Question How do I plug fans and RGB in simultaneously?

Yordaign

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Mar 8, 2019
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Apologies if I have posted anything incorrectly, Im new to forum posting, however I will try my best to explain. As the title suggests, I am building the Mrs. a new pc as her laptop is packing up, and she expressed a liking for custom watercooled builds, and with me wanting to learn more about them I decided to give it a go.

I have just about gotten my head around the watercooling bit with a silly ammount of internet research, and have bought the blocks and pump/res, tubing, fittings etc, and am set to go on that. Similarly the pc is all put together with the original stock air coolers to test the components and all seems to be well, the pc posts and now has windows loaded on it. The case she decided on was the Lian-Li PC-Q37, I have followed the measurements of another persons build in the same case so that I know everything fits.

Where I have my problem is I have never worked with any RGB in any of my other personal rigs and am at a bit of a loss. I have searched the internet but everything I find doesn't help, either I dont understand or it isnt relevent to me.

I have got both of the blocks in RGB varient as well as the pump/res, all with aRGB 5V connectors, and I plan on buying a couple of RGB strips to run in the case as well as a UV light strip as the fluid will be UV reactive. I have gone for regular non RGB fans and have 6 of them in total in the build, however I have only ordered the 80mm fans that fit in the back of the case, as im not sure what the best way of hooking them all up in the pc is. I simply dont know how to plug all of that in, I believe I need some sort of hub, be it 2 seperate ones (one for fans and one for the aRGB) there is one made my EK that has poor reviews overall, and some other ones seem to be specifically for RGB fans and im not sure if i am able to use the PWM headers on that for my fans, and the acompanying aRGB headers for the blocks and other components.

So my question is basically, is it a hub I need to plug all of the RGB and fans into, and if so, is it best to go with 2 different ones, or one that consolidates both the hubs into a single one. I can give details of components if thats something you need, and any suggestions would be greatly appretiated.

Thanks for your time,
Jordan.
 

Karadjgne

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I have just about gotten my head around the watercooling bit with a silly ammount of internet research
You've barely scratched the surface, best make very sure you paid attention to the details, because it's those little details that will trip you up far worse than the big and obvious details. Things like making very sure the rads are cleaned inside properly before you put the loop together, which coolants to use, even which rads do better with which fans and why. Don't forget to leak test the loop for 24hrs before adding mains power etc. That's a good time to run some loop cleaner/conditioner through it before final drain/rinse and permanent coolant applied.

Lighting. That's not hard at all if you get it sunk in your skull that an rgb fan is nothing more than a plain Jane fan with a light strip glued to it. Once the fans themselves are set up, forget they exist. You have lights. That's the only thing.

There's a difference, and unfortunately vendors really do ppl a disservice because they prey on the public without mercy. ARGB is Not the same as RGB, apples and oranges. ARGB is Addressable RGB, meaning it works like a pwm fan. Motherboard sends a signal to a chip that sits next to an rgb led, and the chip enables the colors. The voltage and amperage in the strip remain constant. With RGB, that's more like a 3pin DC fan. The motherboard changes the amperage on the entire strip, and the entire strip changes color at the same time.

Because ARGB is addressable, a single led can be one color, and the led next to it another color. ARGB is the only way to achieve Rainbow affects. RGB cannot do Rainbow because the entire strip is changed at the same rate.

Then there's voltage, some are 12v, some are 5v, the two do not mix, same as you cannot put ARGB and RGB on the same circuit as they work differently.

That's the disservice, vendors mix up RGB and ARGB constantly, they'll repeatedly call a fan an RGB lighted fan, even in the fans model name, yet show pictures containing Rainbow affects. Which is ARGB, regardless of what it's called.

So make doubly sure about 3 things.
  1. All the same, either RGB or ARGB, for each header usage.
  2. All the same voltages for each header usage.
  3. Your motherboard actually supports the intended fans and strips, some do and some do not. Most more budget boards only have RGB 5050 strip header, only the more expensive boards have ARGB.
It's only when you start running into logistical issues, that's when you can use something like the Phanteks or Corsair hubs which can work with multiple possibilities. Addressable RGB limits are bt the addressing signal strength and is generally upto 72 fans worth of lighting. RGB is motherboard header limited to 12w, or @ 5 fans worth of RGB max.

Fans are even less hassle, exponentially easier to get straight than custom loops or RGB/ARGB stuff. There's 2 kinds of fans, DC 3pin and pwm 4pin. DC changes the voltage to the fan to change the speed, pwm sends an on/off pulse to the fan to change the speed, but voltage remains 12v.

Pwm fans only require 12v constant, the signal does the work, so a pwm fan can be powered by Any 12v source, meaning there's only the signal strength limit (10 fans) that is a cap. With DC fans, the voltage is changed, so that must come from the motherboard header or there's no control and the fan spins 100% always.

You can use upto 10 pwm fans on a powered hub, which is powered by sata or molex, the plug to the motherboard only uses the tachometer wire and the pwm signal, no power, so isn't limited by header amperage. Because DC fans must come from the header, they use header power so are limited to a maximum of upto @ 1A total for the chain. Which is generally 3 fans, but can be upto 5.
 
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Yordaign

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Mar 8, 2019
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Wow, thank you so much for all the information, I have given it a good read through and thurughly appretiate the oppertunity to learn from someone of your knowledge.

I made sure that everything i have ordered so far is aRGB, and her motherboard is the Asus ROG Strix x570i which if im not mistaken has the required header.

So to confirm, everything from here on out LED wise has to be 5v aRGB 3pin? And are all 3 pin RGB connections aRGB or can there be a regular RGB device that connects via 3 pin?

I am using regular non rgb fans for the build, so would something like the Phanteks universal PWM fan hub be ok and then I'd have to grab an aRGB hub for the lights? or is there a better sort of product out there I havent seen yet that would allow me to only use one hub? Im fairly sure I dont have to worry about space too much in the back of the case as its got quite a wide area behind the motherboard tray for me to hide all of this stuff, and I love cable management so that doesnt bother me either.

Also while I have your ear, is there a way to tell if a fluid will be compatible, as until reading your post I had no idea that was an issue at all. Im planning on running "Mayhems Clear Blue UV" through the system. Also, I have bought a Dr. Drop pressure tester to test the seals before I add any coolant to the loop, but how does one test the loop with fluid, without using mains power? Sorry if thats a silly question, but I've never heard that one before either.

Thanks again for the response, this newbie really appretiates it.
 

Karadjgne

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Argb is in reality a 4 slot header, but one of the pins is intentionally plugged up, it's a key to prevent you from plugging in the connector contrary to polarity. Argb is power, ground and address signal wire, so polarity is quite important.

RGB is 4 full pins. They can be one of 2 kinds but generally for pc fans/strips are 1 hot and 3 grounds, a 12v source and 3x color to ground. Diodes control how much amperage is allowed to go through the circuit on the ground side, and the more amperage per ground, the brighter the intensity of the R or G or B. So if there's 0.5A on the R, 0.5A on the B and 0.0A on the G then the red and blue led in the bulb (there's 3 total per bulb) are at maximum intensity and the Green is off. Your eyes see the mix of red and blue light and call it purple.

So there's a quite large difference in the end result, even if the same process happens with ARGB, just that ARGB is a one on one chip/bulb setup and RGB is a all/one setup where there's a single chip at the back end of the line.

Corsair Commander Pro can control multiple setups, there's several Phanteks hubs, nzxt hubs etc. Kinda depends on exactly how you feel you want to go.

Nothing wrong with the Dr. Drop, that works very well. Just make sure it's sealed well and leave it alone for a good long while to guard against the tiny, slow leaks.

Most fluids are compatible with a loop, it's what they are designed for. There's very few coolant additives that have particular restrictions, and thats usually a chemical reaction to or caused by different types of plastics, like petg etc. Can also be caused by rads/Blocks that are not properly and thoroughly cleaned before usage, some of the manufacture process greases and fluxes and residues can affect some fluids. The reds, oranges, yellows and variations seem to be affected the most, blues the least and greens are a maybe.

There's also pigment fallout. This happens at very low/no flow points in the loop, like by the drain especially. That concentrated pigment can be a goopy mess, and will leave your coolant very translucent if you leave it too long. Try and minimize dead ends in the loop.

I have 3 things about coolant I go by.
  1. No pastels. They look great for YouTube, shows etc but can be a disaster for everyday, long term use, the chalkier the coolant, the faster it'll gum up blocks/pump. Stick with clests/translucents.
  2. No silver. Works OK as a biocide, but those freed up ions have to go somewhere and I don't want to find out where. Stick with a liquid biocide. Much more effective.
  3. Try not to mix up brands. If I've used Primochill, Everything is Primochill, and directions are followed to the letter. Same with Mayhems, gotta read the fine prints on them. Some require use of certain addatives, some do not, some explicitly say not to mix certain addatives or suffer chemical reactions. Like Mayhem's Premix, leave it alone, but Mayhem's concentrate requires biocide. Etc.
The pump requires power to run. That power generally comes directly from the psu as the amperage the pump requires is more than any motherboard header can regulate. Doesn't mean the pc has to be on to use, just the psu. Many psus will give you a 'tester' which plugs into the 24pin mains, and does nothing but equal the power button being pushed by shorting 2 pins. That turns on the psu without requiring the mains to be plugged into the motherboard. What that does is turn on the psu but not the pc, so in the event of a leak, there's no power put into the pc. You don't plug ANYTHING in. No cpu, no gpu, no drives, nothing. ( can run the wiring, just leave the connector off or if using a modular psu leave those connectors off and motherboard fully assembled) Just the power into the psu, the power from the psu to pump, and the 'tester'. You'll run the loop powered up like that for 24hours. Then 'toilet paper' test every single fitting looking for dampness. If it passes, finish up the wiring, and have fun.

'tester'. You can also simply use a paperclip and short the Green (ps_on) wire with any Black wire. Does the same thing. Just Do Not plug the mains into the motherboard.
 
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Yordaign

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Mar 8, 2019
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Ahh thanks thats cleared that up for me, Ive ordered what I hope will be a 1 hub solution so I'll see how that goes, one last thing while this thread is open, can I use de-ionised water as a substitute for distilled water as its quite hard to get hold of? I'm using a consentrate mayhemz fluid additive that includes the necessary anti corrosives and biocides, I'm just wondering your thoughts on it?

Thanks again :)
 

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