Zalman Fan Mate 2 ...


A couple weeks ago I built my own rig, but in my n00bish fury I managed to fry the "SYS_FAN" plug-in on the motherboard (Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H). (I heard a loud POP sound and then noticed some electrical burning smell :??: but everything else is okay, btw.) So the side fan I bought runs at full speed and is quite loud, and plugging in its included fan control wire into the SYS_FAN slot does nothing. I also tried plugging into the northbridge fan controller slot, but it still runs full blast.

I bought a Zalman Fan Mate 2 fan controller, but even this does not affect the fan's speed at all no matter if it's plugged into either or none of the aforementioned slots. I turn the dial on the controller but the fan's speed doesn't change one bit.

Am I just going to have to keep the side fan unplugged or deal with its loud noise? Is there any way to control its speed without spending more than 6.99 for the Zalman controller or buying a new motherboard with functioning SYS_FAN prongs?

Thanks for any suggestions,
7 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Ideas anyone? =/
  2. I find your post confusing, so let me pose some questions for clarification.

    1. You have a case fan mounted in the side, and it came with an optional fan speed control module, right? I expect you can simply not use that module and plug the fan 3-pin connector directly into the mobo SYS_FAN pinout. OR, you can insert the controller module in between the SYS_FAN pinout and the fan's connector. With those two options you must make a choice of settings for the SYS_FAN pinout in your BIOS Setup screens. If you are NOT using the extra controller you should set that fan output to be controlled automatically by the BIOS based on temperature measured on the mobo. BUT if you plan to use the extra manual fan speed controller, you should set the BIOS to NOT do automatic control - just try to run the fan at full speed. Then it will provide full 12 v dc on the connector pins, and your manual controller can reduce that for slower fan speed, according to how you set it.

    2. Separately, it appears, you also bought a Zalman Fan Mate 2 controller. It comes with a wire that has a larger plug in the middle that connects to the controller itself, and two smaller connectors on the ends. One goes onto the mobo SYS_FAN pinout, the other mates with the wire from the fan itself. Again, if you plan to install this unit, the BIOS should be set to give full power to the SYS_FAN output pins so the Zalman unit can take control.

    3. I am puzzled because you say you fried the SYS_FAM output, and later you say you plugged the manual controller into this pinout on the mobo and used it with the fan, but the fan speed never changed. Are you getting power from the SYS_FAN pinout?

    4. Do you have the manual control, Zalman or other, connected in series between the mobo pins and the fan? If you do, I can't really understand why turning the control knob would not change the fan speed.
  3. Paperdoc said:
    3. I am puzzled because you say you fried the SYS_FAM output, and later you say you plugged the manual controller into this pinout on the mobo and used it with the fan, but the fan speed never changed. Are you getting power from the SYS_FAN pinout?

    I can still plug in the side panel fan's own controller into the SYS_FAN pinout OR the Zalman controller into the SYS_FAN pinout, but this does nothing to control the fan's speed, since the pinout is dead.

    I guess the real question of my original post was to ask if there was any way to use the Zalman controller without involving SYS_FAN.

    Thanks for your help.
  4. I want to make sure you understand how to use a fan controller. The mobo pinout has the power supply for your fan : +12 v dc and Ground. If you set the BIOS to always full fan speed, that +12 v dc will stay at that voltage.

    Think of the fan controller as a somewhat fancy variable resistor that fits in between that supply and your fan. It can reduce the voltage actually delivered to your fan to slow it down. You must make two connections. One wire set coming out of the controller has a 3-pin connector on its end with holes, and it fits onto the mobo pinout. The other set of wires has a different connector on its end with pins sticking out, and they must be plugged into the connector on the end of the wires from the fan itself. That puts the controller in the middle between the mobo power source and the fan. If you have not hooked up the controller and fan in this manner, do so.

    Now, if I'm wrong and you already had done that before, and the controller still does not affect fan speed, there are only two explanations. If you set the BIOS to full fan speed, not automatic, the fan should run at full speed when the controller is set to max. If it does not, but runs noticeably slower all the time, then the mobo power output on the SYS_FAN pinout may be faulty. On the other hand, if you set the BIOS to automatic fan speed control, it may only be sending out a low voltage to make the fan run slow, and your controller may not be able to reduce it much more no matter how it is set.

    The other possibility is that the power supplied at the pinout actually is all right, but the controller you got is faulty, since it does no controlling! If you bought it at a local shop, maybe you need to have them check it or replace it.

    If you're handy with wires, here is one way you can do a further test. It depends on using a different power source for the fan that is pretty likely to be good. Disconnect the fan and controller from the mobo pinout. The wires from the controller should be red and black. Get some fine spare pieces of wire and just push them into the end of the connector holes so they make contact. This is a very temporary setup. Now look for one of many Molex connectors on the wires coming out of the PSU. These are the ones that are four round holes in a straight line to fit onto four round pins. The connector body is about ¾" wide, and the holes are about 1/16" diameter. The wires into the connector are red, yellow, and two black ones. Normally this is used to provide power to things like IDE hard drives and optical drives. Just like your fan, the red wire is +12 v dc, and both black wires are Ground. So take the little temporary wires you stuck into the fan or fan controller connector and connect the red one to the red hole in the Molex connector, then black to black. It is MOST unlikely that whatever happened to your mobo did any damage to the power available on the Molex connector from the PSU, so this should give you a guaranteed 12 volt supply to the fan as a substitute for the mobo pinout you think may be damaged. Now try running the system, and turning the knob on the controller. Does the fan still behave the same? Then you really have to think the controller itself is bad. But if the fan now changes speed (and maybe runs faster at the max setting), you know the problem all along was that you were right and the mobo pinout is faulty.

    If the Molex connector test tells you the fan and controller are both OK, there is a good way to do this properly and permanently. At most computer parts shops they can sell you an adapter for exactly this purpose - supplying power to a case fan from an unused Molex connector. Buy one and hook up Molex > adapter > controller > fan. Use the controller to set the fan speed you prefer and relax.
  5. Paperdoc said:
    I want to make sure you understand how to use a fan controller. The mobo pinout has the power supply for your fan : +12 v dc and Ground. If you set the BIOS to always full fan speed, that +12 v dc will stay at that voltage.

    The side panel fan has two connections: one molex plug for my PSU, and one controller plug for what I assume is the SYS_FAN header. The reason I bought a cheap little Zalman fan controller (brand new from Newegg) was because I fried said SYS_FAN header but I still wanted to slow down the speed of the fan.

    What I did to test the Zalman controller was the following, none of which worked:

    fan's power -> PSU (molex);
    fan's controller plug-in -> Zalman controller -> SYS_FAN header on mobo (which is fried)

    fan's power -> PSU (molex);
    fan's controller plug-in -> Zalman controller -> NB_FAN header on mobo

    fan's power -> PSU (molex);
    fan's controller plug-in -> Zalman controller, nothing else

    The fan's speed does not change when I turn the knob on the Zalman controller in any of those configurations.

    Thank you for the effort you put into your replies, but I think I will simply have to come to terms with accidentally frying my SYS_FAN header and the resulting loud side fan (if I choose to even plug it in).
  6. Best answer
    OK, now I understand what you have and how it is intended to work. I hope!

    I think you have a side fan that has two wire sets coming out of it. One probably has two wires only (red and black?) to a 4-pin male (pins sticking out) Molex connector. The other probably has three wires (red, black and yellow) with a much smaller female (three holes) connector that fits onto the SYS_FAN pinout on a mobo. I misunderstood about your fan's "controller" - there is no separate controller module with this fan. The only stand-alone controller unit you have is the extra Zalman Fan Mate 2 you bought.

    The two sets of wires coming out of the fan are ALTERNATIVES. You do NOT connect them both! You have a choice to make. The "best" alternative is to connect it to the mobo SYS_FAN pinout only using the small 3-pin connector and wires, and leave the Molex connector unused. In this case you do NOT connect any extra Fan Controller module anywhere. With normal mobo functions working, this provides power to the fan on the red and black leads, and a fan speed signal back to the mobo on the yellow lead. Within the BIOS the fan speed is read from the yellow wire and displayed for you in certain places. Also in the BIOS you have a few choices on how the fan speed is controlled. The simplest is no control - just run full speed at all times. The one more commonly used is to let the BIOS control the fan speed by changing the voltage supplied to the red wire.The BIOS uses an actual temperature measurement from a sensor on its mobo to decide what speed the fan should run. A few BIOS's also offer a third alternative that you can set the fan to a fixed speed less than full speed.

    You should try this setup first to see whether it works. I realize that you believe it will not because the SYS_FAN output port on the mobo is "fried". If you are right, you will prove that to yourself quickly by hooking it up right and trying to run the fan from that pinout with various BIOS settings for fan speed control.

    If you verify that the SYS_FAN pinout on your mobo is not working and can't be used, the next thing to check is whether there is another. Some mobo's actually have two (slightly different) SYS_FAN pinouts on them. If yours does, try it. There's always the possibility it also was "fried", but it might work. However, some mobo's with second SYS_FAN pinouts do NOT use automatic control on them, so you don't get the speed control you want. IF that actually does drive your fan at full speed all the time, though, you have the solution with you. You can insert the Zalman Fan Mate 2 unit into the line from this second SYS_FAN pinout to the fan and use it to set a fan speed slower than full.

    If that does not work, or you don't even have a second mobo pinout to use, you go the the other alternative. Disconnect the 3-pin lead from fan to mobo pinout and curl it up out of the way. Instead use the fan wires with the male Molex connector to plug into any of the standard female Molex power supplies. This should get your fan running full speed at all times. No amount of connecting things to your mobo or manipulating BIOS settings will change that.

    The ONLY way to change (reduce) the fan speed fed from a Molex connector is to insert a Fan Controller unit into the feed wires. The Fan Controller must plug into the female Molex coming from the PSU, and then the fan must plug into the controller output wires. Now in your case we have a problem of connectors. I believe the Zalman Fan Mate 2 has only the small 3-pin connectors on the ends of its wires. You can easily use the one with two (or three?) PINS on it to connect to the 3-pin small connector coming from your fan - the one that you previously plugged into the mobo pinout. That gets the power from controller to fan. What is missing is how to connect the controller to the Molex female coming from the PSU. For that, we're back to that item I mentioned before - get an adapter from a parts shop designed to let you plug a fan with the small 3-pin connector into a 4-pin female Molex socket. Use this to adapt the Molex connector to the controller's INPUT connector on the end of its wires. This puts the Zalman unit in the line between Molex supply from the PSU and the case fan, and so it can do its control function. If you do this, once again the wire from the fan that ends in a Molex male connector will NOT be connected to anything.
  7. Paperdoc said:
    The two sets of wires coming out of the fan are ALTERNATIVES. You do NOT connect them both! You have a choice to make.

    This was the key. I settled on plugging the Zalman controller into the NB_FAN (northbridge fan) motherboard header, and then JUST the 3-pin connector from the side fan into the remaining Zalman connector. I can adjust the side fan's speed and it's much quieter now. :)

    Thank you so much for your persistent help!
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