Vantec Fan and Light Controller

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Nice addition for case modding – Joe

SUMMARY: Nice addition for case cooling and customization.

Kit

The good guys at Vantec sent us a sample of their Fan and Light Controller (Nexus-301) to test out. The kit features:

  • 3 Fan channels (up to 18 watts per channel)
  • One Light Control channel (On, Off and Sound Activated)
  • Two blue cold cathode tubes (12 3/8″ long)
  • Three 4 pin to 3 pin converter cables
  • Power Cable
  • Screws and light mounting pads

The fan channels range from full off to full on. The light controller can be set for full On, Off and Sound Activated. A look inside

Inside

shows the fan and light channels. The cold cathode transformer is prominent on the circuit board

Xformer

and features a warning label about high voltages – note that it is protected by plastic casing on its top and bottom:

Bottom

The front panel

Front

is back lit with green LEDs. The Cold Cathode Controller

Knob

features three settings:

  • On
  • Off
  • Sound Activated

To the right of the knob is the microphone for light activation by sound waves.

Performance Tests on page 2…

Email Joe

Performance Tests

I found the Fan Controller does its job fine, although the “active” region seems to be in an arc of about 180 degrees (this may be fan specific). However, I had no problem moderating fans from barely moving to Full On.

The Light Controller is more interesting. The two Blue Cold Cathode lamps are quite bright:

Lit

No question these will make enough light in a dark room so that you could easily walk around.

Activating the lights by sound is, I would think, the most interesting feature of this Kit. I first rotated the knob to Full On to see if the transformer was noisy – it’s not, doesn’t make a peep.

I then tried Sound Activation to see how sensitive the microphone is.

I found that I could talk in a normal tone and the lights would flicker on and off at a distance of about 12-18″ from the front panel, responding to “hard” sounds. I also tested with music and found that it takes a fair amount of sound to activate the lights – not blasting, but certainly not background music” sound levels.

All this also depends on how far the music source is from the microphone. I also found that it seems to respond more to mid-level tones, but I think this is more due to sound levels than anything else.

I also found that the lights would not just flicker on and off, but vary in intensity with sound levels. For example, if the background music was loud enough, the lights would stay in at a reduced level and glow brighter as sound increased.

CONCLUSIONS

All in all, a nice package for case lighting and fan noise control. Sound Activation of the Cold Cathode Lights could be fun at party time.

Thanks again to Vantec for sending this our way.

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