[SOLVED] 4 pin RGB fans with non RGB Motherboard

Nov 21, 2020
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Apologies if this has been covered before. I am building a system for my daughter and I have confused the hell out of myself! I am using an old Asus Z170-A motherboard which doesn't have an RGB header. I have bought an Aerocool Shard case which came with 4 RGB fans with 4 pin connectors. The case has an RGB display on the front of the case that is controlled via a button on the case and is powered by a SATA power connector. The control panel also has another cable two three pin connectors one RGB Round pin connector and smaller three pin connector.




The fans have 4 pin connectors (not round) they have a male and a female connector that will fit into each other, I assume this is to daisy chain the fans?



My question what controller can I use to control the fans using either the standard non digital chassis fan header or usb. The cool master MFY-RCSN-NNUDK-R1 looks like it would do the job but the connectors are incorrect.

Thanks for the help!
 

Paperdoc

Glorious
Ambassador
So each fan has ONLY one cable from it that ends in that male / female pair of 4-hole connectors your 2md and 3rdphotos show. Somehow that has to supply power and control of both the fan motor and the RGB LED's in its frame. They clearly are set up for a daisy-chain connection, but the question is where does the FIRST fan in that chain plug in? Those connectors are NOT any standard connection that can plug into a mobo header. So they must plug into somewhere in the CASE associated with the case's LED control button on top. Another clue for this: trace the cable you had to plug into a PSU SATA power output. It takes power TO the fan control system, so it's a good bet that is where you will plug in the first fan in the chain. I fully expect that will supply power to both the motors and lights and give you control of the light displays via the case LED button. I suspect there will be NO control of fan speed, since there does not appear to be any way to connect the fans to any mobo fan header.

The pair of 3-hole connectors your first photo shows are a bit of a puzzle, because they ARE made to fit the two different types of ARGB headers common on mobos. Often a case-supplied RGB lighting control system has an option to connect it to a mobo header and allows you, with some sort of button sequence, to turn over control of the display to the mobo, rather than entirely by the case's control board. Your case's manual says nothing about such a feature. However, since you have no such mobo header, it's moot. Just do not try to plug either of those into anything.
 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
Welcome to the forums, newcomer!

Daisy chain, yes. The 4 pin you speak of, they look like an ARGB connector but the site for the case say that it's an RGB case...so, if you will, I think you need to give us a higher res image for the fans' "RGB" connector. Also, if it's an RGB fan, then the CoolerMaster controller you found is the right one to pair with RGB fans and more but if the fans are ARGB, then this is the controller you're going to have to invest in. The one I've parsed is compatible with both ARGB and RGB devices, so :)
 
Nov 21, 2020
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Welcome to the forums, newcomer!

Daisy chain, yes. The 4 pin you speak of, they look like an ARGB connector but the site for the case say that it's an RGB case...so, if you will, I think you need to give us a higher res image for the fans' "RGB" connector. Also, if it's an RGB fan, then the CoolerMaster controller you found is the right one to pair with RGB fans and more but if the fans are ARGB, then this is the controller you're going to have to invest in. The one I've parsed is compatible with both ARGB and RGB devices, so :)
Thank you for the quick response and welcome!:)

Here is a pic of the connectors on the fan. It was hard work trying to get the pics to stay in focus as the depth of field is so narrow so i found a better picture on the internet of the connectors. The two on the left are what I have. They are four pin connectors with square pins and the spacing is the same as a standard PWM connector but they are obviously not PWM connectors.



Many thanks for your help it is much appreciated! I never thought RGB fans could be so complicated!
 

Paperdoc

Glorious
Ambassador
This will involve some guesses because the Aerocool web page and case manual do not give complete info. Unfortunately, i find that is common in many case makers!

Your first photo of two female 3-hole connectors (on the same cable, I believe) appears to be to fit onto the two most common kinds of ARGB 3-pin mobo lighting headers. THAT I find very confusing, because the case description SAYS they supply RGB lights, and that phrase usually means the so-called Plain RGB, not the advanced Addressible RGB. Plain RGB uses a 4-pin connection system, whereas ADDR RGB uses a 3-pin system, like the first photo. BUT the web page photos show pictures in which almost all the lights are a single colour, which is typical of plain RGB. That system can change to a lot of colours, but at any one moment all the lights are just one colour. The small exception is the lighted strip on the case front that has three colours showing. BUT it is not clear whether that strip always looks like that (which can be done with plain RGB if the light strip layout of LEDs is done right), or whether that multi-colour strip can be constantly changing, which would require ADDR RGB.

Then we see that the fans have a set of 4-pin connectors on cables that, I agree, are configured to be daisy-chained. IF those cables are for the LIGHTS in the fan frames, 4 pins are needed only for plain RGB lighting systems. It appears that the LIGHTS in the fan frames are all daisy-chained back to a single source which is the case's built-in RGB control button on the top, and that they are of the 4-pin plain RGB type.

The case page and manual make absolutely NO mention of fan SPEED control. Now, normal "RGB Fans" these days have two separate cables from each fan unit: one is for the lights in the frame only, and the other is for the fan motor. The fan motor cables go to mobo fan headers. So, do the fans that came in the case also have a separate cable from each that ends in a small standard fan connector with either 3 or 4 holes in it? Or is the cable you showed us with the daisy-chain design the ONLY cable from each fan? Or, (third possibility) is there a separate cable that does NOT end in a fan connector, but is pre-wired to a case-mounted fan motor control system, OR to a common connector that goes to a PSU power output like a Molex? I'm trying to figure out here if the fan MOTORS are powered separately from the fan LIGHTS, as most such fans are.
 
Nov 21, 2020
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This will involve some guesses because the Aerocool web page and case manual do not give complete info. Unfortunately, i find that is common in many case makers!

Your first photo of two female 3-hole connectors (on the same cable, I believe) appears to be to fit onto the two most common kinds of ARGB 3-pin mobo lighting headers. THAT I find very confusing, because the case description SAYS they supply RGB lights, and that phrase usually means the so-called Plain RGB, not the advanced Addressible RGB. Plain RGB uses a 4-pin connection system, whereas ADDR RGB uses a 3-pin system, like the first photo. BUT the web page photos show pictures in which almost all the lights are a single colour, which is typical of plain RGB. That system can change to a lot of colours, but at any one moment all the lights are just one colour. The small exception is the lighted strip on the case front that has three colours showing. BUT it is not clear whether that strip always looks like that (which can be done with plain RGB if the light strip layout of LEDs is done right), or whether that multi-colour strip can be constantly changing, which would require ADDR RGB.

Then we see that the fans have a set of 4-pin connectors on cables that, I agree, are configured to be daisy-chained. IF those cables are for the LIGHTS in the fan frames, 4 pins are needed only for plain RGB lighting systems. It appears that the LIGHTS in the fan frames are all daisy-chained back to a single source which is the case's built-in RGB control button on the top, and that they are of the 4-pin plain RGB type.

The case page and manual make absolutely NO mention of fan SPEED control. Now, normal "RGB Fans" these days have two separate cables from each fan unit: one is for the lights in the frame only, and the other is for the fan motor. The fan motor cables go to mobo fan headers. So, do the fans that came in the case also have a separate cable from each that ends in a small standard fan connector with either 3 or 4 holes in it? Or is the cable you showed us with the daisy-chain design the ONLY cable from each fan? Or, (third possibility) is there a separate cable that does NOT end in a fan connector, but is pre-wired to a case-mounted fan motor control system, OR to a common connector that goes to a PSU power output like a Molex? I'm trying to figure out here if the fan MOTORS are powered separately from the fan LIGHTS, as most such fans are.
Thanks for the reply info as follows;

Ok so the fans have the two four pin connectors as in the pic in my previous posts nothing else definitely no standard 3 or 4 pin fan connectors. The front light on the case changes colour with a button on the case that looks like a reset button all independent of the mobo. This is connected to the switch via a two pin connector. There is a SATA power cable which I have connected and the two three pin connectors (on one cable) one of which is marked VDG.

From what you have explained it seems that the sata power should be powering the fans as well? If we assume that is the case and the fans are daisy chained I am left with one four pin connector to connect to something? From what you have said this is not the mobo as this would have either an RGB connector or ARGB header and not a four pin connector? So with no other options I assume that means I need a suitable fan controller that will power the fans and the RGB lights. That means I will need to connect to something on the mobo that will control fan speed through the fan controller either via a standard fan header or USB connector or something else?

I can't believe how complicated a few fans can be!
 

Paperdoc

Glorious
Ambassador
So each fan has ONLY one cable from it that ends in that male / female pair of 4-hole connectors your 2md and 3rdphotos show. Somehow that has to supply power and control of both the fan motor and the RGB LED's in its frame. They clearly are set up for a daisy-chain connection, but the question is where does the FIRST fan in that chain plug in? Those connectors are NOT any standard connection that can plug into a mobo header. So they must plug into somewhere in the CASE associated with the case's LED control button on top. Another clue for this: trace the cable you had to plug into a PSU SATA power output. It takes power TO the fan control system, so it's a good bet that is where you will plug in the first fan in the chain. I fully expect that will supply power to both the motors and lights and give you control of the light displays via the case LED button. I suspect there will be NO control of fan speed, since there does not appear to be any way to connect the fans to any mobo fan header.

The pair of 3-hole connectors your first photo shows are a bit of a puzzle, because they ARE made to fit the two different types of ARGB headers common on mobos. Often a case-supplied RGB lighting control system has an option to connect it to a mobo header and allows you, with some sort of button sequence, to turn over control of the display to the mobo, rather than entirely by the case's control board. Your case's manual says nothing about such a feature. However, since you have no such mobo header, it's moot. Just do not try to plug either of those into anything.
 
Nov 21, 2020
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Success! Although I feel like a chump, there was a female connector wired into the SATA connector. In my brain that's alternative means of power but obviously that is for the daisy chained fans! It is simple now I now how LoL! So the only issue now is can I use the small three pin connector (only two wires) marked VDG to control fan speed from the a PWM header? I don't want to plug it in and screw something up without checking!

Thanks for your help it is very much appreciated!
 

Paperdoc

Glorious
Ambassador
Do NOT plug either of those 3-hole connectors with the VDG marks into anything! Those are strictly to plug into a mobo ADDR RGB header to p[ick up a set of signals to control ADDR RGB lights. You do not have any such header to use. Those cables should NOT fit onto any mobo fan header. But even if you did get them on, using it would VERY likely burn out your lights! So don't try!
 
Nov 21, 2020
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Do NOT plug either of those 3-hole connectors with the VDG marks into anything! Those are strictly to plug into a mobo ADDR RGB header to p[ick up a set of signals to control ADDR RGB lights. You do not have any such header to use. Those cables should NOT fit onto any mobo fan header. But even if you did get them on, using it would VERY likely burn out your lights! So don't try!
Thanks for the advice I found the same from google searches wrong voltage and one digital one analogue. At least they work now which is a plus even if they are manually controlled. I don't think it will cause any issues. Many thanks for all the help!
 

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