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Mod Antec TriCool case fans

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  • Power Supplies
  • Antec
  • Cases
  • Switch
  • Fan Controller
  • Components
Last response: in Components
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August 2, 2010 11:01:02 PM

I want to mod the stock 4-pin molex Antec Tricool 3-speed fans in my Antec 900 case to 3-pin so i can use a fan controller . The problem im having is the fans only have the red and black wire and a separate 3-speed switch. I took apart the switch and as you can see in the pics the switch has its own red, black and yellow wires. If i pull out the yellow wire will i be able to control the rpm's with a fan controller?






More about : mod antec tricool case fans

August 3, 2010 2:46:02 AM

As long as you have a ground wire and a 12V wire, you can connect the fan to a fan controller. However, you should first check which wires are the ground, 12V, and 5V. Be careful when removing wires, as you don't want to pull a circuit wire or mess up some tracers. It might be easier to just cut off a bit of wire and cover it in electrical tape.
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a b ) Power supply
August 3, 2010 6:10:42 PM

Ignore the wiring to the 3-speed switch, but set that switch to high speed at all times. This simply does NOTHING to the power supplied to the fan. The other speed settings reduce speed by dropping voltage across a resistor. You do NOT want to do that if you already are reducing voltage with an external controller.

Now, you want to use some external controller for the fan speed. Of the two wires that come out of the 4-pin Molex, the RED wire is the +12 VDC supply, and the BLACK wire is Ground. So whatever controller you are connecting to, check what its output pins are and wire accordingly. On a "standard" 3-pin fan for case or CPU cooler, the connections look like this on AllPinouts.org:

http://www.allpinouts.org/index.php/Motherboard_%28CPU%...

Just check whether your controller uses the same pin arrangement.

NOTE that you can IGNORE the yellow wire altogether - you don't have one! On a 3-pin case fan the YELLOW wire carries a pulse signal generated by the fan motor back to the mobo to give a speed signal. Your TriCool fans do not have this signal output, so there is NO speed signal for you to connect to anything.
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August 3, 2010 10:22:26 PM

thank you for the reply. I was concerned about the fan controller showing all zeros since there was no yellow wire, so you answered my question. Thanks again.
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Best solution

August 5, 2010 4:52:52 PM

I saw your post on Tech Forums but I'm not sure if you saw my reply there. I found a point on the TriCool fan where you can connect an RPM wire, so if you can solder a wire you can have RPM feedback from your stock TriCool fans.



You may have to cut through the plastic to solder to it, but I tested it with an LED and it flashed twice per revolution just like the normal RPM wire should if wired correctly.
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a b ) Power supply
August 5, 2010 7:40:09 PM

Now THAT'S ^ Interesting! So, Antec has used common fans that DO have speed pulse generation within, but simply not provided any wiring to take that signal out on the TriCool fans. Makes sense, when you realize that the TriCool ONLY connects to a 4-pin Molex power supply (which do NOT have any way to connect a speed signal back to the mobo) and takes care of speed control their own way with no connection to the mobo itself.

However, even if you do extract that signal, where do you put it? I guess in OP's unique case, he / she could connect it to the correct point in the fan controller being used, and use it in that controller's displays. OP, that would be a pin that normally connects to the YELLOW wire from a "standard" 3-pin fan connection.
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August 5, 2010 8:14:44 PM

With the black (ground) and red (+12V) from the Molex connector and the signal from the RPM monitoring point I found you could easily convert the TriCool into a 3-pin fan rather than a Molex fan. The 3-pin connector has Ground, +12V (which can be PWM'ed to lower the speed and apparent voltage), and RPM input which would be the RPM monitoring point.

I'm pretty sure all fans should have an RPM monitoring point somewhere due to the brushless motor. All fans use some sort of pulse generator driven by the magnet to drive the coils and so somewhere on all fans there is a pulse. The RPM sensor is a ground pulse which means that it pulls low twice per revolution, the other 2/4 of the revolution it is floating (disconnected). The fan controller counts falling edges on the line to calculate RPM.
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August 5, 2010 9:45:24 PM

OMG, can't you just take the easy way out and fork a tenner out on a fan? seems alot of crap just to add a fan controller. on ebay, i got 3 120mm fans for £3 that's a quid EACH! and there Thermal take aswell
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a c 104 ) Power supply
August 6, 2010 6:53:53 AM

And I suppose Everest just seems like a bloody big hill to walk up..............


Moto
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August 21, 2010 10:43:29 PM

Best answer selected by snbase.
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March 26, 2011 11:28:28 PM

Just wanted to say that this works, even for TriCool fans that don't have any LED in it, like mine. Also, mine didn't have an opening as in the picture. So I had to cut off some plastic at the spot pictured to access the PCB under it. I was a bit thrown off at first because the PCB in that area didn't look anything like the picture. Instead there were 4 connections to a chip labeled "FTC S227", that can be seen near the fan motor. Well, it turns out that this is a "hall effect" chip that can also function as an RPM sensor! So I hooked up the yellow wire to pin #2 (along with red & black to the existing connections) and voilà, the TriCool can be temperature-controlled via the motherboard!

Here are the chip specs that helped me figure this out : http://www.feeling-tech.com.tw/km-master/ezcatfiles/cus...

Oh and I disagree with naf456, instead of BUY BUY BUY, do it yourself and learn something in the process!! Anyway in this case the cost of messing up isn't too big :) 
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October 6, 2011 5:33:32 PM

Quote:
I saw your post on Tech Forums but I'm not sure if you saw my reply there. I found a point on the TriCool fan where you can connect an RPM wire, so if you can solder a wire you can have RPM feedback from your stock TriCool fans.

http://a.imageshack.us/img834/5579/img24781.jpg

You may have to cut through the plastic to solder to it, but I tested it with an LED and it flashed twice per revolution just like the normal RPM wire should if wired correctly.



Sorry about the necro post, but it was either that or start a new thread. Now by RPM feedback, are you suggesting that you would ONLY get feedback, or would you also gain the ability to control the fan's RPM?


Thanks,
NNJZ
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October 7, 2011 2:19:56 AM

That depends on your motherboard's controller. If you have a CPU Fan Speed (or similar) option in your BIOS, then the controller can most likely adjust the fan speed. Pretty much all motherboards sold in the last 5 years have that capability.
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a b ) Power supply
October 9, 2011 2:24:01 AM

NNJZ, fan speed control is NOT connected directly to the fan speed signal normally available on the Yellow line of a 3-pin fan. Here is how fan speed control does work.

For a 3-pin fan, speed is altered by changing the voltage available on the +VDC (red) line. It max is 12 VDC, but it can be reduced by the fan controller system on the mobo that supplies the pinout for the fan. It is what is called a simple proportional feedback controller. It has a target temperature or Setpoint - SP. The actual temperature (or Process Value - PV) is measured by temperature sensor. For a CPU fan (and its controller circuit), the temp sensor is built into the CPU chip case and its signal is fed to the mobo via a pin in the CPU socket. For a case fan the mobo has its own temp sensor built into the mobo and it uses that. In either case, the controller constantly calculates the difference or Deviation (DEV) between Setpoint and Process Value (SP-PV), then multiplies it by a NEGATIVE Gain Factor (hence the term Negative Feedback) and adds an Offset constant value. The resulting number is the Output of the controller that is fed to the Actuator (the fan in this case) that does something to alter the process being controlled (in this case, the temperature being measured). This is a Feedback control loop because the result of the loop's action (changing the fan speed) is measured by the PV (temp) sensor and fed BACK to the controller. It is Negative Feedback because the Gain multiplier is Negative. Why? Well, track the action starting from the assumption that the temperature is already at Setpoint and the fan running at a constant speed set by some voltage output (less than the full 12 VDC max) from the controller. Now, something causes the measured temp to rise - maybe you set the computer to do a big long task. SP has not changed, but the PV rises, and hence the DEV = (SP - PV) goes more negative than it was. Since the Gain is negative also, the product of DEV x Gain is more positive than it was, and the Output will go more positive - in other words, the fan supply voltage increases and the fan speeds up. Likely this will result (a short time later) in a reduction of temperature measured (the PV) and the loop will reduce its output. Over a reasonable time the fan speed will settle down to a new speed, until the temperature changes again due to some other load change. Thus the cooling action is kept proportioned to the need for cooling, and the end target - a constant temperature inside your case - is met. Negative feedback control loops are nice because they actually measure the target parameter and use it to guide the loop's action.

NOTE that the actual fan speed did NOT show up in this control lop at all! That is because the fan's speed is NOT what we are trying to control. It is merely a tool to achieve our real target - constant case temperature. So an actual measurement of fan speed is NOT necessary to operate the fan speed control loop. Now, IF a fan speed signal is available, it is nice to have because it can be displayed for you as information. In some cases, a different control system MAY be used to make sure the fan actually is turning as a safety measure. Some CPU cooler systems add this action and use it as an early warning that CPU cooling may be about to fail and cause a BIG problem, even before the CPU cooling control loop detects an actual drastic rise in CPU measured temperature. But is still is not part of the basic CPU cooling fan control loop.

Bottom line is you CAN control a 3-pin fan's speed from a mobo pinout designed for it, even without a fan speed signal on the Yellow wire. But without that signal you won't be able to see the fan speed displayed.

Of course, 4-pin cooling fans have a very similar control process. The difference is all in what type of Output the controller loop provides to the fan, and what the 4-pin fan can do with that signal.
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December 16, 2012 12:28:34 AM

lavamind said:
Instead there were 4 connections to a chip labeled "FTC S227", that can be seen near the fan motor. Well, it turns out that this is a "hall effect" chip that can also function as an RPM sensor! So I hooked up the yellow wire to pin #2 (along with red & black to the existing connections) and voilà, the TriCool can be temperature-controlled via the motherboard!


Here's a pic showing where to dremel to access pin 2 of that chip...


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June 6, 2014 9:50:36 AM

humm............. interesting topic
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