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Help me plan a simple custom fan controller. - Page 2

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
As far as I can tell, the other side looks like this. Basically just a standard rotary rheostat. They just don't show any pics of the front as a marketing trick to hide the fact that it doesn't include a knob.



You're correct that it doesn't have any mechanism for mounting. The only rheos I've seen that come with mounting mechanisms are linear rheos (which I don't think would be a good fit for this usage) and really small ones that wouldn't be able to carry the load of these fans :/



That PWM controller is an interesting piece of kit i never considered. That said, I've heard that it is unwise to run PWM fans via voltage control and vice versa.

While I understand why voltage control wouldn't work on a PWM fan, I've never really understood why PWM control couldn't work on a "standard" fan, but I'm no electrical engineer, so I've always just heeded that advice.

Since my Panaflos are non-PWM, I'd feel more comfortable with direct voltage control than PWM... but maybe I should look further into that before being so hasty. I do prefer PWM in theory.
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post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero4549 View Post

As far as I can tell, the other side looks like this. Basically just a standard rotary rheostat. They just don't show any pics of the front as a marketing trick to hide the fact that it doesn't include a knob.



You're correct that it doesn't have any mechanism for mounting. The only rheos I've seen that come with mounting mechanisms are linear rheos (which I don't think would be a good fit for this usage) and really small ones that wouldn't be able to carry the load of these fans :/



That PWM controller is an interesting piece of kit i never considered. That said, I've heard that it is unwise to run PWM fans via voltage control and vice versa.

While I understand why voltage control wouldn't work on a PWM fan, I've never really understood why PWM control couldn't work on a "standard" fan, but I'm no electrical engineer, so I've always just heeded that advice.

Since my Panaflos are non-PWM, I'd feel more comfortable with direct voltage control than PWM... but maybe I should look further into that before being so hasty. I do prefer PWM in theory.
If that is what the other side looks like it does have a mounting mechanism. Thte nuts on the hollow threaded center are to mount it thru a metal panel. Rheostat on inside and stud for knob on outside.

I have ran many motors, fan and others as well on variable voltage and pulse control. I've never had a problem. Rarely will a motor know the difference. Same applied to using PWM fans on variable voltage, never had a problem.

You could always ask Panasonic customer support about using pulsed power to control them. wink.gif
Edited by doyll - 6/25/16 at 9:38am
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by doyll View Post

If that is what the other side looks like it does have a mounting mechanism. Thte nuts on the hollow threaded center are to mount it thru a metal panel. Rheostat on inside and stud for knob on outside.

I have ran many motors, fan and others as well on variable voltage and pulse control. I've never had a problem. Rarely will a motor know the difference. Same applied to using PWM fans on variable voltage, never had a problem.

You could always ask Panasonic customer support about using pulsed power to control them. wink.gif

Hah, I don't think Panasonic even makes them any more, they just hold the patent. I might pick up one of those PWM controllers just to test it myself. They're cheap enough, and I do have an extra unused panaflo (medium speed, but still).

I suppose you're right about that nut. Somehow I guess I just mentally omitted its existence since it won't work for the location I want to mount it at. lol. I've even hooked up a few myself that way when i was fixing up this house.

Anyway I'm currently getting loopy from sleep deprivation so I should probably get some rest before I start coming to really retarded conclusions. I'll look further into the PWM module when I'm more awake, and if not that, I think the rheo should make a good fallback option.
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post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
After some not-so-intensive google exercises, I seem to have come across a pretty large number of people reporting loud clicking noises when controlling Panaflo fans via PWM.

I've also heard people call Panaflo fans use anything other than their max speed, but these people tend to not specify how they came to this conclusion or what type of control method they used.

Meanwhile, I have seen people call them perfectly silent aside from the sound of rushing air when controlled specifically via voltage (which is exactly how they sound maxed out).

So... Voltage control is probably the right choice for these guys, plus it gives me an excuse to actually use my tools I guess. I'll still probably pick up one of those PWM controllers anyway. They seem useful to have, are cheap, and it would be fun and informative to do some testing of my own on my various unused fans.


So back to the rheostat.

It looks like I really only need the one unit. I currently have 6 fans split off one connector and the other 3 each on their own connectors, but all basically in the same place. I'm sure I had a reason for not just combining them all when I built this thing, but that reason probably involved being an idiot and wanting to make a bigger mess of wires on the backside of my motherboard tray.

I'm not going to worry about that quite yet though, because at the moment I'm more concerned with getting the 6 external radiator fans controlled. I suspect those produce the bulk of the noise. At any rate the rheostat I'm looking at should be able to handle those extra 3 should I choose to slap them onto it later, and it won't require any changes to the design, so whatever.


So with that said, I've dropped a few bucks and have some parts on their way. Will probably put it together some time next week. Once the PWM module arrives I can test them both and see which performs better on my actual setup first hand. Whichever solution I don't end up using for this system will surely get some use elsewhere, so no loss.


Oh... and a bit off topic, but I'll also be building a new desk... so if anyone is interested in that I'll probably drop a link here soon once I get a new thread up about that.
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post #15 of 19
While variable voltage is very simple and only changes volts it generally performs the same in almost all appliations.
PWM control is way more complicated and comes in many different forms .. both master and slave controllers when fans are PWM. Some combinations definitely cause clicking in some fans while some do not. I need to order one of these simple PWM controller and try it myself. Problem is I have 5 controller for every one I'm using now, so really don't want any more. redface.gif
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
kind of forgot about this for a while. The parts from china took forever to arrive.

Anyway, here's the (mostly final) results. Works great. I just need to make a longer molex cable so i can clean up the wire mess.

I'm honestly shocked how well these panaflo fans work on a controller. I can make them completely inaudible (at least over the pump, power supply, and dinky case fans) without them stalling out, and they still move more air than most other fans I've seen. No clicking noises or anything as some other users reported.

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post #17 of 19
Glad it all worked out.
Thanks for the update. thumb.gif
What rheostat / controller did you end up getting?
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
100w 10ohm from "Electronics-Salon" on Amazon.

Just the wirewound rotary assembly. Put my own knob on it and mounted it to a small sheet of brass that I bent using a cheapo HVAC hand seamer I had laying around. Heavy duty velcro to mount the brass "box" onto my external radiator where it will be easy to reach while seated at the system.

It is actually the second rheo I ordered because the first one had way too much resistance and would fully stop the fans at just 1/10 the total rotation range. I believe it was a 50ohm. First one was also real messy and needed a lot of clean up to get into a working state. Luckily the second one came it nice and clean and ready for wires to be soldered on. 10 ohms seems just right. Full rotation range is usable without stalling the fans, but at the lowest setting the fans are quieter than my water pump and HEPA filter.

I also ordered a pwm control unit but it never showed so I just issues a charge back and moved on with the rheo. Was anxious to get this thing quieted down finally after 7 years of noisiness. lol
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post #19 of 19
rep +
Lots of good info.
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