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Using A Fan Splitter With Molex Connector and A Fan Controller

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
To further explain, I've got 19 or so Cougar Vortex CF-12HP fans (PWM version) coming in for my new build, and I had originally planned on using a couple of Swiftech's 8-way PWM box's to set them up. However, for aesthetic reasons, as well as my own preference for manual control, I've decided to go with a Bitfenix Recon Fan Controller. I know there are better, more powerful controllers out there, but it's one of the only decent white controllers I could find.

According to the specifications, the controller can handle about 10w per channel, which would mean only 2 fans per channel. This would mean that I'd only be able to hook up about half of my fans to it. I suppose I could go with a different controller, but all of the higher powered ones are black, and that just wouldn't work with my setup all that well (aesthetically).

Now, I found this 5-way pwm splitter that also has a molex connection on it. My question is, if I were to use that cable to hook up five fans to one channel of the controller, and plug the molex into my PSU, would the PSU and Recon split the power load, or would one take priority over the other, and the other just kind of be a backup?

TL:DR; Last paragraph is really all that matters.
post #2 of 21
Wait, wait, wait.

BitFenix Recon doesn't control via PWM, does it? I thought it's just a standard fan controller for 3-pin or 4-pin fans. This means it sends lower than +12V on the +12V nominal line if running something under full speed. If you hook up the PWM fan splitter with molex power to that, you'll just get the molex powering everything at +12V (full speed).
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
well, I'm not worried about running the fans via PWM, I just want to be able to manually control them with the controller.

Let me try to explain a little better what I'd be trying to do.

So, the fan controller has a 4pin molex connection that supplies power to the fan headers (correct?), but the splitter I'm talking about also has a 4pin molex connector to supply power to the fans. Normally, this would mean that the fans run at full speed all of the time, but if I then plug the splitter into the fan controller, I would still be able to control them right? The only difference I'm seeing is that the extra molex connection on the splitter would be providing (hopefully) extra power, so that the header on the fan controller isn't going to be taking almost 2.5x as much power as it can handle.

This could be a completely erroneous way to think about things, as I have no experience with electrical issues.

EDIT:
Actually, now that I think about it, I think I've done something somewhat similar to this before. For a little while I was using GT AP-29s, which are powered via a 4pin molex, but I plugged the 3pin fan connection into a fan controller, and was able to control them. However, in this case, the controller would have had enough power to supply to the fan by itself, so I'm not sure if that's what was happening, and the extra molex on the fan was just redundant, or if the fan was receiving power from it's own molex connector, but still allowing me to control it via the 3pin connection.
Edited by pcoutu17 - 3/12/14 at 9:47am
post #4 of 21
No, it will not work.
PWM splitters with PSU power only work with PWM fans and PWM signal input (from motherboard). 8-9 fans is about all the motherboard signal is strong enough to support.

Phanteks has a 6-way 30w 3pin fan controller hub that uses PWM signal from motherboard. They are part of the Enthoo Primo case package and will be released very soon as an accessory.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcoutu17 View Post

To further explain, I've got 19 or so Cougar Vortex CF-12HP fans (PWM version) coming in for my new build, and I had originally planned on using a couple of Swiftech's 8-way PWM box's to set them up. However, for aesthetic reasons, as well as my own preference for manual control, I've decided to go with a Bitfenix Recon Fan Controller. I know there are better, more powerful controllers out there, but it's one of the only decent white controllers I could find.

According to the specifications, the controller can handle about 10w per channel, which would mean only 2 fans per channel. This would mean that I'd only be able to hook up about half of my fans to it. I suppose I could go with a different controller, but all of the higher powered ones are black, and that just wouldn't work with my setup all that well (aesthetically).

Now, I found this 5-way pwm splitter that also has a molex connection on it. My question is, if I were to use that cable to hook up five fans to one channel of the controller, and plug the molex into my PSU, would the PSU and Recon split the power load, or would one take priority over the other, and the other just kind of be a backup?

TL:DR; Last paragraph is really all that matters.

I believe that all power would be coming from the Molex.... and that the cable would need to be connected to a PWM capable connector with PWM capable fans on the cable. The Recon only has 3-pin connectors... not 4-pin PWM connectors. You would need a PWM signal going to the fans to control RPM... and the Recon is not capable of that. It uses voltage modulation to control fan speed, not PWM. Since the power would not be coming from the Recon... the fans would probably only run at full speed.

But since I have not tested it... or checked out that cable to see how it is actually wired, that is more or less a guess based on the description of the cable. It is possible that the 4-pin Header connector on the cable only has a Tach and PWM wire... and no power wires... that would be most likely.

Here is a review on the the Recon... and it confirms that the Recon is not PWM compatible, and uses voltage modulation to control speed.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1382417/review-bitfenix-recon-review
Edited by cgipson1 - 3/12/14 at 9:53am
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post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hmmm, but doesn't plugging a pwm fan into a 3pin header still allow for the fan to work, it just doesn't use the PWM function?
post #7 of 21
So you're wanting to ignore the PWM signal functionality (edit: better word choice) on all the fans and just control them via voltage, right? (PWM splitter not being used to distribute PWM signal.) Because the fan controller doesn't do PWM and all? I think I might need to see a wiring diagram to be sure. I mean, my interpretation here is different than doyll's as it is.

But if you have the following things all electrically connected via wires:
1. fan +12V nominal input
2. +12V from PSU via molex in that splitter thingy
3. fan controller output channel

then you'll get the +12V from PSU to the fans, not whatever voltage the fan controller wants to output. That's the setup you're describing, right? That's what I gathered from the original message and the second one.

With the GT AP-29, was the molex power connected when you were getting fan speed control via the 3-pin?
Edited by mikeaj - 3/12/14 at 9:58am
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcoutu17 View Post

Hmmm, but doesn't plugging a pwm fan into a 3pin header still allow for the fan to work, it just doesn't use the PWM function?

yes... but this cable may or may not even have power wires on the connector that would go to the mobo header.... it if did... it would be sending 12V into the mother board from the molex connector, unless there is a diode in the cable restricting flow to one way. So plugging that plug into your Recon, would not do anything. The tach cable is strictly for reading RPM.. not controlling it. And with no PWM signal coming from the Recon.... the fans would just run at full speed due to the 12v from the Molex connector.

Does that make sense?

But as I said earlier (and as mikeaj said above) without testing the cable, or seeing a wiring diagram.. there is no way to know for sure.
Edited by cgipson1 - 3/12/14 at 10:02am
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post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

So you're wanting to ignore the PWM signal functionality (edit: better word choice) on all the fans and just control them via voltage, right? (PWM splitter not being used to distribute PWM signal.) Because the fan controller doesn't do PWM and all? I think I might need to see a wiring diagram to be sure. I mean, my interpretation here is different than doyll's as it is.

But if you have the following things all electrically connected via wires:
1. fan +12V nominal input
2. +12V from PSU via molex in that splitter thingy
3. fan controller output channel

then you'll get the +12V from PSU to the fans, not whatever voltage the fan controller wants to output. That's the setup you're describing, right? That's what I gathered from the original message and the second one.

With the GT AP-29, was the molex power connected when you were getting fan speed control via the 3-pin?

Okay, I think I get what you're saying, and what the problem will be. Basically, the Recon works by altering the supplied voltage from 12v(max) down (to slow the fans), correct? In the situation I'm describing, the PSU would be taking the power load, so therefore, the Recon wouldn't have any way of changing the voltage supplied, right?

As for the GT AP-29s, yes, the molex from the fan was connected to the PSU, as well as having the controller's molex connected. If I remember correctly, the fans wouldn't work at all when I didn't have the fan's molex connected, so this would suggest that power was coming from the PSU to the fan, but I still had control over the voltage from the Controller.

Wait ,wait, that actually makes sense. Even though the power would be coming from the PSU, the actual voltage monitor/regulator is on the fan's 3pin header (usually the 3rd pin I think), right? So it wouldn't really matter where the power is coming from, as long as the 3pin with the voltage regulator is connected to the controller right?
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgipson1 View Post

I believe that all power would be coming from the Molex.... and that the cable would need to be connected to a PWM capable connector with PWM capable fans on the cable. The Recon only has 3-pin connectors... not 4-pin PWM connectors. You would need a PWM signal going to the fans to control RPM... and the Recon is not capable of that. It uses voltage modulation to control fan speed, not PWM. Since the power would not be coming from the Recon... the fans would probably only run at full speed.

But since I have not tested it... or checked out that cable to see how it is actually wired, that is more or less a guess based on the description of the cable. It is possible that the 4-pin Header connector on the cable only has a Tach and PWM wire... and no power wires... that would be most likely.

Here is a review on the the Recon... and it confirms that the Recon is not PWM compatible, and uses voltage modulation to control speed.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1382417/review-bitfenix-recon-review

Ahhh, I see, I see. So, it's not the fact that the power is coming from a different source, but rather that the cables themselves may not have the required voltage regulating wires?

Which, looking at the cables more closely, it would seem that they only have pins 1, 2, and 4, which would be exactly the problem you're stating.
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