# Modding Adding multiple LEDs to a basic case fan.

Discussion in 'Modding' started by Tealc, 6 Jan 2011.

1. ### TealcWhat's a Dremel?

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I posted this up on the ocuk forums a while back and thought that you guys might like to have a looksee at it.

In this tutorial I will be adding 16 Orange LEDs to a Xilence Red Wing 120mm case fan.

So the fan in question, all basic and boring.

I used several tools, bits and bobs. Some were required, some just to tidy things up.

16x Super Bright Orange 3mm LEDs.
4x 100 ohm resistor 1/4w
Soldering Iron and thin solder.
Scrap wire Thin.
Insulation tape - Black
Hot glue/glue gun (Cheapo off the bay)
12v Power Source
Molex connector and a bit of wire (off an Antec Tri-Cool)
Switch
Drill, 3mm drill bit.
Post-it Yellow
Cable Ties
Heatshrink Black

A few pics of my equipment.

Deciding which Resistor and shape of array.

I always wanted to use Orange LEDs and built my design around this. An Orange LED has a typical voltage of 1.8-2.2v and a current draw of 20mA to 30mA (Max).
I can safely string up to 5 in a line as the max voltage would only be 11v, which is fine in a 12v application. I could possibly do 6 but they might be underbright, only getting a max of 2v each.

Using V = I R transposed to R = V/I because we know Volts and Current and wish to determine resistance.

Our voltage is 12v-(2.2 x 4) because of the 4 LEDs in series. This gives is a required voltage drop of 3.2v.

We know the current is 20-30mA, so I picked 25mA.

Now the formula R=
Gives me R = 128 ohm

I dropped it down to 100, because I had some available and I fancied them just a little bit brighter.

Measuring up and deciding where to put the holes.

My fan is 119mm in diameter and therefore has a circumference of 374mm
I wish to place 16 LEDs so worked out that the pitch between LEDs is 23.375

I drew equally spaced crossed on a post-it so that my holes would be more or less perfect. I made a small hole at the crosses and used a felt tip marker to make a mark on the fan. A hole punch would also work.

[IMG]http://i959.photobucket.com/albums/ae72/Tealc_wii/Sums.jpg

Drilling

I am using 3mm LEDs so chose a 3mm drill. I purposefully offset the angle of the drill by about 15-20 degrees for added effect.

Here's the holes all nicely drilled. I needed to clean up some burrs on the internal side of the fan with my fingernail. Biters, use a knife blade or something

Install some LEDs just to see how they fit. Nice.

I kept the same convention, always placing the LED in with Anode to the left and Cathode to the right. The first LED needed a bend or two on the Anode to receive the positive wire and cut on the Cathode because the leg was too long. The second LED needed both legs cut.

I bent the legs directly out of the housing so at not to encroach upon the surround of the fan too much. Added the next two LEDs, forming the Cathode of the fourth on to receive the future ground wire.

It was particularly happy as the rigidity of the legs allowed me to ensure that the LEDs pointed where I wanted and it also made it much easier to solder them in place.

So easy to solder, just applying some heat to the joint and pushing some solder into the joint. The tight fit of the LEDs in the holes held them in place beautifully.

Then adding the resistor the Anode on LED one.

LED branch removed from fan.

Testing one string of 4 LEDs. Hooking up to my 12v power source and spinning the fan manually.

Adding a bit of hot glue to hold them in place. Some LEDs needed holding away from the fan while the glue cooled. I found the 3mm LEDs just a tad long through this particular frame.

Repeat the same process so that you have 4 individual strings of 4 LEDs on each side of the fan.

Wiring up the common Positive and Ground wires.

We must provide 12v goodness to all resistors so that each string of LEDs can receive the proper amount of voltage.

I used the thinnest insulated wire I could find, some telephone installation wire that I had kicking about. I removed the black and red from the insulation.

Wiring a red wire from the unattached side of the resistor to the one on the next side in a clockwise rotation. I started this at the wire inlet for the fan's standard wiring so that it can be bundled up in the same place. Then repeating the process with a black wire, starting on the negative side to the left of the standard wiring and moving counter clockwise from final cathode to final cathode

Do not join the red back up with itself, only 3 sides needed to be spanned.

Then adding a couple of wires for external power. I run out of thicker red wire so used blue wire. I hot glued the wires onto the fan here as the solder joints aren't particularly strong. A cable tie gathers things.

Wiring in a switch

I can't imagine ever wanting to turn this off but I thought I'd wire in the capability anyway.

Here's my switch. It's a '1 off 2' type switch so one side will be unused. I may use a different switch later. The 12v source is wired to the centre pin, the LED array to the top/bottom post as desired.

Wiring up to a Molex for Power

I could have patched the wires directly into the existing fan wiring after the switch but I like to have separation with things like this, it also allows me to route the cables to a different location if needed.

Donor Molex, a chopped power Molex for an Antec Tri-cool which now runs off my fan controller using a 3 pin fan header.

Soldering the wires to the Molex, with heatshrink on the wires before I join them.

So we are all done.

Looks awesome I think.

The profile of the wiring on top of the fan could short out against a case.

So added some tape to insulate the wiring from my case.

And finally some other pictures.

I'm extremely happy with the way this turned out and feel it is so much better than my first attempt at this type of mod, whether this is due to the increased number of LEDs (16 vs 12) or learned techniques or just that the Red Wing reflects Orange better than a Antec TC Black does. http://i959.photobucket.com/albums/ae72/Tealc_wii/OrangeLEDBlackfan.jpg

Night shots (had to be done)

And a couple of videos showing the fans and other LEDs I've added to the case..

In the daytime..

At night..

2. ### bulldogjeffThe modding head is firmly back on.

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I really like the affect that all those led's give.

3. ### WhindogWhat's a Dremel?

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That looks fkin amazing. Great job dude

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the colours give a very good effect,nice job mate! i got 2 or 3 dead enermax fans with leds in the shed i might cut the led loom off and transplant it on to some other fans and see how it looks..........well if the leds work that is!

5. ### WhindogWhat's a Dremel?

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Hey man,

What MCD are those LEDS???

Looking to do something like this myself. But not sure what brightness ill need.

6. ### TealcWhat's a Dremel?

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I think they were 5000 or 6000 MCD. I just bought some ultra or super brigt LEDs in my chosen colour.

7. ### phenoptixWhat's a Dremel?

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Looks stunning! The resistors look familiar!

8. ### Byron COver-reacting and over-analysing since 1982

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Nice work

Kids, take note: It's always better when you do these things yourself, rather than buying something pre-made.

Offtopic Edit: 1000th post, eh... You'd think I'd have made more than 1000 posts in nearly 9 years...

9. ### TehKrak3nWhat's a Dremel?

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That looks nice

Is the switch block (the panel with the 4 switches) custom as well?

10. ### TealcWhat's a Dremel?

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Yes. I keep a thread going with my LED work. It's got a SMD LED strip build (worked but didn't work), a SMD LED strip colour mod, a Vapor-x LED mod and the switch panel mod which included modding some white switches to orange.

Here's the post where I made the panel.
http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showpost.php?p=17625523&postcount=14

May add to the thread if the fancy takes me to make another LED mod.

Last edited: 24 Jan 2011
11. ### PoofychipPoofychip

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dude thats sick man id love to do that for my rig , shame i need 10 fans lol will take ages good work though

12. ### mpe91Wait... Wha...?

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Really nice outcome. And very nice choice in colours, the orange LEDs on the red blades looks awesome.

13. ### TealcWhat's a Dremel?

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Ouch. It would take quite a while to do 10 fans. The first one took me several hours as I fiddled about and learnt what to do. The second one (from the guide) took about 2 hours which included all the photos, which took ages with my poor camera. I also modded an 80mm Xilence fan with 12 LEDs in about an hour more recently.

Was thinking of getting some Enermax TB Silence fans to try this out with. They are not quite opaque so I feel they would light up quite well.

I've also considered a circuit to create a circular LED chase effect on 16 LEDs but wonder if this would be a bit much.

14. ### gilljoyMinimodder

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gota add this to the list of todo's for my project looks amazing man

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