Cooling fan rigs. DIY cost vs. premade...?
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:32 PM   #1
larcat
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Cooling fan rigs. DIY cost vs. premade...?


Hi!

I was pricing out making a DIY 3-70mm or 2-100mm cooling fan rig last night, and then compared it to the premade aquatek and ebay ones.

Cheaper, marginally, to buy a premade one.

Other than possibly better fans, can anyone think of a compelling reason to DIY one rather than get an off the shelf model?

Thanks!
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:14 PM   #2
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Noise is what I can think of. With DIY you can choose fans that have a lower decibel rating, allowing you to control the total noise output of the rig.
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:03 PM   #3
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It's WAY cheaper to go DIY.

You can pick up used fans for a buck at most PC wholesale websites/stores. Power supplies - the kind you just plug into an outlet - are also $3-$4.
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
It's WAY cheaper to go DIY.

You can pick up used fans for a buck at most PC wholesale websites/stores. Power supplies - the kind you just plug into an outlet - are also $3-$4.
Are you doing a full PC PSU, or a straight 110v AC -- 12v DC (molex) adapter?

All the straight outlet--molex adapters I have seen online are about 15 bucks.

Mind posting some pics of yours? I'm trying to ponder how I would keep the daisy-chain of fan plugs neat in the actual application.

Thanks!

-Devin
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:43 PM   #5
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Not home to take photos but check sites like Cooler Guys for ideas. You can find the same controllers on eBay for pennies on the dollar. Though, the products there are only $3-$4 as it is.
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Old 07-23-2012, 01:33 PM   #6
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I would go to Xoxide, if you go into the quiet pc section maybe under case mods you can find some of the most silent fans on the market.

this is my next step as well, I have built the frame for my canopy and now I just have to build the lid. I am planning on removing the plastic casing on my lighting and wiring it to the lid as well.
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:58 PM   #7
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I used a old PC power supply. You can make them always run by jumping the green wire with any black wire so they don't need to be hooked up to a PC to run. Then I use a timer to power the fans on and off throughout the day. I went to the dollar store and bought some telephone extensions and used that for my wiring to wire them further away from the power supply and a $1 for 50 feet of wire works. They usually have 4 wires, I doubled them up to help with the voltage travelling across.

Here's a little blurb though about getting any old 12v power adapter from an old cell phone or router or something you had laying around the house. Those adapter are whats known as a unregulated power supply. If they say 12v@2.1A on them, it means they will put out 12v at exactly 2.1A draw on them. If you test any of them with a multimeter with no power load, you will find they are usually 14-19V without any power on them. So if you use one rated at 2.1A and your fan only draws 500mA, it may be supplying the fan with 14V instead of 12V which can result in the fan burning out faster, burning up, etc. That's why I went with a PC power supply. They put out 12V, 5V, etc at a steady voltage regardless of the draw on them. Just a little FYI since I see lots of people recommend using any old wall wart adapter and they understand how an unregulated power supply works. You can also get an old wall wart and 12V 7812 regulator and wire it in yourself, but if you're that good with electronics, a few diodes and caps and you can build your own AC-DC rectifier bridge and make your own power supply. lol.


The small 120AC - 12V molex adapters work well as they are regulated inside to keep a steady voltage to a hard drive is what they usually are used to power.


Cost vs time vs parts comes down to what you have available and how good you are at wiring, etc. I run an electronic repair shop, so I have lots of extra PC fans and XBox 360 fans laying around and PSU's from old PC's, so it cost me nothing to do this except a timer and some dollar store phone extensions.
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:24 PM   #8
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One of my issues here is that the right fans for my tank are nonstandard sizes, so they are more expensive -- 100mm x 2 or 70mm x 3. Neither are common PC fan sizes at all.

I only buy PSU when I am doing a new build or one burns out, and I only do a build every 4-5 years so I haven't kept my old janky PSUs. Kinda wishing I had one sitting around now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeToChKn View Post
I used a old PC power supply. You can make them always run by jumping the green wire with any black wire so they don't need to be hooked up to a PC to run. Then I use a timer to power the fans on and off throughout the day. I went to the dollar store and bought some telephone extensions and used that for my wiring to wire them further away from the power supply and a $1 for 50 feet of wire works. They usually have 4 wires, I doubled them up to help with the voltage travelling across.

Here's a little blurb though about getting any old 12v power adapter from an old cell phone or router or something you had laying around the house. Those adapter are whats known as a unregulated power supply. If they say 12v@2.1A on them, it means they will put out 12v at exactly 2.1A draw on them. If you test any of them with a multimeter with no power load, you will find they are usually 14-19V without any power on them. So if you use one rated at 2.1A and your fan only draws 500mA, it may be supplying the fan with 14V instead of 12V which can result in the fan burning out faster, burning up, etc. That's why I went with a PC power supply. They put out 12V, 5V, etc at a steady voltage regardless of the draw on them. Just a little FYI since I see lots of people recommend using any old wall wart adapter and they understand how an unregulated power supply works. You can also get an old wall wart and 12V 7812 regulator and wire it in yourself, but if you're that good with electronics, a few diodes and caps and you can build your own AC-DC rectifier bridge and make your own power supply. lol.


The small 120AC - 12V molex adapters work well as they are regulated inside to keep a steady voltage to a hard drive is what they usually are used to power.


Cost vs time vs parts comes down to what you have available and how good you are at wiring, etc. I run an electronic repair shop, so I have lots of extra PC fans and XBox 360 fans laying around and PSU's from old PC's, so it cost me nothing to do this except a timer and some dollar store phone extensions.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:43 AM   #9
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pc supplies is way overkill, a waste of electricity, and could be used to do something better. They are aslo ugly. As long as the wall-wart is 6-12v and the Amps isn't way to high it will work.

Switched-mode supplies is quite common nowadays and even the cheapest ones is good enough as long as the voltage match.
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