Introduction: Fan LED Mod

Picture of Fan LED Mod

Hallo people,

(this is my first instructable so if anything is not clear feel free to comment)

in this instructable im going to show you how to mod your boring old pc fans.
I will be using RGB LEDs but you can use regular single color LEDs aswell.
For less experienced people I'd recommend using regular LEDs.


What u need:

- PC fans (or any other fan u want to mod)
- LEDs (including the data see step 1)
- wire
- drill
- hot glue
- 5mm drill bit
- soldering iron
- solder
- resistors (for value see step 1)
- tape (I believe the tape I used is called painter's tape or masking tape)

if u are going for rgb:
- rgb controller (u can buy these on ebay for 5-6$, CHECK: common-anode or common cathode )
RGB controller

- RGB LEDS (CHECK: common-anode or common cathode )

optional:
- paint (I asked friend to do it for me but forgot to ask what he used)

Step 1: Schematics

Picture of Schematics

Before u check the schematic choose your leds and obtain their datasheet

things u need to know about your led :
- foward voltage (v)
- current rating (mA)

and if your going for RGB also check whether u have common anode (+) or common cathode (-) leds

now first off regular leds:

I'll use regular blue leds as example:

datasheet:
blue led
foward voltage:3.2
current rating max: 30mA (I will use 20mA wich is the common current for LEDS as 30 is max it could kill leds when there is a peak in current and it will also reduce lifespan) 

I want 4 leds, 1 for each corner of the fan

they supply voltage for PC fan are yellow (+12v) or red (+5v),  I the use 12v so I can put more leds in series.

using this calculator u can calculate what value resistor u need
ledcalculator

In my case the calculator tells me to put 3 in series with 120Ω resistor and 1 led with a 470Ω resistor.

I could also use 2 strings of 2 leds in series wich would need 2 300Ω resistors 1 for each string
see image below

its best to use 1 resistor as this results in lowest current being drained from psu but this can only be done with leds wich have a low foward voltage like red leds(1.5v  4x1.5=6v  6v<12v).


Now for the RGB LEDs:

its almost the same as with normal leds (as a RGB led is a mix of a red, blue and green LED in 1 case) u have to calculate your resisistors

as shown in the added image I used 470Ω resistors for all leds because I had a lot of them laying around resulting in a lower current for blue and green and a higher current for red but only a few mA and within the max current rating

I used a rgb controller (u can get one on ebay for around 5-6$) to test my finished fans.
For the single color leds u can simply use any 12v dc psu or adaptor (note: the adaptor has to have a higher Amp rating then the leds u are hooking up to it, but ussualy they go from 200mA to 5A so u can hook up 1000/20=50 leds strings on a 1A supply at max but its better to avoid the limit >better safe then sorry<)

if u have your leds and resistors right u should go for the next step

Step 2: Drilling

Picture of Drilling

now we have the elektronics ready its time to mod the actual fans by drilling holes

NOTE: be verry carefull at this step if u drill to deep u could destroy the fan blades wich equals game over 

the power cable got in my way so I used some tape to hold it in place while im drilling the fans

on the corner of the fan there are some plastic *walls* so I cant put my leds precisely in the cornor so instead I decided to put them all left next to the walls (left when u look onto the corner from above and the airflow is in your derection (u can find this printed on side of fan)).
remember to do all leds in the same way cause else It would look realy bad + I'd be hard to fix 

I put some tape on the corners cause it gave me the best holes and also gives a little protection for the blades(very little that is).

I drilled the holes using a 5mm drill bit.

After drilling remove the tape en check your holes and fan blades

if u did a great job u can now go to the next step

Step 3: Building

Picture of Building

NOTE: !! Check your leds (after using the hot glue I found out some of my rgb leds were dead and took me few hours to get them out and put new ones in without destroying anything) !!

before u start to build, you shoud put new tape on the corners covering the holes u drilled in step 2
U have to do this to prevent the leds from going to deep into the fan blocking the blades

to keep the leds in place I used hot glue and after that I bend the leds legs all to the same direction

after soldering all the resistors and wires I hot glued these aswell to avoid short circuits

because I use yellow, red, blue, and green wires the fan looks a bit to flashy so covered the blades and asked friend to paint the edges shiny black

this is optional, I can imagine some ppl want to see the work they did.

if all went well u can go to the final step

Step 4: Finishing

Picture of Finishing
last step:

hook up your fan to a psu and turn on your leds

and enjoy the awesomeness of your Fan LED mod

Comments

furby (author)2012-11-02

what is the "best" way to do the reverse of this mod?
i.e: i have a LED fan (5) and don't want to fork out for new fans.

snip the wires
break the leds
de-solder (hope not. i can't solder for crap)

Err0rC0deX (author)furby2012-11-03

led fans have leds that are powered from the center pcb behind the fan motor.
U can simply remove the leds and wires that go from the leds to the center pcb. It won't effect the fan motor itself because those circuits are seperated on the center pcb.

to remove the wires from center pcb simply move the wire from side to side till it breaks of the pcb.

CalcProgrammer1 (author)2012-08-18

Nice RGB Fan mod! Looks great with a black plastic fan. I did something similar where I replaced the blue LED's in a clear fan with RGB and have them driven off of custom ATMega168-based controllers. I like this solution as you can control them via programs on the PC (using serial port) and I made them flash to music. I have to try a black fan now, it has a cool looking effect!.

zack247 (author)2011-01-28

hey there, i did something like this with a fan in the summer, it turned out great and looked cool after i painted the blades gun metal. a real easy way to keep your blades from getting damaged from the drill bit is to start by taking off the sticker on the back of the fan, then if there is a rubber / plastic plug you take that out, then pull off the plastic ring that is around the shaft of the fan blade assembly. after that the blades slide away from the rest and you dont have to worry.
It is not necessary to keep the retainer ring in good shape, its not necessary for the blades to stay on the rest, the magnetic force will keep them in place and you dont need to worry.

i especially like the use of the rgb leds, they look really cool.

Err0rC0deX (author)2011-01-30

if its possible to remove fan blade its a lot easier yes but I have had a fan wich required complete destruction to get the blade off so since then I use drill skill instead disassemble skil ^^

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