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Old 06-19-2011, 08:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Lamptron FC5-V2 Fan Controller

Lamptron FC5-V2 Fan Controller

Today I've got Lamptron's FC5-V2 Fan Controller on the test bench; this model is the big brother to the FC-3 model Dan tested a little while ago, coming in with a few new features and a slightly higher asking price.

Features and Specifications
  • CNC milled face plate from blocks of 3/4" thick soild aluminium
  • User changeable LCD display color
  • Four knobs to control four 3pin channels
  • User's choice of displaying Celsius, Fahrenheit, or Voltages for the bottom line readout
  • Temperature Alarm
  • Black Anodized or Silver Aluminium
  • Dimensions: 148.5mm*42.5mm*77mm (5.25" Bay)
  • Changeable Display Color: Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, Purple, White
  • Power Output: Up to 30W per channel
  • DC Input: +12v (Standard 4-Pin Molex Connector)
  • DC Output: 0-12v
  • Control Channels: 4
Image Gallery
(Thanks goes to Slaymate for taking the pictures)

The first three images are of the product packaging.

In the next two images we first see the controller surrounded by protective foam, with an additional layer underneath, and next laid out on the bench. I might add here that this survived shipping to two different addresses over about 12,000Km/7,500Mi.

These next four images show the controller on four different sides. My only complaint here is that on the outer PCB there are a few points where the flux residue has not been cleaned; you can see a few points near the bottom of the second picture. As well as looking messy, some fluxes can be corrosive over time.

In the last picture we can see the FC5-V2 hooked up and controlling two fans in voltage display mode. The multimeter was used to verify that output voltage levels were consistent for each channel.

Installation and Thoughts

I've never used a fan controller before, so I made a few beginner mistakes when installing the FC5. First off, save yourself some time and remember to attach the supplied extension cables for both the fan power cables and the controller's molex power cable to the controller *before* installing it in the 5.25" bay. Apart from that the installation is as straight forward as you'd think.

On the actual physical construction of the controller, I have to say for the most part I'm pleased; it feels very solid and heavy, surprisingly so for its size. The only down side is the control knobs, which feel rather loose and wiggly. In fact with not much force they can be pulled right off, something I found out as I tried to pull the controller a little further out from the 5.25" bay during installation. To be fair though, they weren't designed to be pulled on and I doubt this will be a problem during normal operation.

One last thing I found that could be a problem for some is *how* you have to set the changes for all the functions, e.g. color, alarm, temp or voltage readout. You have to physically set/remove jumpers on the back of the controller itself; needless to say it gets a little tedious cracking your case open, unscrewing the controller and pulling it out every time you want to switch from a blue display to a purple one. That being said, the design does keep the front panel of the controller very clean and uncluttered, a very important feature when considering the front plate is usually one of the most visible parts of your system.

  • High quality components
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Powerful @ 30W per channel
  • Impressive feature set
  • Loose control knobs
  • Hard to adjust functions
Could there be a 3rd revision for this controller? In my opinion, yes. All in all however, the FC5-V2 is a sturdy, well-built, very functional fan controller. At ~$69.95, you can find cheaper fan controllers; whether they would include the large feature set the FC5-V2 offers is a harder question to answer. The temperature sensors provided all stayed within 1.1C of each other during their testing phase, the voltage readout matched the actual voltage output measured on my multimeter every time, and the LCD display is bright, crisp, and easy to read. I'm awarding the FC5-V2 4 out of 5 stars.

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