Software independent fan controller

Hi, I’m basically fed up with my BIOS fan control now, for some reason it just keeps some of the fans at 100% and the MB doesn’t have enough headers anyway for individual control, so I’m stuck with a Y-splitter. So I was thinking to get an external fan controller, like what Corsair provides for example. The big problem is that I’m dual booting my system and I therefore can’t really rely on windows software solutions.

So my question would be, are there some fan controllers that I just have to setup and they just work (via physical probes most likely) or are there some like semi-server-ish solutions that work with standard PWM fans and have some soft of (not crappy) Linux control software? I know there is a Linux solution for corsair, but it seems like it’s a pain to configure and I’m not quite sure about compatibility with which controller, the commander pro seems to be compatible, the rest maybe?

I did find Coolero / Coolero · GitLab, which seems to be able to pick up anything that has kernel drivers, but because my MB has decided that it doesn’t want to properly control the fan speed it doesn’t seem to change anything sadly.

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You might have a look at the aquaero 6 controller from aquacomputer. I haven’t used it, but maybe you only need windows to do the initial setup, and then it runs independently.
I use the splitty 9 active from them to control some fans that draw more that 1 amp

Definitely interesting, although maybe a bit expensive for a “maybe working”.

yes, I agree. That’s why I only got the splitter and still using the bios/bmc to control the fans.

Hi @Cromefire have you heard of this linux project? I don’t have any Corsair products, so I don’t know how well this project runs. But I briefly read the project’s desscripment and it seems to do what you are looking for. Have you ever consider using the Windows software for your equipment, save your settings, and then boot into Linux. That how I program my mouse macros for running my Windows games under Linux. The project I am talking about is called liquidctl.

there are hardware controlled ones, but they look expensive… £40 from OCUK gets a pretty no-name brand one.

you surely must be able to get cheaper ones.

I used to use one Like this, but stopped like 6/7 years ago, and just use mobo now…

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Yes this currently seems like the most promising one, it also has direct kernel support, at least for the commander pro. Commander core & stuff seems to be non stable though, I might have to check all the differences again. Coolero actually uses liquidctl or the kernel under the hood.

Well that’s nothing my MB supports, it only supports BIOS configuration for persistent storage, direct control from windows and that’s kinda broken sadly.

It’s manually controlled though it seems like, so pretty useless for my use case I guess, because I want something to set & forget.

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Depending on the hardware you are running, (motherboard) hardware sensor support in Linux is hit and miss, even for many older pieces of hardware. All those Linux programs for sensor reading and fan control assume a working sensor and fan header readout, and for many motherboards you just won’t get it.
The older style hardware based fan controllers with external probes are your best bet. I remember Aerocool used to sell some rather cheap and simple external fan controllers for 5.25" bays. Manual control of course. Not what you want, but I guess you need to made concessions here.

Well my MB is actually support it’s just seems to have… Firmware issues with one of the fan headers. I mean it does work, but this header just pins everything to 100% without the ability to control it from the BIOS for some reason, even after a BIOS rollback.
Kinda the second reason is that I want to have the GPU in the loop soon and the BIOS doesn’t support GPU temps of course, so I’d need a HW sensor for that or software.
And with a manual fan controller I’m kinda in the same position I’m in now: Put it to 100% so my components don’t overheat when it comes to it (plus I don’t have 5.25" slots so I couldn’t access it anyway), so no real noise advantage gained.

I built a fan controller that is almost exactly what you described and have been meaning to make a thread about it. I designed it around using water temp sensors but there is no reason you cant use any 10k NTC thermister on it.
Has 3 temp sensor inputs. 4 PWM channels of which 1 is dedicated for 2 pump headers, and 3 that can be selected by jumper for the other 10 outputs and has a jumper for passing RPM from one header back to the mobo to avoid no fan errors.

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Can you just put the fan curves in firmware or how does it work? Also can I “connect” one channel to 2 temps (I’d ideally like to have CPU and GPU controlling the pump speed)?

I have not implemented using more than one temp channel for 1 fan curve yet because I am basing everything in my setup on water temp. It would be fairly easy to have it read multiple sensors and use the one that is higher or do some math before passing the value to the fan curve. Currently the fan curves get hard coded in the Arduino project file but I’m working on a better way to do it using the Pico’s ability to show up as a mass storage device and having a config file on that volume.

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Will you have schematics and code for it open source or something, so other people can recreate it?

Right now my plan is to open source the code and sell the boards as kits near BOM cost or as assembled units with a 3d printed case on Tindie. I’m slowly working towards a v2 board that will have a smaller footprint, dip switches rather than jumpers, and a header for a small oled display to show the temps and RPMs.

Edit: Here is my currently functional code and the schematics for the v1.1 board.
Fan_Controller_Code_POC.txt (5.6 KB)

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Selling is sadly always kinda a problem with shipping to Europe, where the shipping most of the time costs more than the product and then there’s also the tax stuff. If you’d get it to Europe cheaply I’d for sure take one.

Send it as electronic spare parts/warranty :stuck_out_tongue:

Also: I think up to 45€ value shipped is VAT/import tax free

Every country is different. Over here the tax free barrier is 17€

Well for germany that limit seems to be 0€… There are some exceptions for private shipping (But you still need to pay 15% and paperwork I think, of which the paperwork is probably even the bigger problem), but I’m not a customs expert, so…

I mean 15 - 19% wouldn’t be a that much of a problem the bigger Problem is probably paperwork and price of shipping… I mean I don’t know all the providers, but shipping with for example DHL & UPS (probably not the best option, but the one I could find fastest) is like > 100$ (link (cities are semi-randomly selected because privacy and stuff))