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Thread: Make a No-Frills Tank Cooling Fan

  1. #1
    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    Make a Poor Man's No-Frills Tank Cooling Fan.

    A Poor Man's No-Frills Cooling Fan.

    (from a computer fan, power adapter and some tape)

    Cooling fans are great for controlling the heat in your tank. Whether it be a larger tank or a smaller tank, computer fans can either help keep the temperature down single handedly or compliment other cooling measures such as a chiller.

    So, what do you have to buy for this project. Just like the subtitle states.... a computer fan, a 12v power adapter and some electrical tape.



    Tools you need to buy? Nadda. Nothing. Ziltch. You'll get by perfectly fine with a sharp kitchen knife.

    So let's get to it........
    Last edited by Seahorsedreams; 02-03-2007 at 03:31 AM.
    Renee

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    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    Let's start with what type of fan and adapter to buy.

    An easy to find 12 volt computer fan. If you buy a few on ebay you can generally get them cheap.



    The power adapter needs to be a 12 volt AC/DC power adapter. Again cheaper on ebay.

    Last edited by Seahorsedreams; 01-16-2010 at 11:54 AM.
    Renee

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    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    As you can see the tips do not plug into one another.

    Let's cut the fan tips off.





    SWEET!
    Renee

  4. #4
    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    Followed by removal of the adapter tips.





    Double Sweet!
    Renee

  5. #5
    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    You can see each of the cords has two wires.



    Grab either side with your finger tips and separate them to about 1 and 1-1/2 inch lengths.

    Renee

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    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    Now it's time to remove the plastic insulation. The best way to do this, with the tools we are using, is to run a sharp knife around the diameter of each strand. Careful not to cut the wire strands beneath. Grab the plastic sheath and pull it off exposing the wire. Don't worry if a few strands of wire come off with it.... it's of no consequence

    Last edited by Seahorsedreams; 02-03-2007 at 03:36 AM.
    Renee

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    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    Come on baby... let's do the twist.



    Okay, not that kind of twist. Grab the tips of the wire and twist them like you would a soda bottle cap so that they look like this....



    Nice and cleeeean!
    Last edited by Seahorsedreams; 02-03-2007 at 02:47 AM.
    Renee

  8. #8
    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    Now, which wire of the adapter is to be connected with which wire of the fan? It actually makes a difference if you want the air blowing from the "front" of the fan. Otherwise it will blow out the back. It really won't make a difference which way it blows really, for either way it will be as effective. But, you don't want a bunch of fans that run in all directions.... adds to confusion. Just imagine if you permanently attached a fan to the hood to find it is blowing in an unexpected direction.

    So you line up the adapter wire that has the white lines on it with the red wire of the fan.

    See the line (which actually looks like dots on the wire). Please note the wire connections at this point are temporary just to make it more easy to see who is connected to what. I will show you an easier way to twist the wires together with the next post.



    Let's look a little closer.

    Last edited by Seahorsedreams; 02-03-2007 at 03:07 AM.
    Renee

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    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    Run the cords together with the wire together at the top... back-to-back I guess you could say.

    Last edited by Seahorsedreams; 02-03-2007 at 03:08 AM.
    Renee

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    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    Then twist the wire together.

    Renee

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    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    Then "re-open" the wires.

    Renee

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    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    Now pull out that electrical tape.

    Wrap the wire connection all the way around so that there is no exposed wire. The two sets of wire CANNOT touch.

    Last edited by Seahorsedreams; 02-03-2007 at 03:09 AM.
    Renee

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    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    Continue to wrap the entire cord with tape.

    Last edited by Seahorsedreams; 02-03-2007 at 03:11 AM.
    Renee

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    Grand Master Reefer Seahorsedreams's Avatar
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    And then......

    Oh wait!! And then nothing....

    YOU ARE DONE!!



    Pretty easy, huh?
    Renee

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    Site Owner Rob's Avatar
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    Great thread and instruction, thanks for the work on this..

    This thread has been STUCK!!!
    Show people you appreciate there advice, click the icon under there name and give them Reputation points



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    Master Reefer NaClFinatic's Avatar
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    Awesome Renee! You sure are on top of putting together some good posts.

    Now, how would I add a remote thermistor (to put in the tank) to control that? ...

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    Curious Reefer RobboT's Avatar
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    I did a similar thing but with a little twist.
    I used one of these terminal strips

    mounted to the inside of my canopy. Mounted two computer fans to the inside top of the canopy, drilled holes for the air to escape and ran the same DC Adapter up to the terminal strip, tied in the two fans and voila. I'll take some pictures tomorrow.

    I actually considered cutting the heater off of a spare heater with remote thermostat and tying that to the fan leads but wasnt sure of how the thermostat worked exactly and since its not where I can watch it all the time decided against it. Instead I just put the adapter on a timer synched with my light cycle.

  18. #18
    Grand Master Reefer PhotoJohn's Avatar
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    I purchased a few fans and they all have a ground wire as well (its yellow I assume thats ground) do I just attach the wire to a screw in the hood?

    Thanks John

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    Curious Reefer Raygunn's Avatar
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    PhotoJohn...
    i'm not sure with yours but alot of computer fans have extra wires to attatch to the motherborad of the computer to monitor the fan and tell it when to turn on and off etc... so this COULD be what that extra wire is... does it have a little tiny black connector? or is it connected to the bigger white connector like is shown in pic #4? also in Pic 4 you see a yellow wire that connects between the two connectors, but it gets cut off...

  20. #20
    Grand Master Reefer PhotoJohn's Avatar
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    I got it figured out finally. The wire with the writing on it was my black wire not my red wire. My fans sadly cant be wired backward

  21. #21
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    This may be a dumb question, but can I wire multiple fans to the same 12v adapter?

    I want to add 4 92mm fans to my canopy, but I'm not sure that I need to have 4 individual adapters for them.

  22. #22
    Grand Master Reefer CarmieJo's Avatar
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    Hi cardiffgiant and to TR. It depends how much power the fans draw. What are they rated?
    Carmie


    Only disasters happen fast!





    Carmie's 54 Corner Tank
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  23. #23
    Curious Reefer
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    Thanks for the welcome!

    I am looking at using 4 92mm vantec stealth fans that are rated at .84 watts each.

  24. #24
    Grand Master Reefer CarmieJo's Avatar
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    I am not an electrician but I think that as long as your transformer was rated at at least 3.4 watts you'd be OK.
    Carmie


    Only disasters happen fast!





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  25. #25
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    I run two fans off of a single supply without any issues.

    Something else you can do is to get a power adapter with different voltage settings. The one I got goes from 2v to 12v. By changing the selector to lower voltages, you can slow down the rotation of the fans and get a little more precise control over the air movement. In the winter time, I run my fans pretty slow. In the summer, I crank 'em up.

    Something to consider...

    -Chris

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