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How to make your own Fan Controller

Last response: in Components
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May 26, 2012 5:46:28 PM

This is only the basic ideas you need to make your own custom fan controller. This design may be flawed and this is how i made mine. That being said:

*This build is at your own risk of equipment and personal safety i am not liable for any misfortunes you may have or damages that may occur*

To start these are the materials you need.
-5.25" bay door
-switch

-rheostats or potentiometers

-wire (20awg to 28awg)

-Heat shrink

-wire sleeving

-1 to 4 PWM fan Splitters

-Molex extension



Tools
-Solder and soldering iron
-Drill
-spade bits
-wire strippers
-file
-low tack tape
-lighter/heat gun


Ok so to start you'll want to layout your drive bay with the switches and knobs like so



as you can see i will have 4 rheostats and a toggle switch on my drive bay.

*a quick piece about rheostats and potentiometers (pots). I'm using a 25 ohm 3 watt rheostat. This means that at its max resistance it will input 25 ohms of resistance to the circuit thus slowing down the fans. You want to make sure the wattage of the fans is equal to or less than the wattage of the rheostat or pot so you don't burn it out. I picked mine up at radio shack.*

Now you want to prepare your splitters. So cut back the heat shrink and bring the wires to light.


Separate the wires like so

More about : make fan controller

May 26, 2012 5:49:59 PM

and cut the solder off


now do that to the rest of them and also cut the yellow wire.

you will have this at the end


now I'm making this controller for 8 fans so i repeated these steps on another splitter.

next you'll want to remove unnecessary cables from the fan headers.


pull out the blue wire and yellow wire


repeat this through all of your female fan headers. The only wire that should still be in the header is the black (ground) and red(12v)

Now get your Molex extender and remove the red wire and the black wire that is closest to it. like so


Now sleeve and heat shrink the sleeve to your Molex extension like so.


now measure out 4 wires to go from your switch to your controls like this


Sleeve the wires and prepare the heat shrink.


and wire one end to the middle lead of the controller and solder it in place.


slide the heat shrink over the contact and shrink it with the lighter/heat gun. They should look like this.



May 26, 2012 5:51:23 PM

repeat that for each controller then bundle the wires together with heatshrink like this


then solder the 4 wires to a single wire (had to do this due to space within the toggle)


Then slide the heat shrink over the connection and shrink it. Then on the single wire slide a piece of heat shrink over it that will also fit over the toggle switch connection. Then connect the wire to the ACC pole (out going power) and solder it and heat shrink it.


Now go back to the bare wire end of your molex extender and cut a hole in the sleeving a few inches down from the end and snake the black wire out. like so


the sleeve the ground wire and heat shrink it in place.



Prep the yellow wire for heat shrinking to the toggle switch, solder the wire to the power pole and heat shrink it. so now your toggle looks like this.

Next we are going to set up the female fan headers to the controllers. Now remember what we did to the ground wire on the Molex connector? we are going to that to all of the ground wires on each of the headers. (now you can choose to sleeve this like we did with the Molex but I chose to leave it the way it is because of the fact the wire is already black. Now in my case because I'm setting up for 8 fans (2 per controller) I paired up the red wires and twisted them together.


Now holding the controller poles down. (its natural position) the way it works is when you turn the controller towards where you have the output wire the less resistance is applied. so essentially if you turn towards the fan wire the fan goes faster. I like to turn to the right to make fans go faster so I will be connecting the fans to the right pole like so. (repeat for each controller) Make sure you set up the heat shrink prior to soldering.


Now we are going to prepare the ground rail so that LED's will work and so the fans will be grounded. What I did was cut a length of wire and twisted it to the Molex connector ground wire. I also then ran a wire from the toggle to the same connection and soldered it together. like this

Then heat shrink it

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May 26, 2012 5:55:27 PM

Looks awesome, but how much would this cost?
May 26, 2012 6:00:57 PM

Next move down the ground wire and strip open a space to wrap the ground wires from the first controller like so.

Then heat shrink that. Then at the last connection you can cut the ground rail, strip the end, solder the last pair of grounds to it. and heat shrink the end closed. like this.

no comes the fun part. Drilling the mounting holes. Start by taking the bay door and putting on the low tack tape. and finding the center line.

next measure out the spot for your toggle. Make sure there is enough room for your toggle to fit. then drill the mounting hole that is required. and file the edges to remove any sharp burs or even out the circle in y case because my bay door is mesh.

Next do the same with the controllers. Plan your spacing so you have room to place them because, remember, the back of these are fairly big. However you can bend the poles back so they aren't sticking out too far.

clean it up and remove the tape.

install the hardware

and your done. you now built your own custom fan controller. I will be posting another mod with this build soon just waiting for the right stuff. hope you followed this easily enough and enjoy doing your own. I know its rough looking but I built this for function not for looks and I'm sure if I do it again it will be much cleaner looking. Thanks guys feel free to ask questions and leave comments.
May 26, 2012 6:05:49 PM

AndrewK1 said:
Looks awesome, but how much would this cost?


it cost me around $60 but that with the overkill on the heat shrink and the sleeving. overall the wire pack cost around $10 the rheostats were $4per and the toggle was $3. I paid $10 for the sleeving and $15 for the heat shrink from performance-pc.com. add in the tape and all the other odds and ends and your probably below $60 but there will be excess you can use else where.
a c 104 ) Power supply
May 26, 2012 7:38:20 PM

Screw the cost hehe,
The ability to see and then create things like this is what makes a modder tick,
Nice project Sam, well documented and laid out.
I expect (and look forward to) more of these from you :) 

The only thing I'd mention for future logs like this is as soon as you post the first post, get in fast and reserve the next two or three responses to allow unbroken posting of the pics,
Good job though mate,
*Edit, Black Leatherman, nice :) 
Moto
May 26, 2012 7:43:03 PM

I tried then i got delayed do to flooding lol
a b ) Power supply
May 26, 2012 7:47:05 PM

Hi :) 

Just one comment...

Thats a cheap auto switch, they are known for melting if too much amperage is put through them...so a relay or at least a fuse would be nice...

All the best Brett :) 
May 26, 2012 7:55:08 PM

its rated at 20amp and if 8 fans are pulling more than 20 amps there would be a serious issue. the fans im setting up shouldn't pull more than 10 amps
a b ) Power supply
May 26, 2012 10:39:51 PM

tougas said:
its rated at 20amp and if 8 fans are pulling more than 20 amps there would be a serious issue. the fans im setting up shouldn't pull more than 10 amps



Hi :) 

I use those switches a LOT on my Nitrous system in my car.....take my word they will NOT run 20 amps....more like 8 to 12....

EVERY switch like that I use has a 30 amp FUSED relay attached to it.....

You get this wrong...you have two possible results.... and anyone copying your build as well....

1, IF they are very lucky, a melted switch....

2, IF they are unlucky... a fire.....

Is that risk worth it for the sake of a fuse or relay in the system ???

All the best Brett :) 
May 26, 2012 10:44:37 PM

ill look into a fuse before i put it into system. Ive already tested it and it works but im waiting to do another mod before i install it.
a b ) Power supply
May 26, 2012 10:50:17 PM

tougas said:
ill look into a fuse before i put it into system. Ive already tested it and it works but im waiting to do another mod before i install it.



Hi :) 

I am not being awkward here but this is a "tutorial"

How will you feel if someone copies your instructions and burns their house down if it shorts out in the middle of the night ?

Particularly as you have been warned....you could even be legally responsible....and get sued.... :( 

a 12 volts , 20 or 30 amp Fused relay is easy to add to the system....

All the best Brett :) 
a c 104 ) Power supply
May 26, 2012 10:56:29 PM

Hehe, second lesson, the obligatory disclaimer in Op hehe
Moto
May 26, 2012 10:56:49 PM

i put in here that "This build is at your own risk of equipment and personal safety i am not liable for any misfortunes you may have or damages that may occur" i chose to build mine without the fuse. This build was basically a proof of concept for myself and i figured i would share the knowledge
a b ) Power supply
May 26, 2012 11:11:52 PM

tougas said:
i put in here that "This build is at your own risk of equipment and personal safety i am not liable for any misfortunes you may have or damages that may occur" i chose to build mine without the fuse. This build was basically a proof of concept for myself and i figured i would share the knowledge



Hi :) 

I am a LOT older than you and have had a lot of dealings with lawyers , with my various computer companies I own...

That phrasing above would last around 10 seconds in a court of law....

I can see several legal loopholes without even trying..... how about the word "Tutorial" , with that you are implying you are "teaching" people to do electrical work, are you a qualified Electrician ?

Have you got personal liability insurance ?

I have to have it for my shops , just in case.... and it isnt cheap :( 

Personally I would do two things...

1, Edit your first post to say "This is what I did, with NO mention of tutorial....

2, Add a fused relay (for your own safety if for nobody elses...)

All the best Brett :) 
May 26, 2012 11:21:48 PM

updated thank you
!