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-   -   Guide : Sleeving a 3-pin fan! (56k Warning) (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/guides-how-tos/1906-guide-sleeving-3-pin-fan-56k-warning.html)

Patriote July 14, 2007 07:25 AM

Guide : Sleeving a 3-pin fan! (56k Warning)
Hey guys!

I've been thinking of doing such guide since my recent worklog...I had many questions regarding all the sleeving i had did, from many persons... And since i just ordered some fans and some sleeving\heatshrink, i thought it would be a good idea to make a little guide while im at it.

Basically, sleeving a fan is pretty simple. It can be done by anyone having a little patience and even if not in possession of the right tools to work with... Now if you're not careful, you'll end up needing to replace the 3-pin metal headers using a crimp tool... In this particular guide, we will try to avoid needing to do so by being real careful and doing things the right way.


What you will need

Some sleeving and some heatshrink

Personally, for 3 pin fans, i use 1/4" Black wire sleeving and 3/8" Black Heatshrink tubing. Make sure to get expandable sleeving so you can fit the sleeving over the wires metal headers.


The Fan

In my review, i will be sleeving the most common used fan for watercooling set-ups. The Yate Loon - Medium speed. This one has 4 Blue led and is UV reactive.


And finally, the tools needed

You will need :

• a lighter
• a pair of scissors
• a standard cutter (Or a razor blade)
• a nail cutter
• a paper-clip
• a 4pin to 3pin connector (Just to test out that the 3-pins are correctly sitting into the connector once you have inserted them back)


Next : Preparing the fan for the sleeving

But first, remember the right emplacement for each wire in the connector!

Black on the far left. (Ground)
Red in the middle. (Power)
Yellow on the right side. (RPM Monitor)


Once you noted the right emplacement for each wires, you can start by cutting off the extra wires for the 4 pin connectors.


Now, i do realize that some persons out there will want to use that extra 4pin connector to connect their fan but in my personal experience and from what i have seen, most persons will only use the 3pin connector to connect the fan to a fan controller. So go away and cut that part off!


The tricky part

Once the extra wires are cut off, we will now remove the pins from the connector. This is THE tricky part. One thing you must know before doing this is that, if you apply too much pressure on the little clips (that are located onto each of the 3 metal pins), to actually be able to remove the 3pin headers from the connector, you can damage them and you'll have to replace them with new ones... And thats exactly what we want to avoid...

Have a look :


See that little metal part that raise on top of the pin ? Well, thats what you have to push to be able to release the pin header from the connector.

When you are ready, take your paper clip and unfold it. Now place the 3pin connector on a flat surface, take your paper-clip and gently push that metal part shown above.


It's only a matter of gently pushing that metal part and delicately playing with the wire until you can get the pin out the connector.


Once you successfully removed all 3 pins from the connector, get ready for the sleeving job!

But first, cut off the second red and black wires from the pins. Use the nail cutter for this task.



Once removed, use the nail cutter to ply the metal wall around the wire or you can use a crimp tool if you have one.


Sleeving job

Next : Take your sleeving, put it next to the fan's wires and measure what you will need. Then cut the sleeving using the scissors.


Now take your lighter and lightly heat-up the end of your sleeving. This will prevent the sleeving from fraying.


Then, regroup all 3 pins and insert them into one end of your sleeving.


Drag the wires all the way up until you get them out at the other end.


Finishing the job

Now that you have the sleeving over the wires, it's time to put the 3 pins back into the connector.

But before that, take your heatshrink out and cut two 1-2" pieces using your scissors. Slip them over the 3pins and leave them over the sleeving for now.


Now, take your cutter or razor blade, and ply back all the little metal clips we had to push earlier to remove the pins from the connector. Like that :



Once all 3 are good to go, insert them back, one at a time, into the connector. Make sure they'll stay in place!



When all pins are into the connector, use a 3pin to 4pin adapter (Or anything else where you can plug a 3pin fan) and plug your fan into it. This is just to make sure that all pins are correctly sitting into the connector. If one pin gets out of the connector, it means that it wasn't sitting correctly.

Ok now that all 3 pins are correctly sitting into the connector, it's time to heat-up the heatshrink!

Now take the furthest piece of heatshrink and slip it half over the wire and half over the sleeving.


When in place, start heating one side of the heatshrink. Basically, you have to put the flame real close to the heatshrink without touching it. If you touch it for too long, it'll burn up and you'll have that burned plastic smell in your room...Heh


When done with one side, if needed, heat up the other side to even the heatshrink around the wire\sleeving.

Final result should look like that :


For the other end of the sleeving, it's the same thing. Place the heatshrink half over the wire and half over the sleeving.


Heat it up the same way you did for the other piece of heatshrink.


Final Product

Here is the sleeved Yate loon in all it's glory!


Hope you enjoyed the guide! :biggrin:

Supergrover July 14, 2007 09:58 AM

Awesome Guide Patriote!
Myself I use a hairdryer to shrink my wrap, a lighter can make heat shrink go bad in a hurry if you are not careful.

3oh6 July 14, 2007 10:17 AM

very nice guide and the photos do everything they need to and more.

i do have a related question and figured someone like you might have some input. i admit my ignorance when it comes to modding but i need to know one thing...

what is the trick for removing wires from a 4-pin Molex connection without wrecking them? both female and male? there has to be an easy way that i just can't figure out on my own. TIA for any help.

Patriote July 14, 2007 01:00 PM

Thanks guys! :biggrin:

I never thought of using a hairdryer!

3oh6: You mean removing the pins from a 4pin molex connector ? It's pretty easy you know. Take a 4pin molex and look into the connector. You'll see that each pins has 2 metal clip on sides that refrain them from being removed through the bottom of the molex connector. Now, if you take a cutter or razor blade or paper-clip and push-in those meta clips, you will be able to remove the pin through the bottom of the molex connector.

Then, later if you want to put back the pins, you just have to ply back the metal clips on the sides of the pins (Like you have to do for a 3pin fan) and insert them back. When inserting back the pin into the molex, at some point you will ear a "click" sound. This means that the pin is correctly sitting into the molex connector.





See ? Is pretty easy! :biggrin:

3oh6 July 14, 2007 03:00 PM


Originally Posted by Patriote (Post 14268)
See ? Is pretty easy! :biggrin:

your right, i'm just an idiot and needed an image of the connection outside of the connector. just took one apart, thanx much :thumb:

lowfat July 14, 2007 03:06 PM

I use a heatgun myself, but a great guide.

Supergrover July 15, 2007 07:27 AM


Originally Posted by 3oh6 (Post 14274)
your right, i'm just an idiot and needed an image of the connection outside of the connector. just took one apart, thanx much :thumb:

For molex removal I use a molex removal tool, they are like under $10 and make removing molex connectors a snap.
Couldn't find one @ ncix, I am sure it was my 1337 search skills though ncix should have them.
Molex Pin Removal Tool: CrazyPC Computers

JayDee July 15, 2007 07:53 AM

Very nice guide Patriote :biggrin:

The close-up detail pics help alot.

Patriote July 15, 2007 09:45 AM


Originally Posted by JayDee (Post 14337)
Very nice guide Patriote :biggrin:

The close-up detail pics help alot.

Thats because of the Macro mode on my new Canon Digital cam :biggrin:

Thanks to those who recommended me a Canon back when i ask for suggestions in my thread!

Supergrover: Yeah that pin remover would make the job quite easier!

MonkeyHood November 22, 2007 06:01 PM

Very nice guide, was looking for something like this on XS. I just have a few questions. Where can you buy a solder, and how much do they cost? Where do you buy sleeves and heatshrink tubes? I've looked on jab-tech, but the shipping costs 3x more than the equipment. Is Jab-tech a reliable site?

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