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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought some $3 Panflos (21db, 24 CFM, 80 mm, 12v fans) on-line (forgot link but search here for older posts with links). I replace the 80 mm fan in my power supply (cheap and noisy 350 watts PS that came with my $500 generic Athlon 1.4g HTPC from online). I did this by removing the screws of the power supply to remove it from the case, and then removing the screws that hold the top cover of the power supply. I unscrew the old fan and cut out the grill of the PS using my rotoray tool to removie air turbulence noise (can use cutting pliers as sheet metal is thin). I then replace it with the Panaflo splicing red to red and black to black wires. I used tiny rubber washers (avail. at hardware store for $1 for 4 or can make your own using felt strips) to cushion the fan from the PS housing. Then I lined the edges of the top cover of the power supply with electrical tape (felt works better but did not have any) to pad the edges slightly to deaden the vibration some once I screwed the top of the powersupply back on and secure the PS back to the case with electrical tape cushioning any metal to metal contact to deaden any vibration.


Next is to quiet the Athlon turbine cooling fan. It had the stock fan and heatsink on it. I unscrew the 60 mm cooling fan, left the stock heatsink, and unplug the fan from the motherboard which has 3 prongs. Using fingernail clipper I clipped off one side of my 2-prong Panaflo plug so that it would slide easily on to the 3-prong socket (not using one of the prong which vary the speed of the fan as my cheap Panaflo does not have this feature). I glued the Panaflo fan sides to 2 strips of wood (1/2"X1") using Plumber's GOOP both which I had laying around and clamping it tight with my C-clamp over night. The wood must be cut to exact size to allow the fan to be over the heatsink (measure the distance after putting the fan temporarily on the heatsink). I secure the fan 1 mm over the heatsink (making sure the fan blows towards the heat sink) by screwing the wood strips holding my fan into the my case sheet metal wall. I use 10 sheets of sticky notes stuck together ontop of the heatsink and then remove the paper after fan is secure to ensure that the fan does not actually touch the heatsink (to minimize vibration and to prevent the blade from hitting the heatsink since the heatsink is smaller than my fan). The center of the fan is over the center of the heatsink. The wood isolate the vibration of the fan from the case. You must drill 2 holes into your sheetmetal case to match your wood strips by measuring precisely with a ruler (there is 1" margin for error due to the width of the wood). The screw should be flat and small to minimize the visibility but long enough to securely hold the wood. I touch up the screw top with a drop of off-white paint to blend in with case (black case would require black paint of course). You could buy 60->80 mm plastic fan adapters with the 60 mm side screwed onto the heatsink and the 80 mm side into the fan to make it a lot simpler for about $6 but I did not.


I then glue 1/2" polyfill batting ($7 for a queen size roll--used to make quilt or comforter) at Walmart crafts department) to my case sides, top, and bottom using 3M (or generic) spray glue ($3 at Walmart). I had this stuff as I made a hushbox for my NEC LT150 PJ which was lined with this batting also. I lined the back edges of my case cover with electrical tape to deaden the metal to metal contact (you can also use thin weather stripping foam or double-sided tape for better result--just don't take off the backing of the tape from one side so that you can remove your case cover later if needed).


Lastly, I put a 1" sheet of fiberglass insulation (freely available in most attic) cut to size of my HTPC bottom under my HTPC which sat on the floor to deaden any sound reflection or vibration. I also put a sheet of fiberglass 3" from the back of my PC to catch any reflected fan sound from bouncing off my wall. If you can't find fiberglass in your attic, then go buy a fiberglass ceiling tile ($5 from hardware store) which is easier to handle and better looking than plain old fiberglass insulation.


The result from this cheap (
 

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huey


nice post!!!


lots of good ideas


if your using the panaflo model fba08a12L that everyone bought from bg micro, it does have the fan speed sense pin on it, it just came with a 2 prong cord. everything from bg micro seems to be surplus (nothing wrong with that!), so whoever they bought the fans from probably didnt need the sense wire on the connector, but you could connect one.


did your cpu temp change ether way with the larger but slower panaflo?


i usually use dynamat to deaden the case interior, but ill use polyfill made into a pad (from an aquarium store) to make an air filter for the front of the case (and it also deadens the noise). i just remove the plastic front, and sandwich it inside.


use caution with regular "attic" fiberglass, as it is a know carcinogen (there was a big write up in this old house magazine about that). the stuff bonded for use as a ceiling tile is safe as there are no fibers for you to inhale.


we should start posting the db levels of cases we trick out. one meter away, c weighted, ect.......
 

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Any chance of some pictures please, as cheap silent solutions are exactly what i'm after :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, I know that's why the fiberglass only sit under my HTPC and against the back wall to catch the sounds (not much air from the fan reaches this fiberglass piece due to 3" distance of the back of the PC from the wall) and not inside my case which I use polyfill batting--much safer for your respiratory tract. I also spray the fiberglass (the side facing the rear PS fan) with my spray glue to keep the fibers stuck together and not get airborn. I used to stuff my subwoofer to tighten the bass but now switched to polyfill for safety. The sealed subs can still benefit from fiberglass but the vented ones should not be used as it can blow the microscopic fibers all over the room. Polyfill is not as efficient but much safer.


I wonder about my attic though as my AC vents shoot down from the ceiling which means fibers potentially could be blown down into my rooms if the ducts are not air tight. What happens is these little fibers get inhaled into your lungs, get stuck there, and cause chronic inflammation of the linings of your lungs. This chronic inflammation is what causes granulomas (scar deposits) and increase your risk for lung cancer (due to chronic, frequent, multiple repair of the tissue which can screw up just once to cause cancer--kinda like sun damaged skin increasing the risk for skin cancer). You have to inhale a bunch like those guys who install fiberglass insulation for a living without wearing adequate mask. My gut feeling is the little exposure we get with speaker stuffing and such would not be that risky, but why take a chance, right? Here is a scary article about fiberglass, its omnipotency, and its carcinogenic potential: http://www.consumerlawpage.com/article/fiber.shtml


My CPU and case temp. did not change with the new Panaflos. I don't overclock my system. Some people even slow down the fans further by adding resistors to the red wire--I'm not that anal about noise :D
 

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Easiest way to quiet a HTPC -


Put it in the basement/closet - feed S-video and USB up through the floor.


* Use a USB to IDE external case/converter for your DVD/CD-RW.

* USB to Serial for your IRman and/or LED


works great for me! No noise! and USB2.0 is faster than Firewire.


Dustin
 

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DMETS


what brand usb 2.0 to ide external case do you have?
 

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Here's my trick. I don't notice a peep from my HTPC.


Live somewhere with no central A/C. Install a window A/C 5 feet from where you sit. Watch movies when its hot out and you need the A/C on.


Voila! Maybe if I had a vacuum cleaner to cool my HTPC...I might have to worry about foam batting :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Bon, I should have photos coming tonight as I took them but was too late last night to post. I'll post them tonight after 9 PM (after I put the kids to bed and the wife would leave me alone :D)


Noise of PC is (ranging from worst to least) from 1) power supply and additional case fan(s), 2) CPU fan, 3) graphics card fan, 4) CD/DVD drive, 5) Hard Drive. You can fix #1 by swapping out fans with quieter yet same size, and same or better CFM rating ones. #2 can be done by swapping out the smaller fan with a slower, larger fan to keep or beat the CFM yet lowering the noise. Peltier cooling is another quiet alternative. #3 can be addressed by 1) get a fanless graphics card (Radeon VE or 7000, 2) removing the stock fan and replace with larger heatsink or quieter fan, 3) disabling fan and underclock video card (DVD does not require much horsepower). The drives can be isolated from the case or swapped with slower, quieter drives (DVD does not require very fast drive or 7200 RPM HD). The entire case can be hushed by 1) building an active (with quiet fan) or passive hushbox (larger size), 2) place in another room (cables can be troublesome and expensive), 3) line case with Dynamat, roof felt (stink), or cheaper polyfill, 4) isolate reflective surfaces under or around case (fiberglass ceiling tile is great sound absorber).


Good luck.
 

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Always a pleasure to read your posts Huey, i found that the zalman FanMate1 are very good at reducing fan speeds, i'm using two of them in each HTPC, 1 for the cpu , 1 for the vga heatsink (zalman vga + 40 mm fan).

I'm writing a HTPC monthly review for an italian magazine and this month the article focused on silencing the HTPC.

The best achievement i've got is the exhaust for the CPU fan, you need an 80mm pliable aluminium tube, and it must be plied and cut to fit with the rear case fan hole and the cpu fan. You have to isolate the ending of the tube with duct tape. If properly installed you can reduce the rpm to 2000 of the cpu fan with just a moderate heat increase. The heat blows outside the case and you can experiment better insulation.

Another nice idea is to put some rubber strips between the drives and the case to minimize vibrations, anyway your idea of completely isolate the PSU is interesting. I currently have Enermax 350 VE PSUs on both HTPC, but on M2 even with fan at lowest sped, the noise is still to high. I suspect the 80mm fan itself, but i tought enermax already used quiet fans. Can you suggest me some VERY quiet fans ?


bye
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dubmeister, I used Panaflo 80X80 mm, 12v DC, 24 CFM, 21 db fans from www.bgmicro.com but they're out of stock. They were $2.75 each if you buy 10 or more ($3.19 if singly). Since I'm a cheapskate, I bought 10 for tinkering ($30 shipped). I've replaced all my PS fans on all my PCs at home and at work, build 2 hushboxes for my LT150, put some on my baseball caps :D. I love these fans. There are quieter and more efficent fans out there but not as cheap as these (usually $10-$20 each).

http://www.markhannahsurplus.com/fanblow.php has my Panaflos in stock but at $4 each new or $3 used (197 in stock). Used should not matter with these long life fans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not sure what non-tailed means but I agree with your guess that it is without the wires. You need the wires with the plug-in to plug into your motherboard or else you have to splice the wires. Papst may be cheaper over there and pretty quiet too.


As promised earlier, here are some poor photos of my cheap mods:


Here you see that I've glued some polyfill batting to the 2 sides of my HTPC using generic spray glue (spray on cotton batting and then stick it on the case wall). I left the vent holes moptly unblocked to allow proper ventilation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here is what the PS supply mod looks like. Note that I've cut off the grill with my rotary tool (wire cutters will work too):


Notice the black electrical tape in between the metal plates to isolate any vibrations (may help, can't hurt).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here's what it looks like on the CPU. Notice the wooden stick that I glued on to both sides of the 80X80 mm Panaflo fan and then screw it to the top of my case. It's 1 mm above the actual, stock CPU heatsink underneath. Notice also the polyfill I've added to any expose metal surface to minimize sound reflection, resonation, and vibration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here is inside my case. Notice the liberal glueing of polyfill batting sheets to any bare metal surface to minimize sound reflection, resonation, vibration, and help insulates in the sound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here is the otherside of my case showing also the top 2 screws which holds my new Panaflo CPU fan (not painted off-white yet to show more clearly):
 

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Hi, I used to be into overclocking, but there is not much point in doing it now except for the fun of it. But I learned a lot about fans and quiet and Huey's ideas are all good, except I think the polyfill may inhibit airflow through the case.


I use the Enermax 80M UC-8FAB-B fans on my computer's power supply, HSF and also in my hacked Replay TV box--they are expensive, about $9 or $10, but they have a variable resistor which allows me to experiment and slow them down as slow as possible without sacrificing heat exchange.


The variable speed is really good. On the Replay for example, I made it as fast as possible without being able to hear it from 6 ft away, and the result is a totally cool and silent Replay.
 

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Forgot one other thing--watercooling. My next project in noise control is to install a water jacket HS on the CPU and the chipset and pass the hoses to the radiator in the nearby bathroom in a cabinet. The noise from the heat exchanger/radiator fan won't matter in the bathroom and it should be totally silent from fan noise (with the Enermax on the PS).


The fan in the power supply is overkill for just cooling the PS, it is mainly for case cooling. so, if make a couple of blow holes in the top and put a couple of big/slow or variable speed fans in the blow holes, no fan noise.



Here are a couple of sites from a while ago, there may be newer stuff since I last looked:


http://www.procooling.com/reviews/index.shtml

http://www.overclockers.com/


This one really has my interest: http://www.overclockers.com/articles389/

http://www.geminicool.com/orderinfo.html#
 
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