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 Post subject: Sparkle SPI220LE.....more mods, now fanless.
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 2:28 pm 
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If you've read the article discussion on this mini-PSU, you might know I ordered two. Well I got them today.....took 14 days. But they're here, and the first one I hooked up works normal.

This is a bench test right now, using a setup that draws 44W at an idle with the Sparkle. And it maxes about 102W during stressing. Well....when I started it up and let it idle for 1/2 hr, the fan never started. Then I played some videos, which raised the current draw to about 50W.....still no fan. The case was still fairly cool.

Well I wanted to hear the fan....raised the current draw to 90W. After a minute or so, the fan came on, apparently at some high voltage, because of the sound. It was not too bad.....definitely a ball-bearing fan. I then dropped back to an idle, and the fan slowed down to almost inaudible, but never turned off after that. (Now I haven't run this setup for very long, so the fan might have turned off at a idle, if it ran longer).

This is a 15mm fan, ball bearing. The two Scythe fans in the photo are 20mm and 10mm.....both sleeve bearing, both quieter than the Sparkle fan. Where I go from here with this PSU.....we'll see. If the Sparkle fan runs slow most of the time, I don't see any need to replace it. I've been considering making a new case top for it, out of perforated aluminum.....maybe installing a 60 or 70mm fan blowing inward from the top, and exhausting from both ends. This PSU runs cool at an idle....barely 35C at the output vent.......ambient of 23C.

I think this PSU will work out for me....it's small, and runs quiet and cool. :D Questions?

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Last edited by Bluefront on Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:12 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:39 pm 
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it would be great to see this psu or one like it in the atx form factor.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:28 am 
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Well I tried the second Sparkle....this one definitely shows a different noise characteristic. At idle voltages there is a slight clicking/whining sound that gets worse as the fan speeds up. Admittedly.....I can only hear this up close, from a foot or less.

And....if I let it sit at an idle with a 44W current draw, the fan eventually starts up, and never turns off. But I was never able to register any output vent temperature above 35/36C, or off any part of the case. The SPCR review registered higher temps.

The thermal sensor is attached to one heatsink, closest to the fan....and could be moved for experimentation.

The fan wires are permanently connected.....so any modification will involve cutting the wires. The case itself has no seals, so you could presumably take this thing apart and put it back together, leaving no traces (for RMA purposes). Interestingly....the Delta fan has a third solder point visible that looks to perhaps support an RPM wire. I might try that.

I suspect this PSU could easily run totally fanless if the PSU was inside a case that ran positive pressure, with some of the exhaust airflow going across the Sparkle. To help this along, you might need to remove the top cover from the Sparkle, or replace it with a perforated aluminum cover. This will be my next experiment with this PSU.

So far, so good....stay tuned. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:18 am 
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Keep in mind SPCR reviews power supplies in a more real-world environment. Obviously sitting on an open bench the PSU won't get nearly as hot as it does on the SPCR test rig. :)

Am definitely interested to see how it does fanless, though. I suspect it should run well with positive (or negative) pressure. Just pull out the fan and seal everything off so that air has to flow through the PSU and it should run well I suspect. Surely it would receive nearly as much air with a large case fan at low RPM as it would with that tiny 40mm at medium to high RPM.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:31 am 
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frostedflakes.....what you say is not always true. Sitting on the bench, like the photo, the PSU is completely out of any airflow, other than that produced by it's fan.

Inside a case, with a normal amount of airflow under the temp of the PSU, will cool the PSU better than just sitting on the bench. My last setup has the exhaust temperature at about 32C today.

The photo has the exhaust temp off the Ninja about 27C today. If the Sparkle was in this airflow, it would run cooler than it is right now. Cooling this Sparkle passively is a definite possibility. My new little case for this Sparkle is drying right now (painted black). Testing shortly.....

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:46 am 
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Before I say anything else.....be aware that working inside a PSU can be dangerous to your health, in the form of nasty shocks. This particular PSU has very little room for error, since there is absolutely no clearance anywhere. The inside of the stock PSU cover is protected from touching anything "hot" by plastic pieces. This mod eliminated that protection, in order to promote passive, convection airflow. Don't try it if you are not sure of your modding abilities.

The stock PSU steel cover forms part of the frame of the PSU case. I substituted solid strips of aluminum that run front to rear. The perforated aluminum goes over these two strips. The four stock threaded holes are used, but I had to find four new, slightly longer screws. Standard case screws work. There is about 1/16" clearance between the perforated aluminum and the internal heatsinks, and other components.....enough room, but little room for error. Be careful here.

Can it run passively like this? Not outside the case with the stock fan hooked up....the fan still starts up after a 1/2 hour or so, at a 44W current draw. However, the temperature of the entire Sparkle case is reduced a bunch. It now measures about 30C max. This might be enough passive cooling to just remove the fan. Or.....inside a case with some airflow, this perforated cover will allow much better passive cooling than the stock setup.

More testing to come.....

Image

Image

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:25 am 
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That looks very cool. An impressive mod for sure. That small fan looks like it would be hard to come up with something to replace it.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:09 am 
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Here's a few thoughts about this new perforated top for the Sparkle. While the holes allow much better convection airflow, they do drastically cut down on the effectiveness of the fan on the one end. The airflow just never makes it to the far end of the housing, and there are components on that end that run warm.

I speculate the increased convection airflow, more than makes up for the decreased airflow from the fan. Seems to anyway, because since I have one stock unit, temperature comparisons are easy.

Now as far as the fan start-up/shut-down situation is concerned......I have come up with a possible solution. Install a 40mm fan that will not start-up or run at low voltage. I think that would work ok....the whole setup feels and measures rather cool when the fan starts. The heatsink to which the sensor is attached, is only about 32/34C when the fan starts. Spacing the sensor slightly away from the heatsink might work, but the fan still would never shut off if it started.

A different fan might just stop when the temperature dropped, at the reduced voltage.....then restart as the temperature rose. I've got a big box of 40mm fans (maybe 20 different ones). Might look into this....

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"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill disciplined, despotic, and useless. Liberalism is the philosophy of sniveling brats." - P.J. O'Rourke


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:59 am 
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Now that the cover is more or less transparent to airflow, why not just ditch the fan and just put the PSU in the path of a big slow spinning fan?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:51 am 
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That's the next step.....will no doubt work ok. But I was considering just hanging this Sparkle outside the case, which means no airflow, other than convection currents. That's why I've been checking things closely.

I just ran the bench setup with the top of the Sparkle completely removed. The fan starts up when the sensor reaches about 28C.....that's the white blob with the two black wires leading to it.

Image

At that point in time, the fan gets 4.9V. Up till that point, the fan was getting 4.2V, and would not start. In order to reach 28C, I had to run the system at 54W for a while. When I returned the system to 44W, the sensor cooled to about 27C, and the fan voltage dropped to about 4.2V, but it kept spinning. Something to consider......

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:26 pm 
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Here are two views with the sparkle mounted in a standard ATX opening, giving you an idea of just how small this thing is. I use one of the stock screw-hole openings at the rear. To mount the front of the Sparkle, I used the stock little bracket that comes with it....and epoxied a wood strip to the top of the case. Two little wood screws holds it tight. Being in this opening it should be cooled in a positive pressure case very well. In a negative pressure case you would have to construct a deflector to prevent air from going straight down to the exhaust fan, missing the Sparkle. No big deal... This setup would give you enough room for a heatsink that extends way above the board.

Image

Image

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 6:43 am 
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More mods to the Sparkle. I replaced the stock Delta fan, with a Sunon KD1204PFS3 OCM, 40x10mm, .6W. Since this fan is thinner than the 15mm thick Delta, I was able to soft mount the thing with zip ties and foam spacers. Be sure if you try this that the foam does not get too close to the fan blades, and that the fan itself does not touch anything.

This fan runs about 1/2 the rpms of the Delta....much quieter at 12V, and inaudible at idle speeds of about 5V. It also has an rpm wire....which I extended so I can read the rpms off a MB connection. The power to this fan is still controlled by the Sparkle.

The second photo shows the spacer bar inside the perforated cover. This bar is lined with clear tape on the inside, so it cannot short if it should touch anything....close clearances here.

I've had this PSU running for a while, and I never heard the Delta fan ramp up.....with this new ability to read rpms, I'll know for sure. It runs cool enough that this slower fan should be plenty airflow, combined with the perforated cover. I'll find out..

Image

Image

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"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill disciplined, despotic, and useless. Liberalism is the philosophy of sniveling brats." - P.J. O'Rourke


Last edited by Bluefront on Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:17 pm 
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The new Sunon fan setup is working great. It starts up at the Sparkle mininum voltage of 4.2V.....so it's always running now. It idles at about 600 rpms, and does ramp up during usage. At max CPU usage, it's running about 2700 rpms. But I can never hear it....honestly. And my hearing is normal. Bench testing the Sunon at 12V.....I can hear it. So I guess it never gets a full 12V in the Sparkle.

The soft mount apparently is working also....no vibrations, or other strange noises. So for now this fan stays....since it's inaudible to me in the case. Temperatures? Barely feels warm....

And I made a custom exhaust cover to fit the small Sparkle.....it's cut out of a piece of aluminum screen cut out of a used air filter from a Jeep.

Image

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"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill disciplined, despotic, and useless. Liberalism is the philosophy of sniveling brats." - P.J. O'Rourke


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 3:10 pm 
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Nice work! been thinking about picking up this PSU for an HTPC I'm building. But I do have some concerns. If possible, can you please tell me what's the measurements of the PSU? I just need it to fit in the space below:

L: 9", W: 4", H = 3 1/2"

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 4:10 pm 
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It's 3 1/8 W x 1 1/2H x 5 7/8 L......should fit your setup ok.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 9:56 pm 
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Thank you for taking the time to measure!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:35 am 
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No problem....

In case anyone doubts the ability of this PSU to handle power requirements of a moderate setup, here's what I've had running at one time with the sparkle....

Intel D865PESO MATX
P4-3.4 NW
Four ram sticks
Optical drive
Two WD 3.5"
One Maxtor 3.5"
One Scythe S-Flex 120mm
Nvidia 6200 passive
PCI modem
PCI Lan card (couldn't find a driver for the on-board)

That measures less than 170W with everything stressed out. The sparkle handles it without sweat. The Sunon fan I installed does ramp up at this loading, but it's inaudible....the output vents measure about 39C at this point.

Very nice PSU so far. And thanks to SPCR and the article, I found out about it. The removal of the stock Delta fan, the perforated case mods, and locating this PSU in a positive pressure case with exhaust airflow going over it, makes this thing as quiet as a fanless PSU, at 1/4 the size and weight. Not to mention it only cost $45. I'm completely satisfied.
:D

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:11 am 
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Update.....My second Sparkle is now running my newest project.....this time with it's internal fan removed. This new project is similar to the previous, but I'm using a 100x12mm Scythe on the top of the Ninja, blowing toward the Sparkle, and the exhaust vent.

Anyway the Sparkle seems to run cooler this way, than when it had an internal fan. I suspect the airflow from the Scythe hits the perforated Sparkle better than the previous setup. This fan doesn't move a lot of air, just enough it seems (usually running @35%).

The SPCR usual definition of fanless.....no fan mounted directly on the part you are cooling. :lol:

Image

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:07 pm 
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Hi, Bluefront and All

I am looking for a PSU replacement for Shuttle KPC K45. After reading your thread and another one with KPC and Flex PSU I think I need buy Sparkle SPI220LE and possibly replace fan.
I have Scythe mini-kaze 40x10 fan as well as Scythe mini-kaze ultra 40x20.
KPC would have something like E5200 CPU, 3.5 HDD and Radeon HD 2400 PCI video so I guess maximum power consumption will be close to 90W.
I have 92 mm case exhaust fan but there are HDD rails that mostly cover PSU so probably I will not be able to use perforated cover (and I'm not good at modding so I would like to minimize amount of work).

Do you think Scythe 40x10 fan will work in Sparkle SPI220LE with stock closed cover? Will not cause overheat and burn PSU?
I think my stock shuttle PSU died because of overheating.

Also does it make sense to consider any other Flex-ATX PSU from here for quietness?
www newpowersupply com/flex_atx_desktop_pc_power_supplies-ca-4-s-price-d-0-c-60-p-1.html
SPI220LE is the only 80Plus PSU in this list. PicoPSU with brick seems to be too expensive.


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