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 Post subject: EAR grommets and EAR fan isolators -- frustrating!
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2003 8:25 pm 
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Okay, I ordered a set of the EAR grommets and EAR fan isolators from the mcmaster-carr website in both recommended sizes (from users on these boards)
Code:
    1 PK  5801K6 - Vibration Damping PVC           $9.71 PK           $9.71 Monday morning
          Miniature Fan Mount 4.4 mm Hold
          Dia, .25 lb Max Load Compression

    1 PK  5801K8 - Vibration Damping PVC           $9.71 PK           $9.71 Monday morning
          Miniature Fan Mount 3.5 mm Hold
          Dia, .25 lb Max Load Compression

    1 PK  9311K138 - Load-Rated Grommet            $7.76 PK           $7.76 Monday morning
          Hi-Damp PVC, ID Ribbed,.155"
          Hole Dia,.057" Groove WD

    1 PK  9311K139 - Load-Rated Grommet            $7.76 PK           $7.76 Monday morning
          Hi-Damp PVC, ID Ribbed,.188"
          Hole Dia,.063" Groove WD


They are cool little widgets, and it's interesting that the Tivo itself, and Tivo upgrade kits (from 3rd parties) do use exactly these kind of EAR grommets under the hard drives. Same color and everything!

However. THEY ARE THE MOST FIENDISHLY DIFFICULT BITS OF RUBBER I have ever had the misfortune to install. Good lord.

For the fan isolators. I busted out the vaseline (insert sex joke here), used extreme prejudice with the needlenose pliers, and everything else I could think of.. but I simply could not get the rear 120mm fan mounted with these in my sonata case. After much cursing and frustration, I somehow managed to get the front-mounted internal fan fit with these, which is a different make and thickness of fan (15mm). And as far as I'm concerned, it's going to be installed there FOREVER. ;)

Yes, I tried both fan isolator sizes. Neither was a good fit (too large for the holes in the fan/case).

I did manage to rip the "tails" off of four of the fan isolators. Finally I gave up and used the cheesy, loosey-goosey rubber isolators that come with the Sonata case. Arr!

Eventually, on a different case, I ran into the same problem and... busted out my drill and started drilling out larger holes in the fans and the case. That definitely helped, so I recommend drilling. If you thought installing the regular version was hard, wait until you try getting leverage on a freakin' "tail-less" nub! ;)

After drilling-- and I would have had NO chance of getting this to work without the larger holes I got from drilling-- I found that the best way to mount was to

1) pull the isolator through the case
2) slap the fan on, pull through the "V" shaped holder
3) go back and pull through the circular "ledge".

That way you get better leverage on the larger "V" part of the isolator and don't have to pull on the "tail" as much. Always grab the largest part you can with the needlenose pliers, only use the "tail" to pull through the case.

On to the hard drive isolation grommets. I wanted to isolate a drive in a bog-standard 3.5" drive bay array in a lian-li case. Problem: HDD mounting holes WAY WAY too small. Been there, done that, time for extreme drilling prejudice. ;) I had to drill the holes out to 1/4", my largest drill bit, to get the very smallest grommet in. A solid, tight fit though.

Now.. grommets are in, but .. Most basic 3.5" bays are designed to mount flush with the sides of the drive. Once you add the additional width of the grommets, it's EXTREMELY tough to slip the drive in. Luckily this case is all-aluminum, so after a great deal of grunting, stretching and pushing (insert sex joke here) I was baaaaarely able to fit the drive in there.

Anyway, what a total PITA. Anyone considering the "fun" aspect of mounting drives with EAR grommets, or fans with EAR isolators, might want to .. make sure they have a drill handy, at the very least. And lots of patience.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 5:26 am 
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Putting in the isolators with a regular thickness 80mm or 92mm fan is a piece of cake as long as you have needle-nose pliers for the rear set of isolators.

Installing the isolators on a thicker flanged fan like the 120mm Panaflos does have a bit of a learning curve to it. I broke a few of them while I learned too.

What worked best for me was to lube them up with a bit of soapy water (it dries and there were no electronics in my case when I did this) and pull them through the case wall first. I'd then pull one of the front mounts through first, to hold the fan in position while I struggled with the rear mounts. The best way that I found to do the rear mounts was to grab the barb way up near the flange and slowly pull it through. If you grap it near the tip of the barb you waste a lot of effort stretching out the tail of the isolator. The secret for me was to just keep fairly steady pressure on it and to move the isolator in a circular motion with the pliers. This helped to inch the isolator through the flange.

I only broke 2 of the isolators before I figured out how to do it successfully but I didn't waste the broken isolators, I cut off the head of them and used them to shim my PSU against the support bar when I installed it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 11:55 am 
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:lol: now try using them to mount your PSU fan with a wire grill, THAT was loads of fun. i gave up trying to mount my hard drive with the grommets, it was too tight a fit and i just couldnt get the drive in place without ripping off the side of the grommets with the drive.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 12:23 pm 
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I just did another 120mm vantec stealth* and again I had to drill the holes out a bit to have any hope of getting the SMALLER isolators through the case. I'd need humungo holes to get the LARGER isolator on.. haven't managed to do one yet!

My original advice is solid.

1) Try fitting the isolator through the case first. If it's an extremely, ridiculously tight fit, drill them out. You SHOULD be able to pull them through without crazy extreme effort.

2) You don't need to pull all the way through, just far enough so that the "V" shaped part of the isolator is fully through. The circular platform will come through naturally in the next step.

3) Place the fan on the isolators, and grabbing the LARGEST part of the "V" shaped isolator, pull through. Wiggle and tug, wiggle and tug. Again you should NOT have to use extreme force, if you do, STOP and drill out the fan holes.

4) Make sure the circular platform part got pulled through the case in step 3. If not, more wiggling and tugging is necessary. Should come through OK though.

5) When you're done the fan isolators should be flush with the rear of the case. Pulling on the fan from the inside should cause a visible indentation in the center of the isolator if it is properly attached.

On the HDD isolation grommets, unless you have an aluminum or otherwise "stretchable" drive cage-- like I did-- it's going to be brutally tough, probably impossible, to fit the drive in. Even with the stretchable cage, it was incredibly difficult. Most drive cages are completely flush with the 3.5" drives..

The isolators do work, with some drilling.. but I guess the hard drive grommets aren't that useful given the insane difficulty they present for most cases. Maybe stick to suspension? Any other theories?

* I know, they're not that quiet, but they produce very solid CFM output for their relatively low noise level-- and that's what I needed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 12:26 pm 
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Bear in mind these isolators WILL tear and WILL break if you use extreme force. So don't do it. I've broken the tails off four in my intial attempt, and I ripped apart a fifth one in testing case hole sizing today..


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 Post subject: HDD mounting
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 2:27 pm 
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If, as described above, the HDDs are normally fit flush with the cage, is anything at all to be gained by using bushings if the cage metal remains in contact with the HDD at some other point?

The description above sounds like you are dimpling the cage outward to make room for the bushing portion that goes inside the cage and touches the HDD. Does that leave other portions of the cage touching the HDDs?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2003 4:33 pm 
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Once the HDD is mounted, the only thing touching the cage is the rubber of the EAR grommet. Still, I don't recommend it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2003 4:49 am 
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wumpus wrote:
On the HDD isolation grommets, unless you have an aluminum or otherwise "stretchable" drive cage-- like I did-- it's going to be brutally tough, probably impossible, to fit the drive in. Even with the stretchable cage, it was incredibly difficult. Most drive cages are completely flush with the 3.5" drives..


Sounds like the drive cages from the SLK3700 and Sonata would be perfect candidates to be "upgraded" to EAR grommets as they are already wider than a standard cage in order to utilize the rubber grommets that come with them.

Looks like all you'd have to do would possibly be to open up the holes a little to fit the larger size of the EAR grommets. Can anyone confirm this?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2003 7:24 am 
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wumpus wrote:
Bear in mind these isolators WILL tear and WILL break if you use extreme force. So don't do it. I've broken the tails off four in my intial attempt, and I ripped apart a fifth one in testing case hole sizing today..

I have often wondered (from others' experiences, too) if the isolators come apart easier when installed in a modded/drilled hole. Do you think the rough/sharp edges on the edge of the mounting hole that are produced by the drilling might contribute to slicing the soft-rubber isolators? Did you do any filing/dremeling to smooth the edges of your drilled holes?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2003 11:23 am 
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aphonos wrote:
wumpus wrote:
Bear in mind these isolators WILL tear and WILL break if you use extreme force. So don't do it. I've broken the tails off four in my intial attempt, and I ripped apart a fifth one in testing case hole sizing today..

I have often wondered (from others' experiences, too) if the isolators come apart easier when installed in a modded/drilled hole. Do you think the rough/sharp edges on the edge of the mounting hole that are produced by the drilling might contribute to slicing the soft-rubber isolators? Did you do any filing/dremeling to smooth the edges of your drilled holes?


My mounting holes were deburred with a commercial deburring tool (standard practice for me, I work in the metal forming business) but I still managed to break the first 2 isolators I attempted to install. They (at least mine) don't break anywhere around the mounting hole, they break at the weakest point of the isolator - the junction between the narrowest diameter and the barb fitting next to it. How about a little ascii art to illustrate:

▐▬.▬▬

Mine broke right at the red dot.

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