mCubed FanAmp

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SUMMARY: A useful accessory for temperature controlling 12 volt devices.

mCubed

The good guys at mCubed were nice enough to send a sample of their FanAmp to try out. The FanAmp is a separate power supply for 12 volt devices, such as fans, waterpumps, etc, controlled by a thermistor.

Features:

  • Separate power supply for 12 volt devices up to 25 watts – one channel
  • User sets fan speed and temperature
  • Thin foil thermistor to activate 100% speed over user settable temperature limit
  • Can convert motherboard signals from 7-12V to 0-12V
  • Velco for mounting

The FanAmp comes in a compact package:

PCB

It hooks up to a hard drive plug for power:

Back

Users can control fan speed (right knob) and the temperature point (left knob) at which the fan kicks up to 100% speed:

Top

The two pin plug at the top left is for the thermistor. The pin at the top right is for the fan or other 12 volt device, and the pin at the lower right allows users to connect the fan amp to a motherboard fan port. In addition, with software such as Speedfan, you can add more options to control voltages from zero to 12 volts.

There is also a built-in delay so that when the set temperature falls back under the set limit, voltage will be reduced but not right away. According to mCubed, “The short-time power (for example during start-up of a water pump) of the FanAmp is more than a 550 watts power supply can provide.”

However, they do include a capacitor

Cap

so that when the FanAmp first starts, the 12 volt devices connected to the FanAmp will start at full power, then fall back to its setting. This is needed for some devices that might not start at lower voltages but once started will turn over at a reduced voltage – fans are a good example – some will run at something like 4 volts but will not start at 4 volts.

The temperature knob sets the point at which the 12 volt device will run at 100% power, so the FanAmp can run a fan, for example, at 4 volts and when temps hit a set point, speed up to 12 volts. When temps go below the set point, the fan while once again slow down to 4 volts after a short delay.

There is an LED on the PCB which varies in intensity proportional to power – when at 100%, it will be fully lit; under that, its brightness dims relative to supplied power.

LED

In use I found it easy to set up. It’s a pretty simple device and the temperature range is more than adequate – it can be set for temps between 20°C to 120°C. I set the temp such that when I held the thermistor in my hand, the fan kicked up to 100%. I tried this repeatedly for about five minutes and it kicked on every time.

CONCLUSIONS

Simple to set up and use – mCubed’s Fan Amp gives users a means to isolate 12 volt devices and control them based on temperature.

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