Question NZXT Fan Controller + additional fans not working? Advice appreciated!

May 17, 2022
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Hey there! Hoping someone here can help me out. I bought and installed a Kraken z73 with no issues (Cooler, LCD screen and included RGB fans are working as they should). I wanted some additional fans and lighting so I grabbed three AER 2 RGB fans and the NZXT fan controller hub.

My issue is that the fan controller doesn't seem to recognize any fans that are plugged into it. It is powered (small white light on the unit is glowing) and it does show up in the CAM software (see attached pic), but any fans I connect to it are not powered and don't light up. **NOTE: The controller hub is connected directly to my motherboard via the attached USB cable but I'm not able to connect the included SATA power cable, because whenever I do the PC won't boot. (I don't believe this is a PSU issue, as I just bought a new 1000w corsair unit and my system was working well with the 750w unit I had before the upgrade anyway).

Another weird wrinkle is that the controller will stop being recognized by CAM after a minute or so, showing a "communication to the device has failed" error. Even when it's properly connected, there's a little error message saying another program is interfering with the device, but it doesn't list any offending programs (see second pic).

I'm fairly new to this type of fan setup (for example, I have the 3 working fans daisy-chained as designed, which is something I've never done before) so it's very possible I've made a mistake connecting it all together. But I'm pretty baffled -- if the hub is powered, why don't any attached fans work? Seems like it should be a fairly simple setup.

Let me know if I can provide any other details that might help. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated!
PICS: View: https://imgur.com/a/8Qajtdl
 

Paperdoc

Polypheme
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I think I understand what it wrong. From the manual for the Kraken Z73 system I see that one arm of its breakout cable ends in a 4-pin MALE RGB connector (see its manual p. 24, item 3.9). Apparently this is an OUTPUT from an ARGB Controller system built into the pump unit for use with added lighting units. The Controller here is needed for the lights in the Pump, but its output is available for other items via this output connector. So your system already has an ARGB Controller powered through a SATA source and controlled via a USB2 cable to the pump unit, under the NZXT CAM software. THEN you added another Controller for three fans' lights. I suspect that CAM is confused by all that. (That does not really explain why connecting it all up prevents booting, but maybe...)

Anyway, what you CAN do, I believe, is NOT connect and use the second Controller box. Your three added fans are daisy-chained for the LIGHT cables, and the first of that chain is plugged into a port of the added controller. INSTEAD, plug that into the ARGB output connector on the cable from the PUMP. Then CAM should be happy because it is dealing with ONLY one Controller (in the Pump) with some lights attached to that.

There is one piece of info missing here. Most ARGB Controllers on mobos can supply easily the power needed for three fans' lights. But the NZXT web page for the Kraken Z73 system does not specify how many added lighting units (fans) can be plugged into that Pump output. I expect three is quite OK, but you really should contact NZXT Tech Support to verify that you can plug in those three, and that my suggestion IS the right way to connect those three fans' lights here.
 
May 17, 2022
2
0
10
0
I think I understand what it wrong. From the manual for the Kraken Z73 system I see that one arm of its breakout cable ends in a 4-pin MALE RGB connector (see its manual p. 24, item 3.9). Apparently this is an OUTPUT from an ARGB Controller system built into the pump unit for use with added lighting units. The Controller here is needed for the lights in the Pump, but its output is available for other items via this output connector. So your system already has an ARGB Controller powered through a SATA source and controlled via a USB2 cable to the pump unit, under the NZXT CAM software. THEN you added another Controller for three fans' lights. I suspect that CAM is confused by all that. (That does not really explain why connecting it all up prevents booting, but maybe...)

Anyway, what you CAN do, I believe, is NOT connect and use the second Controller box. Your three added fans are daisy-chained for the LIGHT cables, and the first of that chain is plugged into a port of the added controller. INSTEAD, plug that into the ARGB output connector on the cable from the PUMP. Then CAM should be happy because it is dealing with ONLY one Controller (in the Pump) with some lights attached to that.

There is one piece of info missing here. Most ARGB Controllers on mobos can supply easily the power needed for three fans' lights. But the NZXT web page for the Kraken Z73 system does not specify how many added lighting units (fans) can be plugged into that Pump output. I expect three is quite OK, but you really should contact NZXT Tech Support to verify that you can plug in those three, and that my suggestion IS the right way to connect those three fans' lights here.
I believe you cracked it. I can't connect the male 4-pin to any of the cables provided with the new fans + connector bc the female ends are all too small (which is baffling) BUT if I simply continue the daisy chain using the original z73 breakout cabling, I can power & light the additional fans!

However I've hit a phenomenally stupid roadblock in that the breakout power cabling for both the z73 and the new fans only have 3 female ports each - meaning I'm missing a port to connect them together (ie, I would need 7 ports total: 6 to power each fan, and 1 to connect the two breakout cables together). So I can definitely get rgb to all 6 fans, but I can only power 5 of them. Functional cooling is much more important to me than funky lights so I'm going to have to see if I can buy a separate breakout cable somewhere to connect the two fan sets together.

Thank you so much for your comment, you've helped me jump the first hurdle at least!
 

Paperdoc

Polypheme
Ambassador
I think we're using different labels for some things here.

The Kraken Z73 AIO system has ONE breakout cable that plugs into the PUMP unit, with four "arms" on it. One is a female with 3 holes that goes to the mobo CPU_FAN header. One has a wide connector to plug into a SATA power output connector from the PSU, and this provides all the power for that Pump, the Rad fans plugged into its three-headed output, and any lighting units plugged into its lighting output connector. One ends in THREE male fan connectors where you plug in the rad fans. The fourth has a male 4-pin connector to output the ARGB signals for use in added ARGB lighting units like your fan frames. There also is a separate single cable that goes from a socket on the pump to a mobo USB2 header. There is NO second Breakout Cable.

The 3-pack of AER RGB 2 fans came with a Controller box and several cables. The box has a two-armed cable from it. One arm connects to a SATA power output from the PSU, and this provides all the power for that Controller and anything plugged into its ports. The other plugs into a mobo USB2 header.

Check the fans. I expect that each has ONE cable coming out of it to a female (with holes) 4-pin standard fan connector. This provides power AND speed control to the fan MOTOR only. The fan frame has two sockets in it marked In and Out. These are for power and control of the LIGHTS only.

The system comes with four cables for several functions - see the fan manual, p 2 and 3. The Fan Connection Cable (Item C) connects from ONE of the controller' two LED ports to the In socket of the first fan. Then you use Fan-to-Fan cables (Item D) to connect from the Out socket of that fan to the In socket of fan #2. And so on for Fan #3. IF you had other lighting devices like a strip you use the Fan-to-Accessory Cable (Item E) to feed that from the last fan. (You do not have such a strip light to plug in, so this cable is not needed.) NOTE that this is all for lights only, and that these connections provide both power and display control to the lights.

The system comes with one 1-to-3 Fan Splitter Cable that allows you to connect the MOTOR cables of up to three fans together to ONE fan header. That could be one of the FANn ports on the Controller box, and that would provide both power and speed control to all those fans' MOTORS only from that box, using the CAM software. Alternatively, if you do NOT use that Controller box at all, the female (with holes) connector on one end of the Splitter can plug into a standard 4-pin mobo fan header (SYS_FAN or CHA_FAN) to get power and control from there via the BIOS Setup controls for fans. So you can power and control all three of the added AER RGB 2 fans' MOTORS from that header, while power and control of the fans on the RAD is from the output connectors from the PUMP unit. And that latter is controlled by CAM, not the BIOS Setup configuration of the CPU_FAN header.

My suggestion was about the fan LIGHTING cables. If you do NOT connect the Controller box at all, you take the Fan Connection Cable (Item C) and plug that into the 4-pin ARGB Output cable from the PUMP, instead of into a Controller LED port. Then the fan's LIGHTS get both their power and display control from that Pump unit output, and control is done by CAM.

If you do that, then power and control of the AER RGB fans' lights, of the pump lights, and of the rad fan speeds is all done by CAM through the pump unit. Power and control of the AER RGB 2 fans' MOTORS is from a mobo fan header and can be configured through BIOS Setup. There is no need for the Controller box. Incidentally, for configuration and observation of fans connected to a MOBO fan header, you should have found on the utilities disk with the mobo a software tool that runs under Windows on-screen and lets you observe and adjust many mobo parameters, including its fans. This is often easier than doing it via BIOS Setup.
 
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