We are in the middle of summer, with one heat wave after another warming our homes, forcing us to use air conditioning trying not to overload electricity use, or to use other more traditional ventilation and cooling methods. so as not to get too hot or spend a fortune on the new electricity bill.
But we are not the only ones to experience these high temperatures. Our dear computers, consoles, televisions, audio systems, gadgets and electronic devices are suffering more than ever from overheating which can shorten their lifespan and in some extreme cases ruin them completely.
There are two main causes for this excess temperature: on the one hand, the increase in ambient heat because it is more difficult for our devices to expel the heat generated to the outside to cool down. But also with the summer holidays tend to arrive and with them the massive and continuous use of certain electronic equipment that we use less frequently at other times of the year for lack of time.
Today we are going to give you some simple ideas so that you can set up your own active cooling system (based on fans) with which you can cool your gadgets and devices that are suffering the most these weeks, such as routers, amplifiers, televisions, TNT and video-on-demand receivers, multimedia hard drives, etc.
Before we start telling you that although these are very simple processes that we are going to do, they do require a minimum of DIY skills, so if you don’t see yourself being trained, you better not get involved, do not is not going to be that we have an accident, since we are going to be dealing with elements connected to electricity as energy sources.
Old power supplies to move our fans
Most of you have probably stored at home a good collection of old gadgets and devices that you no longer use because they have become obsolete or have been totally or partially damaged and which you will probably never use again.
I mean cell phones and tablets, portable CD and DVD players, electric hair clippers, old printers where the ink cartridge costs more than buying a new one, LCD monitors that no longer work , etc.
Most of these devices provide an external power supply which is connected to the electric current on one side and the device on the other. What we’re going to do is just take advantage of these power supplies that turn the 220 volt alternating current that reaches our house into direct voltage capable of powering the typical computer fans that we all have at home or that if we can’t. not buy online for little money.
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First of all, we need a power supply that gives us the right voltage and the right current. The ones that usually offer the best results are those that give us a voltage of 12 volts and a current of 500 milliamps (0.5 A). With one of these sources, one can easily power most computer fans up to 12 centimeters, which generally operate at 12 V and 0.25 A, and can even use one of these sources for two fans. simultaneous.
If you do not have 12 V and 500 mA at home, perhaps another with a similar voltage (less than 10 V will cause you problems) or which delivers less current (for example with 300 mA we can supply a only fan without problem). You can also go for smaller fans, which will consume less, but generally make more noise than the larger ones, which in many cases can go unnoticed.
The assembly process is very simple. Cut the end of the normally cylindrical connector from the source and leave the two cables (positive and ground) in the air. We will connect these cables directly to the fan we are going to use, respecting the polarity. If we have a soldering iron at home, it is better to solder the connection with tin, otherwise we can use pliers or in the worst case, wind them up and use insulating tape.
This is the simplest system to power a fan. When we plug in the power, it will start spinning and cooling our devices. You can also choose to place a switch to control when it turns on and off. For this we can use the switch typical of DIY stores or some recycled lamps that we have at home, just insert it into the positive cable that goes to the fan.
Multi-fan system with an old ATX source
Another option that we can consider is to use an old ATX power supply from a disused computer that we have at home, as a way to power our fans. In this way, we will be able to install a fairly large number of fans, since the power supply will be able to provide us with the necessary energy without problems.
At this point, we need to comment on several security recommendations. First of all, you should never handle the source if it is connected to electricity, because there is a risk of being subjected to a shock. Second, tampering with the policy will make us lose our warranty, so better not try a new one if we don’t want to run out.
The best sources for our interests are the low noise ones that have a switch on the back so we can turn them on and off as we please.
The first thing we need to do is bypass the source so that it turns on without being connected to a computer motherboard. The process is very simple, since it suffices to insert a cable between two of the green and black or gray and black pins (depending on the model) of the large connector that goes to the board.
This way we trick the source to turn on by pressing the rear switch (or if it doesn’t, it will be on all the time) and it will start feeding the things we connect to it. In our case, these elements will be fans, which can be plugged directly into the connectors that the source provides as standard and in a fairly large number.
For example, in my case I had 6 fans with one of these sources to cool the TNT receiver, A / V receiver, DVD, and router at the same time, all with low noise and low noise fans. hardly noticeable in daily operation.
Bypass the ATX source
We can end up with the inconvenience that the length of cables coming out of the source does not reach us as long as we have the device that we want to cool down. No problem, we can make an extension between the fan and the connector at its end which will be connected to the source, with a single piece of speaker cable that we have at home, always respecting the polarity.
As you can see the system is very simple and cheap, you just need a little skill to manage the power supplies. Then we have to find the most suitable location to put the fans and make sure we can keep our devices cool.