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DIY Fan LED Mod #2
Join the community - in the OCAU Forums!
Date 1st September 2002
Author Geoff "sabretooth" Wilson

Introduction and Theory

After seeing the Antec tri-colour LED fan I had become inspired - here was a fan with a simple idea used to great effect. I had been itching for a while to replace the top 120mm fan in my PC with a quieter Enermax fan which I could adjust the speed of in an effort to reduce the noise that my PC makes. In my watercooled system, my low speed 120mm Panaflo cooling the radiator is one of the noisier parts of the system (the power supply fan is the noisiest).

So when I saw the clear blades on the Enermax fan, it struck me - why not do the same thing with this fan? It hasn't got a transparent surround, but some lighting of these blades should still look just as good on the blades of the Enermax.

While you could do this mod on any fan, a fan with opaque blades is going to have nowhere the effect. Enermax fans are the only ones I know of at this time which have the clear blades which are required to produce the effects illustrated here.

But first! What you do is your own responsibility. If you decapitate a pigeon with the soldering iron - it's your fault - not OCAU's or my own. What's written here is a general guide - not a detailed technical reference.

So lets get down to it.

What you'll need:
  • 1 x Enermax speed-adjustable fan.
  • 4 x high intensity LEDs.
  • Superglue.
  • 1 x molex connector. I used the pass-through type which has a female connector too.
  • Thin gauge wire - red and black preferred.
  • 1 x resistor (rating determined later)
  • Heatshrink.
  • a 2 position switch.
  • A black marker.
  • Helping hands - handy like cannon.
  • A drill. The size of the drill bit used will need to be slightly larger than that of the head of the LED.
  • A hairdryer or anything else which can blow warm air. (a lawyer?)
  • A soldering iron.
The Theory

Now there are two ways of going about this. I'm only going to cover the method of using all LEDs of the same voltage. If there's enough demand I'll possibly write a follow-up (unlikely, though) on how to do this with LEDs of differing voltages.

Now, well start with the planning. The first thing you'll need to do is work out what value resistor you're going to need. Whip out your trusty calc.exe, and do some math.

What we need to work out is what size resistor we're going to need. This is probably most easily explained step by step. Assuming we have 4 2V 0.02A LEDs:

  • We're using the 12V rail, so we have 12V to play with.
  • The voltages of our LEDs add up to 8V
  • This leaves 4V to dissipate/remove.

    Ohm's Law

    Still remember your high school science classes? Basically, ohm's law is:

    V = I x R
    (voltage = current x resistance)

    V, from the previous step, is 4.
    I is the current of the LEDs - 0.02.
    Our unknown is I - resistance.

    The equation V = I x R becomes:

    4 = 0.02 x R.

    Rearrange it, and we get:

    R = (4 / 0.02)
    R = 200

    So we need a 200ohm resistor.

    Now, because resistors don't have their ratings written on them, you're going to have to figure out what coloured resistor you're going to need. There's a really handy little applet here which will allow you to plug in the colours/resistances. For 200ohms, we'll need red black brown.

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