Front panel controller for processor fan

Control: management of fans, temp/rpm monitoring via soft/hardware

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Front panel controller for processor fan

Post by Ubtree » Sun Jul 31, 2005 5:23 am

I would like to obtain a front panel unit to control the speed of the processor fan, in a similar way to the Zalman In-line Controller. (I am tired of having to open the case in order to adjust the Zalman controller that I already have. I could drill through the case and attach a Zalman controller to the exterior of the case, but this would not be a very elegant solution!)

I can envisage the controller working in one of 2 ways.

Either it would connect both to the fan and to the processor fan connector on the motherboard (from which it would obtain power, and to which it would feed back the signal from the fan).

Or it would still connect to the fan and to the processor fan connector on the motherboard, but only in order to feed back the fan signal. In this case, it would take its power from the main power supply.

Does anyone know of any front panel controllers that provide this functionality?

Many thanks.

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Post by scara » Sun Jul 31, 2005 7:17 am

I don't think any front panel controller provides a feedback wire for the motherboard. There is a way to engineer one but I don't know how much work it would require, or if you'd want to do it.

I presume the Zalman controller you have now is a Fan-Mate. If so then there are options for fitting it externally with no drilling required. You could remove a PCI plate and stick it on the back somewhere. Alternatively if your case has punch holes for old connectors you could run the cables through one of them, putting some tape on both sides to seal it up.
It wouldn't be as accessible as a front panel but at least you wouldn't have to open the case to make adjustments, just reach around the back.

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Post by ushac » Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:08 am

I have a silverstone tj-06 case which has a hinged door on the front. I made an aluminium panel and placed it in the 5.25" slots and then attached 4*zalman fan-mates on it. This way it's hidden from view but is easily accessible by just opening the door. It's not too bad looking either :) Don't know if anything like that would work in your case.


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Post by xenithon » Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:49 am

I think it depends on the fan itself. I remember my old cooler was a Thermaltake Venus 12 with a tri-blade, 80x80x38mm fan. It came with a controller for the fan - two in fact - one for the front 3.5" bay and one for a PCI bay. On the fan itself, the wires split such that the power controlling wires went to the controller, and the yellow RPM wire went to the mobo. Thus connected to the mobo fan header was a standard 3-pin fan connector, but which only had the RPM wire attached.


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Post by ookke » Mon Aug 01, 2005 6:08 am

The zalman multi fan controller (zalman mfc-1 or something) includes a extension cable which includes a rpm "header" for the motherboard. Eg., you connect one end to the fan, one to the motherboard and another to the front panel. The panel is pretty fancy looking too, imo, and allows voltage control 5-12v(voltage can be lowered if you connect a fan mate before the panel)

EDIT: <- check the definition of the c2 cable

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Post by BrianE » Mon Aug 01, 2005 6:18 pm

I don't know about a panel, but if you can't find one Directron sells a fan power lead that lets you plug the fan into a molex type connector to power it, but still send the RPM signal to the motherboard.

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Post by Ubtree » Tue Aug 02, 2005 4:57 am

Many thanks for all the suggestions.

I have looked into the Zalman ZM-MFC1, and it looks as if it would do the job nicely, but I am also looking into the other suggestions.

Meanwhile, I have transferred my Zalman in-line controller from the processor fan to the case fan, and succeeded in feeding cables through to the back of the PC without drilling any holes. It is now attached to the rear of the case by double-sided tape. To control the processor fan, I have downloaded SpeedFan, and it seems to be doing a very nice job. (Unfortunately, the Asus P4C-800E Deluxe does not provide for control of the case fan in this way.) It could be that this temporary alternative solution becomes permanent - particularly since it hasn't cost anything!

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Re: Front panel controller for processor fan

Post by Vulcan » Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:46 am

I would reccomend a sunbeam rheobus... They are cheap and work awesome, I got mine for 12.50 at mwave. For RPM monitoring just slip the yellow cable off from the red and black. Get another 3 pin housing and plug the rpm cable by itself into that. Then you can power the fanwith the rheobus and still monitor the fan through the motherboard.

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Post by Skylined » Sun Aug 21, 2005 2:25 pm

Ubtree, why don't you make your own controller?

Here is mine, it's on the right side of the display. ... actual.jpg

About the RPM sensing.
Take the red and black cable out of the nylon connector.
Connect the fan to the mobo.
Put a DC jack in the controller.
Put a DC plug with the fan's red and black wires.
This way you'll have your fan working with the controller and it will still give it's RPM sensing to the mobo. ;)

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