Replacing the (noisy) fan.

Has anyone replaced the Drobo-FS fan?
Lots of people have replaced the fanin the Drobo, but is there a guide to the FS somewhere?

Does anyone have some tech-spec about the Drobo-FS fan?
I´m considering either the Noctua NF-S12b FLX or the Nexus D12SL-12 PWM as a replacement fan.

Hi DroboLars,

Have you got any further replacing the fan on your DroboFS?

I agree that the noise level of the fan, although not really bad, is still far to audible at about 2-3 metres away.

Please post your findings if you manage to replace it.


I’d be interested in this as well as my Drobo fan is currently loud enough that I can hear it even while I’m watching TV about 15 feet away.

I´ll get info from a guy who has done it this weekend. I´ll post back…
His FS is as silent as his WD Greens are (silent in other words).

Thank you
We will wait for your feed back and possible explanations/tutorial.

Just a reminder. Replacing your fan will void your warranty.

Thank you Jennifer
A small question :

Would it be possible to manage the speed rotation of the fan ?
For example competitors offer sometimes two fan modes 2.5’ HDD and 3.5 HDD, modifyng the rotation speed according to heat emission.

Would it be possible to adapt a similar technique and have a “quiet” mode and a standard mode in our Drobo FS ?
For instance, some of us have very “green” WD low comsumption/heat models whereas others have 7.200 RPM hotter ones.
I have very cool models and I’m pretty sure i don’t need the 12inches fan to turn at full speed to maintain a cool case.

That would mechanically reduce the noise of the fan.
Just my two cents …

Thank you.

I can submit as a feature request.

If you submit that as a feature request, it should also report the actual temp in the dashboard as well.

I am convinsed that the fan is working faster than it needs too. My WD Greens are always kept very cold.
Its hard to understand that the DroboFS does not use a quiet fan in the first place. Fans are very affordable.

Can we get the specs of the fan and maybe an overview of how to put it apart? A service manual?
Yes I´m aware of the warranty.

This is interesting. I wonder why your Drobo FS’s are so loud.

My S is almost perfectly silent. I have to put my ear up against it to hear it at all…

I wonder if it has anything to do with the linux file server application running on it. Maybe this creates more heat than the units without it.

Do you have any intensive drobo-apps running?

No apps. They Are not user friendly enough. Its placed in a silent livingroom where I dont like too hear fans. Im used to macbooks, Mac minis and imacs wich Are all dead silent.

It’s the fan and the fact that it’s always on at the same high speed regardless of activity or temperature. It’s not specific to the FS either:

Ahh, judging by the link you posted it looks lke it has to do with which drives you insert.

Most of my drives are WD Green’s and one is a WD Blue. The drobo is whisper quiet.

I don’t think it’s the drives since DroboLars has WD Greens as well. Actually, I can pull out every drive from my FS and the fan is just as noisy. And before anyone suggests that I open a support case about it, I had a second FS when troubleshooting spin down issues and it’s just as noisy most likely because of the fan used in it.

I opened several support tickets and simply resigned. I’m still wondering why DRI specifies the noise level ranges (db values) for other Drobo devices but not for the FS.

Ive got the description now so here we go:

The original fan is a ADDA AD1212HB-A71GL

As far as taking the DroboFS apart, you turn it upside down and remove the four screws that are in the middle of the rubber feet. This will also allow you to now slide the entire cover/housing off of the unit. You will have to break the little sticker that says if you break the sticker you void the warranty. Once the cover is off, towards the rear of the unit on either side are about 4 screws. If you take off all 4 screws on either side, then the entire rear panel comes off. Be careful as there are two separate wire connections going from the back panel you are removing to their connectors on the circuit board. One connector is for the on/off switch and the other is for the fan. Once you remove those connections, the back panel which has the fan attached is easy to work on.
You need to buy the Nexus D12SL-12 Fan which will fit perfectly.
Now, as far as wiring the fan, you need to make some custom connections as it just does not plug in. You need to cut the wire from the old fan which has the connection plug you want to connect to the DroboFS and attach it to the Red and Black wires coming from the new Nexus fan. The Nexus fan has a third Yellow wire but you do not use this. The wires on the old DroboFS fan are also Black and Red (dark red) so just connect them Red to Red and Black to Black. Just splice them together and put a drop of soldier on them and tape them up. You do not want to make the wires much longer than the original wires as it might interfere with the operation of the fan blade when you put the back panel back on and you do not want to make them too short as it will be hard to connect the wire to the board while installing the back panel.
You remove the old fan by pushing out the plastic pins from the inside at each corner of the fan. Install the new fan and use the new rubber mounting pins that come with it. You push the long rubber pin through the back panel first, through the fan and with a pair of pliers pull the pins until the snap into place. It can sometimes require a bit of pressure (pulling).

There you go - dead silent Drobo-FS

that is great info, thanks for being the first to try it and for providing the details!

ADDA AD1212HB-A71GL (Speed: 2200 RPM / Airflow: 87.870 CFM / Noise: 39.1dB/(A))
Nexus D12SL-12 (Speed: 1000RPM / Airflow: 36.87 CFM / Noise: 18 dB/(A))

Edit: Adding specs from your original post.
Nexus D12SL-12 PWM (Speed: 500 ~ 2000 RPM / Airflow: Up to 76 CFM / Noise: 15.5 dB(A) ~ 26.9 dB/(A))
Noctua NF-S12b FLX (Speed: 600 ~ 1200 RPM / Airflow: 29 ~ 59.2 CFM / Noise: 6.2 dB(A) ~ 18.1 dB(A))

those specs show the great improvement in noise and slower speed, but I’m curious if the overall airflow will cause heat issues? You probably don’t have any heat issues since you are currently using 3 WD Green drives, but my only concern is that my Hitatachi drives might get a little hot with all 5 bays loaded. I may try to go with one of those others from your first post.

Congratulations on a successful first.

I know I might be late to ask this, but could you maybe post some pictures, especially of the connector of the original fan?

This could probably help others to find the proper conector and do the splicing of the cable without damaging the original fan, which would make it much easier to go back to it if the new fan is not cooling enough.