By now most of you know what a fan bus or bay bus is. If you're not sure what it is, lets recap real quick. Picture four (4) fans running full speed in your case. They're loud as heck and your trying to enjoy a movie in your room. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to turn down the noise on the fan? To turn down the noise, you need to turn down the speed on the fan. Of course you could just shut your machine down while you're watching television, but you need that idle CPU cycle time to crunch some serious RC5 right!?
So what do you do? Get yourself a bay bus like I mentioned before. These tiny units let you control the amount of voltage going to the fan itself, thus lowering the noise emitted from them. We're going to take a look at a pre-made switching bay bus today from the fine folks at UMaxPC.
Here's what you get in the package:
- Circuit board bay bus (no more messy wires)
- Drill template
- Molex pass through cable
- Four (4) LED bezels
- Some double side tape
What this switching bay bus does is function as an on/off and variable speed. The LEDs will glow red at full speed (12V), green at low speed (~5V-11V) and off when the switch is turned off. The benefit of using this device is the ability to vary the speed. You can set up one fan to be at a lower speed than another and vice versa. Very customizable for your fan controlling needs.
The individual switches each can take up to 6W. In our case, the 80mm Panaflo comes in at about 2.08W. So it is well under the maximum wattage supported by the switch. Keep in mind that the faster and large your fan is, the more watts it uses. For example, the fastest Panaflo I have seen comes in at a bit over the 6W mark, so be careful on which fan you use.
Here is the printed circuit board (PCB) of the device. The top picture shows the four (4) pairs of screw down clamps you can use to control up to four (4) devices total. Each area is marked red/black to correspond to the 12v and ground lead on your fan. You can see the UmaxPC.com logo printed underneath there if you look real hard. This device can also be used to operate lighting products like neons and cathodes. I don't advise adjusting the voltage on those devices though, you'll most likely damage them very quickly.
On top of each LED are trim pots, which let you adjust the voltage in the lower speed setting of your switch.
To install this bay bus, you're going to need a blank 5.25" faceplate and a drill with a 1/4" bit. Take your drill template and line it first with your bay bus. Make sure all holes are in the correct position before you drill. Next, place the template on the faceplate and drill through. It should take less than 3 minutes to complete everything.