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How to: Make proprietary Dell server fans work on any motherboard.

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
A little back story as to why I'm writing this guide:

Earlier today I went into my local PC shop looking for a cheap monitor and while I was there I found a couple of Dell 120 x 38 Y4574 server fans (148.34CFM, 51dB, PWM). Which are actually Delta AFC1212DE-PWM case fans.

attachment.php?attachmentid=185042&d=1292489358

I was really stoked since I got them for really cheap.
At any rate, I get home, install one on my Xiggy DK, turn my rig on and nothing.
At first I thought they were dead, but then I decided to jump them using a car battery. Lo and behold, they turn on and damn near fly off the bench.

After a little digging, here's what I found:

Dell not only rearranges the pin configuration in the plug itself,

Dell PWM pin config
185049d1292492190-how-make-proprietary-dell-server-fans-dell-pinouts.jpg

they also change the color of the wires from the standard 4pin PWM fan, with the exception of the control wire.

Standard PWM pin config
185050d1292492190-how-make-proprietary-dell-server-fans-standard-pwm-fan-pinouts.jpg

So here, you're thinking, well this is easy, I simply swap the number 1 and number 3 pin and hook it up.

Well in order to prevent people from plugging it in to anything other than a Dell, they decided to put a clip on their plug.

attachment.php?attachmentid=185041&stc=1&d=1292489235

However, on the other side there are the normal 2 notches that every fan has.

So in order to make them work and not have to cut anything, you'll need to rearrange the wiring.

So if you're holding the plug with the notches pointing right, from top to bottom the wiring should go as follows:

Top- blue
Second down - white
Third one-red
Fourth -black
Fifth -empty

Should look like this:

attachment.php?attachmentid=185048&d=1292492135

After doing this, I tested the fans. I went into my BIOS and set it so the fan runs @ 50% until 42C, and then it ramps up to 100%.
Sure enough, when 2 of the cores hit 42C, it kicked up a little and cooled them right off. It even lowered my MOSFET temperature ~8C.

At any rate, in this configuration, it should work on most any board....except a Dell of course. tongue.gif
Edited by BlackOmega - 12/16/10 at 8:49am
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post #2 of 53
Interesting. These go for anywhere around 8-15$ on eBay.
post #3 of 53
Yeah I'm going to rewire my Nidecs from dell five pin to 3-pin for use with a fan controller.
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post #4 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbudden;11668085 
Interesting. These go for anywhere around 8-15$ on eBay.

They're pretty awesome fans actually. With my "smartcooling" enabled through the BIOS, they almost never go above 2000 RPM, at that speed they're pretty quiet. Quieter than my 4870's @ 50%.

And this doesn't only apply to that particular fan, but any proprietary Dell fan. From the research I did, it seems they wire most of them this way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.X;11668342 
Yeah I'm going to rewire my Nidecs from dell five pin to 3-pin for use with a fan controller.

If you have any sort of PWM control through your board, you wont even need a controller. Simply wire them up correctly and let your board adjust them automatically.
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post #5 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackOmega;11669495 
They're pretty awesome fans actually. With my "smartcooling" enabled through the BIOS, they almost never go above 2000 RPM, at that speed they're pretty quiet. Quieter than my 4870's @ 50%.

And this doesn't only apply to that particular fan, but any proprietary Dell fan. From the research I did, it seems they wire most of them this way.

Interesting. I do have an old Dell fan in my closet somewhere. I know it uses a proprietary connector. You said it stays below 2000RPM? What's the speed on them? Looks like I need to do some purchasing, and buying a fan controller lol. smile.gif
post #6 of 53
Sub'd I have a bunch of dell fan's and actually was going to test them (about 12 80x38mm Nidec/delta fans) Good thing you posted this so now I don't get raged when they don't work.
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post #7 of 53
I'm not getting the controller only for the Nedics.http://www.overclock.net/air-cooling/889733-fan-system-planed.html
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post #8 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbudden;11669545 
Interesting. I do have an old Dell fan in my closet somewhere. I know it uses a proprietary connector. You said it stays below 2000RPM? What's the speed on them? Looks like I need to do some purchasing, and buying a fan controller lol. smile.gif
They're 3900RPM fans. Even at full speed they're not all that loud really. Quieter than my old 92mmx38 Tornado (IIRC, 120CFM @ 6000RPM).
So I figure @ 2000RPM they're still pushing quite a bit of air, but once they start to ramp up the speed, of course they become a lot more audible, but I have yet to see them go over 2950RPM.
But the cooling performance they give is exceptional, once the CPU gets loaded, my MOSFET's get cooler than at idle since there's A LOT more air passing over them. It even lowers my NB temps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KusH;11669597 
Sub'd I have a bunch of dell fan's and actually was going to test them (about 12 80x38mm Nidec/delta fans) Good thing you posted this so now I don't get raged when they don't work.
Glad to help. thumb.gif
Dell actually uses some quality components in their stuff, too bad it's mostly proprietary......That's actually the very reason why I taught myself about computers in the first place. Stupid proprietary power supply mad.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.X;11669641 
I'm not getting the controller only for the Nedics.http://www.overclock.net/air-cooling/889733-fan-system-planed.html

Depending on your board, a lot of them can control up to about 4 fans. My board can control 3 I believe. It's just a matter of fine tuning the temps at which you want them to ramp the speed up.


___________________________________________________________________________________

I'm going to add pics of how to remove the wires from the plug later (for the people that don't know).
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post #9 of 53
Pretty well known, but is also a very very bad idea; those fans exceed standard fan header specs and can lead to a damaged board or components. You should be powering those fans off a molex connector straight to your PSU. That will also give you the opportunity to use the 7 or 5 volt settings instead of the full 12 volts.

Also, that isn't a Dell proprietary connector, it is a Dell model specific one, and varies very heavily from one server model to another.
    
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post #10 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by trueg50;11670281 
Pretty well known, but is also a very very bad idea; those fans exceed standard fan header specs and can lead to a damaged board or components. You should be powering those fans off a molex connector straight to your PSU. That will also give you the opportunity to use the 7 or 5 volt settings instead of the full 12 volts.

Also, that isn't a Dell proprietary connector, it is a Dell model specific one, and varies very heavily from one server model to another.

Well, it does say specifically that it's from a server. Although the pinouts are exactly the same as Dimension desktops.

I couldn't find any definitive information about how much amperage the fan headers are allowed to pull, if you have links on the subject, that would be more helpful than "they exceed fan header specs".
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