Posted: December 15, 2003
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: Noise Isolator
Noise Isolator may not be a well known company, but they have a growing line of computer accessories that includes noise control products, water cooling, lan party gear, and fan controllers. For a previous review, Jab-Tech sent over the Noise Isolator 3.5” rheobus, and today they have sent over the newest Noise Isolator rheobus, the PWM Fan Controller. Although the selection of fan controllers seems to increase on a daily basis, the Noise Isolator PWM Fan Controller offers a few interesting features that make it stand out amongst the others.
The Noise Isolator PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) Fan Controller comes in the clear plastic retail packaging pictured below, which features brief installation instructions, a list of specifications, and a parts list on the paper insert.
The specifications, as taken from the Jab-Tech website:
• Pulse width modulation fan speed control module
• 12V DC input
• 12V DC output x 2 (3A/12V DC power)
• 20W per fan speed control channel
• 3 channels controlling up to 6 fans
Taking a look at the specifications above, and detailed in the series of images below, the interesting features of the PWM Fan Controller become evident. First, you’ll notice that although the device features 3 channels capable of a healthy 20W each, it mentions that it can support a total of six fans. In addition to the three fan speed control knobs, there are two buttons that allow 12V devices to be turned on/off.
The face of the unit being reviewed is pictured below. The black (blue and silver also available) aluminum 5.25” bay insert features three chromed speed control knobs, and two smaller chromed on/off buttons. The device is also printed with white lettering to detail what each switch/knob is controlling, which may be helpful to some, but I would prefer an undecorated face.
The backside of the device features a blue PCB with all of the necessary power connections required to control your devices. Detailed more clearly in the image on the right, there are a total of six 3-pin fan headers controlled by the three knobs, two 4-pin power connectors controlled by the two switches, and one 4-pin power connection for receiving power from the PSU. Many fan control devices may be capable of powering more than one fan per channel, but the user must then daisy chain or splice the fan wires together. The Noise Isolator PWM makes taking advantage of the available 20W simple by providing two fan headers per channel.
The profile view of the device (below left image) shows that secure installation into a 5.25” bay is achieved using the pair of screw holes found on either tab. The below right image takes a look down between the PCB and the front face where one can see the various electronic components, and a variety of LCDs which should provide a nice lighting effect when in operation.
In addition to the PWM Fan Controller, the package also includes the items listed below:
(1) LP4 4 Pin Y-Cable
(2) TX3 3 Pin Extension Cables
(1) PWM Power Switch Cable
(1) Bag of 4 mounting screws.
The image below shows the items listed above, as well as one additional PWM Power Switch Cable, available from Jab-Tech for an additional $1.00 (US). This cable is what takes the power from the two switches to your 12V device, and I don’t know why Noise Isolator doesn’t include two with the kit. The header on the back of the PCB is a male 4-pin connector like one would find on a floppy drive. Not a particularly common connector elsewhere, so having a cable that takes this connection and converts it to a standard 4-pin Molex is all but necessary.
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