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Thread: Alphacool Heatmaster Fan/pump Controller Review

  1. #1
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    Alphacool Heatmaster Fan/pump Controller Review

    Alphacool Heatmaster Pump/Fan controller Review

    by Dark Mantis




    Alphacool's Heatmaster pump and fan controller is unusual in that it doesn't have any external switches or controlls and no display

    panel. Just to add to the confusion there is no instrucions or driver disk either. So I spent the first fifteen minutes just looking

    around this panel and trying to work it out without any clues. Nowhere on the box does it mention how to set it all up although it

    does extoll the virtues of how clever it is once done. In desperation I went to the Alphacool website and there I found that I could

    download a pdf instruction manual that was very well written and the necessary software. It just would have been nice to have been

    given some guidance on where to find this in the box.



    There is everything that you will need to start using the Heatmaster included although you might want to add more cables and sensors

    as you go. I did find that the cables were not labelled for use and it was purely a case of finding a cable that fitted the

    requirement. The supplied USB B to four single pin connectors I never did figure out where to attach them to so I used a standard USB

    A to B cable that I already owned. I figure it must be to attach to an internal USB header but some sort of guidance would have been

    a big help.



    The circuit board has many connections and I will go through them in order in a clockwise direction. First there are the two power

    switch connectors - the left hand pins go to the case switch and the right hand to the Power Switch pins of the F_Panel on the

    motherboard, next there is a socket for an external relay with a maximum switching load of 30W @ 24 V - most people will probably

    not use this, number 3 is the header for the alarm buzzer - the same as for the motherboard but only a two pin connection. Forth is

    a set of headers for the five off board heat sensors - there is a sixth that is fixed onboard to monitor the circuit board. If you

    have water cooling and a flow sensor the next connector, number 5, is where it should be attached. There are next to this four pump

    or fan power headers labelled accordingly. That completes the top row of pins.

    On the right hand side there is a standard four pin molex power connector socket.

    None of the connector blocks on the bottom of the board are for use by the end user. They are purely for testing and calibration

    purposes by the Alphacool technical staff.

    On the left hand side there is a USB type B socket allowing data communication with the motherboard. This doesn't have to be

    connected permanently and after initial setup the cable can be removed if required.



    The software setup was surprisingly straightforward and seems to work well with my OS which is Windows 7 64 bit. I did have some

    concerns as to whether this would be the case but it seems they were unfounded.

    Once complete the Heatmaster's onboard LED should illuminate with a green light.

    The use of the Windows based software is primarilly "Drag and Drop". The interface is split into four main parts. There is the main

    monitor window at the top and this is where all the data/graphs are displayed when active.

    To the right of that is a smaller display that shows what data the main window is showing. In the centre of the screen is the

    "Library". All the various fans, sensors, alarms etc are held here and can be accessed from this point. Any of the different functions

    can be dragged and dropped into any of the display panels for use.

    At the bottom is a panel of five "Control loop" windows. They each show what is available for each loop. From here all the settings

    can be manipulated. This is not always an easy task and requires some practice to master some of the more obtuse parts.



    The main screen will show a graphical display of any fans and sensors that are active at the time. This is done with a scrolling

    screen measured against a time frame in seconds. The other axis is displayed as Temperature and Speed. The whole chart can be grabbed

    and moved in any direction. A key to the various charted lines will appear in the top left corner of the display and these colours

    can be changed by simply double clicking on the icon in the right hand screen. For any display to show the loop must be activated.

    This is done in the bottom control loop window.



    Alarms for the various functions can be set at whatever level is required. Once the set level is reached the alarm will sound and the

    onboard LED will flash red. There are three levels of alarm and they range from stage one where all fans and pumps are switched to

    maximum through stage two where motherboard BIOS safety measures are initiated and through to stage three where the system is forced

    to shut down completely. The device can create a log file of all the readings for careful checking of alarm conditions or just sensor

    readings



    When the levels are all at a setting that is correct for the system the USB cable can be disconnected and the unit will carry on

    monitoring and controlling without any further necessary input.



    This control unit is very powerful and all encompassing but is not the easiest device to get setup and running. Better basic

    instructions and labelling of the cables etc would have helped a lot and certainly should be included in the box. There is little to

    fault in the unit itself and it's capabilities but parts of the GUI could be improved upon to make it more user friendly also the

    number of cables was insufficient. Alphacool supplies a two year warranty.



    Althought the device performed well and the price is reasonable enough there were several issues that needed addressing. Because

    of that I award the Alphacool Heatmaster 7/10




    Supplier : Alphacool http://www.alphacool.com/ Price :44.95€







    The pack contains the following cables:

    1x Heatmaster control panel @ 140 x 38mm
    1x adhesive Velcro pad @ 110 x 120mm
    1x USB to motherboard cable @ 480mm
    1x fan extension cable @ 600mm
    1x sensor extension cable @ 330mm
    1x spdif cable @ 900mm
    3x heat sensor cables @ 530mm

    Official Gigabyte UK Forum Moderator

  2. #2
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    You call this review?...
    An unfortunate person is one tries to fart but sh1ts instead...

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpuTnicK View Post
    You call this review?...
    Nice constructive criticism bro!
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  4. #4
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    That OS interface looks pretty cool!

    I think they should try make the box a bit more attractive :P.

    thanks for sharing

  5. #5
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    Yes the interface is quite good but it has a few small rough patches that need a bit of polish. It does enable a timeline of readouts that are infinitely variable.
    I am just waiting on delivery of a flow sensor so that I can add that to the inputs and see how that copes.
    Official Gigabyte UK Forum Moderator

  6. #6
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    good review

    might pick up one
    like the feature where you can disconnect the usb
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RacingTurtle View Post
    Nice constructive criticism bro!
    I know that device well enough. And what he did, he just made a summary out of manual. Oh, yeah and added couple of pics so it would seen as he actually touched the device.

    If you wanna see how controller reviews are done normally, better read this for example. (P.S.it is not mine work)
    Last edited by SpuTnicK; 05-17-2011 at 10:52 PM.
    An unfortunate person is one tries to fart but sh1ts instead...

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  8. #8
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    nice from alpha
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  9. #9
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    Can you use this controller to send 12V to each fan initially to get them spinning and then to have them set at say 5V? My fans can run at 5V but can't start at 5V.

  10. #10
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    I haven't got it to hand now but from memory that was exactly how it worked anyway. It started off with full voltage and then dropped to whatever speed(voltage) was set.
    Official Gigabyte UK Forum Moderator

  11. #11
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    Brilliant, thanks.

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