[SOLVED] Really confused about the RGB FANS!

Dec 5, 2018
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Hi, i have had 3 cooler master RGB fans running without RGB for the past month iand i have no clue why.
Was wonderinf if i need to spend £30 on that RGB thing which is shocking!
Or i read on a youtube comment that if you have a 4 pin RGB it can work that way?
HELP!
 
There are two different and NOT compatible types of RGB devices widely used today in computer cases. (The RGB lighting parts in an RGB fan are just "RGB Devices" mounted in the fan chassis.) Ones often called plain RGB use a 4-pin connector system supplying 12 VDC on one pin, and separate Ground lines for the three LED colours (Red, Green, Blue) in the device. The more complex system is called Addressable RGB or ADDR RGB or ARGB, and it uses a 3-pin system providing +5 VDC, Ground, and a Control Line. Note that the voltages and the control methods for these two systems are very different. You cannot mix them together. NOTE that these fan types are NOT the same as the older simpler units called "LED Fans"; those latter are simply fans that have a single colour of LED in the chassis that is connected in parallel with the fan's power supply.

In each case, to power and control the lighting device(s) you need a controller system. Many new mobos have some. It is common to have one or two plain RGB headers on a mobo, OR a ADDR RGB header, OR some of each. IF your mobo has such a header, then you get a free software utility with the mobo that you install and run to do control of your lighting devices that are plugged into those headers. Each mobo maker has their own system of headers and software with their own trade name such as ASUS' Aura Sync, MSI's Mystic Light Sync, Gigabyte's RGB Fusion, etc. Each of those can be used with either type of mobo header on that maker's mobos, so the software trade name is NOT how you match things up. You must match the RGB device type - plain or Addressable - to the mobo header type. Also note that fans of this type have TWO cables from them. One ends in a 3- or 4-pin fan female (with holes) fan connector that plugs into a mobo CHA_FAN or SYS_FAN header for the fan motor. The other has a different connector with 3 or 4 holes for the RGB lighting portion of the assembly, and this connects to the RGB controller system.

If your mobo has no such header, you can buy separate RGB controller modules from several makers. Most often you try to get a controller from the same company that made the RGB device, just to make connections simpler - some makers use odd connectors. You mount the controller in your case and plug in RGB devices there. The simpler ones of this type have a separate control box connected to the controller by a light cable, and the box has a few buttons on it for manual control of colour, display type, and speed. Another design uses a free-standing remote control box with battery power that uses a radio signal to communicate with the controller box. A third design uses a cable connection from the controller box to a mobo USB2 header, and a proprietary software tool from the maker that you install in your system to do control of the RGB lights.

Now, OP, you have 3 Cooler Master fans with RGB lighting devices in them, you say. Cooler Master makes such fans using both types of RGB system, so we need more detail. Tell us exactly which fans you have. Or, if you can't tell but they came with a Cooler Master case, tell us which case. ALSO, look closely at the fans. Each should have TWO cables from it. For each, one of those will be plugged into a fan supply somewhere, and the other should be plugged in elsewhere - but MAYBE it is not. Tell us how many holes are in the connectors on the ends of those cables, and where they are plugged in IF they are.

THEN tell us what mobo you have - maker and exactl model number. Then we can look up its manual and advise whether it can be used to power and control your RGB units, and how.
 
There are two different and NOT compatible types of RGB devices widely used today in computer cases. (The RGB lighting parts in an RGB fan are just "RGB Devices" mounted in the fan chassis.) Ones often called plain RGB use a 4-pin connector system supplying 12 VDC on one pin, and separate Ground lines for the three LED colours (Red, Green, Blue) in the device. The more complex system is called Addressable RGB or ADDR RGB or ARGB, and it uses a 3-pin system providing +5 VDC, Ground, and a Control Line. Note that the voltages and the control methods for these two systems are very different. You cannot mix them together. NOTE that these fan types are NOT the same as the older simpler units called "LED Fans"; those latter are simply fans that have a single colour of LED in the chassis that is connected in parallel with the fan's power supply.

In each case, to power and control the lighting device(s) you need a controller system. Many new mobos have some. It is common to have one or two plain RGB headers on a mobo, OR a ADDR RGB header, OR some of each. IF your mobo has such a header, then you get a free software utility with the mobo that you install and run to do control of your lighting devices that are plugged into those headers. Each mobo maker has their own system of headers and software with their own trade name such as ASUS' Aura Sync, MSI's Mystic Light Sync, Gigabyte's RGB Fusion, etc. Each of those can be used with either type of mobo header on that maker's mobos, so the software trade name is NOT how you match things up. You must match the RGB device type - plain or Addressable - to the mobo header type. Also note that fans of this type have TWO cables from them. One ends in a 3- or 4-pin fan female (with holes) fan connector that plugs into a mobo CHA_FAN or SYS_FAN header for the fan motor. The other has a different connector with 3 or 4 holes for the RGB lighting portion of the assembly, and this connects to the RGB controller system.

If your mobo has no such header, you can buy separate RGB controller modules from several makers. Most often you try to get a controller from the same company that made the RGB device, just to make connections simpler - some makers use odd connectors. You mount the controller in your case and plug in RGB devices there. The simpler ones of this type have a separate control box connected to the controller by a light cable, and the box has a few buttons on it for manual control of colour, display type, and speed. Another design uses a free-standing remote control box with battery power that uses a radio signal to communicate with the controller box. A third design uses a cable connection from the controller box to a mobo USB2 header, and a proprietary software tool from the maker that you install in your system to do control of the RGB lights.

Now, OP, you have 3 Cooler Master fans with RGB lighting devices in them, you say. Cooler Master makes such fans using both types of RGB system, so we need more detail. Tell us exactly which fans you have. Or, if you can't tell but they came with a Cooler Master case, tell us which case. ALSO, look closely at the fans. Each should have TWO cables from it. For each, one of those will be plugged into a fan supply somewhere, and the other should be plugged in elsewhere - but MAYBE it is not. Tell us how many holes are in the connectors on the ends of those cables, and where they are plugged in IF they are.

THEN tell us what mobo you have - maker and exactl model number. Then we can look up its manual and advise whether it can be used to power and control your RGB units, and how.
 
Dec 5, 2018
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Its an msi z370 tomahawk, sorry for not specifying
 
Dec 5, 2018
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MF121L RBG is the fan product number
 
Thanks for the info. You can get it to work.

First of all, those fans have lighting components of the plain RGB type (not ADDR RGB). So check the cables from each fan. I expect you will find each has a cable ending in a connector about 1" wide with four holes in a straight line, and one of them may be marked to indicate it is the +12 VDC contact. Now, your mobo (manual available to download here)

https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/support/Z370-TOMAHAWK#down-manual

shows on p. 38 that it has one plain RGB header, just what you need. You also will need to download and install (if not done already) the MSI utility Mystic Light Sync used to control that header and its lights.

The final piece is how to connect all three fans' RGB cables to that single mobo header. For that, get the RGB splitter cable from Cooler Master like this (did it actually come with your fans / case?)

http://www.coolermaster.com/cooling/cooling-rgb-accessories/1-to-3-rgb-splitter-cable/

and use it to make the connections. Ensure that the connectors are lined up right so that, in each case, the +12 VDC lines are matched. This should allow you to power and control of those RGB units in the fans via the Mystic Light Sync utility.
 

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