Drobo

Found the perfect replacement fan for the drobo (and it doesn't void the warranty)

My drobo was turning itself off every so often. At first, I wasn’t sure why but my 4 seagate 7200 RPM drives were burning hot. I figured it could be a shutdown due to heat. After it happened a couple times, I took the front panel off to help air flow. That helped for a while, but eventually the the occasional shutdowns returned.

I’d check the fan with a flashlight and it would barely move if it moved at all. Since my warranty has long expired, I looked for a new fan. After finding a few on eBay, I did a quick search at BestBuy.com to see if they had anything local at a good price. Sure enough, they did.

120mm Thermaltake fan http://goo.gl/HDosf USB powered and I grabbed one for the front of the drobo and one for the back.

Turns out, this is a absolutely perfect fan and the drobo only needs one. The fan has a small metal stand. Flip it upside-down and it fits perfectly in the rear groove of the drobo.

This stand also places the fan in a perfect position for the best airflow.

A small piece of electrical tape keeps the fan from accidentally slipping out.

It is difficult to see due to the small picture, but the fan doesn’t rest on the power cable so there isn’t any strain there.

How well does this fan work? It pulls more air through the drobo than the original fan did. It fits perfectly on the drobo and doesn’t bounce around. It has a small knob to control fan speed and it is usb powered so there isn’t any problem there. I can feel the air pulling through the sides of the front panel. There is also a noticeable vacuum when removing the front panel. Ok, it isn’t that strong :slight_smile: , but it is better than the stock fan and there is no need to crack open the case.

Not bad for $20 and my Seagate 7200’s are nice and cool.

Well, that big gap between drobo and big external fan makes me think that this construction hardly helps ventilating drobo. Not to mention making “noticeable vacuum when removing the front panel”… :slight_smile:

I think you are experiencing placebo effect to justify your new purchase.

Maybe. But the top Seagate 7200.11 drive is a cool 27° C (infrared thermometer) and I don’t let the drives spin down. If that is a placebo effect, then I’ll accept it. :slight_smile:

That gap isn’t as big as it looks due to the gloss of the case. It is maybe a 1/4" and the air has an easier trip from the front of the case than from the sides. I can actually feel the air being pulled into the front side openings.

If your warranty is over anyway, why don’t you just try to install it inside the Drobo?

120mm won’t fit. Need a 80mm or 92mm. Drobo also apparently uses some unusual power connector as well so cutting and splicing would be necessary.

Thermaltake does make the same fan design with an 80mm fan so that is a possibility.

thanks for the info and pics - is good to know

some thoughts…
will that tape you used come off or melt and get pushed into the drobo?
is your original fan clogged up with hair and dust etc?
is the wattage output having enough power to power all your drives (with high speen speeds) and the fan too?
eg if you feel safe enough regarding your data, if you were to remove the whole disk pack (as per proper procedures etc) when drobo is off… would the fan then start to spin wihtout any drives? that might indicate a power problem?

Man if it’s out of warranty and you never plan on getting it back on I’d sodder a new one in. Would look a lot cleaner.

Good deal you got it working tho. If anyone is having a similar issue they will know what it is now. Could use some duck tape to seal it up :slight_smile: Big fan is a plus.

I didn’t realize/ even think about usb fans. I’m going to put the power house desktop in a enclosed wood shelve and was going to make some holes on each side of the wood and mount up some fans. 1 blowing in, 1 blowing out. Was going to go with larger fans power’d by the power supply connectors but now I’m considering those thermal takes because of the USB. But their only 120m and I’m not sure if it will move enough air. Thanks!

@dpuett:
Looks like maybe 1/2 to 3/4-inch gap between the fan and the Drobo?

You could fill that with a number of things - tape, silicone fan “gasket” (used for silencing fans), foam window insulation, etc… It would help to increase the airflow efficiency and let you ramp the fan speed down too.

A total replacement would be more elegant, but this is still quite a nice non-destructive/non-warranty-voiding mod. I might have to try it for the summer months when my Drobo fan wants to go full-speed.

…and is that a TiVo HD’s rear-end I see? ;D

@teamzulu:
Bigger fans will likely give you better airflow than smaller/faster fans - air turbulence, positive/negative pressure, blade surface area, and noise. Depending on your desktop’s case and ventilation, you should try to duct the to provide a clear output path for the hot air. In my experience wood is terrible at dissipating heat, so you really want to make sure as little heat remains in the enclosure as possible.

Otherwise you’ll end up with a fan-fest and it’ll be louder than your desktop is already.
Have you considered a larger/cooler case? I have an Antec P193, it’s HUGE but keeps my dual-quad-core Opteron desktop well-cooled (plus my mobo is E-ATX so I didn’t have much choice). The CPU fans normally run on low speed which gives me a gentle whirring (I drilled some Socket 1944 coolers to fit my Socket F 4.1 pitch, but that’s a story for another time and board section).
If the CPU fans ramp up to full it sounds like a power drill, but that’s not the fault of the case. :slight_smile:

Sorry, OT on this part, if you want to discuss further, happy to continue in a separate thread in General Discussion.

how about polished sheet metal? (thats very good at losing heat if it was a metal case)
could even become an “instructibles” website feature - using old aluminium drinks cans and turning it into an enclosure :slight_smile:

@Paul

I doubt the tape will melt. It is just regular black electrical tape. No real heat there.

I’ve replaced the fan once before. I put in a really nice 80mm Noctua drive but it barely spins if it spins at all.

I popped the drives out and started the drobo. I couldn’t feel any air being pushed out the back by the fan even though it was spinning. I measured the temps of the drives as I removed them and the the highest temps were 37° C about a third back and @ 24° near the rear. I’m very happy with that.

There could be a power problem. I haven’t had any problems with the drives, other than the heat, so I don’t know it is an overall power problem or just the fan. I would have kept the warranty up, but drobo is apparently different from every other company in the world and didn’t send an email before my warranty was about to expire.

@teamzulu
“Man if it’s out of warranty and you never plan on getting it back on I’d sodder a new one in. Would look a lot cleaner.”

Yeah, it would. I’ve got a similar Thermaltake 80mm fan on order and I’ll install it when it arrives. The cool thing is the USB power which means the fan runs at full power no matter the drobo’s problems.

@bhiga
"Looks like maybe 1/2 to 3/4-inch gap between the fan and the Drobo?

You could fill that with a number of things - tape, silicone fan “gasket” (used for silencing fans), foam window insulation, etc… It would help to increase the airflow efficiency and let you ramp the fan speed down too.

A total replacement would be more elegant, but this is still quite a nice non-destructive/non-warranty-voiding mod. I might have to try it for the summer months when my Drobo fan wants to go full-speed.

…and is that a TiVo HD’s rear-end I see? ;D"

The gap looks big because of the angle. The gap is actually 1/4" to 3/8" at the most.

I was thinking about the summer months as well. This fan allows for supplemental cooling without cracking the case or any permanent modifications. I have 4 7200.11 Seagate drives and I’ve thought of replacing them with cooler drives, but I haven’t had any problems so far, so why risk it?

Tivo HD, yes. And a Slingbox Pro HD as well.