Author Topic: Using a PC case fan to aspirate your temperature/humidity probe.  (Read 6115 times)

elagache

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Still goin' ! (Re:PC case fan to aspirate your temperature/humidity probe.)
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2016, 03:38:22 AM »
Dear WeatherCat weather station caregivers, . . . .

This afternoon I had to reload my gopher "weepon" with fresh poisoned bait.  A gopher seems to have strayed into our yard from our neighbor to the east and I need to send it to "gopher heaven" (or whatever is equivalent. . . . )

I happened to be doing this under the the station's temperature/humidity probe and I could clearly hear the hum of the PC case fan I installed in early October.  So it is still running well after close to 3 months.  That still isn't a complete endurance test, but the original Davis fan was sounding very sick after less than a month.  So this PC case fan is doing well considering it is winter and a few storms have already blown threw.

We'll see how long this fan can last!

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

P.S. Anyone who thinks that the mild California weather is delightful clearly didn't have to fight gophers in January! . . .  >:(

xairbusdriver

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Re: Using a PC case fan to aspirate your temperature/humidity probe.
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2016, 02:34:40 PM »
Maybe it's that "mild California weather" that is helping support Gophers! Even Minnesota has interweb service especially at the University. Are these "Golden" by any chance? ;D

elagache

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Hoping gopher is dead - fan isn't! (Was: Using a PC case fan)
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2016, 10:32:15 PM »
Dear X-Air and WeatherCat collegiate sports fans, 

Maybe it's that "mild California weather" that is helping support Gophers!

I'm afraid you are correct on that one.  Although the gophers do well in winter and then really pay the price in the summer-time when the soil dries out into something close to concrete.  I usually only have gopher problems in the spring, but this year it is starting early.

Even Minnesota has interweb service especially at the University. Are these "Golden" by any chance? ;D

Since I poison the darn critters without exposing their tunnels, I never do find out what color they are.  However, honestly I couldn't care less what they look like other than dead!   As a precaution I applied another round of poisoned bait this afternoon and once more was able to check up on the fan.  I'm very pleased.  It is so quiet that you can hardly hear it, but it continues to work very well!  :)

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

xairbusdriver

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Re: Using a PC case fan to aspirate your temperature/humidity probe.
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2016, 04:58:49 PM »
Quote
It is so quiet that you can hardly hear it
I find that leaving out the batteries for my hearing aids adds that effect at a much lower cost! :)

I assume that you have actually observed that animals causing your problems. If not, it might be wise to determine if they are Gophers, Moles, Voles, Shrews, etc. Different species respond different treatments, these animals all have different EULAs! Be sure to contact their individual legal representatives, often called "Rodent Attorney Trade Support" (RATS).

Steve

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Re: Using a PC case fan to aspirate your temperature/humidity probe.
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2016, 11:06:46 PM »
Santa left me a replacement fan from Rainman Weather. If this one bites the dust, I think I'll follow your lead.
Steve - Avon, Ohio, USA


CWOP: DW8454 • WU: KOHAVON11 • AWEKAS • CoCoRaHS • Skywarn •  UK Met Office
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elagache

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Time will tell! (Re: PC case fan to aspirate your temperature probe.)
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2016, 11:34:38 PM »
Dear Steve and WeatherCat station caregivers, . . .

Santa left me a replacement fan from Rainman Weather. If this one bites the dust, I think I'll follow your lead.

Well if that fans also dies you'll have two pieces of information:

  • The Davis fans are indeed not a durable as they used to be.
  • Either the PC case fan I installed is - or is not - still working!

If and when that time comes, you'll know better what to do!

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

elagache

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A-Okay after a year! (Re: PC case fan to aspirate your temperature probe.)
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2016, 11:42:48 PM »
Dear WeatherCat station caregivers,

My station went live October 1st, 2009.  So I try to give the station an annual check about the start of October.  Last year you may remember I upgraded my station with a PC case fan to aspirate my temperature/humidity probe.  Today was the day I finally managed to take the radiation shield apart and see how the fan was coping with the outdoors.  And the answer is:



The fan isn't even as dusty as I've seen some fans on computers inside the house!  Here is a photo of the temperature/humidity probe:



The parts hardly look new, but the dust isn't even close to restricting the air flow.  I removed the loose material with an air duster and reassembled everything.  When I plugged the fan back it I could hear it's very quiet whisper.

So at least one year into this experiment, it appears that PC case fans are indeed perfectly practical replacements to aspirate your temperature/humidity probe.

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

Blicj11

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Re: Using a PC case fan to aspirate your temperature/humidity probe.
« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2016, 07:18:25 AM »
I love it when a plan comes together.
John "Hannibal" Smith
The A-Team
Blick


elagache

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Fan dead after 2 years (Re: PC case fan to aspirate your temperature probe.)
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2017, 12:09:09 AM »
Dear WeatherCat station caregivers,

2 days ago I realized that I wasn't hearing the usual "hum" from the PC case fan I installed 2 years ago.  Yesterday I power-cycled the fan hoping that would kick it back to life - no dice.  Finally today I made a more careful inspection.  First I double-checked that the power supply was still working.  Then I opened up the temperature/humidity radiation shield to look at the fan itself.  It didn't look too bad really:



I've seen dusty fans inside computers that were still working fine.  So losing this fan after 2 years wasn't a satisfactory life-span in my opinion.  I started a thread on the WXForum to get some advice on this sort of thing:

http://www.wxforum.net/index.php?topic=32961.0

There I was informed about fans with an IP68 rating.  These fans are rated to cope with dust and moisture.  It is definitely a better choice for an outdoor environment.  I got a recommendation for the Sanyo Denki  9WL0812P4G001 fan.  Here are its specifications:

http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/471/San_Ace_80WL25_E-541667.pdf

This fan is rated to last 20 years!  However, it costs almost $100.  That seemed a lot of money for this sort of an application.  However a little more web search and I located a close cousin to this fan from the same manufacturer:

http://www.mouser.com/ds/2/471/San_Ace_80WP25_E-534043.pdf

The fan has very similar specifications but it is expected life-span was only 4-1/2 to just under 7 years depending on conditions.  Still that's more than double what my first fan was able to do and hopefully it will be closer to 7 years in the mild California conditions.  I was able to buy this fan on eBay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/172120113322

I wasn't willing to wait a month to replace this fan, so I paid for the economy FedEx international shipping.  That was more than the fan, but hopefully I'll be able to get my station back to full operation sometime mid-month instead of waiting all the way to November.

So stay tuned! 

In the meantime, if anybody considers making this sort of upgrade definitely consider using an IP68 rated fan.  It probably will save you some premature maintenance!  [banghead]

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

Blicj11

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Re: Using a PC case fan to aspirate your temperature/humidity probe.
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2017, 12:47:19 AM »
More pictures please, of the new fan, and whether or not you have to make a new metal template, etc.
Blick


elagache

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Same fan footprint. (Re: PC case fan to aspirate your temperature probe.)
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2017, 11:05:22 PM »
Dear Blick and WeatherCat DYI types,

More pictures please, of the new fan, and whether or not you have to make a new metal template, etc.

The new fan is also a 3" (80mm) case fan, so it should bolt right back into the position of the old fan without any additional modification.  The one problem was concerned about was whether I should give myself a simpler connector to simplify replacing these fans if they were going die comparatively frequently.  I'm going to hope this new fan can deliver the advertised life.  So once more I'll soldier it directly to my power leads.

Nonetheless, I'll have my camera handy to describe how the procedure unfolds.  I avoided disconnecting the temperature/humidity probe when removing the dead fan, but I'll have to take apart the radiation shield to give it a thorough cleaning.  So the station will be down for a while.

Cheers, Edouard

elagache

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Fan installed - film at 11! (Re: PC fan to aspirate your temperature probe.)
« Reply #26 on: October 23, 2017, 12:16:36 AM »
Dear WeatherCat FYI types,

Well it was a terrific struggle, but the new PC case fan is finally installed in my temperature/humidity enclosure.  However, it took all the time I had to get it installed.  So while I took pictures, if you are old enough to remember this: "breaking news at 6pm, film at 11!"  Hopefully sometime tomorrow I'll have the time to download all the images and share with you all the gory details. . . . . .

Cheers, Edouard

Blicj11

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Re: Using a PC case fan to aspirate your temperature/humidity probe.
« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2017, 05:23:08 AM »
Sounds good.
Blick


elagache

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Da' repair! (Re: Using fan to aspirate your temperature/humidity probe.)
« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2017, 10:28:11 PM »
Dear WeatherCat station hardware FYI types,

As promised, here is da' blow by blow of how I replaced the PC case fan in my modified temperature/humidity enclosure described earlier in this thread.  As reported earlier, I purchased this fan on eBay:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/172120113322

Sadly I must report that the vendor changed shipping companies with my order and it took another 4 days over what they promised.  Nonetheless the product was indeed a 3" (80 mm) fan that would mount on the same plate that I had "fabbed" when installing the first fan. 

The first challenge was to figure out how to power the fan.  The previous fan could be powered by providing +12 volts to the yellow wire and connecting the ground to the black wire coming from the fan.  The new fan stubbornly didn't work this way.  By accident I discovered something shocking!  Connecting the +12 volts to the red wire and the ground to black worked perfectly!  Of course that is how it should have been all along - which is why of course I didn't expect it!

Once the matter of actually getting the fan spinning had been solved, it was time to connect the wiring.  My understanding is that crimping is preferable to soldering in exposed outdoor environments, but I don't have crimping tools for wires this small.  So I removed the solder from the connector and then soldered the new fan leads to the old connector wires:



The previous fan leads had been protected with electrical tape.  That tape had started to pull away from the wires, so that didn't seem like the best solution.  Since I have purchased a heat gun and heat-shrink tubing, I went that route.  Here is the two leads protected in heat-shrink tubing:



As you can see, this is a much tighter and resistant seal.  For extra protection, I shrunk a second piece of tubing over the entire wire assembly:



Now all that remained was to clean the radiation shield and install the fan.  For reasons I don't understand, the enclosure was more dirty than in previous years.  Here is the photo of the old fan and mounting assembly at 1 year:



Here is that same mounting assembly before cleaning:



Every component needed some cleaning and while Simple Green degreaser did a good job of releasing the dust and grime, I'm still puzzled about what caused so much more debris to end up in the radiation shield this past year.

Once everything was cleaned up, I could install the fan using the same fasteners that held the previous fan:



Unfortunately, as you can see it was late in the day at this point and daylight was starting to fade.  I took this picture of the fan spinning:



It is difficult to see because the flash stopped the motion and there was very little background light to capture the motion during the exposure.  Finally, I took this video with my iPhone so that you can hear the fan spinning. 



It is mostly quiet, you need to turn off other sounds to hear it, but it will give you some idea of what the fan sounds like.  It is much louder than the old fan and would probably be annoying in a computer.  However, for this application it is actually desirable.  So long as there isn't any other background noises, the fan can be easily heard and that will serve to confirm that it continues to work properly.

The mean life of this fan is something on the order of 7 years, so I'm hoping I won't have to do this again for a good long time!

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

Blicj11

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Re: Using a PC case fan to aspirate your temperature/humidity probe.
« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2017, 07:32:28 AM »
Thanks for the blow by blow description and photos. Glad you are back up and aspirating.
Blick