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[SOLVED] how many Cooler Master H500M ARGB Fans on a single header?

Angolmagyar

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Jul 8, 2014
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I posted this question in cooling section, but there hasn't been any replies and very few views, so I'd like to ask here too, maybe I can get an answer here. If any mods read this, please delete the old post at https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/how-many-cooler-master-h500m-argb-fans-on-a-single-header.3599384/ . Thank you.

So I have some very specific questions relating to very specific items. I have been googling for the past 3 hours, I have gotten general answers, but not answers that definitively answer what I'm asking and I do not want to fry my new parts. So the questions:

I have ordered a Cooler Master MasterCase H500M. I have gotten a Corsair HX750I and a Gigabyte RTX 2060 Super Windforce OC 8GB, but these 2, I don't think are related.

My current build features an Asus Z97K, i5 4690k, 12GB ram, 256gb nvme, 4tb hard drive, gtx 750 ti (to be replaced in a few days). The important bit is the motherboard; the Z97K has no ARGB headers on it, and only 3 fan headers.

Currently, I have a CiT Blaze case with 6 (Blue light), 120mm fans, which are connected to a powered fan hub, along with a Cooler Master Hyoer 212 evo running the stock 120mm fan plus a Cooler Master sickleflow 120mm red light fan, to run in dual config. The cooler fans are connected directly to the motherboard while case fans are connected to the fan hub.

So the new case that will arrive soon will have the two 200mm mf200r argb fans in the front with a 140mm fan in the back. I am not sure if the rear fan is argb, but for the argument's sake, lets say it is. So the case comes with an argb controller with 2 argb outputs. The case may or may not include a 1 to 2 rgb splitter (I've read conflicting posts), but lets say it does.

So now I have 3 argb fans in the case with a controller with 2 output slots and an rgb splitter.

So finally the question: Can I connect the 2 front fans to a single rgb output on the hub and the rear to the other, SAFELY?

And another question I've wanted to get a clear answer for, for a while but haven't been able to: Motherboards have fan headers usually rated to 1 amp. What is the maximum amperage I can expect to draw SAFELY from that header? If I have 3 fans, 2 of which are 0.33A and 1 that is 0.34A, can I connect them all to the single header? Will the fact that its so close.. No, right on the power limit, not risk frying the header along with possibly other components too? Especially considering in my experience on boot, fans will all spin up to or near max speed for a moment, which makes me think that for a moment they might be drawing more power than what they do normally. That I've only experienced with fans connected directly to the mobo fan header. Fan hub connected fans don't seem to do that. Also keep in mind my motherboard - bought and used since 2014. I plan on upgrading that too, just like the GPU and the PSU, but with a new mobo comes new cpu and new ram (I have ddr3, new mobo will need ddr4).

Anyway, my plan is to run the pwm fans into my existing fan hub, but I do not want to buy an ARGB hub as well for now, so I'd really like to know if I'd be able to connect at least 2 rgb fans to a single rgb header - Safely.

And a question that just came to mind, the H500M rgb controller will include a mini usb to usb header for the motherboard (I think). If I connect that, will I be able to control the lighting from software with the usb connection? I'm excited for the argb element of the case as I've never had argb stuff, only single colors and I do not want to break them straight away :D.

Thanks for any help in advance!
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
The fan motor pulls a maximum of 0.3 amps and the RGB likely pulls a negligible amount of current since the CM data sheet and available specifications do not indicate any amount, nor does there seem to be any such details available elsewhere. Mostly these RGB lights are extremely low powered.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
I can't answer your questions about the RGB header, because I have only worked with RGB aftermarket controllers, no onboard ones.

As for the fan operations themselves, two fans per header, max, if you are being realistic and safe. Technically it COULD handle three fans, but you are pushing your luck by doing so. I recommend against it.
 

Angolmagyar

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Jul 8, 2014
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I can't answer your questions about the RGB header, because I have only worked with RGB aftermarket controllers, no onboard ones.
When I said onboard controller, I meant this: https://www.cmstore.eu/spare-parts/mastercase-h500m-argb-controller/

Not sure if i made that clear :D

And as for the fans, even two is pushing it in my eyes for some fans. As I mentioned I currently have the CiT Blaze case with 6 halo ring blue LED fans, and each fan states 0.45 amps on the sticker in the middle. I don't know, I'd be terrified going for 0.9A and leaving so little wiggle room. Do you agree?
 

Phaaze88

Illustrious
Ambassador
Part of the answer to your question is right there in the picture diagram in that link:
"The maximum output of ALL ARGB and fan connections is 3A(amps)."
For motherboard headers, it's 1A, save for the liquid cooling headers, which are 2A.

Look up the specs of the fans you want to connect, how much power they pull, and subtract it from the hub's 3A max.
MF200R ARGB: https://coolermaster.egnyte.com/dl/KYs3ZhjEea/ (0.3Amps)
If you got creative, that means you could connect 9 - I know it's 10, but that's too exact, for safety reasons - MF200R ARGB to the hub, 3 to a mobo system header.

CiT Blaze - 0.45A
6 to the hub, 2 to the mobo header.
 

Angolmagyar

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Part of the answer to your question is right there in the picture diagram in that link:
"The maximum output of ALL ARGB and fan connections is 3A(amps)."
For motherboard headers, it's 1A, save for the liquid cooling headers, which are 2A.

Look up the specs of the fans you want to connect, how much power they pull, and subtract it from the hub's 3A max.
MF200R ARGB: https://coolermaster.egnyte.com/dl/KYs3ZhjEea/ (0.3Amps)
If you got creative, that means you could connect 9 - I know it's 10, but that's too exact, for safety reasons - MF200R ARGB to the hub, 3 to a mobo system header.

CiT Blaze - 0.45A
6 to the hub, 2 to the mobo header.
I'm asking about the RGB headers. Each of those fans come with 2 cables, 1 for the PWM fan and 1 for the ARGB. The fans are fine, I have a hub, and if they really are 0.3A each, I have splitters, I'd rather connect them to the motherboard. Although I'd like to mention I've looked up some videos about the case while I was searching for an answer, and in one of the videos, the center sticker on the fans was visible and stated 0.45A. Just like with my current case fans, I'd rather avoid drawing 0.9A from a 1 amp header for safety. But regardless, it is the RGB headers I'm wondering about, as I cannot find definitive info on how much current they draw for the lights. If I can get that number I'd happily subtract it from the rated 3 amps :D And it is specifically because of the video that I'm asking here, because the fans in the video state 1 rating and specs on google rate another. Unless the rating of 0.45A I saw in the video is for the fan motor AND rgb lights? rating the RGB connector alone at 0.15A ? If that is the case, I will happily connect multiple RGB cables to one header on the controller the case comes with.

Edit: On a second look at the diagram I realize I forgot to mention one more thing: it states the max output per connector is 2 amps with a star. The star then says the max output of all argb and fan connectors is 3 amps. That is confusing as hell for me, what exactly does that mean? Does that mean the max draw from one header is 2 amps, but the max output over all the headers is 3 amps? Meaning I cannot draw 2 amps from one and 2 amps from another, only 2 and 1? or 1.5 and 1.5... whatever, many combos.

Second Edit: I think I've found a way to ask my question more clearly about the RGB stuff: What is the power ratings of the MF200R motor and what is the power rating of the MF200R ARGB? Separately. Sorry, I'm bad at asking questions :D
 
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Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
The fan motor pulls a maximum of 0.3 amps and the RGB likely pulls a negligible amount of current since the CM data sheet and available specifications do not indicate any amount, nor does there seem to be any such details available elsewhere. Mostly these RGB lights are extremely low powered.
 

Angolmagyar

Honorable
Jul 8, 2014
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The fan motor pulls a maximum of 0.3 amps and the RGB likely pulls a negligible amount of current since the CM data sheet and available specifications do not indicate any amount, nor does there seem to be any such details available elsewhere. Mostly these RGB lights are extremely low powered.
Alright, whenever it finally arrives, I guess I'll just shoot my shot and connect the 2 front fans to one header. Maybe the third too if the back fan has rgb.. i don't know about that, images and specs haven't been clear lol. Worst case, I'll fry the controller the case comes with. Thanks for the help! appreciate it.
 

Paperdoc

Glorious
Ambassador
On the question of lighting load on the ARGB controller outputs, the simple answer is: VERY likely OK, because the Controller board says its limits are 2A per output port, and 3A total from the board. BUT the more complete answer is that the CASE spec sheet says only the two front fans are the 200 mm 3-pin fan type containing ARGB lights, max speeds 800 RPM - must be their Masterfan MF200R ARGB model. The REAR fan is a different one 140 mm 3-pin 1200 RPM max with NO mention of ARGB - can't identify exact model. So you only have two ARGB fans with that case.

Regarding the confusing max amp specs on that ARGB Controller card, note that the card has male output ports ONLY for the ARGB lighting cables. It does NOT supply power to any fan motor. So the only current spec relevant to that board is the ARGB lighting current.

Your concerns about using fans with Splitters are valid. I am presuming you plan to re-use you old fans. As you describe them I expect they are the older design called LED Fans. That type has ONE cable from the fan, and the frame contains only ONE colour of LED which never changes colour or brightness. Well, brightness - maybe - because the LED's are simply in parallel with the motor, and if the motor is fed lower voltage to slow it down, the LED's also dim. ALSO, because the LED's are wired in parallel, they add to the overall unit max current, which accounts for specs of 0.3 to 0.45 A per fan. With those, using up to 1.0 A (and yes, 0.9A is less) on a single fan header is OK, but you would be taking a risk with a total of 1.05 A. IF those older LED fans are of the 3-pin motor type, one option that MIGHT be useful is that any non-LED fan you might buy instead will certainly have a load of under 0.3 A, so you could use some combo of old LED Fan and new plain fan(s) via Splitter on a single mobo header. BUT in doing that, you must remember that a 3-pin fan can be speed-controlled only by a header using the older Voltage Control Mode (aka DC Mode). So if you are combining older 3-pin fans with new ones using a Splitter to share a header, the new ones should also be 3-pin. Also note that, IF you are using older 3-pin fans, they generally can NOT be used with a HUB. A Splitter merely connects its fans in parallel to the host header and thus all power for the fans must come from the header and is limited to 1.0 A. A HUB avoids the amp limit by getting power from the PSU directly, and can be identified because it has an extra "arm" that must plug into a PSU power output. BUT almost all Hubs ONLY can control the speed of the new 4-pin PWM fans, and not for 3-pin fans.

Now, maybe I'm wrong and your older LED fans actually are of the new 4-pin PWM type. THOSE you certainly can use with a fan HUB and control their speed from a mobo header. In that case, all fans on that Hub get their power from the PSU and the 1.0 A limit of the header does NOT apply. And if you have only 4-pin older fans to re-use, any new fans you might need to add can also be 4-pin.

If you have a mix of 4-pin fans (with or without LED's) and some 3-pin fans, your best bet it to arrange them in groups according to the fan pin system (because that determines the type of control signal they need from the mobo header). Group 4-pin fans on a Hub that draws power from the PSU, and configure its host header to use PWM Mode. Group 3-pin fans using a SPLITTER on a different header (will be limited to 1.0 A max total for that group) and ensure the header is configured to use the older Voltage Control Mode. You WILL have some 3-pin fans - all three supplied with that case are of that motor type.

By the way, you are exactly correct in narrowing your question to TWO queries: what is the max current for the MOTOR of a fan separately from what is the max current for the LIGHTS in the fan frame? And unfortunately, the Cooler Master website only tells us the Motor amps, sao we are left to speculate a bit on ARGB light amps. In general, those are less (often a lot less) than 1.0 A per fan frame. That question is pertinent to the newer ARGB fans that have separate electrical cables for the motor and flights. It is NOT pertinent to your older LED fans because both the motor and the LED lights on their frames draw power from the same supply line, and those fan types have a max current draw spec that is higher (because of the LED's) than comparable fans with no lights.
 
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Angolmagyar

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Jul 8, 2014
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On the question of lighting load on the ARGB controller outputs, the simple answer is: VERY likely OK, because the Controller board says its limits are 2A per output port, and 3A total from the board. BUT the more complete answer is that the CASE spec sheet says only the two front fans are the 200 mm 3-pin fan type containing ARGB lights, max speeds 800 RPM - must be their Masterfan MF200R ARGB model. The REAR fan is a different one 140 mm 3-pin 1200 RPM max with NO mention of ARGB - can't identify exact model. So you only have two ARGB fans with that case.

Your concerns about using fans with Splitters are valid. I am presuming you plan to re-use you old fans. As you describe them I expect they are the older design called LED Fans. That type has ONE cable from the fan, and the frame contains only ONE colour of LED which never changes colour or brightness. Well, brightness - maybe - because the LED's are simply in parallel with the motor, and if the motor is fed lower voltage to slow it down, the LED's also dim. ALSO, because the LED's are wired in parallel, they add to the overall unit max current, which accounts for specs of 0.3 to 0.45 A per fan. With those, using up to 1.0 A (and yes, 0.9A is less) on a single fan header is OK, but you would be taking a risk with a total of 1.05 A. IF those older LED fans are of the 3-pin motor type, one option that MIGHT be useful is that any non-LED fan you might buy instead will certainly have a load of under 0.3 A, so you could use some combo of old LED Fan and new plain fan(s) via Splitter on a single mobo header. BUT in doing that, you must remember that a 3-pin fan can be speed-controlled only by a header using the older Voltage Control Mode (aka DC Mode). So if you are combining older 3-pin fans with new ones using a Splitter to share a header, the new ones should also be 3-pin. Also note that, IF you are using older 3-pin fans, they generally can NOT be used with a HUB. A Splitter merely connects its fans in parallel to the host header and thus all power for the fans must come from the header and is limited to 1.0 A. A HUB avoids the amp limit by getting power from the PSU directly, and can be identified because it has an extra "arm" that must plug into a PSU power output. BUT almost all Hubs ONLY can control the speed of the new 4-pin PWM fans, and not for 3-pin fans.

Now, maybe I'm wrong and your older LED fans actually are of the new 4-pin PWM type. THOSE you certainly can use with a fan HUB and control their speed from a mobo header. In that case, all fans on that Hub get their power from the PSU and the 1.0 A limit of the header does NOT apply. And if you have only 4-pin older fans to re-use, any new fans you might need to add can also be 4-pin.

If you have a mix of 4-pin fans (with or without LED's) and some 3-pin fans, your best bet it to arrange them in groups according to the fan pin system (because that determines the type of control signal they need from the mobo header). Group 4-pin fans on a Hub that draws power from the PSU, and configure its host header to use PWM Mode. Group 3-pin fans using a SPLITTER on a different header (will be limited to 1.0 A max total for that group) and ensure the header is configured to use the older Voltage Control Mode. You WILL have some 3-pin fans - all three supplied with that case are of that motor type.
Yes, I do plan to cannibalize my current case for a while, but the reason I was asking these questions is because I'd like to get argb fans in the future for the new case. That said, I am aware of the differences between DC and PWM fans, which currently the 6 fans I have are all blue LED DC fans (3 pin) powered by a hub and uncontrollable by the system. But once I get the proper ARGB fans I want, if I can I'd avoid adding another hub into the system and use the one the case comes with which is why I wanted to know how many ARGB (rgb cable only) fans I can hook up on the controller per header, while the motor cables are handled by a fan hub.

And so the controller board that comes with the case works the way I thought it does, correct? 2A per header but 3A overall max, meaning I cannot have 2A from EACH header simultaneously (not that I should try to draw the max current in the first place, just like regular fan headers).

Also, thank you for letting me know about the rear fan. I cannot find any source right now that lead me to believe the rear fan might be rgb as well, but it is good to get confirmation.

I currently have a PWM fan hub in my build, I will use that for the PWM fans in the new case. I wonder, though if I do mix and match PWM with DC fans on the hub, will I lose control over the PWM fans' power and they'll operate simply as DC fans like the rest or will the PWM fans still take the PWM signal and able to be controlled from mobo and the DC fans will just spin at full as normal?

Also also, I just realized the MF200R fans that come with the case (front 2 fans) are 3 pin fans... I never questioned until this moment if they are PWM or not.. I assumed this whole time they are PWM xD . Good to know, though. Thanks for that! In that case, I will finally make use of the 6 pack Y splitters I accidentally bought a year ago, as long as they are at least 0.8A or below for the 2 fans combined... I would like to be able to control their speed with a curve.

Anyways, thanks for the help!
 

Paperdoc

Glorious
Ambassador
A little further info on ARGB light power needs. I could not find the specs for such on the Cooler Master or Corsair websites. I think that odd, since mobo makers specifically include current limit and light strip count limits for their on-board headers. But for 200 mm ARGB fans from ThermalTake, I found the Pure 20 ARGB Sync fan lights consume 0.32 A, whcih sounds about right from my memory. Their Riing Trio ARGB fan, which uses LOTS of LED's in THREE light rings per fan, consumes 1.9 A, which is much larger than I usually see.

However, here is a SMALL OOOPS! I just looked at the manual for that case. (And I almost erred by looking at the different Model H500 case - this is the H500M.) I note that the systm comes with one ARGB Splitter cable. What really caught my eye finally is that the two ARGB output ports of the Controller each have FOUR pins, whcicj is NOT a standard cofiguration for ARB male ports. BUT the Splitter included solves that - it plugs into ON of those two ports, and gives you TWO standard 3-pin ARGB male outputs that fgo to your two front fans' lighting cables. So for now you have no issues. In future if you want to use that same ARGB Controller with added fans, you will need one more of those output Splitters that fit the unused port of the board in order to connect to standard fan lighting ARGB connectors. Now might be a good time to try to get one of those, rather than 6 years from now.

You will end up with three fans of the 3-pin design provided with your case. We know that the two 200 mm front ARGB fans consume 0.30 A max each, and the rear one at 140 mm (no ARGB) is likely to be a bit less. So you CAN connect all three to a single mobo SYS_FAN or CHA_FAN fan header that is configured to use Voltage Control Mode. To do this using the spare Splitters you have already (I assume they have 2 outputs each), make a "mini stack" with two of them. Plug the second into the one output that has NO Pin #3, or at least no yellow wire to its third pin. (If you cannot figure out that part, describe the Splitters you have and I can help.) This will give you three outputs from one mobo header. Of those, the output you did NOT use for the second splitter will be the only one that actually sends its fan's speed signal back to the mobo for monitoring; the speeds of the other two never will be reported anywhere. This arrangement WILL put those 3-pin fans under automatic speed control from their mobo header using the correct Mode.

From there, the rest of your fans are the older 4-pin LED fans you have, and you already know how to set those up on the Hub you are using. Its host mobo header should be set to PWM Mode for all those 4-pin fans, and they, too, will be automatically speed controlled.

Just FYI, when you plug a 3-pin fan into a header using PWM Mode, that fan gets a full 12 VDC power supply at all times and no PWM signal it cannot use, anyway, so it always runs full speed. This has no effect on the signal it gets from the mobo header. The same applies if you plug it into a HUB using PWM Mode (virtually all of them do), and it does not disrupt any other fan.
 

Angolmagyar

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Jul 8, 2014
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Small update: I asked CoolerMaster themselves about the number of ARGB lights hooked up to the controller that comes with the case, and their response was "The controller can usually handle up to 15 fans, that's our recommendation. Oh and RGB LED is roughly 0.2A, ARGB is roughly 0.24". So that answers, that, up to 15 max on the controller which is more than enough.
I have since gotten weak and actually bought the rest of the stuff on my list for the complete build, soooo... Gonna have an
Aorus Z390 PRO - has 2 RGB and 2 ARGB headers, so problem solved either way.
i7 9700k
Corsair H100i RGB Platinum
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
and another Cooler master MF120R ARGB fan for the top to go with the AIO fans and fill the space... So with all the rgb lights being ARGB, I should be able to hook them all up to the same controller without a problem.

THanks for the help guys, hope this might help someone else wondering about this in the future!
 

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