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Thread: [Martinsliquidlab.org] Sunbeam Rheosmart 3 Review

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    [Martinsliquidlab.org] Sunbeam Rheosmart 3 Review

    Detailed Review

    Controlling fans manually has been available via standard fan controllers for some time, you turn a knob up or down and it adjusts the voltage to the fan and resulting speed/noise. There are many flavors of this all manual control type, but what if you wanted to automate this process similar to current motherboard 4 pin CPU fans such that speeds remain low(low noise) while loads are light, but they are increased when the loads increase(high noise)? There are several options to do this, but most options typically consist of a very advanced AND expensive fan controllers.

    I personally have used a few manual fan controllers. My first was one from Thermaltake, unfortunately it didn’t take long for that fan controller to burn out. Then I bought a sunbeam rheobus controller with four channels. I used that fan controller for over two years and to this day it still works fine although my loads were always kept fairly light. It was cheap, but it seemed to hold up and the only obvious difference was the heatsinks that it had.

    Soo…..when I heard Sunbeam was coming out with the Rheosmart to convert PWM into analog voltage, I was instantly very interested. When they hit the shelves at Newegg, I added it to another hardware order I had planned…after all it was only $25 shipped. It sat in the box for a while and eventually I got around to using it and ultimately doing some testing and this review.

    General Photos & Information





    Setup


    Test Results







    Conclusion

    I am very happy with the controller for my own purpose of controlling around 4 watts per channel worth of fans. It has given me dynamic loading PWM capabilities to those fans that I would otherwise not have. My fans now throttle via CPU temperature such that 99% of the time they are a whispery 900RPM, and when I load hard such as rendering a video, playing games, or benching..they turn up to 1300RPM. I have the controller doing my fans, and the Swiftech MCP-35X using it's own PWM controller, both are using speedfan to regulate. Between the fans and pump reductions, PWM dynamic loading has cut my ambient noise level from 42dbA to about 35dbA which is fairly dramatic...and I'm happy. The controller also does allow the user to switch between PWM and manual controls via a push button, so you do have some flexibility there to use a few channels manual and others PWM. In addition the PWM connector includes a daisy chain connector so I can utilize the PWM of my pump. The pump isn't capable of running through the controller, but the PWM signal is split to the two components with success.

    I would not however recommend this controller for use on pumps or really high fan loads if the intent is to control them via PWM. My heavy load (approx. 20 watt) test scenario failed to keep the pump operating when PWM was lowered to 65% or lower. Heat sink temperatures also reached 64C when run passively in an open air test which is getting really hot for my own preferences. Having the controller buried in a case front where little airflow may be available, could lead to even higher temperatures.

    Overall, a great and low cost product to give you PWM like fan control of lighter loads. I would recommend it for 5W per channel for full control. You could probably do more, but I was only successful in my light 4W test load in making use of the full PWM conversion feature and heat was also fairly comfortable at that lighter level.

    Cheers!
    Martin
    Last edited by Martinm210; 04-04-2011 at 05:42 PM.

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    Have one of these and the 6 waiting to go in my new build
    Thanks for the review, awesome as always
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    Xtreme Addict Alexandr0s's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great review Martin! I've been looking at one of these, and now I will definitely get one once they become available here .
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    Chasing After Diety NaeKuh's Avatar
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    i see 4 ports and 3 nobs..

    am i missing something?
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    One of them is pwm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by m_jones_ View Post
    One of them is pwm.
    i know.. but where is the PWM intake header?

    You need to supply PWM on the controller to use PWM no?

    So how does it take PWM with only 1 port?
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    Xtreme Addict Alexandr0s's Avatar
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    The 4-pin port is meant as a PWM intake port. It gets hooked up to the motherboard, and uses the motherboard's PWM signal to control the fan controller's channels that are set to be controlled by PWM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandr0s View Post
    The 4-pin port is meant as a PWM intake port. It gets hooked up to the motherboard, and uses the motherboard's PWM signal to control the fan controller's channels that are set to be controlled by PWM.
    u see what confuses me, is why not just take that last header?
    Instead it takes the entire 4 pin header..
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    Xtreme Addict Alexandr0s's Avatar
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    I think because it's cheaper to get a PWM female-female wire than to get a PWM female to single wire (which is what you're suggesting right?), and if they used a single wire, people could screw up connecting it to the motherboard improperly.

    I have to agree though, when I first saw it, I was kind of confused. It took some reading before I understood why it was there.
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    I'll add in a wiring schematic later this evening, but it does have two input ports and three out.

    4 pin molex = power source input
    4 pin fan connector = PWM signal input from motherboard CPU fan header
    3 pin fan connector = Analog voltage control fan out

    It comes with several cables that connect it all up. The PWM cable has a splitter male end which I have been using to connect the mcp35x and a long female end that runs to the controller feeding two devices PWM signal.

    It works as good as you PWM software, but I do wish I bought a gigabyte MB now because easytune is a lot more advance that speedfan.

    This won't do as much as some of the better controllers out there, but it can at least give you basic on/off temp dependant auto speed control.

    I'll spend some time learning more about speedfan and write something on that later too.

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    Xtreme Enthusiast MagisD's Avatar
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    Hum this may save me from buying
    An aquaeros 5, asus fan control is really good.

    How many 1850 gt's would you recommend per channel ?

    And can you combine sensors in speed fan increase on any sensor hitting a temp aka gpu's our op temp aka water temp sensor ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martinm210 View Post
    I'll add in a wiring schematic later this evening, but it does have two input ports and three out.

    4 pin molex = power source input
    4 pin fan connector = PWM signal input from motherboard CPU fan header
    3 pin fan connector = Analog voltage control fan out

    It comes with several cables that connect it all up. The PWM cable has a splitter male end which I have been using to connect the mcp35x and a long female end that runs to the controller feeding two devices PWM signal.

    It works as good as you PWM software, but I do wish I bought a gigabyte MB now because easytune is a lot more advance that speedfan.

    This won't do as much as some of the better controllers out there, but it can at least give you basic on/off temp dependant auto speed control.

    I'll spend some time learning more about speedfan and write something on that later too.
    Asus FanExpert is a bit more advanced than Gigabyte's ET6, it has three setpoints for temperatures, I for example let MCP35X ramp up slowly until temp reaches 55 C, after that it starts to ramp up quicker. This way pump stays quiet until maximum flow is really needed.
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    Nice review. I have had this controller since it came out and I like it because of it's small size lets me mount it into one of the HDD caddies of my 700d.

    I have never been able to get the PWM features to work at all however.

    I was hoping to use it for my 3x120 rad fans and case intakes via the PWM features of my Crosshair IV, but as I said it doesn't work at all for me in PWM mode.

    Runs fine in manual mode though and is currently powering 5 fans and 2 LED lights in my res.

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    Xtreme Enthusiast MagisD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm67 View Post
    Asus FanExpert is a bit more advanced than Gigabyte's ET6, it has three setpoints for temperatures, I for example let MCP35X ramp up slowly until temp reaches 55 C, after that it starts to ramp up quicker. This way pump stays quiet until maximum flow is really needed.
    I know I use it on my r3e to control my dual mcp-35x, I didn't count but I can see 2 more pwm headers just looking at the board.

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    No fair...Fan Expert looks even better than ET6..

    With MSI control center my options for PWM are manual 50%, 75%, or 100%...they really went out of their way...lol I've got a Gigabyte board in my son's computer and it works pretty well, but MSI doesn't give you anything useful for temp throttling.

    I should have waited for a better MB...oh well.

    Anyhow, I think speedfan could potentially control via CPU or GPU temps, I'll try that even though my 570GTX is still on air..
    Bad thing about speedfan is you have to add it to the windows startup and it'll always have to run in the background. I've been doing that for a few weeks and it's not bad, but I'd rather not have extra background tasks running like this.

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    Xtreme Enthusiast MagisD's Avatar
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    Ya after using it it's set and forget my pumps are set to 30% and a straight curve 40 to 60 degree s ramps it to 100 % but I've never had it kick in. it takes a lot to max out my water temp.

    So martin real world use how many gt1850 a channel ? I'm hoping at least 4 if not 8, surprising enough my nzxt sentry le handles 8 per channel it registers 1650 max rpm. Just there run by wired temp sensor and I don't know best place to put them. Also it's extremely aggressive in ramping them up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MagisD View Post
    Ya after using it it's set and forget my pumps are set to 30% and a straight curve 40 to 60 degree s ramps it to 100 % but I've never had it kick in. it takes a lot to max out my water temp.

    So martin real world use how many gt1850 a channel ? I'm hoping at least 4 if not 8, surprising enough my nzxt sentry le handles 8 per channel it registers 1650 max rpm. Just there run by wired temp sensor and I don't know best place to put them. Also it's extremely aggressive in ramping them up.

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    I would probably limit it to 4 or 5 as a guess, but it really depends how much heat you are willing to put up with on those heat sinks and how much airflow you have over them. 4-5 watts is about what my comfort level is. It also depends how low in voltage you want to go. I'm sure adding a fan or upgrading the heatsink would help too. As cheap as these are, I would just buy the 6 and be conservative with your load. Try it and see how hot the heat sink gets. My successful PWM controlled test only had two yates on it, but I could try more...

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    Xtreme Enthusiast MagisD's Avatar
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    I'm thinking 4 per channel, 800-950 range, mine have a bad harmonic at 1000. Mount em with a fan blowing directly on em. That will fit right back in the 3x drive bay I put on the back of my case for fan controllers and get rid of the snarl that is the sentry lxe riser card.

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    That should work well. I'm probably conservative on the load, but I'd rather the heat be kept down to warm to the touch rather than hot...

    Here is a schematic of the controller wiring I worked up:


    The PWM cable that it comes with is designed to pass through everything to a CPU heatsink for air coolers. I used it to pass through to the 35X, but that's why they use all four pins including power and RPM sense. Only the PWM wire and ground actually go all the way to the controller though. They also include on RPM pass through from the fan to read fan speeds of one channel. Using these cables I can read both my pump RPM and my fan RPM of one fan.


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    Xtreme Enthusiast MagisD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martinm210 View Post
    That should work well. I'm probably conservative on the load, but I'd rather the heat be kept down to warm to the touch rather than hot...

    Here is a schematic of the controller wiring I worked up:


    The PWM cable that it comes with is designed to pass through everything to a CPU heatsink for air coolers. I used it to pass through to the 35X, but that's why they use all four pins including power and RPM sense. Only the PWM wire and ground actually go all the way to the controller though. They also include on RPM pass through from the fan to read fan speeds of one channel. Using these cables I can read both my pump RPM and my fan RPM of one fan.

    Can the pwm channel that you have your pump on just handle regular fans ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MagisD View Post
    Can the pwm channel that you have your pump on just handle regular fans ?

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    It's not really a channel, just a splice direct to the motherboard. It's really meant for a 4pin fan like the stock intel pwm fan. The controller is just splicing this and making three analog channels from that splice.

    You could also potentially splice into another rheosmart for more channels, but I'm not sure how many splices you can do. I know the AC F12 fans splice/daisy chain like this for multiple fans, so I would assume you could splice 3 or more controllers, but not sure.

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    Xtreme Addict Alexandr0s's Avatar
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    Martin, I noticed the controller has 2 pcb's. Do you think it's possible to use some sort of extension cord to separate the 2 pcb, but still keep them connected, or would that mess up the signal?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martinm210 View Post
    It's not really a channel, just a splice direct to the motherboard. It's really meant for a 4pin fan like the stock intel pwm fan. The controller is just splicing this and making three analog channels from that splice.

    You could also potentially splice into another rheosmart for more channels, but I'm not sure how many splices you can do. I know the AC F12 fans splice/daisy chain like this for multiple fans, so I would assume you could splice 3 or more controllers, but not sure.
    Now the question is can I just use the three fan channels via pwm control without anything hooked to
    The pwm channel, just having that hooked to mb. I want to leave my dual mcp-35x hooked up to the cpu header via pwm splitter cable so there sync'd.
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    Thanks for the review Martin. I haven't seen this fan controller, and have been looking for a better 3.5" one than the Scythe Kaze Q I've used before. I just ordered one via the Platinummicro Amazon webstore. I just have to live in a state where Newegg charges sales tax!

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    Xtreme Enthusiast MagisD's Avatar
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    Just went looking to buy and they have a 6 channel 30 watt 5 1/4 bay and a pci slot 2 channel as well the 6 channel is perfect for me.

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