6600M Fan Speed Questions

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  • (Edited)

6600M Fan Speed Questions...

1.What is the RPM of the Slow speed fan? What is the RPM of the Hi
Speed Fan?

2.What temp does the Hi Speed Fan switch on?

3. What is the CFM of the fan?
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KC2QMA_John

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Posted 4 weeks ago

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KC2QMA_John

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If FRS's doesn't want to answer here I am good on QRZ!
:)
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KC2QMA_John

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Any help from anyone would be great.
Thanks.
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Joe N3HEE

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The fan is a AeroCool Shark 140mm fan. At least that's what's in my 6600M. 

140mmPower mode: 1500 RPM ±10%, Silence mode: 800 RPM ±10% Power mode: 96.5 CMF, Silence mode: 50 CMFFluid DynamicPower mode: 29.6 dBA, Silence mode: 14.5 dBA


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KC2QMA_John

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Thanks Joe, Great Info!
That's a pretty nice fan with good specs for its size.

I wonder what the temp threshold is to switch to Hi-Speed in the 66600/M?
I would guess the temp sensor is on the PA?
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Joe N3HEE

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John.  You could use FR Stack or other third party Flex app (FR Logger, etc) to monitor PA temp and see when the fan speeds up.  I havent paid much attention to fan speed but it does ramp up when the PA warms up.  At idle it runs at a fairly low RPM and is fairly quiet.
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KC2QMA_John

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I have FlexMeter so I will see when the fan goes to hi speed. I wonder if it slowly ramp's up or switches to hi speed.
we shall see....
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KC2QMA_John

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OK so far it looks like the fan speed is continuously variable. It seems to idle at around 975 RPM’s @27C and slowly ramps up to about 1400 RPM’s @ 90C. I did not want to push the radio to the point of shut down as I still don't know where that threshold is and cause any damage.

OK not bad but could be better. I have a few Ideas that would improve duty cycle of the PA and make the radio last longer.

1. Change fan metrics so it ramps up faster/ sooner to get ahead of the heat buildup.

2.Use a higher speed fan with more CFM’s.

3.Make a custom shroud that would direct more air across the PA.


Now is all this necessary well maybe not BUT in a hi duty cycle operation like a digital contest or even in an environment that has a high ambient temperature such as outdoors in the hot summer sun or in a mobile situation better cooling would be beneficial. Think of this as a cooling upgrade like adding performance parts to your sports car :)


I may try to mock up a custom shroud on my 3D printer and see if it will make an improvement using the stock fan.


Too be continued...

(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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If anyone could tell me what the Shut Down temp or thermal limit is that would be very helpful.
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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John, while this is all a fun project for to do a few things should be mentioned.
#1 When Gerald desgned these radios, full duty cycle was a main consideration.

#2 The over temp shut down protection will not allow any damage to the radio, even if you try to damage it you couldn't.
I read a staement from Erec saying that the over temp shut down is a long long way from the temp needed to damage the PA. It is rated at a much higher temp rating.

It is advisable to never run any radio in direct sunlight, in the case of the Flex it will not hurt it but it may shut down more often then you like due to temp.
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KC2QMA_John

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Thanks Bill,
But still would like to know what the actual temperature # is that will shut down the radio.
Maybe Eric could chime in on this or send me an email?

There is always room for improvement.
(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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So after a few more tests I find that the stock fan maxes out at 1360 RPM’s just a bit short of its maximum of 1500RPM’s. After the PA gets to about 50C the PA temp keeps rising but the fan does not go any faster or provide any more cooling.

I did notice that when the PA heatsink gets up around 90C for an extended time the power pole connector on the back of the radio gets so hot it almost melts the plastic even the power cable from the heat blowing out the vents on the back.

Again Under normal operating conditions this should be fine as most users are not key down for that long.

HI TEMP 1363 RPM's @ 90C


LOW TEMP 986 RPM's @ 23C

I believe there could be a significant improvement in cooling performance with a better fan. The fan I believe would be a perfect upgrade is the Noctua NF-A14 Industrial  PPC-2000.

This fan is much better than the stock fan and is quite a bit more expensive but is a serious Industrial grade fan.


Here are just some of the specs highlights:

Max speed = 2000 RPM’s (500 more than stock)

Min Speed = 500 RPM’s

Air Flow = 182,5 m3/h (much more CFM’s than stock even at idle)

Static Pressure = 4,18 mm H2O

MTTF = >150,000 Hours (50K hours more than stock)

6 year warranty!!!!


Its only slightly more noisy at Idle than stock however it is quite noticeable at hi speed when the radio PA gets hot under load and goes into Hi Speed mode.

I can fully understand why Flex wouldn't install these fans as they are quite expensive and for most people would be a little over kill but...

I believe this fan would be great for those who are heavy digital contesters who want to run full power (100W) all day long or for those who use their radio outdoors like in a field day application or mobile application where vehicle temps can get a bit hot. Or for those that just want that little bit more cooling power for piece of mind and to extend the lifespan of the radio.

Here is a link to Noctua's website:
https://noctua.at/en/nf-a14-industrialppc-2000

(Edited)
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Joe N3HEE

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Very interesting research John !  Those are very good fans ! I agree the stock fans could be a bit more robust.  Perhaps they could be offered as an option ?

I am on my second stock fan.  After my warranty expires next year I may drop in a replacement.  One thing to consider is RFI.  Need to make sure the new fan is electrically quiet.  

I am a serious contester and have pounded away at the radio and PA in dozens of CW and RTTY contests over the past year with no problems.  I've never seen PA temps anywhere near 90C.  However, the back panel of the radio does get pretty warm once the fan has ramped up to full speed. 
(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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OK some good news and some bad.

The GOOD...

Clearly the Noctua fan fan works much better than the stock AeroCool as you can see from the picture of the temp and fan RPM’s.

Now at 1356 RPM’s the PA temp only gets to 70C! That’s a HUGE improvement!!!!

Hi Temp



LOW Temp


Now the BAD...

Because of the way FlexRadio has programmed the fan control firmware when it detects the fan going past 1500RPM’s the radio shuts down even though the PA is much cooler?

So in conclusion the Noctua fan works way better than the stock fan providing significantly more cooling power and actually is quieter than the stock fan at idle but due to the way the fan control software in the radio is programmed it will shut the radio down because of fan RPM’s not over temp.

So in order for this upgrade to truly work FlexRadio would have to update the radio’s firmware to work with the difference in RPM’s of this fan.


So maybe FlexRadio could offer this as a Cooling Upgrade for hard core users?

Anyway a fun learning experiment! :)
(Edited)
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Joe N3HEE

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Just curious, what temps do you need to reach to get the fan to run over 1500 RPM ?  I wonder if the 1500 RPM cutoff can or will be reached in a typical contest situation running 100 watts ? Or FT8 use at 100 watts ? I will have to watch my PA temps during the next RTTY contest.
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Winston VK7WH

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Nice Meters, John.

Can I ask where you got the software. I presume it is the public domain. Are the meters scalable in size?

Many thanks

Winston
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KC2QMA_John

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Hello Joe, I'm not sure but it looks like when the PA hits about 65C the fans go into hi speed.
like a second or two before the radio shuts down you can really hear the noctua fan rev up.

The meters are Flex Meter 1.3
you can get it here http://www.denzone.com/  
(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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Here is a great video review of the Nouctua Fan

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Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

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We looked at the Noctua fans recently. The pricing of their fans versus performance is high when compared to the alternatives on the market.  

Few points regarding fans: 
  1. Like any other component, we make trade-off decisions about what will work best for the radio. PA temperature is one aspect, but the two large processing elements in the radio also need cooling (FPGA, CPU) and the channels and air venting are designed to keep these devices cool. Their life can be degraded of they are run too hot. I would not recommend altering the airflow in the radio by swapping out a shroud, etc. If you starve the FPGA for airflow, you're going to have a bad time.
  2. Most of the fans we see are manufactured in China regardless of where they are sourced and there's sometimes a degree of specmanship that might not be entirely above board with anything sourced out of China. In other words, you must test with real operating conditions and you shouldn't trust what you're told in specs without verifying them.
  3. There are sometimes considerations that go beyond written specs. For example, this fan's speed is modulated by voltage, not by PWM. Running a fan with PWM is like starting a lawn mower in your shack (from an EMI/noise perspective). Instead, we use voltages are are much lower than nominal and you wouldn't necessarily know this unless you did a careful analysis. If you buy a fan that needs 12V to start, it's not going to work in this application. If you buy one that has trouble starting at 8V, you're likely to be routinely disappointed with the radio shutting down because the fan didn't start.
  4. The individual fans we put on the CPU and FPGA in the earlier FLEX-6000s were being replaced by fans sold here on the community that had bearings that would quickly fail if run in an inverted position (how they are actually mounted). We selected replacement fans that did not have this issue, but many customers purchased fans that were going to fail in a short period of time at the recommendation of others in this forum. We're not likely to go test every replacement fan someone chooses to put in his radio even though it's certainly your right to repair your radio (that we would fight for, incidentally).  But, having said this you should be careful to select components that will work in the application.
  5. We totally get the "pimp my ride" concept and we realize that there are not that many ways to enhance your SDR -- it's not like you're going to get more slices by bolting on a larger FPGA from AutoZone or make it work faster with a bigger Anderson Power Pole. You might could get the better exhaust with a better fan though. So we get it. But be careful to recognize the design requirements before blowing a head gasket or fracturing a cylinder with too much Nitrous.
Steve
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KC2QMA_John

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 Hello Steve thanks for chiming in here.

I was being a bit silly when I used the "Pimp My Ride" type analogy but I was just curious to see if any improvement in overall cooling could be made and from my initial tests it sure does seem that the Noctua NF-A14 Industrial PPC-2000 fan does show improvement.

I also agree that the shroud concept would not be advisable after seeing how the air flow paths are designed. A better fan with more CFM's would make more sense.

I also understand the price vs. performance concept when it comes to large scale manufacturing that's why I thought this could be an optional upgrade.

The Noctua NF-A14 Industrial PPC-2000 will start at 5V.

See video below for more details.



I like the idea that under normal conditions the fan is just a quiet and provides better cooling but I also like the idea that when you hammer the radio hard under tough conditions the fan revs up to 2000 RPM’s and really cools the heck out of the radio.

All I can say when an if you have a bit of time check this particular fan out it looks like it would be a step up in cooling performance and would only require a little adjustment of the fan curve metrics.

BTW what is the official shut down temp with the stock fan.

Thanks

John

(Edited)
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Steve - N5AC, VP Engineering / CTO

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Thanks, John. I actually looked at that fans specs about few weeks ago and compared pricing and this is where my comment about pricing from this company came from. 

This fan is not targeted at manufacturers. It's been substantially marked-up to be provided as a single fan in a retail setting. Manufacturer's don't typically pay that kind of money for a fan. It's a little like the old joke about buying a car's spare parts and building a car with them -- it would cost 20x the price of the car. Another analogy would be buying a $1000 iPhone to embed in a product because it has the computing and display technology you want. In actuality, the computing power and display could be purchased in a wholesale setting much less expensively. No one would actually use an iPhone in a product because of this -- it would make the cost of the device prohibitive.
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KC2QMA_John

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Hello Again Steve,

Yes I see exactly what you mean with respect to cost per unit although I'm sure since folks are willing to pay over $5000 for a SDR radio they would probably not mind spending a few more bucks on a fan to protect and extend the life of their radio.

Would it be at least possible to raise the RPM cut off limit in the software so this fan would work if a user or even FlexRadio would like upgrade the fan in the future. In other words keep all of the fan curve metrics as they are and just raise the RPM limit to 2100. The extra 100 RPM’s are to allow for slight variation in fan and power supply voltage.

I checked this fan and it does not appear to generate any RFI noise in fact I believe it is even quieter than the stock fan due to it’s “Three-Phase motor” design. Because if this pulse noise it greatly reduced. No other fan that I know of available has this feature. Also because as you said you use voltage control instead of PWM that make it even quieter still.


I have asked this a few times (What it the current temperature at the PA that will cause the radio to shut down?

Let me just say finally I am not criticizing the current fan or cooling design at all in fact under most normal conditions the current configuration works just fine but I do believe there is always room to improve.


Anyway thank you again for your time and communication with me on this it was a fun learning experience and after all that's what Amateur Radio is all about!


73’

John

KC2QMA
(Edited)
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John KB4DU

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I have been hoping some of the contesters would chime in, I did some rudimentary test using FT8 at 90 watts, 50 % duty cycle. I doesn't take long to get the indicated temp up close to 90c, but the temp doesn't seem to go above that.
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KC2QMA_John

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Hello John, I don’t know about you but 90C or 194F is pretty darn HOT, hot enough to burn your skin off. 100C will boil water!

When I installed the Noctua I saw a HUGE improvement up to about 60C-65C unfortunately since the software in the radio is programmed to shut the radio down at about 1500 RPM’s I could not go any further with the fan at Hi-Speed.

The Noctua Specs and performance makes the stock AeroCool Shark fan look like a toy. Even just holding the two fans in you hands you can feel and see the difference in quality. And the fact that the Noctua has a 6 YEAR WARRANTY says a lot about the fans reliability.


Look at these specs stock fan doesn’t even come close.

Compare for your self even aerocool’s website is cheesy.

STOCK FAN-consumer grade PC fan

http://www.aerocool.us/accessory/shark_bu14.html

NOCTUA FAN-Industrial grade commercial fan.

https://noctua.at/en/nf-a14-industrialppc-2000/specification



All flex has to do is just raise the fan RPM limit in a future software update and the Noctua fan will work like a champ and will be Backward compatible with the stock AeroCool Shark fan!

When you make the Roll-Royce of radios why not put the Rolls-Royce of fan’s in it or at least make it possible to upgrade it in the future.

(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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They may have considered that if there were cooling issues, but there are none. Many customers run these radios at full duty cycle without any problems. Even at 194F is well under the operation range of the LDMOS 

It is intersting there is no information on the shutdown temp of the radio however.
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KC2QMA_John

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Like I said before under most normal conditions the stock fan is adequate but it would sure be nice to add a Hi- end fan to a Hi-End radio.

Yes It still would be nice to know what the over-temp threshold is...
(Edited)
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KC2QMA_John

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BTW
If Eric or Steve would like to email me direct that would be fine with me also.
I'm good on QRZ.
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KC2QMA_John

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What is the Specific temp that will cause a 6600M to shut down?

What is the final used in a 6600M, I could not find that info anywhere?

Would it be possible to raise the RPM limit in a future version of SSDR to accommodate the above fan?
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KC2QMA_John

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I left a voice mail with Steve Hicks last Friday (8/16/2019) and have not heard back yet.
Today is (8/22/2019)

I left my Call,Name, Email & Phone #

I asked:
"What is the Specific temp that will cause a 6600M to shut down?
What is the final transistor/s used in a 6600M, I could not find that info anywhere?
Would it be possible to raise the RPM limit in a future version of SSDR to accommodate the above fan?

I hope to speak with Steve on the phone soon...
(Edited)
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Joe N3HEE

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Bet you a fan they won’t call you ! :). For some reason they hold technical info pretty close to the vest. Trade secrets I suppose. It would be refreshing if they would be a little more transparent with things like this. I predict they offer an upgraded fan in the next hardware release for $49.99 !
(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I don't beleive the slow call is because they are holding information back. It is most likely because Steve has not been able to do so yet.
In the past Flex has had no problems telling people the information they are looking for is clasified. And in this case they have not said that.
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KC2QMA_John

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I don't mind waiting a bit longer as I’m sure the guys at FRS are busy also I believe they may be on travel this week.

The question that is most important to me is will they simply just raise the RPM limit in SSDR so we can use this much better performing and higher quality fan.

NOCTUA FAN-Industrial grade commercial fan.

https://noctua.at/en/nf-a14-industrialppc-2000/specification




(Edited)
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Hope they pay you for the adds you run on them  lol
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KC2QMA_John

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I'll mail you the checks :)