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Microserver Gen8 chassis fan upgrade.


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After reading a lot of stuff here and there I am planning some sort of investigation... I'd like to make a board adapter to make Microserver work with any 120mm fan (PWM or DC regulated) without problems and failures. I know some members got problems when installed a new fan and tried different connection schematics.


Here's what I'd like to do:


6pin HP connector <-----cable----> adapter board with MCU   -----> 4-pin fan connector (+ 6-pin HP-compliant one for backward compatibility)


Desired functionality of MCU board:

1. Working rotation detect with any fan based on rpm counter.

2. MCU-based rotation speed regulation using both PWM and DC modes to allow support for any fan. DC controlled fan low-voltage cutoff detection should be included.

3. "First-run" mode to check to lowest voltage and detect PWM-DC fan control functionality.


I couldn't find some information:

1. What 6-pin connector type HP utilyses to allow the board connection to Microserver mobo as I wouldn't like to disassemble the original fan?

2. Have anyone tried the rotation detect imitation (having a 6-pin custom connector and a potentiometer would let me do that)?

3. Can you help me to collect some information regarding the issue in this topic to make things easier as I can say there's 5 or 6 topics only on Reset and I also find some info on HP and other related forums?

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I see no one could answer me...


Now I am writing to anyone installed consumer PC fan into your Microserver. Did you use the 4 pin to read the fan speed?

I have never seen non-server fan with trip point (non-tacho) RD. If you can tell me there are some (and at least one person used it) I will be grateful.


If you short-circuited 4-5-6 pins you probably loose your fan control (HP will read ground level as VLOW), as far as I undestand HP shows output PWM duty cycle percentage and you can not see the actual rotation status with the stock fan, only high level if the fan stops...

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I looked into that a while ago, as the fan was getting issues (chirping sound)
But afaik it's not possible to tweak a 3rd party fan in a way to make it work like the HP one. And replacing one is ridiculously expensive!

There are/is some info on soldering some wires and such to make it kind of work. Pretty sure I found it on this forum somewhere.


Hope it helps,




p.s. found the article: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1377-page9.html

Edited by RobWu
added info
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23 hours ago, RobWu said:

I looked into that a while ago, as the fan was getting issues (chirping sound)
But afaik it's not possible to tweak a 3rd party fan in a way to make it work like the HP one. And replacing one is ridiculously expensive!

There are/is some info on soldering some wires and such to make it kind of work. Pretty sure I found it on this forum somewhere.


Hope it helps,




p.s. found the article: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1377-page9.html

Hi Rob,


Thank you for taking part in my research. Actually if you open the link to siletpcreview you can see the link to abother thread by Mihai right here. I placed 3 posts in it with no result. I also tried to reach Mihai via PM, but with no result. I have also got a problem with this whistling/chirping sound that annoys me, I have recently upgraded to 1260L, I am waiting for P222 board to reach me soon and the things will only get worse in the upcoming future.


Here's all I know or understand (probably wrong, hope not) about Gen8 fan circuit:

1. The fan uses 12V DC power. It is usual for most fans on market.

2. 4pin of fan connector is open-collector connection (some sort of pull-up) to fan low speed/stop detection wire show two logic levels. It is low when fan rotates, but voltage raises when fan doesn't provide enough airflow so the mobo detects voltage and shows the error message. So with trip point (voltage change) detection it shows you if fan is rotating or not.

3. Yo can not analyse the actual rotation speed as system only shows you the duty cycle of PWM output to the fan. It can say fan to rotate 80%, here's what you get in iLo, but it will be rotating 30% because of damaged bearing producing the same sound so you will never know.

4. The fan speed is controlled by PWM duty cycle as I've already told. So you can not place 3-pin DC fan though you can see a lot of high-flow and silent fans in stock.

5. After reading a lot and looking right at the first diagram on the page provided by you I can say that it is not allowed as it is very dangerous to use the Mihai's method anyway. I don't know if someone has tried to connect the fan yellow wire (tachometer) to pin4, but in come cases, especially on high fan speeds it will fail (here's what I want to know from mates) and I have never seen the trip-piont fans made for personal PC, not server. So people just make system always think fan is rotating at least with low speed and even if you fan fails, you will not know that until the system goes down overheating.


Here's what job I am intending to do:

1. Make MCU-based board that powers from 12V fan source and groud wires. It can read PWM duty sycle and either bypass it in case of 4pin fan is installed or converts PWM waveform to average applying the calculated % to 12V input of the fan using the opamp.

2. Make MCU read fan tachometer pulse and making voltage level change on output pin connected to mobo fan connector pin4 thus allowing system to see if the fan fails.

3. Allow user to change fan speed range (i.e. HP makes it rotate 50% and MCU ouputs only 25%/ 75% is converted to 50% etc).

4. Implement simultaneous control of several fans and rotation/thermal monitoring to extend the functionality (it is actually much easier then make the first sample work).


Some problems I met when working on this:

1. As I have to make it work with any fan regardless of fan speed limit I don't know the way to configure the board for the installed fan. So I think it should be the "first run" mode - MCU ignores the mobo signal, says the mobo fan is ok and the same time it tries to change the fan speed using PWM or DC output. It the PWM doesn't work, it switches to DC. Then it detects the maximum rotation speed and the minimun speed when any attempt to slower the fan will stop it making it impossible to set this speed (i.e. you can place non-PWM 1200rpm fan that doesn't rotate when voltage below 4V is apllied and the lowest speed is 400rpm - it is not linear over there but let's make things easier, so MCU will output 4V if HP says 0%, and 12V when HP says 100%). So the board configures itself and then it works fine with any fan. Some RGB leds will allow to see the fan/board status of any problem occurs and you look inside to check what's wrong.

The other way is placing the 7-segment 4-digit led rpm indicator and some buttons on the board to allow you feel yourself sorta control freak and do everything manually.

And the easiest - program it once for the single fan making fan replacement a sort of pain and in this case I will not ever be make it user-friendly for any dummy though I'd like to make this open-source or something like that.

2. I'd like to check signals with oscilloscope and I'd like to make a simulation board connected to mobo to read PWM from the mobo (and make sure there's really no speed feedback from fan) and check the trip-point levels as I can place ground to pass and something too much (i.e. 12V) to fail but i prefer to stick to datasheet and as don't have any, actual values. But I can't find any information on this point.


In fact I have got only two problems I need to resolve - get some feedback from Mihai's scheme users connected the tacho to trip-point (I have already found one message confirming I am right, but I need more) and 6-pin connector is needed as I don't want to stop server for several week while I do the tests spening my spare time on it (disassembling the cable I lose the fan and I don't want to short-circuit pins like they do as I am not going to risk my server and data).


I have collected some documentation and if I see everything is OK I am ready to share it with others. I also can explain how to make it work for dummies using the Mihai's scheme as I see they cannot understand how things work. If you are facing the same problem we can try to find some other people interested in this adapter and order some manufactured boards in bulk (if we order PCBs I can solder components, write the firmware and send to other mates), but first we need to make one working sample and the real problem is time now. Are you in to help me trying to make things work?


P.S. I am not going to blame Mihai - I am in awe of this guy and the job he has done. But I have some experience in other field than he is as I am an automation engineer and I clearly see it is bad - in our job where someone's life can depend on failure signal functionality we always pay attention to this and he has just thrown away the failure control for compatibility. If other people are OK I have nothing bad to say but I'd prefer to keep this signal for my system.

Actually in this post I have already explained everything and offered some solutions so everyone is welcome to ask me and start developing their own board (but check twice first).

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  • 7 months later...

I am not happy with HP fan :(


Sry to much info in this post not sure what is the best final way to replace fan


Could you explain in details how I can make it professional and what adapter I need to buy or share scheme how to make it.

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Blast from the past! ;)

Maybe Gulftown can chip in, and tell if he succeeded with adding a new fan to his own design to the Gen8?



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  • 1 year later...
On 10/9/2018 at 8:55 AM, Adooni said:

I am not happy with HP fan :(


Sry to much info in this post not sure what is the best final way to replace fan


Could you explain in details how I can make it professional and what adapter I need to buy or share scheme how to make it.


First of all there is no such adapter you can just buy anywhere.

To tell in details - there are two solutions: first one is Mihai's solution with sense pin short circuited to ground (as HP says it is strictly prohibited) and Max-Sum's arduino-based solution that just lowers the fan speed.


Here what I 've implemented:

To make development easy I used Arduino as well. MCU reads PWM signal from the motherboard and passes it to the fan output. When you first run the adapter board it tries PWM and reads tachometer signal. If PWM doesn't affect the fan speed (power is connected to the 12V directly) one output changes it's state and PWM is routed to 12V fan power instead of 5V PWM output. After some time I couldn't realise how to implement the rotation detection algorithm as I don't know what condition to use other than fan tachometer no signal if output PWM is higher than 30%. (This solution is based on Intel PWM Fan datasheet and Noctua datasheet)

What I have left to do - instead of existing Arduino-based solution I need to make an STM-based board with backward compatibility (as I cannot find connectors that can fit HP's crap it became a serious problem), change 7-segment LED display to 0.91" oled display and put everything together into a 3d-printed case with buttons so I don't have to connect this board to my PC everytime I need to change the fan. There will be also 2 jst connectors with DS18B20 connected to monitor temp not only via ILo, so if you cannot get real temp of some components the borad can override the ILo PWM output. This temps will be displayed with ILo PWM output percentage, actual fan speed and using this display I can make changes to how ILo PWM is converted to fan rotation speed depending on the time of the year (it is usually warm winter and cold A/C summer where it is located).


Can't tell you how long can it last as I have to do it in my free time.


I have opened my MSG8 case yesterday but didn't make any pictures on the fan side and I'm really sorry about that now.


If I make several apaters I could probably pass it to others for components costs coverage but it can happen only if this board can work by itself without programming every time you change any set point.

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This is the picture of my STM workbench (for 2 different STM ICs as I havent't decide which one I sould use). I had to disassemble it but I used it to operate PWM and DC controlled fans and also I could already read HP PWM output and send all this information to the OLED 128x32 display. Before doing PCB prototyping I have to connect HP signal and fan management.

Implementing DS18B20 would be easy as I have done it before many times but it also needs come code work to be done.

The most hard job was implementing a user interface.

Edited by Gulftown
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On 2/14/2018 at 12:25 PM, RobWu said:

I looked into that a while ago, as the fan was getting issues (chirping sound)
But afaik it's not possible to tweak a 3rd party fan in a way to make it work like the HP one. And replacing one is ridiculously expensive!

Would you also be so kind to tell me if you came with some solution for MS fan issue?


My main problem for now is HP connectors as I couldn't find any solution that can fit the HP native mobo and fan connectors.

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This thread keeps coming back from the dead! 😀

I didn't replace it in the end. I managed to get it non-chirping again after some cleaning and fiddling with it.
So far the setup is almost noise-less, and even with low noise in the room or at night it's hardly there in the background.

For me it was not worth the replacement as the chirping went away.



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