Archive for December, 2011

Welcome to my review of the Aquaero 5 XT controller. While there are many manual fan controllers out there and some software controlled options, few take the features and control as far as the Aquaero 5.  This is not the first iteration of the aquaero, it’s been many years in development through previous generations, so quite a history(since 2004) behind it.  While I have done some testing on the aquastream XT here, this is my first look at a controller as advanced as the aquaero XT 5 and it is without a doubt the most feature rich and most highly configurable controller out there.  Calling it a fan controller really doesn’t do the product justice as it is so much more and really acts as a mini computer to monitor and control your entire computer cooling system.

Before getting started, I’d like to thank Shoggy from Aqua-comuter.de for supplying this review sample. Thanks!

The product I’m reviewing is the top model aquaero XT with IR remote as you see above but there are several model options and many accessories to chose from that I’ll go into later.

GENERAL CONCEPT

Aqua-computers called it the “Aquaero” because it serves to integrate controls for and between water and air and I think that pretty fitting.While it does control fans,  it also does much more to act as the brains and control behind both a normal PC and also HTPC with all the IR connection features and ability to control other IR devices through the Aquaero 5. I basically gives you the ability to monitor, adjust, and dynamically control pretty much anything air, water, and light related.  Since I’m a visual person, I created this simplified diagram to show the various communications that may occur depending on the setup.

A big part of my intent of this guide/review is to emphasize on the “Guide” portion by learning how to use the controller and sharing what I’ve learned.

FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS

General
  • Processor – 32bit, 48MHz with Watchdog functions
  • Flash Memory (140,000)
  • 148mm wide x 42mm tall x 62mm deep
  • Built programmable buzzer for alarm and key notes
  • Standby power via USB or 5V standby connector
  • Automatically determines which sensors are present and lists in menus
  • Automatically adjusts menus to custom renamed sensor values

LCD (XT and Pro models)

  • Backlight LCD
  • 256 x 64 resolution, 20 fps
  • Black and white (reversible & adjustible)
  • Configure menus and up to 32 customizable information pages (scrolling)

Communication/Navigation

  • Native USB 2.0 Interface to PC (no need for special drivers)
  • 1x aquabus low speed interface  (multiswitch or tubemeter)
  • 1x aquabus high speed interface (aquastream xt or poweradjust 2)
  • Universal infrared receiver (Pro or XT models)
  • Device buttons – XT=3 capacitive navigation, 4 menu/programmable, Pro=3 mechanical navigation, LT-none
  • Remote Control “Aquaremote” (XT included) optional for “Pro”
  • External IR transmitter output expandable to control other devices
  • Remote control may also be switch to control the computer (minimal mouse/keyboard control)
Fan Channel Output
  • 4x dedicated fan channels (expandable to 10 via up to 6ea poweradjusts)
  • PWM free analog DC voltage to prevent noise capable
  • Channel #2 may be converted to flow sensor
  • Channel #4 may be used to control 4 pin PWM fans/pumps
  • Max Current @12V= 1.65A/channel, max total 5A (Heat Limited)
  • Min & Max Power Setting
  • Min & Max RPM Setting
  • Startboost functions (Improves low speed startup)
  • Programmable Fuse function (1000mA)
  • Fan channels could also be used to feed pumps withing current limits.
Other Channel Outputs
  • 1X 3 pin Relay – 12V, 1A may be used for emergency shut down or other uses
  • 2x 2 pin PWM – 12V, 1A modulated at 15 kHz.  May be used for lighting.
  • 1X RGB-LED 4 pin output – up to three single color LEDs or one RGB module. 20mA, 3-4V.  Resistor built in AQ5.
  • 1X “Tacho” signal generator for Alarm functions to motherboard.
Temperature sensors external
  • 8x analog sensors ports (expandable to 40) 10kOhm NTC
  • 4x sofware sensors
  • 4x virtual sensors (Min, Mas, Delta, Abs. Delta)
  • Renaming of sensors
  • Calibration of analog sensors by offset
Temperature sensors internal (built in)
  • 1x aquaero cpu sensor
  • 4x fan amp sensors
Flow sensors external
  • 1x dedicated port
  • 2x ports if using fan port #2 as flow sensor
  • Default calibration values for AC sensor
  • Custom calibration in pulses per liter in 1 pulse increments
Monitoring
  • Fans – RPM, %, Voltage, Current
  • Temperature Sensors –  Degrees C/F/K
  • AquastreamXT Pump – Speed in Hz, Current, RPM, Voltage
  • Fill Level
  • Power Consumption using flow rate and temperature differential values
  • Logging and programmable charting functions
Controls
  • May program controls of Fans and RGB-LED
  • 4x Curve controllers – 16 point programmable curves targeting temp sensors
  • 8x Target value controllers – Programmable PID targeting control
  • 16X Two point controllers – Simple on/off lower/upper control
  • 32X Preset value – Constant
  • 1X RGB LED controller
Alarm Functions
  • Can be triggered by Temperature, Fans, Flow, Pump, Fill level
  • A variety of programmable actions: speed signal generator, buzzer,relay trigger, profile loading, power down
Software
  • Aquasuite 2012 – Allows configuration & monitoring of the unit. Settings can be saved to unit (autonomous)
  • Aquaero 5 – Software sensor tool –  Allows reading of 4X software sensors from speedfan and other programs (must be running)
So, without a doubt the AQ5 is busting out the seams in features and really has no equivalent or competition boasting this sort of feature set.   While I’ve already hit on a few notes about the model versions in the features list, next I’ll give you a bit more detail about the model versions available and expansion options.

Sketchup CPU Block Concept

Posted: December 12, 2011 in Blocks

While I recover from my knee surgery, I decided I would do some playing around with sketchup and model a CPU block.  Most of this is just assembling many existing ideas from various forms.  Only thing really special is that I tried to allow the block to articulate independent of the hold down (Center single loose hing point).  The idea here is to allow the block to self align with the IHS surface and distribute pressure as evenly as possible regardless of imperfections in either the IHS, mounting socket, or hold down plate.  The other which has been done before is a parallel perpendicular interweaved inlet/outlet channel system.  This should reduce pressure drop and allow a much more restrictive/shorter copper microchannel base.

Last but not least, something other than the ordinary hold down system, we have four mounting points, why not utilize that into some sort of creature.  A spider, headcrab, or any number of things could be done.  And yes I know spiders have eight legs, not four.

Anyhow, figured I share the concept..always fun playing around with sketchup..:)

Nothing particularly new here, I’ve seen most of these different ideas in one form or the other.  Just my curiosity behind piecing some of those existing ideas together in what I would try building if I had the time and resources to do it.

Cheers!
Martin

Raystorm Pump Sensitivity Addition

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Just a minor update to the Raystorm blog.  I completed some pump/flow type sensitivity testing on the block and established a bit of a more refined test method to do that. All the details are located on a new page 7 here.

Happy Holidays!
Martin