I have recently purchased the well-built Icy Box IB-3620U3 dual hard-disk (3.5″) enclosure by Raidsonic, featuring an aluminum chassis and USB v3.0 connectivity, making it ideal for local backups, even side-storage for more demanding work.
Despite the build quality and rather compact size, the embedded stock cooling fan (rear) that came with the Icy Box was more noisy than expected, despite being a relatively decent brand (Yong Lin Tech Co. Ltd.) from Asia.
Following a couple of excellent articles (by Pavel Rojtberg and Robin Jakobsson) that show how to remove the stock fan and replace with a newer, silent one, I decided to take a slightly different approach and replace mine with an equally slim fan, but silent (still more expensive than average fans of 10mm or 15mm thickness).
The stock fan is model DFS601012M and features a brushless blade, 60mm diameter with thickness 11mm approximately, powered with 12V by just 2 wires (i.e. constant speed at 4200rpm with an air-flow of 17.74CFM and acoustic level of 31.6dB, according to its specifications). After constant searching for a closest alternative, I eventually ended up buying a Xilence replacement fan, as it was the only fan that featured low-noise and was available -rather fast- in the local market (buying it from the local market would most likely secure it as an original Xilence unit, instead of some knock-up on eBay, as it’s hard to detect them).
The closest Xilence model found is COO-XPF60S.W at the same 60mm diameter, almost same thickness (it’s 12mm) and quieter operation (12V with speed of 2100rpm at an approximate 12CFM air-flow and 22dB noise level).
Thanks to the two other articles for the Icy Box units, the removal of the rear cover (fan and enclosure) seemed rather easy, but then I realized that I had the wrong power-plug for the fan. The Xilence comes with 3-pin Molex connector but the stock Yong Lin Tech fan had 2-pin power and smaller (2.0mm) plug! (apparently found on VGA-cooling fans) Instead of cutting and soldering, I decided to dig the internet and find a low-cost adaptor from Asia, thus making the fan replacement rather simple. The needed pin-adapter was eventually found, with the title “3 pin to 2 pin adapter, fan cable, 12V cooler fan, VGA cooling fan 2 pin, mini 2 pin, 2.0mm” on AliExpress.com; few days later, I received it and confirmed that it was spot-on choice.
The procedure is simple but needs some caution, as with all such parts being replaced; the use of a long, thin Phillips screwdriver is advised.
1. Unscrew the 6 screws that hold the rear cover first; remove it carefully. Be sure to not strain the fan’s 2-pin power cable; then, remove the fan’s plug from the small circuit board. Now the cover is totally free.
2. With the rear cover free, remove the 4 screws that hold the fan protection cover, thus freeing the stock fan itself.
3. Plug the 2-pin/3-pin adapter cable onto the circuit board; this adapter cable should normally be quite short.
4. Make sure that the 3-pin Molex (female) plug is visible through the fan opening on the rear cover; put the cover back in place and screw it (6 screws in total).
5. Plug the new fan onto the adapter cable that’s hanging through the fan opening; if needed, wrap the fan cable with some cable-tie, as it’s longer than we need, but be sure there’s some slack i.e. freedom of cable movement.
6. Carefully place the new fan in position, making sure that the excess cable is pushed on the top-side (there’s a visible metal bracket that covers the internal HDDs) so that it doesn’t get damaged in any way (even if ever re-opened); once the fan is set, put the fan protection cover back, and screw it (4 screws in total).
That’s it. Now, you can power-on the enclosure and witness the lack of noise 🙂
The resulting noise (or lack thereof) is pleasing to the ear, and the 1mm extra thickness of the new Xilence fan is barely noticeable (thankfully, the screws of the fan protection cover are quite long). With both 1.5TB WD Green drives running, the enclosure is not getting warmer to my experience (i.e. due to the lesser RPM and CFM) but that’s just my own environment and room temperature.
A couple of things to note:
1. Be wary of the new fan orientation, when placing it on the rear cover. Pay attention to the blades of the stock fan (when removing it) and be sure that you respect the (outward) air-flow, as both fan(s) are too thin to mention air-direction on the side (like on most thicker 20-25mm PC fans, denoted by some arrow).
2. Also be careful of the fan power-cable position; the assembly at factory had the cable going down towards the right corner. Be sure that when you place the new fan back in, the cable is not obstructing air-flow.
3. You may need to add some small, thin foamy pads (as stickers) on a couple sides of the new fan, as the stock fan already has 4 of them (i.e. on each side). I am not sure where one can find such pads, but they seem to minimize the vibration of the fan itself, as well as keep it firm inside the rear panel.