful with.
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Re: How to plug in numerous system fans

Postposted on Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:17 pm

I would never plug more than one fan into a single motherboard header, let alone four. As others have said, there's no standard for how much current those headers can safely provide, and you would be taking an unnecessary risk at frying your board. Even if it works initially, the fans may progressively require more power to start spinning as they age or become dirty, so you're never truly in the clear. Just not worth it when you can buy some 4pin adapters for a few bucks, or a fan controller for fairly little.
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