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Fan Control - PWM vs Voltage Noise Analysis

post #1 of 14
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Edited by Martinm210 - 12/8/12 at 6:49pm
    
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post #2 of 14
Interesting. I have voltage control set up on my rig currently however for my friend and client builds I think I will stick to PWM as the difference is so minor and it's so easy and nice to just daisy chain 4-6 fans off the motherboard header PWM signal.

+Rep for you awesome testing as usual!
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post #3 of 14
so pwm performs better but voltage doesnt cause motor noises?
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yeah, it's really minor.

I think noise level is the same (within testing error +- 1dbA), and noise quality is a very very minor amount better with voltage control.

Of coarse PWM would be better if the fan is automatically turned down vs full speed voltage control.

I guess I have heard that PWM is better for removing motor tick at low volts and couldn't find that at least in these two fans...
    
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post #5 of 14
Any chance of testing a few more fans to confirm?
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post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martinm210 View Post
Yeah, it's really minor.

I think noise level is the same (within testing error +- 1dbA), and noise quality is a very very minor amount better with voltage control.

Of coarse PWM would be better if the fan is automatically turned down vs full speed voltage control.

I guess I have heard that PWM is better for removing motor tick at low volts and couldn't find that at least in these two fans...
While this would make testing rather hard due to false RPM readings, have you tried using an external PWM controller than turns the entire fan +12v on and off?
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post #7 of 14
How many tests did you do? Excellent work (seriously this is good insight), but unfortunately the only conclusion I can perceive is the two are negligibly different from each other.

One thing I'd be interested in is a fourier transform of the sound clips. Should tell us the frequency differences between voltage and PWM for this fan.
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post #8 of 14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post
Any chance of testing a few more fans to confirm?
Yep, I have a couple more I can do. The Arctic Cooling F12, and cooler master blade master. I didn't get to those retests yet, although I know my AC F12 seems to have the noted high pitch whine problem at lower RPMs using PWM control.

Although I'd be curious to see a 38mm industrial fan back to back because they seem to have the most trouble with motor tick. I don't have any of those at the moment. I also think it probably depends on the individual fan circuit, if they use large caps in the fan itself, it should help smooth that out some.

I also want to play a bit with voltage. Someone was saying running the fans from a battery is the ultimate smoothness?
    
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post #9 of 14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliehorse55 View Post
While this would make testing rather hard due to false RPM readings, have you tried using an external PWM controller than turns the entire fan +12v on and off?
I do have a crystalfontz PWM controller and it's actually very harsh in controlling 3pin fans in PWM format. With large fans, it literally twists the fan in your hands between pulses..not smooth at all. Is that what you're thinking of?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyxyll View Post
How many tests did you do? Excellent work (seriously this is good insight), but unfortunately the only conclusion I can perceive is the two are negligibly different from each other.

One thing I'd be interested in is a fourier transform of the sound clips. Should tell us the frequency differences between voltage and PWM for this fan.
Just the two for now...but I do have a few more I can try.
    
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post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martinm210 View Post
Yep, I have a couple more I can do. The Arctic Cooling F12, and cooler master blade master. I didn't get to those retests yet, although I know my AC F12 seems to have the noted high pitch whine problem at lower RPMs using PWM control.

Although I'd be curious to see a 38mm industrial fan back to back because they seem to have the most trouble with motor tick. I don't have any of those at the moment. I also think it probably depends on the individual fan circuit, if they use large caps in the fan itself, it should help smooth that out some.

I also want to play a bit with voltage. Someone was saying running the fans from a battery is the ultimate smoothness?
Using a battery would mean you would have 0 ripple on the +12V rail. Whether or not this helps fan smoothness could only be discovered through some testing...
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