|by AkG | March 1, 2009|
Since the V10 uses a built-in TEC unit, the thought crossed our minds that maybe, just maybe we would be able to mod the thermistor to run the TEC at 100% to improve cooling efficiency. However, please remember that this WILL void you warranty and as you will see, while it works it also isn't reversible and has a very good chance of destroying the TEC through overheating.
Hold on folks, this is about to get technical...
As you can see the thermistor Cooler Master uses is connected to the PCB via a standard 2 pin connector. This in theory should make modding this beast as easy as replacing it with a two pin connector with cable soldered together to complete the circuit. We will get back to this theory in a moment, but letís first look over the PCB and get a good feel for it before we start modding anything.
As you can see we have a lone capacitor, and a single phase MOSFET with a itty bitty SONIX (aka Shenzhen Yingdan Electronics Co.) SN8P2711 8 bit controller chip. All this was nice to see, though we would have preferred a solid state cap...but that is nit picking. Up in the corner you can also make out what is in fact a buzzer; or as we came to refer it the Noise Maker Of Doom...or NoMOD for short. This little noise maker's job is to start making a racket if the current's resistance from the thermistor goes below a certain level. How do we know this? Simple! We yanked the Thermistor and did a very sweet mod to another 2 pin connector we salvaged from a dead 40mm fan in our Ye Olde Parts Bin. We cackled with glee thinking how easy this mod was....just to be shot down when the NoMOD started cackling back!
In a nut shell our first idea of doing a simple, elegant and undoable (and untraceable mod) came crashing down as soon as we plugged the PCB back into a live circuit. We were smart enough to not have put everything back together first so we didn't lose to much time on this endeavor. Our first thought is "boy that is annoying" but then with the help of a voltmeter we realized that little SONIX controller and NoMOD were colluding to keep any juice from reaching the large 2 pin TEC power cable connector! Yup, when there is no resistance at all in the circuit the system SCRAMs and the NoMOD goes into action. We could have yanked the NoMOD but that wouldn't have done anything besides making us feel good about killing the little SOB; but it wouldn't have helped further our cause one iota.
The upside to our first failure is that you won't have to go through it and you can replace the Thermistor with a more sensitive one. One which would feed more power at lower heat levels, yet still turn off the TEC when it is not needed (during idle periods for example). That would be an elegant, long term mod which would prevent sweating, prevent nullifying you warranty (if you keep the original Thermistor connector in a safe place and swap it back before RMAing it...and if you are a wanker that is) and make the V10 a real 100% Kick Arse Cooler.... Food for thought at least.
We decided to go back to the drawing board and take another look at our new nemesis and the PCB layout in general. After just a few seconds something which we had overlooked now became crystal clear and we got that sinking feeling. We think, this controller doesn't JUST control the voltage to the TEC but also keeps its max output well below 12 volts. This would explain the MOSFET and Capacitor, SONIX controller and even that buzzer. Of course, it could also be pumping the voltage above 12 volts as that too would need a controller, capacitor and voltage smoothing MOSFET.
We could have gotten the old soldering iron out and jumped the 12 volt line, but why bother? Instead of that, we simply cut the whole PCB free, cut the large 2pin connector off the TEC cables, and installed banana plugs unto there ends. When this was done we simply stuck the banana plugs into the appropriate holes of a MOLEX connector and called it a day.
Needless to say this is a PERMANENT mod, and one that lacks the elegance and style of the first idea. On the plus side, it may be ugly but unlike the first mod it WORKS. The only down side is we do not know what these TECs are supposed to be fed. IF we knew that we could solder in the appropriate resistor (if it needs less) or done a power mod to feed it more (if needs more than 12V); since we don't we can't call this a good long term mod and as you will see, it didn't really last anyways.
If it does need less than 12V, we don't know how long it will last so we are going to cut to the chase and redo our max OC on the Q6600. This way we will at least get some good solid numbers to compare to the Freezone Elite and CoolIT BMC. On the next page, you will see the results.
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