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PhilUK

N54L Microserver - Rear Fan Replacement Guide

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PhilUK

Hi everyone,
 
After trawling the internet for advice I have recently changed the 120mm fan in my N54L. NB: I will soon be changing the 40mm fan in the power supply as well and will add that when I do.
It seems there are a few nuances with fan selection & installation so I wanted to create a complete guide for anyone wanting to do the same.

Tools Required
Philips Screwdriver
T10 Torx Tool (Inside server door if you don't have one)
Stanley/Utility Knife
Very small pin/flat head screwdriver
Tag Ties

120mm Fan Selection:
My N54L stock fan was a Delta Electronics AFB1212VH Fan - HP P/N: 614354-001
This fan is a standard 12V fan with the BIOS controlling the fan speed as required (PWM). From other posts/info on the internet I found, the BIOS typically runs the fan at 30-35% of its full speed rating (i.e. a 2000 rpm fan will typically run at 600 - 650 rpm). This is important as there is a minimum fan speed the BIOS will accept (typically around 500-550 rpm) so this will impact your choice of fan if you decide to replace with a PWM fan.
 
On this note, it appears there are 2 possible choices of fan control at this stage. You can either purchase a PWM fan which will operate in the same method as the original (i.e. allowing the BIOS to control fan speed). Or you can buy a standard non-PWM fan (3 pin) which runs at continuous full speed. I installed a PWM fan so I will only cover that here. For details of a successful 3 pin fan installation see here.

I chose to use the capability of the HP BIOS to control the fan speed by purchasing a PWM fan. Specifically I went for the Corsair SP120 PWM which has a top speed of 2200rpm, meeting the requirements of the minimum fan speed once slowed by the BIOS. There are reports of people using other fans e.g. Coolink SWiF2-120P or Scythe Slip Stream 120 PWM (sadly discontinued as this was my first choice). As always YMMV.
 
Installation:
 
1) To start the installation, strip down the HP microserver, remove the mainboard as detailed in the manual. Remove anything you have in the top 5.25" drive bay as this will get in the way. You need clear access to the fan at the back.

2) You will now need to detach the fan cable from the cables running to the mainboard. There may be some tag-ties that need to be cut to remove it. The fan cable is indicated by the arrows in the image below:

WP_20141229_005.jpg
 
3) Once you have detached the cable, feed it through the chassis toward the fan location so the fan can be removed easily.
4) Next unscrew the fan from the case, there are 4 x T10 Torx screws. There is a small tool you can use for this inside the front door if you don't have the tools. See the image for the screws you need to remove:

WP_20141229_016.jpg

5) The fan will then slide up and out of the chassis.

WP_20141229_018.jpg

6) You then need to remove the grill from the original fan. In the corners of the fan there are 'push-fit' pins which hold the grill in place. The image shows how they appear from the back side:

WP_20141229_022.jpg

To remove them, push the small pin in the centre back toward the grill side of the fan. This will 'unlock' the pin.

WP_20141229_023.jpg

The pin will then protrude from the grill side of the fan. Use a small screwdriver to prise the pin away from the fan chassis (between the silver and black) and it will come out easily.

WP_20141229_025.jpg

The grill can then be fitted to your new fan. I had to use screws provided with the fan to fit mine as the anti-noise rubber chassis on the SP120 fan was too thick to fit the original push-fittings.

WP_20141229_028.jpg

Edited by PhilUK
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PhilUK

7) Now for the PWM fan pin configuration modification. The HP Microserver uses a non-standard pin-out on the motherboard to connect the 120mm fan (why, I don't know!). Fortunately, it's relatively simple to swap the pins around on most PWM fan connectors to match the pin-out on the microserver. I followed the guide at silentpcreview here to change mine.

 

Note: if you haven't removed the pins from a fan connector before (like me!) then see the guide

. NOTE: You don't need the tool, you can individually remove the pins using a pin/very small screwdriver. The video shows you where the locking/retention tab is (where he pushes in the tool) which needs to be depressed to remove the pin. Make sure you lift the retention tabs before you re-insert the pins into the connector.

 

Here is an image of the SP120 PWM connector following the modification with the wire's original and new pin locations. This image also shows clearly the locking/retention tabs which need to be pushed in to remove the pins:

 

WP_20141229_029.jpg

 

NOTE: From inspecting it after the fact, you may be able to reuse the OEM Microserver fan connector with the pins from the SP120 to prevent the need for step 8. I haven't done this so no guarantees!

8) Now we need to make a minor modification to the fan connector on the SP120 fan. This is because, as you can see in the image below, the connector has one of the locating/orientation tabs in the 'wrong' place to match the non-standard HP fan connector.

 

WP_20141229_010.jpg

Using a utility knife, remove the locating pin in the centre of the connector:

 

BEFORE:

WP_20141229_031.jpg

 

AFTER:

WP_20141229_035.jpg

 

9) Now for reassembly! For the SP120 fan, the fan cable is quite short so it can't be routed in the same path as the original fan. Of course this could be rectified by using a pwm fan extension cable. (With modification to motherboard end of the extension as required).

 

To allow the fan connector to reach the motherboard, insert the fan (make sure to orient so air is pushed through the back of the case!) with the fan cable located at the bottom of the fan. (As in the image below - NB: there is no grill on in the image as only for illustration). Feed the cable down first so it doesn't get trapped.

 

WP_20141229_027.jpg

 

To keep the fan cable away from the motherboard in it's new routing I attached a tag tie through 2 holes in the hard drive caddy through which the cable passed.

 

HARD DRIVE SIDE:
WP_20141229_041.jpg

OPPOSITE SIDE:
WP_20141229_040.jpg

 

Reassemble the rest of your server, re-tag tie cables as necessary and bolt the new fan in place.

Then push the fan connector down onto the header on the motherboard:

 

WP_20141229_033.jpg

 

All Reassembled:

 

WP_20141229_044.jpg

 

Fan in place:

 

WP_20141229_042.jpg

 

Results
The fan is running fine, it seems quieter than the original which is what I wanted! Once I've changed the noisier 40mm fan in the power supply I will add more information about how it sounds!

Edited by PhilUK
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Zenon

...

There are reports of people using other fans e.g. Coolink SWiF2-120P or Scythe Slip Stream 120 PWM (sadly discontinued as this was my first choice). As always YMMV.

...

 

Do you know the the exact designation of this Scythe Slip Stream 120 PWM fan?

e.g. SY1225SL12LM-P

 

 
Good job! You inspire me to this fan replacement.

 

Edited by Zenon

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PhilUK

 

Do you know the the exact designation of this Scythe Slip Stream 120 PWM fan?

e.g. SY1225SL12LM-P

 

 
Good job! You inspire me to this fan replacement.

 

The specific model number I have seen used is: SY1225SL12HPVC. Notably, it has a higher max of 1900 rpm compared to the one you have linked to which is 1300 rpm.

 

The following could be a potential alternative (1900 rpm max.) SY1225SL12SH which is available on amazon.co.uk/.com.

 

P.S. I should point out a couple of errors/additions in the inital guide (if a mod could please alter).

 

1) The fan I bought was specifically a Corsair SP120 PWM 'High Performance Edition' not the slower 'Quiet Edition'.

2) The max speed of this fan is actually 2350rpm, not the 2200rpm I stated in the post.

 

Cheers,

Phil

Edited by PhilUK
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Joe_Miner

@PhilUK: Wonderful posting and welcome to the Forums! +1

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Zenon

Thank you for your help.

 

...

P.S. I should point out a couple of errors/additions in the inital guide (if a mod could please alter).

 

1) The fan I bought was specifically a Corsair SP120 PWM 'High Performance Edition' not the slower 'Quiet Edition'.

2) The max speed of this fan is actually 2350rpm, not the 2200rpm I stated in the post.

...

 

Will the "Quiet Edition" with 1450 RPM be working as stock fan replacement?

f4h2eq.png

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ikon

Nice job PhilUK.

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PhilUK

Thank you for your help.

 

 

Will the "Quiet Edition" with 1450 RPM be working as stock fan replacement?

 

 

This will be too slow if you plan to fit as a PWM fan replacement. You need a minimum of approx. 1900rpm.

 

If you plan to run as a non-PWM fan as in the linked article in the guide then it could work but would run continuously at 1450rpm. I have not done this so can't advise on whether it definitely works. There are other fans which would be better suited if this is your plan as the Corsair SP120 'Quiet Edition' doesn't get great reviews.

 

Thanks,

Phil

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TechboyUK

I have just used the above instructions, to replace my stock fan with the Noctua NF-F12 PPC 2000 IP67 Noctua NF-F12 IndustrialPPC 2000RPM IP67 PWM 120mm High Performance Fan (http://noctua.at/en/nf-f12-industrialppc-2000-ip67-pwm). Should this fan work?

 

My server boots up saying that there is no fan installed, then it shuts itself down after 15 seconds.

 

I can feel air being blown out of the back of the case.

 

I did (and have triple checked) step 7, where I re-ordered the cables. All 4 tabs look to be fully seated.

 

I didn't do step 8, instead I used the original fan's adaptor. I don't think this would cause an issue (should be better not worse?).

 

Thanks.

Paul

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