Solar powered computer fan

MarquisMarquis Registered Users Posts: 7 ✭✭

Hi all! 

I am looking to connect a small, 4 pin 12v computer fan directly to a 10w solar panel with alligator clips. Similar to this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GN2kha5x8Nw . I am not sure how to wire a 4 pin fan to a solar panel with alligator clips.

 Can someone help me?

 Thank you for your help!

Comments

  • mcgivormcgivor Registered Users Posts: 1,304 ✭✭✭✭
    What color are the wires, sounds like a multi speed fan.
      1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider 150 60 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 8×T105 GC 24V nominal 

  • MarquisMarquis Registered Users Posts: 7 ✭✭

    Hi Mcgivor. Thanks for your reply. I'm planning on buying this fan (https://www.arctic.ac/worldwide_en/arctic-f8-pwm.html). From what I gather, the colors will be blue, green, black and yellow.

    Which wires matter? Strip them and connect directly to alligator clips?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  • myocardiamyocardia Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭
    Hi, @Marquis. I have many, many 120mm and 140mm computer fans, along with a few 200mm versions as well, that I use directly with solar panels. Unfortunately, with the brushless fans that are used in computers, if you wire them incorrectly (i.e., backward), they let out their magic smoke, and you get to buy a new one. Luckily for you, a 10 watt solar panel doesn't have enough amperage to burn up a computer fan, the way that a battery does. Make sure to buy fans that have color-coded wires, if at all possible. It will make your life a lot easier. A lot of computer fans these days do not have colored wires, and there is no way to tell which wire is the positive or negative one, unless you research the motherboard connectors, which have the wires in the same place 100% of the time.

    Just so you know, no matter how many wires the fan happens to have, you will only use two of them, the positive and the negative. I would suggest highly against buying a 4-pin PWM fan, though. You want a 3-pin fan, and you will just ignore the yellow wire, which is the wire that reports the fan rpm. I always just cut the yellow wire off as short as possible, since it is 100% useless, when the fan is used outside of a computer case. FYI, I've never bought a 3-pin fan that did not have a red, a black, and a yellow wire. I've also never noticed a 4-pin computer fan that had colored/color-coded wires, for whatever reason. Good luck.
  • MarquisMarquis Registered Users Posts: 7 ✭✭

    Thanks a million for your response Myocardia! Will buy a 3-pin fan. Strip the wire and connect to alligator clips? Just like that?

    Thanks!

  • mcgivormcgivor Registered Users Posts: 1,304 ✭✭✭✭
    Or you could buy a 2 wire fan, red + black - no confusion https://www.amazon.com/90mm-25mm-Terminals-Cooling-Computer/dp/B007PPEQI0
      1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider 150 60 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 8×T105 GC 24V nominal 

  • myocardiamyocardia Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭
    You can add alligator clips if you'd like, but I usually don't. I just use male and female spade connectors. I use a one male and one female per fan, then the opposite on the panel's outputs...so there is absolutely no way to wire them backwards. Here is a complete set of the type of connectors that I use:
    https://www.amazon.com/Ginsco-Insulated-Disconnects-Terminals-Connector/dp/B01FFCVGBE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1507689931&sr=8-3&keywords=spade+connector+kit

    mcgivor said:
    Or you could buy a 2 wire fan, red + black - no confusion https://www.amazon.com/90mm-25mm-Terminals-Cooling-Computer/dp/B007PPEQI0
    That would be great, except that a 90mm fan will make close to twice as much noise, while moving pretty close to half as much air, when compared to a 120mm, or especially a 140mm fan.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,280 ✭✭✭✭
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • mcgivormcgivor Registered Users Posts: 1,304 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 11 #9
    myocardia said:
    You can add alligator clips if you'd like, but I usually don't. I just use male and female spade connectors. I use a one male and one female per fan, then the opposite on the panel's outputs...so there is absolutely no way to wire them backwards. Here is a complete set of the type of connectors that I use:
    https://www.amazon.com/Ginsco-Insulated-Disconnects-Terminals-Connector/dp/B01FFCVGBE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1507689931&sr=8-3&keywords=spade+connector+kit

    mcgivor said:
    Or you could buy a 2 wire fan, red + black - no confusion https://www.amazon.com/90mm-25mm-Terminals-Cooling-Computer/dp/B007PPEQI0
    That would be great, except that a 90mm fan will make close to twice as much noise, while moving pretty close to half as much air, when compared to a 120mm, or especially a 140mm fan.
    Just an example, they are available in larger sizes 
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/14cm-Brushless-PC-Computer-CPU-Cooler-Cooling-Fan-140mm-12V-2Pin-140x140x25mm-/271700592946?hash=item3f429e0932:g:X7MAAOSwGotWlKo9

    Edit. Keep an eye on the voltage to the fan, when I first did as you intend I noticed the voltage was too high, 21.5V in full  sun, so I installed  a regulator which keeps it at 12.6V, not sure how long it would have worked at elevated voltage.
      1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider 150 60 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 8×T105 GC 24V nominal 

  • myocardiamyocardia Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭
    mcgivor said:
    myocardia said:
    You can add alligator clips if you'd like, but I usually don't. I just use male and female spade connectors. I use a one male and one female per fan, then the opposite on the panel's outputs...so there is absolutely no way to wire them backwards. Here is a complete set of the type of connectors that I use:
    https://www.amazon.com/Ginsco-Insulated-Disconnects-Terminals-Connector/dp/B01FFCVGBE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1507689931&sr=8-3&keywords=spade+connector+kit

    mcgivor said:
    Or you could buy a 2 wire fan, red + black - no confusion https://www.amazon.com/90mm-25mm-Terminals-Cooling-Computer/dp/B007PPEQI0
    That would be great, except that a 90mm fan will make close to twice as much noise, while moving pretty close to half as much air, when compared to a 120mm, or especially a 140mm fan.
    Just an example, they are available in larger sizes 
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/14cm-Brushless-PC-Computer-CPU-Cooler-Cooling-Fan-140mm-12V-2Pin-140x140x25mm-/271700592946?hash=item3f429e0932:g:X7MAAOSwGotWlKo9

    Edit. Keep an eye on the voltage to the fan, when I first did as you intend I noticed the voltage was too high, 21.5V in full  sun, so I installed  a regulator which keeps it at 12.6V, not sure how long it would have worked at elevated voltage.
    Great, that 140mm fan would be perfect for him. Also, I knew there was something I was forgetting! @Marquis you'll want to use one of these buck converters, to keep from wearing your fan out too quickly:
    https://www.amazon.com/DROK-Voltage-Regulator-Converter-1-2-36V/dp/B06VWT6CYF/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1507709412&sr=8-4&keywords=DROK+buck+converter
  • MarquisMarquis Registered Users Posts: 7 ✭✭

    Thank you all for your replies. So I could try with spade connectors as you suggest Myocardia. Problem is, I am really not that knowledgeable about electricity. Some solar panels require you to solder cables to them, and that's above my skills. Do you know of a 10w 12v solar panel that would have wires compatible with spade connectors?

    I am sorry if I sound ignorant, but I am really new to this!

    Thanks again



  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 704 ✭✭✭✭
    Look on Amazon and eBay. Cut off whatever connectors are on them and crimp your own on,  if necessary. 

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • MarquisMarquis Registered Users Posts: 7 ✭✭

    Thank you, Littleharbor.

    This is crimping, correct?


  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 704 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 11 #14
    That's the idea. I don't use the small crimp connectors much. From past experience I've had mixed results with them.  If you have access to cheaper, and better quality crimp connectors use the better ones,  If not crimped well these little guys can fail, or create high resistance connection. In your case, not a big safety issue. Some heat shrink tubing over the connection would help keep out the weather.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • myocardiamyocardia Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭
    edited October 12 #15

    Marquis said:

    Thank you all for your replies. So I could try with spade connectors as you suggest Myocardia. Problem is, I am really not that knowledgeable about electricity. Some solar panels require you to solder cables to them, and that's above my skills. Do you know of a 10w 12v solar panel that would have wires compatible with spade connectors?

    I am sorry if I sound ignorant, but I am really new to this!

    Thanks again



    Sorry, I wasn't implying that you need to use connectors, @Marquis. I use them so I can use the same panel(s) for different things. I can charge batteries one day, use it for a fan the next, etc. You should just buy a 10 watt solar panel that comes with wires attached, and buy a cheap wire stripper from anywhere you can find one, like WalMart or wherever, and a roll of electrical tape. Strip all of the wires back about ¾ of an inch, twist them together tightly, and tape them well with the electrical tape. Since you only plan on using this panel to power the fan, it doesn't need to be disconnectable at all, especially since both are so small and lightweight.

    edit: As a matter of fact, just buy this buck converter instead, since it comes with the wires attached:
    https://www.amazon.com/DROK-Waterproof-Converter-Adjustable-Transformer/dp/B014IJM6CS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1507796361&sr=8-4&keywords=DROK+DC+to+DC+buck+converter and buy the cheapest, small package of heat shrink tubing you can find, instead of the electrical tape. That way, it will be waterproof, and will make you look like a pro. You can buy small packages of heat shrink at places like Home Depot/Lowes/Walmart for $2-3, at least the last time I checked their prices.
  • myocardiamyocardia Solar Expert Posts: 100 ✭✭✭
    edited October 16 #16
    Okay, one last reply, unless you have other questions about this stuff @Marquis I would highly consider just spending a few extra dollars, and buying a 20 watt solar panel. Here's the reasoning: it will power a 140mm fan pretty much any time of the day, starting at 8:00 am or so, until an hour or two before sunset. A 10 watt solar panel won't have the ability for nearly as many hours per day. Along with that, it and the second buck converter, https://www.amazon.com/DROK-Waterproof-Converter-Adjustable-Transformer/dp/B014IJM6CS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1507796361&sr=8-4&keywords=DROK+DC+to+DC+buck+converter both have enough amperage to be able to power a second 140mm fan, should you ever end up with a girlfriend. :D <3 :o

    edit: Also, make sure to bend the wires straight, before heating the heatshrink tubing. If you don't, it not only will not be anywhere near waterproof, it will make you look like a newbie, instead of a pro. I'm sure there are instructions on youtube on how to properly apply heatshrink to make it both waterproof and professional looking. Oh, and good luck!
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