How-To Geek

Upgrade a Simple 2-Wire Case Fan to a 3-Wire Controlled-RPM Fan

3-wire fans with a built in RPM monitor aren’t so cost prohibitive that you need to upgrade your 2-wire fans to save money, but this is a really fun beginner project that lets you peek inside your computer.

Over at Hard-H20, a modding and hardware wiki, they share a well documented tutorial for taking a 2-wire fan (which is just power + ground) and upgrading it to a 3-wire fan (power + ground + tachometer). By following along with the tutorial you’ll be able to take a simple 2-wire fan and upgrade it to a 3-wire fan capable of being speed-controlled by the motherboard. In the process you’ll get to take apart a fan and learn a little about how your computer and the cooling system works.

Installing Cable Meter on Case Fan [via HackedGadgets]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/11/12

Comments (9)

  1. wardog

    Oh too funny, I nearly blew my O ring scanning thru that project. Might as well build a ham radio or take up jig saw puzzles while collecting post stamps. Such a yawn. Go buy a fan already. Thanks.

  2. Adam

    Wardog is so right.

    What a ridiculous explanation, better off spending 5 bucks on a power controller.

  3. quagmire

    @ wardog and Adam … Did you even read the first sentence in the article? Nothing better to do guys than get on here, a HOW-TO-SITE, and bad-mouth a simple, fun learning project for beginners? I guess you two forgot how you experts started, eh?

  4. Jason Fitzpatrick

    The point isn’t to save money or time by making a 2-wire fan into a 3-wire fan… the point is to take the fan apart, learn how it works, and upgrade it into something new (learning how the new thing works in the process). =)

  5. Nigel

    Good on yer Jason. There’s just no experimentation these days like “what would happen I I did this” :D

  6. Ron Clark

    It must be discouraging to take the time to write these articles and then have clowns like “wardog” and “Adam” sit back and criticize. Unfortunately this is the kind of cowardice that is encouraged by the anonymity of the internet
    Ron Clark (my real name)

  7. art aguilar

    because of this site, i am for the first time building my first p.c. from scratch. i would never have been able to do it without this site. its nice to see such attention to minor details, although to some may be boring, but a wealth of knowledge for others. keep up the good work

  8. Bob Farris

    I’ve been playing with computers since before the PC. I still find things that catch my interest, It’s a shame when someone can look at an article and post comments that would indicate 1) they know this and find it stupid and 2) nobody’s really interested so why post it?
    My response is… learning is a never ending thing, when you knock knowledge of any kind you show where you stand on the learning curve.
    Thanks HTG!
    Keep up the good work!
    Bob Farris

  9. Byron Peters

    These projects are good to learn from–Thank you for posting this. As for the detractors Wardog and Adam -well look – it’ like this: When I first got on the Internet years ago, I found unfortunately that scholarly discussions are rare– more common are the miscreants who make snide remarks or abusive words to pick on or degrade anyone who posts a comment, video, or a project idea. –seems to be a flaw in the human race that so many of its members are junior high school type bullies and bs artists. — Don’t expect anything intelligent or creative from these types.
    –Anyway I salute the creators of this site and their promotion of any learn by doing projects. Remember that inventors down thru history started out as experimenters and project builders.

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