Fan never spins up, regardless of temperature

DuncUK

New Member
I bought an HDR-FOX-T2 over a year and a half ago as a refurbished unit (with a 1TB HDD!). To my knowledge, the fan on my HDR has never spun up. I was quite surprised when I first came to this forum and discovered a thread complaining about fan noise. I've certainly not had that problem!

Since owning I have periodically experienced crashing problems when the weather is warm, especially when recording and playing back HD streams. The more HDD activity, the more I get strange errors, such the HDR refusing to show any recordings only folders or dubiously claiming that my recordings are encrypted. I realised quickly that I had an overheating problem with the HDR which I rather lazily solved by unscrewing the lid so that the HDD could passively cool. Nonetheless, even on the hottest days, the fan never spins up.

To cut a long story short, my HDD is now failing and needs replacement and I'm unwilling to buy and install a new one without solving the fan problem. I have no warranty for this unit so I'm on my own. To check the cause of this issue, I removed the fan from the box and plugged it into a similar connector on the motherboard of my PC. The fan immediately span up without issue.So this would seem to suggest that the HDR board itself is somehow not soldered correctly or otherwise at fault.

I have installed the sysmon package of the customized firmware and I can see the HDD temperature being correctly read and gradually rising without ever dropping, at least until the HDR crashes again.

My thoughts for fixing this are:

- solve the problem with the mainboard of the HDR (unlikely). I have manually inspected the connectors for the plug and they don't look to be at fault.
- to get a 'silent' USB powered fan and set it behind the HDR, powered on all the time
- to power the existing fan by cutting up an old USB cable and attaching the power lines to it, with optional potentiometer

Does anyone have any better suggestions? I'm especially interested in any wise words from people with better-than-rudimentary electronics knowledge.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I have not so far been inside my HDR, though I expect to soon. If there is room to fit a large CPU cooler fan (running slow and quiet) do so, otherwise get power to the existing fan however you can. I don't see an external fan as being particularly effective.
 
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DuncUK

New Member
The way the HDR internals are set up, there's only room for a fan of the size of the existing one. The HDD caddy has the holder for the fan and sort of acts as an exhaust, so there's no way to fit anything larger.

The reason I'd considered an external fan was that, if necessary, I could leave the lid propped open and/or even cut out some of the grille that the existing fan is supposed to blow through. The place I currently keep the HDR in is fairly well hidden, so any Heath Robinson solution I come up with shouldn't be visible anyway. Of course, this also means that airflow is even worse than it was last summer (I've since moved house) when the HDD got its original roasting..

Really, I'd like to either:

- retain thermostatic control
- have a large fan that's quiet enough that it can run at full speed without annoyance.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I don't see much likelihood of fixing the fundamental problem, unless you can find a simple break in a track to the fan connector. Have a close look and see if there is a dry joint.

The fan normally operates with three speeds and off. It's not all that noisy even at full blast, if it was you could probably make it quieter with a drop of sewing machine oil. Maybe just bodge a way to run it at half speed? Alternatively, glue a thermal switch to the HDD, or there may be a way to use custom firmware to monitor HDD temperature and send a signal to a port you can use to run up the fan.
 

Ezra Pound

Well-Known Member
It has been reported by another user that if you stand your Humax vertical that it never gets hot enough inside for the fan to come on, the following photo is the correct way round. If this is impractical, I would install the Custom Firmware and run Sysmon to monitor the hard disk temperature. I think an external fan against the grill of the existing fan will be quite effective, although without temperature control it would have to run continuously
vertical-humax.jpg
 

Mike0001

Well-Known Member
It has been reported by another user that if you stand your Humax vertical that it never gets hot enough inside for the fan to come on, the following photo is the correct way round. If this is impractical, I would install the Custom Firmware and run Sysmon to monitor the hard disk temperature. I think an external fan against the grill of the existing fan will be quite effective, although without temperature control it would have to run continuously
View attachment 461

I can't remember ever hearing the fan on mine, either, and it is horizontal. Didn't know it had one.

The disk makes a loud chuntering noise though, especially when decrypting recordings.
 

HeavyTrain

New Member
Hi DuncUK, I also have to run my HDR with the lid off to prevent random reboots. With the lid off the HDD never gets warm enough to trigger the fan, and even with the lid on the fan doesn't kick in until quite a long period of continuous use, and on mine was almost inaudible when it did (I originally suspected a fan problem). I'm not sure what is actually overheating, but the CPU heatsink gets almost too hot to touch very quickly. I'm just going to stick with the lazy solution, as without swapping out major components, there's not much diagnostic info to go on.
 

Ezra Pound

Well-Known Member
Here is graph taken from sysmon showing the temperature of the hard disk, Note, the 3 yellow 'on' bars show the fan at full , half and quarter speeds
from-cold.jpg
 

Ezra Pound

Well-Known Member
Mike0001 : But I get this!!?
As stated above, the fan won't turn on until the hard disk gets up to 56 Deg C and it looks like your Humax is placed into standby before it reaches that temperature, it can take 1 - 2 hours, your Humax is 'on' for less that 20 Mins.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I don't think Mike0001 quoting a previous post with a sysmon graph in it is evidence of his hard drive temperature. I think he might have been drawing attention to the difference of format, which I believe in post 8 was created by loading the raw data into a spreadsheet.
 
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DuncUK

New Member
If anyone is interested I "solved" my fan issue by cannibalising an old USB cable. I cut through it and connected the power lines to the fan plug, which I had unplugged from the motherboard.

I then plugged the USB cable into the back of the HDR. The fan runs at roughly just under half speed, which to my ears is inaudible... it's rated as a 12V fan and USB will supply 5v. The downside is that this won't deliver the cooling that full speed affords, but it is always on when the HDR is on and powers down when it returns to standby.

I might try replacing the factory 12V fan with a 5V one, see if noise and air throughput are any better.
 

lstar337

Member
The fan runs at roughly just under half speed, which to my ears is inaudible... it's rated as a 12V fan and USB will supply 5v. The downside is that this won't deliver the cooling that full speed affords
I doubt that will matter. If the fan is constantly spinning, even at half speed, I'm sure it will keep everything cool enough.
 
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DuncUK

New Member
I doubt that will matter. If the fan is constantly spinning, even at half speed, I'm sure it will keep everything cool enough.

Perhaps... but I suspect in the height of summer (when it's not raining), with a 2x HD recording and HD playback the HDD could still be thrashing away fast enough to overheat.

Looks like there are a few 'quiet' 5V 50mm fans that might do as a USB powered replacement. Of course, if they only manage the same airflow as the existing one @5V, then there would be no point.
 

lstar337

Member
The max airflow of the standard fan is only ever used for a few minutes at a time (due to the control software) to reduce the internal temperature back to acceptable levels.

The same fan running continuously (even at a reduced capacity) is likely more efficient than the 'Wait till the box gets too hot and run it like the clappers' approach that Humax have taken.

The constant flow of air will keep the box plenty cool. That is why some users have found the fan doesn't come on if you put the box vertical, the heat rising out through the vents draws a constant flow of fresh cool air over the components and restarts the cycle.

Of course if you are going to have a crazy ambient room temperature, there isn't much fan assisted or passive convection can do for you anyway.
 

Ezra Pound

Well-Known Member
Perhaps... but I suspect in the height of summer (when it's not raining), with a 2x HD recording and HD playback the HDD could still be thrashing away fast enough to overheat.

I would definitely install the Custom Package sysmon and see if your hard disk ever reaches the fan-on temperature of 56 Deg. C, I would guess it won't, I think fitting a 5 Volt fan will be unnecessary
 
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DuncUK

New Member
I would definitely install the Custom Package sysmon and see if your hard disk ever reaches the fan-on temperature of 56 Deg. C, I would guess it won't

I have that package, I might try aggravating the HDR with a couple of recordings and see what happens.
 

Ezra Pound

Well-Known Member
It would be fairly easy to get the Humax to send you an E-Mail if the Hard Disk temperature ever reached a pre-set level
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
I have that package, I might try aggravating the HDR with a couple of recordings and see what happens.
Why don't you just look at the Smart data (on the Diag. page) and see what it says the max. temp. of the disk has been and what it is now?
Nothing you have posted has indicated the disk is over temperature nor that the fan is broken.
You have added 2, 3, 4 and 5 and come up with 23 and look like you're attempting to solve a non-problem, or at least the "wrong" problem.
 
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