Fixing the fan noise on a 48" JBJ fixture - 56k warning - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-22-2006, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Fixing the fan noise on a 48" JBJ fixture - 56k warning

I bought a 48" jbj Formosa DX - JG3 fixture online a few months ago. It was fine for a few weeks and then all of a sudden there would be this horrible noise when the fans came on via analog timer ( the kind jbj says to use with fixture), which sounded like a 747 taking off. The noise would go away in a couple of minutes, so I let it go since according to what I have read, the noise wasn't "abnormal" for jbj fixtures. Shortly afterwards, however, I noticed that the middle fan of the 3 fan system wasn't even running.

I contacted JBJ and they sent me some new fans - the same type that were already in the fixture. I had the same problem with them so I made it a point to find out exactly where the noise was coming from.

As it turns out, the power cord to the right front bulb ( as you're looking at the front of the fixture) has the thick power cord insulation around it and that was rubbing against the center fan. I tried to remove the outer insulation, to push it over, and everything I could think of to get it more out of the way ( creative zip-tying included), but no matter what it would move back over and rub into the middle fan. The fan on the back would catch the fan power cords, so you could hear the little "tink, tink, tink" from that as well. No amount of fan swapping with identical fans was going to fix that, as it was not the fault of the fan itself, but ( IN MY OPINION ) a result of using the wrong fans for the space alloted.

To replace the fans, I decided to try a MagLev fan ( magnetic levitation), which I found out about thanks to cpr4cpu on another aquarium plant message board.I found the fans here, but it looks like they are out of stock. The stock number has changed as well, since the part and manufacturing number was 997-0029 and KDE1205PFV1 MS.G. It wasn't easy finding the right size in a MagLev because 50mm isn't the most popular fan size to begin with. For someone just wanting to fix the immediate problem with the fixture, however, any 50mm x 50mm x 10mm fan should work just fine as long as it is 12 volt DC and .12A or 1.4W. The thickness of the original fans is the main problem.
The below pictures should illustrate the difference in thickness.



I took the end of the fixture off with a small screwdriver ( NO POWER TOOLS - stripping the screws is the last thing you need) and clipped the power lines to the fan after determining the length I needed them to be based on how much the new fans came with. The new fans came with bare leads and I thought about putting the 2 socket plug on the end , but my fat fingers couldn't pull the plugs out of the fixture, so I decided to just clip and solder. The picture was taken on the tank so I could get a better shot. You don't want to do the actual work on it while it's over the tank.




After that, I just unscrewed all the old fans, making sure to keep the three sets of power cords separate from eachother, so I'd know what pair of red and black wires went together. A quick strip of electrical tape to keep the pairs together before clipping is ideal.

All I did was solder the power cords to the leads on the fan after stripping the wires, wrap each wire individually with high grade electrical tape, then wrap the two wires for each fan together with the tape. I thought about using a variety of different connectors instead of soldering as well, but the limited room inside the fixture lead me to believe it would cause a problem. The electrical heat shrink I was going to use was woefully too small, otherwise a nice length of it around the electrically taped parts would have made a nice addition as well.

I went to install the fans, and realized there was no way the old screws holding the fans in place would work. They were way too long for the new fans. After going all over town with the end of the fixture, a new fan, and a screwdriver in hand, I finally found some screws that worked perfectly at Lowe's home improvement. They were 4 x 1/2 Pan Phillips Zinc screws, for sheet metal. I also found that the way the fans wanted to go in ( they fit perfectly with the grooves!) was not the correct way, but it still seemed to push a whole lot of hot air out of the fixture, so I was tempted to leave it that way, shown below.

I ended up flipping them around the correct way, so they would be sucking air through the fixture instead of pushing it. It didn't take up that much more room inside, and the same screws I found still worked fine.

From there, I just used the electrical tape to corral the fan power lines, shoved them into the little space where they go, and put the end back on, making sure the cords weren't in places they shouldn't be.

Days later, I am still enjoying the quiet fans. They're too thin to rub against anything and run quieter than the original fans, rubbing or obstructions aside.

If anyone picks up these fans where I got them, should they get more in, I should note that I thought it was lame that you have to put in your credit card info before you can shoose shipping, and you don't get a total until they ship, but I can tell you that three fans shipped from their Texas warehouse to North Carolina is $9.76 for shipping . Three fans with shipping cost me $24.70. In the drop-down menu, be sure to choose 'Groundtrack", which is UPS ground, and the cheapest method they list.

For anyone wanting to find this exact fan elsewhere, they are 50x50x10mm Sunon fans, 12 volt, manf# KDE1205PFV1 MS.G . They will work with the exact jbj fixture I indicated, but I doubt they'd work with all of the models. They are 1.4 watt, 12 volt DC. The original fans in this fixture are 50x50x way more than 10mm, , 12 volt DC, and 0.12A . I believed them to be similar since 0.12 Amps x 12 volt = 1.44 watts.

I just wanted to post this in case anyone else was having the same problem. I had bought these lights for $150 something from a place that was having a sale, and was totally and completely bummed about this problem. I spent two days searching for the right fan and most of a day just finding the right screws, so hopefully this short article finds someone else with the same fixture and saves some time and grief.

I'm not an electrician by trade, nor a die hard DIY'er, so if anyone can point out a better or safer way of doing this ( i.e. specific connector instead of soldering, etc.), then by all means please share.

"Good judgment is the result of experience, experience is the result of bad judgment." --Mark Twain
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 01:19 AM
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Errr well, you could have just hopped over to your local computer/electronics/radio shack and asked if they had that size in stock.

'Course if you were wanting a specific brand... I have a couple of 80x80x20-somethings (label in the way) in a parts box - hubby ordered them for his computer and discovered after getting them that they weren't what he needed. ooops. I'm sure we'll find a use for them...

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 01:49 AM
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I use only SilenX fans in my gear.

So silent


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 01:52 AM
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This was a great post. I have the same fixture but mine is only 30 inches. But it does make noise. I'll have to look into the fans as you stated.
Thanks

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-23-2006, 02:43 AM
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how hot does that get ? by turning the fans around your sucking hot air over the fans . I do alot of computer work and see these little fans everyday . This may shorten the lifespan of the fan. Never did it keep us posted on how they hold up. I have a noisy aqualight i may change the fans in.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-24-2006, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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Dschmeh- I had ended up turning the fans the correct way so they were blowing air OUT of the fixture and not into the fixture. When they were turned around, however, they pushed a large amount of hot air out the other side of the fixture. The air that was being pushed into the fixture was only about 74F, so not sure what you mean about sucking hot air over the fans.

Joetee - just make sure of what kind of fans you currently have. From talking to others it seems that the fans change from fixture to fixture. The most important thing is getting a slimmer fan ( 10 mm ).

Curare - I'll have to look into that brand of fan. These MagLev were hard as heck to find. I have no good computer shops anywhere near.

TINNGG - Radio shack only had that size fan in a package which included a heatsink. The fan wasn't much thinner than what I already had. The main problem with just grabbing any old computer fan is that if it isn't considerably thinner than the fans already in the JBJ fixture, then you are not going to solve anything at all. None of the computer stores in my area carried a 50mm fan that was thin enough.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-24-2006, 01:24 PM
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Sunon is the most noisy fans ever...

Papst - forever!

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-25-2006, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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You can't go by brand name very well. All these manufacturers make various different types of fans with varying bearing systems and dBA. I just went with this Sunon because it was the only one using magnetic levitation/VAPO bearing system. I found other Sunons that would work but they were just standard ball bearing and much noisier. Whatever fans people go with, dBA can easily be found in the specs for the brand/type of 50x50x10mm fan they want to use.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-25-2006, 04:25 PM
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I been tweeking pcs for some time, and I know all the quality fans. ebm-Papst is not just a bran name - there been making fans in 50 years and quality and silence is a key...

Theres a lot of good fans but there is big difference in noice - and the difference is not just in the dBa output, but in the sound. Different fan designs gives different sounds and volume - Theres a fine line between airflow/dBa/sound - and the difficult part is to balance these right.

I recomment bigger fans (if possible) and slower fan speed.

For this type of job I recomment a cross flow fan, since its one of the most silent types - and fits the canope.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-25-2006, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
For this type of job I recomment a cross flow fan, since its one of the most silent types - and fits the canope.
I'll have to check it out. However, in this particular instance, the way the JBJ is made isn't made in such a way I could put a larger fan in there at lower rpm. They simply don't allow for any room. Does such a fan come in 50x50x10mm?

The thickness of whatever fan is used is the main key in getting rid of the noise from this particular fixture. It's not "fan noise" in general, but rather the noise which is made when a fan that is too thick is rubbing up against power cables which can't be rerouted or moved easily. The original fans are around 15mm and rub against things making a horrible wake-up-the-dogs noise, so if you can't go thinner then it doesn't matter what brand of fan you use because it will be impeded by the cables as well.

"Good judgment is the result of experience, experience is the result of bad judgment." --Mark Twain
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-25-2006, 06:17 PM
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No - there rectangular, but since the 3 fans make a rectangular hole, it will fit with some modding...

There expensive but worth the money, since the noice is unnotisable.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-13-2006, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Not to bump up an old link, but :

Just as an update, the fixture is still going strong, no ballast burn-outs, and the fans are still nice and quiet. Zero problems after switching the stock fans out for thinner ones.

"Good judgment is the result of experience, experience is the result of bad judgment." --Mark Twain
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 12:03 AM
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Hey Jake, thank's for the great write up. I have the same light with the same problem. I will be ordering the new fan's.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-18-2006, 12:53 AM
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For similar projects, I bought similar fans here. They seem to have some inventory problems as well... must be the hot Summertime.

One thing to keep in mind... the smaller the fan, the less air moved, or to move the same amount of air, they are noisier. If you can use a larger fan (say 60x60x25) it will be moving more air at a lower noise level.


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