Replacing a Power Supply Fan

I have a homebuilt PC connected to our TV running Windows Media Center as a PVR. The Antec Aria case is a nice design, small enough to fit in a media center, but still tall enough for full height expansion cards. One of the defining characteristics of the case is the custom power supply: only 300 watts, has a custom L-shape to fit in the back of the case, and has a nice big 120 mm cooling fan that helps cool the case as well as the power supply. I usually run it 24/7, as it has a low wattage processor and can be set to record TV at any time. But recently, that nice big fan started making some noises. I tried oiling it, but the noise persisted, and then it started chirping:

I decided that I would try to replace the fan. How hard could it be? I knew it was a 120 mm fan, I could just buy a new one, take out the old one, and put the new one in its place. It turned out to be a little more involved than that.

WARNING: Opening a power supply is dangerous. Even when unplugged, components inside may still hold damaging voltages that can discharge.

Getting to the power supply itself required almost a full disassembly of the case. Once I removed it from the case and opened the screw holes, I found that the existing fan had a two wire connection to the power circuitry (red & black), with a third wire looped in to a monitoring line that ran outside the case which could be attached to the motherboard (blue). These three wires were bundled together so a simple unplug-the-old, plug-in-the-new replacement wasn’t going to work. The two wire connection wouldn’t fit the plug I had for the new fan anyway, so I decided to cut and connect the three lines. My new fan had all three wires as clear so I had to line up the adapter I had to find the sequence should be blue-red-black. I also don’t have a soldering iron, so I used wire nuts and lots of electrical tape.

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It was a little tricky getting the supply back together with the extra wiring, making sure the fan could spin freely, but I got it. I put the case back together, and booted off the motherboard. The annoying chirping had been replaced with a soft whisper. Plus, now I had a little stylish red accent lighting in the back of my case:

Hopefully, I’ll be buying a new case and a new power supply before this fan goes bad.

3 thoughts on “Replacing a Power Supply Fan

  1. I precisely wanted to thank you very much all over again. I am not sure the things that I could possibly have followed in the absence of the entire creative ideas provided by you relating to that situation. It had become an absolute frightful scenario in my view, but discovering the skilled tactic you dealt with that made me to jump with gladness. I am happier for your advice and in addition trust you comprehend what a powerful job you were accomplishing educating many others thru your web blog. Probably you have never encountered any of us. Consider a visit to my page . thx!1

  2. Have you considered including some social bookmarking buttons to these blogs. At least for myspace.

    1. Sure, but I’m still waiting for the America Online one.

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