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6 Fan Controller Roundup (Second Half)

Page: 3/4
Manufacturer: FrozenCPU
Product Name: 3.5" Fan Controller (Baybus)
Provider: FrozenCPU.com

Thanks to

For Providing Us With This FINE Product to Review




If there is one controller I was especially looking forward to during this roundup it was FrozenCPU?s new 3.5? Fan controller. You may have noticed that Afturmath has reviewed this product previously, but I figured that it was my chance to take a look at this product ? especially after all the good things he had been telling me about it. Before I continue, I figured I might give a little bit of background information on FrozenCPU and their products. FrozenCPU is really not like any other reseller I have known before; many of their fan controlling devices(in particular) are actually designed and produced by themselves which definitely adds a great deal of attention to special things like power output as well as overall quality of the product. Again, this unit is actually 3.5? just like the previously reviewed SunBeam rheobus which is much more convenient when all you have is one 5.25? bay empty and no one really uses floppy drives anymore! The one thing that makes this fanbus unique from any of the others in this roundup is the ability to install it into any faceplate of your choice (without disassembling) so you are not stuck with a plastic fan controller front on a nice silver aluminum case for example ? we will explain more about this a little later. Let?s get on with the show!
=]?

After having burned myself while testing the Sunbeam, I was a bit scared to test another unit the same size in fear of killing myself :). It was a dirty job but somebody had to do it! Anyways, the product came to me in a small cardboard tube capped at both ends ? something which I had seen before while reviewing another one of FrozenCPU?s baybus? a while back. When I opened the end of the cardboard tube, it was almost like Christmas all over again; you would not believe the number of things that FrozenCPU included with this product. Included with this unit is the fanbus itself, a drilling template, a set of instructions, led brackets, a y-power splitter, as well as three cables which had molex connectors on one end and are stripped on the other. Starting with the fanbus, quality was exceptional. After taking a quick inspection of the entire controller, I did notice a few spots where the solder had gotten to hot and started to burn the PCB slightly, but it certainly did not hurt it bad enough to effect performance. Options are pretty much unlimited with placement of this baybus since it does not come preinstalled with a faceplate, but this also allows the user/modder to get a feeling of do-it-yourself. On the front of the unit are three baybus switches (3-position) as well as three LEDs which are located directly above each of the switches. Each of these LEDs show red on the 12volt (high) setting and switch to a blue color as the power it switched to 7-12volt (low). If you so desire to change LEDs on this unit, it is fairly simple, just unsolder each of the three prongs from each led and replace them with another 3-prong Led?my choice would be blue/white LEDs. Since the unit itself is so small, FrozenCPU has decided to solder each of the transformers in the front of the PCB, between the faceplate and baybus, to allow for more room for fan and power plug-ins on the rear side. Before I flipped the baybus around, I did notice three yellow switches on the unit which I later found out from FrozenCPU?s website that these are referred to as a ?pot? which are able to change the low setting on each switch between 7volt and 9volt which means you can decide how fast each switch will run a fan on it?s low setting. For testing purposes, we will leave each of the three pots as default. On the rear of the baybus, I was surprised to see how spaced out everything was. On the far left of the unit was the molex connector which supplies power to the unit and on the right side are three terminals which you screw fan tails into as a type of connection. To prevent from having to cut the connectors off each of your fans like many baybus? on the market alike, FrozenCPU has also included those three wires which have a molex at one end and are stripped at the other. Before installation, you screw the tails of these special wires into the baybus terminals and plug your fans through a molex connection, into the other end of the cords. This makes it especially easy to install with the most demanding fans out nowadays since it is almost standard to have molex connectors! For those of you with older fans or just less demanding fans electrically, this will be a problem provided your fans are 3-pin connectors by default. In that case, you would need to cut the connector off and screw it directly into the rear of the rheobus.

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Also included in the kit is a Y-power splitter. The Y-power splitter allows you to plug one end of the Y into the rear of the baybus and still have one empty molex connector; thus preventing you from running out of all the molex connectors from the power supply. Other smaller items included with the unit is the drilling template which is used for installation. The drilling template is made of 1/8? acrylic and has six , ?? holes in it. On the rear of the template are sticky feet which will stick to the 3.5? faceplate of your choice during installation and keep it from moving while you are drilling the holes for the LEDs and switches to pull through. Once you have drilled the six holes, the three holes located on the top of the faceplate need to have the black LED brackets put into the holes. These will fill the gap between the hole and the led as well as provide a more professional and finished look in the long run. Once those three LED brackets are installed, simply pop the rheobus in place and screw each of the switches into place with the nut already installed on the baybus. The instructions included with this unit are fairly easy to understand, although pictures would assist newer users dramatically. If you are having problems installing the unit, you can always visit FrozenCPU.com and check out their guide on installing the 6-fan baybus (it is the same process).



Installation time on even m aluminum chassis? 3.5? faceplate only took about 20 minutes. I simply stuck the drilling template to the faceplate, drilled the holes with a ?? drill bit, popped the LED brackets into place and then proceeded to pop the baybus into the faceplate and screw in the switches. Last, I searched my house for about an hour and was finally able to find a flathead screwdriver small enough to screw the stripped/molex cables into the rear terminals. One thing that may be confusing for newer users is the fact that the stripped cords coming on the molex cable are yellow and black whereas the labels on the rear of the fanbus are labeled as red and black. Do not get confused ? put black to black and yellow to red and you should be fine! After installation, I did realize that it would have been much easier to have FrozenCPU include a small ?? drill bit as well as a small screwdriver, but it?s not necessary. To prevent scorching myself once aga?vv?or the second time in a day, I carefully looked at FrozenCPU?s website and was in absolute AWE when I noticed that each of the ports on this unit can supply up to 14watts ? nearly TWO TIMES what the generic 3.5? rheobus can supply! Just to make sure that I was not imagining seeing 14w, I contacted the owner of FrozenCPU to confirm this number and he did not deny it! Remembering back to the 92mm Tornado requirements, 12watts should NOT be a problem at all for this unit, so I put it to the test immediately. After installing the 92mm tornados to all ports on the unit, I powered it up and noticed that on the low setting, none of the fans were spinning. I took that small flathead screwdriver used for the terminals during installation and twisted the ?pot? to the right (while the unit was on ? NOT recommended) until I noticed that the fan started to spin. I repeated this for all three pot switches. Just to see what might happen if I twisted the pots all the way to the right, I did it and noticed that the color of the BLUE led turned to a weird purple color ? kind of cool! After spinning the pots back down as low as they would go before the fans died, I took the average reading from each fan and did the same with the high setting. Below are the results from our testing:

Vantec 92mm Tornado (4800rpm)

Highest Setting

Lowest Setting

4900 RPM

3250 RPM



Above, as you can probably guess, I was extremely surprised to see such a small unit make such a large impact! This little 3.5? controller was able to spin the fan faster than ANY of the fan controllers in the roundup which is why I give it HUGE applause. I was, however, brought down to see that on the lowest setting, the readings were quite high due to the need of turning up the pot. To me, the one main point of fan controlling it to cut down on sound at times, which this fanbus was having some trouble with. It was able to supply more than enough juice to keep the three tornado?s running above normal, but 3250 RPM on a tornado still sounds like a jet blasting off. After leaving the unit for the 24 hour period, I am I happy to report than the fanbus did survive without skipping a beat and was still running strong ? nothing smelled burned, it did not scorch me, etc. If you are looking for a fan controller for the sake of quieting higher RPM fans, you may want to keep looking, but if you are interested in the simple aspects of POWER and noise this may be your maker. Keep in mind that it will not be necessary to change the pot on lower RPM fans which will lower RPM readings significantly on the LOW setting. The smallest unit in this roundup was able to keep up with the rest of them and that?s what surprised me most about this unit! If you seem interested in a unit with great design and an excellent ability to customize, this can be picked up from FrozenCPU.com for $24.00. After seeing the price tag on the previous unit, this controller is actually inexpensive and definitely worth it!





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