[Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

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[Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

I'm planning to equip my custom case with two 120MM Noctua fans, especially considering the room temperature where I am currently located averages around 32°C. I'm aware that directly powering these fans through my Odroid is not feasible. Would anyone have suggestions for a DIY or third-party PWM controller solution? Ideally, I'd like something that allows both programmatic control via the Odroid and provides sufficient power to the fans. Any guidance or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by odroid »

Do you consider building your own custom case something like this?
https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/hc4-p-t ... ation-kit/

Instead of dual fans configuration, a single 92mm fan seems to be sufficient probably if your ambient temperature is lower than 35°C.
In that case, a Noctua NF-A9 5V PWM would be a solution with a minor connector modification.

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

odroid wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2024 9:28 am
Do you consider building your own custom case something like this?
https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/hc4-p-t ... ation-kit/
I am actually using this kit with the backcover taken out for more airflow. but still my hard drive temps reach 40+ at night. I am using these settings in fancontrol

Code: Select all

INTERVAL=10
DEVPATH=hwmon0=devices/virtual/thermal/thermal_zone0 hwmon2=devices/platform/pwm-fan
DEVNAME=hwmon0=cpu_thermal hwmon2=pwmfan
FCTEMPS= hwmon2/pwm1=hwmon0/temp1_input
FCFANS= hwmon2/pwm1=hwmon2/fan1_input
MINTEMP= hwmon2/pwm1=35
MAXTEMP= hwmon2/pwm1=55
MINSTART= hwmon2/pwm1=10
MINSTOP= hwmon2/pwm1=10
MINPWM= hwmon2/pwm1=10
odroid wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2024 9:28 am
Instead of dual fans configuration, a single 92mm fan seems to be sufficient probably if your ambient temperature is lower than 35°C.
In that case, a Noctua NF-A9 5V PWM would be a solution with a minor connector modification.
I will check this out, right now I am using the fans that comes with the HC4 P transformation kit. I am considering building my own circuit that will use the 5v PWM signal with an external power to drive for 2x 12V fans

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by odroid »

I think Arduino Nano or similar small MCU board will be fine to control a couple of PWM fans.
You can adjust the fan speed via USB interface on the fly. Try looking into the Firmata protocol on Arduino library.

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by mctom »

40 deg C for HDD with ambient temperature of 30 is a really good result. I really don't think that adding a second fan will change anything.

HC4 has a few GPIO pins, and here is a daemon I wrote a while ago, that generates PWM relative to CPU temperature:
https://github.com/tomek-szczesny/gpio-fan-controller

All you need is n-type mosfet to control fans with this PWM signal. You can connect multiple fans in parallel and use a common transistor to control them.
If your fans are 4-pin type then they have PWM input and may actually work connected directly to HC4 GPIO.

The only question is whether it is possible to gain control of HC4 GPIO, as their default function is SPI master. I don't know that unfortunately..
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

Diving headfirst into DIY electronics (no experience, just a bucketload of curiosity). I sketched out this circuit for controlling a couple of 12V PWM fans using a 5V signal. It's a bit of a "franken-design" based on stuff I've scraped together from online reading.

Image

I would really appreciate it if you could take a look and share your thoughts. Will this work as expected? Any feedback or suggestions for improvement would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by mctom »

That's really good for someone who doesn't claim any significant experience.
First you've got to determine whether HC4's pins can be used as General Purpose pins.
Then find datasheet of your fans and see if they can work with 3.3V PWM signal.
Most ARM SBCs have 3.3V GPIO logic, not 5V like Arduinos.
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

I am planning to connect it to the existing 5V PWM Port of HC4. As I don't intend to control the fans individually. I am planning to use 2x nf-a12x15-pwm which according to specs https://noctua.at/en/nf-a12x15-pwm can drive 5V PWM Signal. What do you think?

I just taught myself how to build basic PCBs coming from my hobby in building DIY keyboards, but I have no electronics background I just try to copy schematics here and there.

Image

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by mctom »

Oh, okay, I forgot HC4 does have a fan connector. :)

There is no explicit info on Noctua site I could find that their products support 3.3V PWM logic, but it makes perfect sense to support it.
If one fan works fine with this HC4 connector then branching PWM signal to two fans will work just as well. If it doesn't work or you are unable to test it, for the peace of mind, add a non-inverting voltage level translator up to 5V. This can be done with a single n-mosfet.

As you already know, branching TACHO signal won't work. I don't think this would cause any damage but surely wouldn't be readable by the host.

Each fan draws 0.13A max. Two fans will total at 0.26A. You seem to expect a voltage drop of 3V on the regulator (15V down to 12V). Thus dissipated regulator heat will be around 0.75W. Not great, not terrible, but since you want to cool your computer and not heat it additionally, consider building a switched voltage converter instead. It is more complicated than one component, but almost always worth the additional effort.

How about AP63200? In this datasheet you will find application schematic and component value tables to make your own Buck converter.
https://www.diodes.com/assets/Datasheet ... P63205.pdf
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

mctom wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2024 12:05 pm
There is no explicit info on Noctua site I could find that their products support 3.3V PWM logic, but it makes perfect sense to support it.
This is what I see, is my assumption correct?

Image
mctom wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2024 12:05 pm

How about AP63200? In this datasheet you will find application schematic and component value tables to make your own Buck converter.
https://www.diodes.com/assets/Datasheet ... P63205.pdf
Huge thanks for the reference , I was reading on this last night, perfect timing. I will check it out

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by mad_ady »

40C is normal operating temperature for spinning hard drives. The fact that you know the temperature implies that you're reading it through SMART. Be advised that in general reading SMART parameters causes the drive to spin up (or prevents it from spinning down), causing it to produce more heat.
If you're accessing your NAS seldomly, and don't mind a couple of second of wait for the drives to spin up, see the disk longevity section here: https://magazine.odroid.com/article/set ... rpose-nas/

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by mctom »

This "datasheet" is dumbed down for consumers.

If you measure any 5V source, more often than not you will not measure exact 5V on it. Tolerances are everywhere. That's why in electronics world we operate on ranges and not absolute values.
So they say "Voltage PWM signal" is 5V. What will happen if you connect 3.3V though, will it treat it as a logical zero, or one? or perhaps an undefined state that will vary between units? And what about 2.5V? Does it have an internal pull-up? What resistance range, or current?
And what will happen if you connect 5.01V instead? Will it tolerate it or catch fire?

That's why I said there is no definitive answer on this website. The PWM fan input may work with 3.3V logic but doesn't have to.
And again, if you can't test it then just add a level translator.

EDIT: Ah I get it now, you think that 5V fan port on HC4 has a 5V PWM signal? No it doesn't, it's 3.3V.
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

mad_ady wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2024 1:47 pm
Be advised that in general reading SMART parameters causes the drive to spin up (or prevents it from spinning down), causing it to produce more heat.
Thanks for the info, I observe mine spins down after a while as I can no longer hear or feel that its spinning. When I try to check SMART from a non spinning state back to spinning state I can see 30-32
mctom wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2024 1:54 pm
EDIT: Ah I get it now, you think that 5V fan port on HC4 has a 5V PWM signal? No it doesn't, it's 3.3V.
I see, yes that was a misunderstanding I just saw the 3.3V on the schematic.

Honestly, this might end up feeling like a waste of time, and maybe I'm thinking too much about it because my temperatures aren't always above 40 degrees. But, I think it's a good chance for me to learn something new, so I'm going to keep going with it. Thanks for all your valuable feedback and for not just telling me to stop.

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by mctom »

geocine wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2024 3:07 pm
Thanks for all your valuable feedback and for not just telling me to stop.
That's the worst online feedback one can get, right?
I mean, I told you that I don't think you need two fans, but since you want to build a PCB for it then I can't see why not.
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

mctom wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2024 3:46 pm
I mean, I told you that I don't think you need two fans, but since you want to build a PCB for it then I can't see why not.
At this point, I'm not sure what I am doing here I just took your advise and club it all together. I'll just put it up here for progress sake and nitpicking

Image
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by mctom »

You impressed me more when you had more luck guessing. :)
The very first page of AP63205 datasheet says that this exact part number generates a fixed voltage of 5V.
If you want 12V output then you need an adjustable model, like AP63200.
Output voltage is adjusted by a voltage divider added to a feedback pin, as shown in figure 20.
Example component values are given in Table 1.

You have successfully implemented an inverting logic voltage translator using a MOSFET, now try again stressing the "noninverting" part in your search prompt.
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

For the MOSFET I followed this https://www.penguintutor.com/electronic ... levelshift but I think its my footprint that is messed up DRAIN should be 3 and SOURCE should be 1. I also have updated the to ASP63200 like you pointed out. Thanks for your patience.

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by mctom »

There is "something" wrong with your schematic, R2 is shorted out. Check again what you've done.
After you correct this feedback path you'll have to admit that was easy - and you'll never have to place a heat sink on this, even if you source 2A from it.

The MOSFET based voltage translator was correct and still is correct, but I strongly prefer the correct symbol you have just used.
However this is still an inverting translator.

The "Bi-directional" level shifter presented on that page you linked is what I had in mind. It is non-inverting, and being bidirectional is a bonus feature.
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

Thank your for your time, I hope this is good now.

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by mctom »

Almost there. :)
The bidirectional level shifter that I recommended requires 3.3V on transistor base - I forgot about it, and your circuit doesn't have access to 3.3V power source. And you connected the PWM signal which isn't correct.
So what I propose is to find out how to make a two-resistor divider, and divide 5V into 3.3V, which will be fed to a Q2 base. Resistors should be in range of tens of kohms to reduce power draw.
Also remove R4 in that case.

EDIT: And you're welcome, I'm always glad to help with electronic design.
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

I hope I understood this correctly, my incompetence really shows and I am getting free consultation here.

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by mctom »

Nice, that's what I meant. Looks like your design is complete.

EDIT: That's merely a suggestion, but I wouldn't call that net "3.3V" because someone else may think this is a power source. I would call it "3V3 Ref." for Reference. But that's not a mistake, technically.
Voltage dividers work accurately only when there is no significant current load on the output, like MOSFET gate.

Of course MOSFETs have gates not bases, I mixed them up in my last post.
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

Thanks again, now I have to identify the correct power limits for my components. I'm thinking 100mW to 250 mW for the Rs and atleast 25V for the Cs. I'm just spitting random numbers based on what I read.

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by mctom »

In Space industry we had to calculate power dissipation of every single component by hand, to prove it is within specified range.
We did some shortcuts because it was way too much work sometimes!
Let's assume 0.25W resistors that are common in 0603 packages, and maximum voltage of 15V.
Using formula P=U*U/R,
R=U*U/P
15*15/0.25 = 900 Ohms.

This means that any resistor above 900 Ohms cannot dissipate more than 0.25W in this system. Unless your device generates higher or negative voltages, and it doesn't.
All your resistors are safe.

25V capacitors will be fine too. I would make C4 a 50V capacitor though - bootstrap may create voltages higher than input, but not more than twice the input voltage.
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

mctom wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2024 8:59 pm
In Space industry we had to calculate power dissipation of every single component by hand, to prove it is within specified range.
We did some shortcuts because it was way too much work sometimes!
Let's assume 0.25W resistors that are common in 0603 packages, and maximum voltage of 15V.
Using formula P=U*U/R,
R=U*U/P
15*15/0.25 = 900 Ohms.

This means that any resistor above 900 Ohms cannot dissipate more than 0.25W in this system. Unless your device generates higher or negative voltages, and it doesn't.
All your resistors are safe.

25V capacitors will be fine too. I would make C4 a 50V capacitor though - bootstrap may create voltages higher than input, but not more than twice the input voltage.
Thank you, that validated my choices even though I did the shortcut and surprisingly I did choose 50V for C4. I will do more reading after this ordeal, I really appreciate your feedbacks.

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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

It's working! thanks again @mctom. The fans responds to fancontrol. I am still waiting for my other cable so I can test the OUT directly to the HC4 so I only use 1 15V adapter.

Image

Don't mind my soldering, I had a hard time soldering that pico blade the pitch was so tight, and I don't have soldering arms right now.

Image

Now I am off to CAD to design my case that will fit these 2 fans.
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by mctom »

Okay, I didn't expect you to build it. Great work!

The inductor L1 is suspiciously small. It may have a proper inductance, which is the most important parameter but not the only one.
The bottom line is to check its temperature after operating it at full load for a while.

I don't know any pro that actually uses "third arm" things for soldering. I have a PCB vise on my wishlist, but I wasn't a good boy last year.
https://www.stickvise.com/
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Re: [Help] Integrating Dual 120MM Noctua Fans with Odroid HC4 for Enhanced Cooling

Post by geocine »

mctom wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2024 1:46 pm
The inductor L1 is suspiciously small. It may have a proper inductance, which is the most important parameter but not the only one.
The bottom line is to check its temperature after operating it at full load for a while.
This is the part I used https://www.lcsc.com/product-detail/Pow ... 63924.html
mctom wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2024 1:46 pm
I don't know any pro that actually uses "third arm" things for soldering. I have a PCB vise on my wishlist, but I wasn't a good boy last year.
https://www.stickvise.com/
Oh that's neat, the magnets+arms combo was tbh very hard to use. Another gear to add to my list

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