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Fan Noise

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
A few concerns:

1) Core temps you're referring to, is that actually being monitored for the area that is being actively cooled? How are you viewing the monitored temps?

2) Changing to another fan (silicon isolators..I did try)...I agree, the fan, that may be a quick solution. Aside from also changing the bracket o another material as I describe, the thin aluminim transfers energy easily to the mainframe (for example, pluck the bracket, it rings) BUT a) what is the max allowable mA for the fan header?, I'm concerned changing to a Noctua fan or other fan that draws more current could place too high of a load on the designed circuit. For all I know, that fan used is at the max allowable draw safe limit.

3) which fans are you specifically recommending or have attempted?

Thanks for your response.


Thermal coupler attached to external multimeter and also IR heatgun taken at various locations right after removing lid, both pre and post mod

I think any given cpu fan will have a max draw as part of the spec so can’t see one drawing too much.... but I don’t know that for certain

I did mine over a year ago and it’s worked great since, so I’m kind of past worrying about it these days lol
 

diezel

Member
Thermal coupler attached to external multimeter and also IR heatgun taken at various locations right after removing lid, both pre and post mod

I think any given cpu fan will have a max draw as part of the spec so can’t see one drawing too much.... but I don’t know that for certain

I did mine over a year ago and it’s worked great since, so I’m kind of past worrying about it these days lol

That's good to know and great feedback. Thank you.

Do you by chance know what fan you used?

Hopefully Cliff can chime in here to verify the header draw limit. I believe the Noctru draws twice as many mA as the stock fan.
 

sanktAntonio

New Member
A few concerns:
2) Changing to another fan (silicon isolators..I did try)...I agree, the fan, that may be a quick solution. Aside from also changing the bracket o another material as I describe, the thin aluminim transfers energy easily to the mainframe (for example, pluck the bracket, it rings) BUT a) what is the max allowable mA for the fan header?, I'm concerned changing to a Noctua fan or other fan that draws more current could place too high of a load on the designed circuit. For all I know, that fan used is at the max allowable draw safe limit.

Thanks for your response.
Search the net for "Axe Fx III gut shot" and you'll see that the fan used is rated at 12V; 0,06A. Going by that and you should be save.
 

diezel

Member
Search the net for "Axe Fx III gut shot" and you'll see that the fan used is rated at 12V; 0,06A. Going by that and you should be save.

appreciate your response but the question wasn't what the stock fan is...that is already known. The question was to @lqdsnddist to verify what aftermarket fan he's currently using (or others whom are using an aftermarket fan using a higher mA rating with good results).
 

∞Fractals

Fractal Fanatic
Seeing the internal gut shots of the axe FX III, I can't figure out what the fan is even there for? It's basically a closed box (when mounted in a rack), and cooling the heat spreader will only work until the temps in the box match the temp of the heat spreader.

There would have been room on the backplate for a smaller fan actually getting heat out of the system.

Is Fractal gear known to get hardware revisions to sort these kind of design fluffs out?

DIY tip for the Mac Gyvers out there: the axe has four big posts for the fan mounting plate, I would get rid of the plate and use silk, rubber bands or the like to attach the fan free-floating so it'll not create any vibrations. Like a mic that's using these wire cradle things. :D

Are you suggesting that the designer doesn’t know his craft? I suggest you stick around and read a bit more.

There were deliberate cooling selections made with minor mishaps in assembly; over torqued mounting screws.

At worst, you spend $15 for the Noctua fan upgrade.

Heck I spent $4500 just for a racing exhaust upgrade for my hooptie. Many would say that the exhaust that comes on the car is fine. Ymmv.
 

AlbertA

Fractal Fanatic
Did you do this for your unit?
Does Fractal recommend a high end replacement for studio use?
Is there an opinion on the quietest/highest quality fan replacement in the community here?
Is it essentially a fairly easy/drop-in replacement?
It seems like a worthy upgrade to perform for studio operation, no?
...sorry maybe I asked too many questions. :)

  • I doubt Fractal would recommend a different fan.
  • I use the Noctua NF-A8 FLX https://amzn.to/2GPNO1q and I use the ULNA resistor included with it. I only use it inside, no gigs no solar load so I don't need the over-engineered airflow of the factory fan.
  • Yes it's fairly easy, but does require you remove the plate it's mounted on.
  • To me it's absolutely worth it - essentially noiseless now no whine.
 

AlbertA

Fractal Fanatic
appreciate your response but the question wasn't what the stock fan is...that is already known. The question was to @lqdsnddist to verify what aftermarket fan he's currently using (or others whom are using an aftermarket fan using a higher mA rating with good results).

The Noctua NF-A8 FLX draws 70mA. Compared to the factory fan I took which draws 60mA - I'm not concerned. I've been running it for a year.
 

AlbertA

Fractal Fanatic
Viewing from a design aspect, here are some possible solutions that should be considered.

1) Variable rate speed fan based on temperature or load. This would be a simple solution which many circuits utilizing keeping power requirements down as well as noise ONLY when needed.

That would be great - and it looks like the FM3 does that.

2) Aluminum fan base/shroud support is a terrible design. It's thin and transmits vibrations easily as a "droaning" sound. It's also cut poorly and smaller then the fan creating a turbulant flow and possibly additional vibration and wind noise concerns. A solution to this problem is a thicker piece of plastic base (shaped correctly) which is better for damping.

Yeah I assume they did this for production reason - an aluminum punch is much cheaper than an injection mold + tooling.

3) The rubber isolators are nothing more then rubber grommets commonly used in wiring applications. Silicone rubber isolations work far better

I would attribute this to a design in favor of being able to withstand some G forces for road ruggedness. Not Sure I would trust silicon isolator legs like in the Noctua outside of studio use.

4) A larger/smaller fan* that does not sit at the current frequency and rate which apparently a harmonic frequency is resonating through the case. there's so much space that other options could be easy solutions by modifying the fan bracket.
The important thing here is the static pressure. But this wouldn't be an issue if the there was a temperature probe (or several) controlling the fan speed.

It's a shame something so simple with apparently little planning has been overlooked.

I don't think it was overlooked. I think it's more facing the realities of production, the over engineering to be able to withstand the thermal loading on full direct sunlight - The Axe-Fx III is a big metal black case - direct sunlight adds significant thermal load.
 

AlbertA

Fractal Fanatic
Seeing the internal gut shots of the axe FX III, I can't figure out what the fan is even there for? It's basically a closed box (when mounted in a rack), and cooling the heat spreader will only work until the temps in the box match the temp of the heat spreader.

The point is to eliminate hot spots in the DSP.

There would have been room on the backplate for a smaller fan actually getting heat out of the system.

That would not help with the hotspots of the DSP.

Is Fractal gear known to get hardware revisions to sort these kind of design fluffs out?

The Axe-Fx II had various Mark versions that improved over many things including fan size and mounting and vents. So there's history there.
But like I said above, probably not a "design fluff".

It would be great to have variable fan speed however :)
 

JRkelley

Inspired
Oh darn, I thought this was a link to some kind of 80s rock reset, you know: "cum on feel the fan noize"?

Seriously though, I would describe the noise level on my unit as slight, audible and consistently noticeable- at least when I have no music playing in my studio. I'm assuming this is normal.
 

Cem

Experienced
I bought an axe fx 3 couple months back. Used. In great condition. Fan was very noisy! I mean, very. Contacted support, send video recordings, photos of the inside. The answer was, there is nothing wrong with it.

I couldn’t believe my ears that would be called normal.

I sent it back. Still using my AX-8.
 
I bought an axe fx 3 couple months back. Used. In great condition. Fan was very noisy! I mean, very. Contacted support, send video recordings, photos of the inside. The answer was, there is nothing wrong with it.

I couldn’t believe my ears that would be called normal.

I sent it back. Still using my AX-8.
I had a different result. Had a noisy fan, FAS sent a replacement and kindly walked me through the install.
Very pleased.
 

diezel

Member
Thank you guys for the detailed responses and possible suggested fan solutions.

I believe constructive feedback helps the end product and makes happy customers.

Seeing the Noctua NF-A8 FLX draws similar amps while more robust then the stock fan, I think this may be a great solution.

From review, it appears at full speed, the stock fan creates ~21cfm's, while the LNA run Noctua fan is ~24 cfm's while having a much lower acoustical footprint. Pressure levels should prove higher as well as the Noctua fan rake and depth is greater.

This modeler is new to me. So far, my experience has been positive with the exception of the fan concerns I've discussed. I feel it is a simple solution for even the least technically challenged person. It do feel that before the unit is used, and only turned on, it can create a bad start for such a large investment for some. For my own experience, I was saddened to just turning it on, the unit screamed with noise and had a bad droan sound which permeated throughout the case.

I'm looking forward to diving deeper into the product. This community seems receptive helping and the new guys like me.

I will leave with one more suggestion to the designers. The 4 set screws holding the aluminum shroud which are affixed into the brass standoff's. Even though the screws retain star lock washers, a more robust solution is to add locktite to the threads to prevent eventual loosening of these mounting screws. For example, my screws were actually not fully tightened. This means that the lock washers were not providing a good tension on the screws. Over time, these screws due to vibration can work loose. If a screw loosens and falls off on a board, it potentially can short circuit a section the screw falls on.
 

sanktAntonio

New Member
The point is to eliminate hot spots in the DSP.



That would not help with the hotspots of the DSP.



The Axe-Fx II had various Mark versions that improved over many things including fan size and mounting and vents. So there's history there.
But like I said above, probably not a "design fluff".

It would be great to have variable fan speed however :)

Its not going to eliminate anything once the DSP has heated the air inside the case up, or the rack poweramp under the unit. Moving hot air over a DSP is not going to cool it, that works on food/humans as there is liquid/vapor around that surrounds and insulates the food/human body, blowing it away (even with hot air) is going to cool down food/ a human body, for CPUs/DSPs that's not going to work as there is no vapor/liquid around.

I really don't want to downplay anything/anyone here. Just want to understand why a product of this class even has to have people on a forum discussing fan noise... as I cant recall a device I own having this kind of cooling concept in place, not one.

Other modelers, Kemper (even the powered rack unit) or Helix devices don't have coolers (yeah, they are not as powerful), every PC/Laptop cools with a fan on the chip while getting hot air out or cool air in. Mobile phones use the case to cool down or simply thermo throttle like crazy... But simply circulating air inside a case is somewhat new :D

Would buy a unit with at least variable fan speed asap or when Fractal would give their "okay" for 3rd party passiv cooling approaches like a cpu heat sink etc.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Its not going to eliminate anything once the DSP has heated the air inside the case up, or the rack poweramp under the unit. Moving hot air over a DSP is not going to cool it, that works on food/humans as there is liquid/vapor around that surrounds and insulates the food/human body, blowing it away (even with hot air) is going to cool down food/ a human body, for CPUs/DSPs that's not going to work as there is no vapor/liquid around.
Everything you wrote is wrong.
 

diezel

Member
@sanktAntonio I don't believe it's a widespread problem and I'm not here to defend the brand, I had a few concerns. If concerns are not voiced constructively, it's difficult to have corrective actions. Product development is a continual process. Just as firmware updates, improvements and modifications are made. No one product is ever perfect.

I disagree with your analogy as the case is not in a vacuum, air movement and heat transfer does occur through a constant supply of cooler ambient temperatures.
 
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