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Proper ventilation is critical for hard disk and for PC based Unix servers. Common symptom to overheating would be a SIG 11 trap and the system would halt.

The standard PC architecture, with a single extraction fan on the power supply, does not provide proper ventilation so extra fan must be added whenever it is possible, and wherever it is needed.

Ideally, hard disk should be submitted to a constant air flow on top and bottom side. Air flow can be from right to left, from front to back or back to front, it does not really matter, but the air flow must be there. Considering a PC chassi, the disk is often mounted under the flopy drive, where no air flow at all is provided.

What fan to use?

One of the best and cheapest solution is to use fans collected from old PC power supply. Remove the old power supply from the PC box, open it and get the fan, with maximum of power wire.

When old fan cannot be found, new ones can be acquired at very low price (under $5) from many PC shop.

Those fan will mount nicely on most of the fan spaces available on new PC server boxes.

Rule 1

Add fans wherever space is provided on the chassi.

Many PC chassies have a location to add one or more fan, so add fan on those spaces. Additional fans should be blowing fresh air inside the box, increassing the air pressure inside the PC. Do not worry, the air will always manage to evacuate the box.

Blowing inside the box slightly increase the sound level, but it is by far the safest solution.

Rule 2

Provide proper power supply connector:

Power supply connector is is a couple of $ and will save a lot compared to a lame connection and a short circuit.

Fan are using 12 V, it should go to yellow and black wire.

Rule 3

Provide air flow to the hard disks:

And now some ugly solutions:

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Contact us: Olivier Nicole CSIM    SET    AIT Last update: Jun 2001