• I open sourced the design files

    Alexander Williams08/05/2021 at 05:36 0 comments

    I made some minor modifications to the design, and open sourced the design files on GitHub.

  • An initial design: board v.1

    Alexander Williams05/05/2021 at 22:33 0 comments

    I made a very quick initial design which includes a 1.1A (trip 2.2) fuse and some diodes.

    The dimensions are 50mm x 22mm, exactly half the size of my μDiff: Long distance digital signals over RJ45 project.

    I'll most likely iterate on this design as well, since I'm not a huge fan of:

    • the 2.54mm terminal block (the μDiff uses 5.00mm)
    • the mounting holes take too much space
    • there's not much free space for silkscreen labels
    • the diodes are 1812

    I'm still using SIP3 package switching regulators, because they're extremely efficient and work really well despite their higher cost.

    Since the module can't draw more than 1A, I could do away with the mounting holes and JST connectors, and simply put some 2.54mm pin headers and make it more "breadboard friendly". Let's see...

  • Alternatives to a fan controller

    Alexander Williams05/05/2021 at 08:03 0 comments

    My fan controller, pictured below, cost ~$30 when I bought it a few years ago.

    Not everyone has one of these lying around, so perhaps I can design a fan controller into the buck converter PCB?

    Alternatively, there are slightly cheaper models but much crappier models, ~$15 on Amazon.

    If I build my own, then I guess it would complicate the PCB since there's a few new things to consider.

    • generate PWM signal or control voltage only?
    • knobs for variable speed?
    • LCD display or regular LEDs?
    • 2-pin, 3-pin, or 4-pin fans?
    • IC controller and header for RPi connection?
    • how many fans to support?

    In the end, I'm not really trying to compete with Thermaltake, so I'd rather not design my own fan controller, but if the total component cost is quite low, then it might not be such a bad idea.

    Just a thought...

  • This already exists...

    Alexander Williams05/05/2021 at 03:33 0 comments

    I know I know, buck converters are a dime a dozen, but I really needed something in a pinch so I made this board without researching existing options.

    After some research, however, I found that most solutions to this problem involve inefficient linear regulators, some DIY buck converter using resistors (voltage divider), or el cheapo buck converters with questionable parts.

    Here's one example: https://www.antonmansson.com/how-to-run-12v-fan-on-24v-3d-printer/

    OK so that solution is inexpensive, at ~$2 per module, however it's a pain requiring one module per fan, and having to tune each one manually for each fan (requires a multimeter).

    My idea uses a simple dual converter that connects to a PC fan controller which is designed specifically for controlling fans with turn knobs (and it looks cool).

    So, I'm thinking of designing a tiny plug-n-play PCB to make this simpler for others. Let me know if that interests you.