Instructables

DIY Audio Interface Cooler

Picture of DIY Audio Interface Cooler
P1040621.JPG
This instructable is a simple hack to build an audio interface cooler.

The backstory:
I have a Presonus Firebox. Recently it stopped communicating with Ableton Live, crashing the program several times. I spent some time troubleshooting software problems unsuccessfully. It was confusing because I could play audio through windows drivers but not through ASIO drivers while it was hot. (FFADO Linux Drivers didn't work in Ubuntu either).

Eventually I guessed correctly that it must be overheating, so I unplugged it and put it on a household fan to make it cool down. When I plugged it back in, everything worked.

Originally I was thinking it would be cool to put a little muffin fan inside the box. There’s room in the box for a little fan but I didn’t want to break it by trying to solder a fan to one of the power sources inside the box, and there weren't any holes for air. Creating air flow would also have brought more dust inside the box (which would not be good). Using the separate fan allows the heat sinks to do their job without the risk of damaging my only high quality means of recording.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Get the Parts

Picture of Get the Parts
1 quiet 120mm computer fan (other sizes probably would work fine too)
1 low voltage power adapter (my fan is rated for 7.5V - 12V but I’m using a 5V adapter that tested at 6V)
4 same size golf tees (these are about the same diameter as the screw holes in the fan)
A small piece of packing tape (about an inch)
A little bit of double stick tape or some pressure sensitive adhesive (like sticky-tack)
22 gage wire (like what you would use on a breadboard), 1 red wire 2-3 inches and 1 black wire 2-3 inches
apseubert2 years ago
That's cool that it keeps your gear running(no pun intended) but doesn't that create a lot of external noise while you're trying to record?
a computer fan will generate next to no noise if you are powering it with 5volts (they are built for 12 so it is like giving a flashlight half the batteries it should have, it will just run weaker) it will make way less noise than even the quietest computer (unless you liquid cool and have your fans and pump in another room) on that same note i would suggest powering it with 12v and putting a dimmer inline (aka pc fan controller, can get them cheep almost anywhere) that way if the need ever arises you can kick it up.
a splosion (author)  bob.the.devil1 year ago
So it's possible that the fan creates magnetic noise. I'm not sure how loud it is, but I usually turn the fan off when I'm recording. It seems like the interface is well shielded against that sort of noise, but I guess the input/output cables are not shielded, necessarily. This calls for an experiment.
that is a good thought. and if it does i would *think* the noise would be constant so maybe just maybe you could get a recording of it and out it 180o out of phase and cancel it out. just a thought. would work in theory but in practice i wouldn't think so... but worth a try. (and if not just get some shielded cable and/or stick to xlr for the main input. i can't imagine it would have any impact whatsoever on high quality xlr. good cable is EVERYTHING (well that and all the other important stuff, for example, everything else).


a splosion (author)  apseubert2 years ago
It makes less noise than my computer tower. I can barely hear it with my ear right next to it. Additional noise was a concern of mine, and of course there's a reason that the box has passive cooling in the first place, but it hasn't been a problem.

It's easy to be obsessed with tracking down and quieting noise, but it's probably better to be obsessed with writing good lyrics and good music. I decided to allocate my time and energy appropriately, focusing on the things that make a good song. I like going back and listening to Coldplay's Parachutes or Jack Johnson's first album because you can hear how high the noise is. But they're still great albums because the good songwriting and good music heavily beats out any noise problems.
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!