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Make a simple fan controller drive

Feb 18, 2010
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OK, I was bored out of my mind last Sunday, so I came up with this guide (I haven't finished it yet so no guarantees, but it seems simple enough).

1 x CD/DVD/floppy Drive, preferably one that doesn't work
1 x Hot Glue gun (the sexiest you can find :))
1 x PCB (try Radioshack, but you don't really need one)
Some x 12v Fans, an equal amount (or more) of switches, and twice as many blade connectors.
Bunches x Cables, wires, etc.
A few x Tools (a pocket knife could be useful)

The smarts:
You really don't need a drive, you could just rig it up to your case (but who wants to do that?)

Step 1: Get a case to put it all in
Grab your dead CD/DVD/floppy drive. Empty it. I'm doing this with a CD drive and there was this huge Plastic Piece lining the inside of the drive, keep it. Grab a Molex extender cable and cut the female end off, connect them both to eachother. Strip a bit of the insulation off of the Male End, you don't need the red and the black next to it so you can remove them if you want. Put the huge plastic piece back in the Drive, and cut a hole in the back of it so the Molex can fit in nice and tight (don't worry if you accidentally make it too big), take out the female end and put the Male End back into the hole. Hot glue the Male End in place so it isn't loose when you feel like unplugging it. Vacuum the mess you just made all over your carpet.

Step 2: Make the board
Grab a PCB (if you have to go someplace you should get one that looks like it'll fit into the fatty Plastic Piece), and connect the Yellow and Black to some random spot in it (preferably a decent ways apart from eachother). Get a handful of wires, connect them from the Black (or Yellow, it doesn't matter) to the front of the PCB/Drive IN PARALLEL. Grab another handful of wires and connect your switches to them (I didn't hook them straight up for purposes of the distance from PCB to the front of the drive). Grab yet another handful of wires, connect them from the Yellow (or whichever isn't connected to the switches) to the back of the PCB/Drive (leave some space in between each one). Take another handful of really long wires and connect the switches to the spaces in between the last wires.

Make sure nothing is connected where it shouldn't be, make sure there aren't any places where it might short (try some heat shrink). I'm not sure about the conductivity of hot glue, so avoid that if you can. Put the top back on the Drive.

Step 3: Rig stuff in
Grab a drive cover from your PC and drill a few holes in it, take off the little tabs on the side of it, and hot glue it to the Drive. Put the switches in the holes (hot glue them in if they don't have anything to secure them down). Make sure they're upright.

Grab a few of your blade connectors (preferably different colors, such as red and black), grab another handful of wires and connect the wires in the back of the PCB to the blade connectors. Hot glue gun the blade connectors to the back of the Plastic Piece.

Step 4: Test it out
Make sure the wires on the Fans are really long, if they aren't make them longer. Shove the Drive into your PC and fasten it down. Put some blade connectors on the ends of the wires from the Fans (preferably color-coded), plug them into the back of the Drive and move the Fans wherever you'd like. Plug the Molex into your PSU, and turn on your computer. Flick a few of the Fans on to see if they work. Tadah! You've made yourself a fan controller drive!

Various other thoughts
You could also put a few LEDs in if you want, but I'm not good with little circuits like that (you might need another Molex though).

If your PCB is too small you should shove a few screws in it and hot glue them to the bottom of the drive.

I'm not doing this with a floppy drive (which probably doesn't have a huge Plastic Piece), so you might have to rig the PCB and Molex differently.

You could also do this with dimmer switches (I think).


Graphical Hacker
Feb 1, 2006
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Potentiometers are the most popular for this project. I am unsure of the exact values.