92mm CPU Fan Replacement Project
To save on cooling costs at home I don’t run air conditioning during the Summer so need to be sure my computers are hardened to the heat; for this, as well as recapping the power supplies I also attend to the fans used for cooling. The problem, however, was that the CPU fan on my main computer at home is of strange standard, a round 92mm fan with the mounting holes of a square 80mm fan (71½ mm hole spacing).
Since there is a better selection with the more standard 92mm square fan (82½ mm hole spacing), I thought to make a conversion plate as I wanted to try a Noctua NF-A9 fan as a replacement, partly due to its claimed 150,000-hour lifetime and partly due to Noctua’s reputation for quiet running, although I was concerned that it might not have sufficient flowrate for the CPU’s cooling needs.
While there is a black version of this Noctua fan, which is more expensive, I went with the standard Noctua colors which take a little getting used to.
The Noctua redux series is cheaper and better looking while still having the 150,000-hour lifetime
but does not have such a good flow rate or pressure head rating as the new offerings, and since I was already replacing the original fan with one that was less powerful, I did not wish to take the risk.
In the conversion plate design (I went through several versions) I was careful to avoid thin sections that would have weakened the plate.
Now while it might have been easiest to just cut this plate out of some material by hand, I thought it would be educational to 3D print it, and in preparation for this I used the free edition of the Autodesk Fusion 360 CAD program which, while it had restricted functionality, was sufficient for the task although I would have liked the spline fit feature of the full version. One nice ability of the program is that it can generate a rendition of how the result may look.
Along with this it can also output an Engineering drawing to scale
A local 3D printing club helped me print the resulting STL file as I don’t have a 3D printer of my own; since the club was doing me a favor, I didn’t get to choose the color or material (PLA), but still felt the actual result came out rather well and only used about 15¢ of material.
This progress motivated me to finally order the Noctua NF-A9 fan and I included a protective fan grill as one was present on the original round fan.
Fortunately, the original design didn’t need any further alterations as the project worked well on the first try; CPU temperatures under load remained reasonable even though the original fan was 7W and the replacement just 1.2W
Another virtue of the Autodesk Fusion 360 CAD software is that it can also be used for circuit board design which may be useful in a future project.
This article was written by Anwar (Andy) Shiekh originally from London, England; he repairs things to help make an income go further and presently teaches Physics in Colorado, U.S.A.
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Note: You can check his previous repair article on AUKEY (CB-H5) USB 3.0 Hub Repair