First time watercooling. How to connect all the components?

May 23, 2018
Hello everyone, this is my first thread so I hope I am posting the thread in the right place. I am just very confused at the moment. This is my first time doing custom watercooling and very confused where to plug each component in.

I have a:
-PWM DDC pump
-Aquaero 6xt
-Maximus X Hero mobo
-6 PWM fans with 2 360 radiators connected to the PWM headers on the aquaero 6xt

Do I plug the DDC pump into the CPU fan header or the aquaero?
How do I set everything up as well?
You have chosen a sophisticated third-party controller system in the Aquaero 6XT unit. It has a LOT of user-configurable abilities. It can control the speeds of many fans and of the pump unit you will use. It has only four outputs, each configurable to use either PWM or Voltage mode, but all your components are of the PWM type. However, each of those outputs can supply 12 VDC at up to 2.5 A current, so you won't have a problem. I suggest you connect the pump to one of those outputs (pump max current 1.5 A). The controller has a feature that you can use here. You can have the controller create a speed signal based on a real speed it has measured from its inputs and relay that out to a mobo fan header. I suggest you have it do that based on the speed signal of the pump unit, and relay that to the mobo CPU_FAN header. That mobo header devotes special attention to the speed of the CPU cooler (whatever that is) for FAILURE detection. On many mobos, if that header fails to receive a fan (or pump) speed signal (or, in some cases, a speed that is too low) it issues a warning message for a short time, then shuts down completely to prevent possible CPU chip damage from overheating. It will do this without even waiting for the CPU internal temperature sensor to register high CPU temps. In some cases, it will refuse to let you start up if the CPU fan speed (as detected at this header) is not present at start-up.

Then use Splitters to combine radiator fans onto controller outputs. I suggest using two three-output Splitters like this:

to connect three radiator fans each to two of the controller's outputs. For configuration, set each of those outputs the same.

That leaves one controller output unused. I suggest you get a 4-pin fan HUB unit to connect all your case ventilation fans together to this last controller output channel. Hubs only work with PWM Mode inputs (like the outputs of your controller) and with 4-pin fans, so ensure all your case vent fans are 4-pin type. This way all your case vent fans will be controlled identically by the fourth Aquaero 6XT output.

In using a Splitter or a Hub you should be aware of a small limitation. Any fan (or pump) will generate a speed signal consisting of 2 pulses per revolution and send it back to its mobo header on Pin #3 of its wiring, where the mobo header can count it for display. But that counter can only deal with ONE pulse signal train arriving from a single source - you cannot merge speed pulse trains from two or more fans into a header. So any Splitter or Hub will relay back to its host header the speed of only ONE of its fans, and the others are ignored totally. For detection of possible failures over time, when you use these devices it is up to YOU to check periodically that all fans etc. still are working.

You have one significant issue to settle in using this controller. ALL of its control functions depend on having an actual temperature of the device being cooled MEASURED by a sensor mounted appropriately. The controller comes with some sensor units you cam mount and connect to it. Such things can be difficult because you need to identify exactly where to place each sensor, how to ensure it stays in place and continues to make effective thermal contact, and what the "correct" temperature for that device is. So, that's info you need to get. The harder one, though, is the internal temperature of the CPU chip. It has a sensor built into it by its maker, and that info is output on one pin to the mobo. In most cases there is no way to feed that to a third-party unit. BUT this Aquaero unit does have a feature that allows you to install certain specified third-party software utilities on your system and then connect the Aquaero unit to a mobo USB port to get certain info from that software. In this way you CAN relay info the mobo has (like CPU temperature and mobo temperatures) to the Aquareo unit for its use. So look into that feature closely.

The Aquaero system gives YOU the power to configure all your cooling control systems exactly as you wish. That also means you have the responsibility of learning exactly how to do that! You're taking on a lot of work and leaning, but it could be fun!
May 23, 2018

Great information! Thank you very much! I have all my radiator fans hooked up to a modmytoys splitter so hopefully won't be too big of an issue. How exactly do you connect the relay on the aquaero 6xt to the CPU fan header? Is there some sort of cable I can purchase or pinout I can use? One more thing, if I changed my pump to an aquacomputer d5 pump, how would you connect that?
On that Modmytoys "Splitter" you may have a problem you need to address. At least one product named something like that from that supplier is a simple circuit board with six 4-pin outputs, a 4-pin male header to connect to a mobo fan header, and a SATA power input connector. For your purposes of connecting six fans together for the radiator, you will need to use it as a HUB. Unlike a Splitter, a Hub gets all power for its fans from the PSU via the SATA power input connector and does NOT use any power from the mobo header which has a power limit. BUT to use that device this way you need two connection cables AND a modification. Modmytoys can supply the cables needed to connect from the splitter board's headers to a PSU SATA power output and to a mobo 4-pin fan header that uses PWM Mode for control. BUT the way that board is designed, the six output headers' +12 VDC lines all are connected to the input line from the mobo fan header, as well as to the power from the PSU via the SATA connection. You really should NOT have those both connected, so the Modmytoys website specifically says you should modify the cable you get that connects from mobo fan header to splitter board fan input header. In particular, the Ground (fan header Pin #1) and +12 VDC (Pin #2) lines should be cut so that the only Ground and +12 VDC connections to this board are through the SATA cable. I did not examine ALL of the items Modmytoys sells under the name "Splitter", so you should examine the details of the exact device you have to see whether this is needed in your case.

You ask, "How exactly do you connect the relay on the aquaero 6xt to the CPU fan header?" You don't. The RELAY connector on the Aquaero 6XT controller (see manual p. 8 and p. 12, item 4.12) is simply a switch that you can use to control some external circuit. It does NOT communicate information with a mobo fan header.

Unfortunately I used the word "relay" when I suggested using a feature, and that caused you confusion. In the manual on p.6 it says the unit comes with one "aquabus / speed signal" cable that can be used to connect the unit's "Aquabus RPM" header to the mobo CPU_FAN header, for example. The function of that output header is described on p. 10, item 4.7. To use this feature you will use the Alarm setting tools in the Aquasuite software system to detect fan or pump failure from the devices attached to the Aquaero unit, and then create a synthetic speed signal that can be set to a zero value when a failure occurs and sent out of that RPM header to the CPU fan mobo header to alert it to the failure.

Regarding the Aqua Computer D5 pump, the Aqua Computer website shows two such items - one for older Voltage Control systems, and one for PWM control; the latter would suit you. That device claims that it is particularly well suited for use with the Aquaero 6XT controller whereas other units are NOT, so making that change would probably be a good idea. If you are connecting all six radiator fans via a Hub to a single 6XT output header as you suggest, then that frees up one header I had "used" and you could connect the pump to that.

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