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.


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.