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can case fans be unplugged and replugged while system is running?

Posted on 2004-10-07
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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
I"m looking for a way to quiet down my new system.  I was thinking of just unplugging my case fans when I don't need all that cooling power, for example watching movies.  If I unplug or plug back in the fans while the power is on will I fry something?  Also, I would like to know where I could get a replacement, possibly quieter, fan for my grapics card.  It's a Chaintech FX 5900XT. Thanks.
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Question by:joey_the_ass
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tfjeff earned 40 total points
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I'd look at getting a fan controller personally
jeff
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by:joey_the_ass
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OK, could you please inform me of any reasonably cheap good quality fan controllers.  But however I would prefer to just unplug the case fans, unless that will damage something.
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by:tfjeff
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The fan controller you get depends on the type of connectons you fans have and how many fans you want to control.  Depending on your tastes, it may also depend on the color of your current chassis  and what accessories you want (usb/firewire on the front, if your motherboard will let you do this...LCD, temperature probes, etc).
They are generally available in the range of 20 - 50 USD, however, here is a really simple one that's only 10:
http://www.crazypc.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=120199&Product_Code=8291

technically you could make your own pretty easily if too, if you are into that kind of thing.
jeff
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by:Iggy79
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I think this might work a little better and it does not require any drilling in your case.
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=13-999-503&depa=0

Also to answer you question about turning fans on and off wile running your PC.  Well I have seen it shut a system down but that is just because thy plugged the fan in before the Hard Drive on the dasie chain.  it is a much better idea to use a controller.  But if you don't do that then do not plug your fans into the same chain off the power supply as your heard drive.  a drop or spike in the power source could stop you system dead or fry it.  and about your video card there are all kinds of after market cooling fans for them. here is one I found that is not to $$$$$.  
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=35-186-118&depa=0

If you send me the specs on your system I can tell you how many fans you should be running and where and that kind of thing then you will not need all this stuff.  It is just an idea.  let me know if I can be of any other help.

Iggy79,
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by:nobus
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You can also change the fans with quiet types, this helps  a lot also.
A guide :

www.buildsilentpc.com/silent_pc_case
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by:nobus
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To answer your question : i would not plug/unplug anything while the system is running, as you need only a microsecond dropout of the voltage to get your system in trouble
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by:Ferrosti
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I have no problem doing that.
I have two fans which I can switch on/off while system is on power. Since the fans are connected to the 12V supply chain it will not damage the processor or RAM or something IF you have a good power supply.
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by:Ultimate_NescaFe
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Hi!

As was already said, you should have no problem disconnecting these fans.

You can buy a fanless graphic card cooler from thermaltake:

http://www.thermaltake.com/coolers/chipset/cl-g0003fanless/cl-g00003.htm

And also fan less power source from the same provider:

http://www.thermaltake.com/purepower/menu.htm.

It is good to open the case when you disconnect the case fans, for at least some ventilation.

Hope this helps!!
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by:crazijoe
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If the fans are connected to the motherboard I would highly advise not to disconnect them. The motherboard monitors the speed of the fans. If there is a signifigant drop, the MB will sense this and most the time will sound an alarm. As tfjeff suggest, I would get a fan controller. As far as VGA chipset coolers you might check with Zalman. They make a fanless model. They also make other quiet componets for your PC.
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=13-999-503&depa=1
http://www.zalmanusa.com/usa/usa_index.asp
http://www.zalmanusa.com/usa/product/code_list.asp?code=013
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by:Callandor
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If your fans are not monitored as crazijoe describes, disconnecting and reconnecting them may not be a problem, depending on the current draw.  Typically, this is so small that they do not significantly affect the voltage.  Of course, if you have a poor power supply, doing anything might tip it over and cause it to fail, but for good quality power supplies, this is not a problem.  This 80mm fan (http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=984042&CatId=801) for example, draws 0.15a, compared to 18a total output on the 12v rail of a good power supply.
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by:onesquin
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I fried a hd by unplugging a case fan while the computer was running.  DON'T DO IT.
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by:joey_the_ass
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This is my case and PS
http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDesc.asp?description=11-133-139&depa=0

And now that I think about it, i don't know if I even can get a fan controller.  The case fans all connect through regular molex plugs, they don't have the tiny 3 pin connector to the MOBO.  So, could I get one?
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by:Callandor
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by:bacvain
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IF i wanted to calm down the noise on my pc...NEVER GO TO THERMALTAKE...NOISY LIKE HELL
I suggest you go to zalman...they have the quietest fans.

One last thing, dont ever unplugg any device while system is running... Can cause shortcircuit. Fans might die and/or any other internal device connected.
You might want to think about buying bay fan...its a stack of fans controlled by a controller you install at the same location where you see the front of cd drive.

Look at this and you 'll see what i am talking about:

http://www.short-media.com/review.php?r=239
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by:joey_the_ass
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Ok first off, thanks for all the comments.  I guess unplugging the fans is out, so I probably will buy a fan controller.  Callandor, I think you misunderstood me, my case fans all connect by regular 4 pin molex connectors.  I thought I would need them to be the tiny 3 pin ones to use with a fan controller.  But then I looked around and noticed that most controllers seem to include adaptors, so it wouldn't even be an issue.
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=list&catalog=11&DEPA=1
I had my eye on this one, as it isn't too expensive and has a neat little LDC display.  If no one has any horror stories about it, or it won't work with my 4-pin fans, I will go ahead and buy it.
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by:bacvain
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Excellent choice....excellent investement...Compatibility: 3-Pin (Male & female) Cooling Fan...so your doing the right thing here.

I am actually running a thermal take fan...I think you sold me this one  :)

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by:Callandor
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I have that controller, but it came with my Zalman cpu heatsink, so I don't know if it will include the adapter, but you have another source now, if you need it.
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