Next, I started working on the beautiful video cards!
I wanted to keep the Gigabyte name and logo on the fan shrouds, as the parts just looked nice and refined. But I needed to add a bit more 'bite' to them. I wanted to remove and replace the blue LED's on the fans for white LED's. For this tiny surface mount work, I shipped the fans off to PoMan, and he worked these over as smoothly and precisely as Michael Schumacher on a good driving day! I also wanted to paint the gold fan cover black.
While working on the video cards, I remembered that the RealPower power supply had a 3.5" VU meter needle style gauge that showed power consumption.
It was back lit by a blue LED, which I promptly disassembled and replaced with a white LED. Quite simple actually, as there was a 1:1 voltage ratio on the blue to the white. No changes, no resistors... nada. The issue was getting the blue LED running directly off of the 3.3v line. Disassembly of the VU meter was not without its perils, as I accidentally broke part of the clear front plastics that cover the needle. Thankfully I snapped it above the meter housing and not on the front facing facia. The language in the garage was a bit colorful when I did that! I think my dog blushed....
With the fans pulled out, I opted to think about removing the blue LED fan from the power supply and replacing it with a white 120mm from CoolerMaster. You'd think that these would be equivalent fans, right? You (and I) would be wrong! I set to work pulling apart the power supply and replacing it with my white 120mm fan. Well, during my work and testing, I got to thinking... "Will this off the shelf fan push enough air to cool the innards of the power supply? Am I going to kill my PSU by not giving it enough fan to move the heat out?" While taking a cursory glance at the fans, I realized quickly that these fans were *not* equivalent.
The one out of my retail packaging was .13A drawn, while the unit out of the power supply, was .45A! This was made even more apparent to me while testing the flow on the fans. Folks, learn from Uncle Tech here - if you are running a power supply fan that draws that much more current, makes noticeably more air flow when turned on, and makes more blade noise (faster means more turbulence) do not
reach for the fan if it starts to fall over on a clean and flat surface. Let it fall or be sure
to grab the fan by it's frame. I saw mine falling out of the corner of my eye, and I immediately, reactively shot my hand out to catch it.
I did not catch it, but it instead decided to eat the tips of my fingers! First off, stop chuckling, or else you are going to miss the important information here. The tips of my two fingers had been pierced by the corners of the fan blades on the .45A fan unit. Think about that for a second... a plastic blade was spinning fast enough and with enough engine "torque" to bounce off of my hands 2 or 3 times and punch a pin sized hole completely thru the tips of my fingers. Ouch.