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T-Balancer bigNG review

Detailed review of T-Balancer bigNG — fan controller with advanced features

Fan control

Fan control is set in reference to temperature, so it is better to start with sensor settings. There are three ways to monitor temperatures — according to digital sensors, according to analogue sensors and according to outside data software.

In the summary window the names of the digital sensors can be changed to your own. It is quite specific to enter the editing settings — you need to click the parameter that you want to edit. For instance, click sensor names to change it:

Navigator — summary info on digital sensors

Digital sensors have LEDs that can be controlled, so as not to get confused with the controlling points:

Navigator — digital sensor LED control

This is how the LED blinks:

Digital sensor LED light

For sensor calibration the deviation values in percents or / and the absolute value should be set:

Navigator — digital sensor settings

Digital sensor readings compared to reference thermometer in 20-40°С temperature range 36-39°С showed that both supplied digital sensors underrate the temperature by 1.0-1.5°С. Temperature settings are the same both for digital and analogue sensors:

Navigator — analog sensor settings

After all the monitoring parameters are set it is time to assign fans to each fan control channel. In my case, WCS fan control is assigned to heat carrier temperature sensor just outside the radiator output in the WC loop:

Navigator — sensor to fan channel assigment

If there is a need to control fans in reference to several sensors (for example, for HDDs cooled by one fan) the controller allows choosing any possible devices:

Navigator — several sensor to one fan channel assigment

Next step in fan setup is to choose operating algorithm for fans.
In main tab of the “Fan Channels” section current fan control settings are displayed. Also, small changes can be performed, for example fan channel renaming or setting the critical temperature for control points:

Navigator — fan setup section

“Critical” value determines the moment to send alert signals about system crash by all means supported. The “Switch off deactivated” parameter sets the value, when reached the PC power shuts down. I though the temp sensor parameter layout in the fan setting tab to be a bit odd — among all the monitoring points, only temperature sensors used to control fan speed can have the critical temperature value set. Other monitoring points are left without critical temperature control.

Next, we head to channel control tab where current fan speed and voltage are displayed. Controller offers four main control modes.

The “Response Curves” mode allows changing of the fan control algorithm manually, by setting seven control points:

Navigator — fan control algorithm settings

It is best to save your own algorithms to software database or to a separate file, and if necessary, load it for the rest of the channels.
In Aquaero 4.0 these curves are fixed and it is only allowed to change the starting and the ending point of the curve. T-Balancer settings provides user with the right to create own algorithms.

In “Target temperature” mode one should set the temperature level which controller will tend to keep at that level in the control point using fan speed control:

Navigator — Target temperature control mode settings

In the drop-down list choose the controller’s reaction to controlled temperature change. There is a note in the help file which says that fan control using this mode is less comfortable because of the often fan speed change.

Control mode base on outside software monitoring data:

Navigator — Control mode base on outside software monitoring data

Both control mode described above are available here. The only difference is the source of temperature readings — instead of regular temperature sensors controller will use temperature data provided by outside monitoring software. Data source selection is made in special section of the control software. Among all the nameless sensors it is hard to choose the one you need, I tried to assign fan control to CPU core temperature data collected by Speedfan:

Navigator — selection of control sensors provide by Speefan Monitor

It is obvious that to receive the data from monitoring software such as SpeedFan or MotherboardMonitor, it should be launched beforehand. Sensors can’t be renamed so it is hard to define which sensor is responsible for. Link between PC and the device is lost from time-to-time, the controller doesn’t receive the temperature data, and therefore fan speed is set to the level of last received data. Fan control using this mode is rather dangerous but in rare cases even this mode can be quite useful.

The last mode allows setting the fan speed in percents:

Navigator — fan speed fixing

For all control modes there is a choice of fan powering — by changing voltage or using PWM. The last has modulation frequency settings and it can be set from 0 to 250Hz (825 Hz):

Navigator — PWM frequency settings

There is no need to have the same fans I have when using PWM fan powering. This powering method showed that my Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP15 fans make more noise level compared to the analogue fan powering. And it is not recommended to use PWM for pump powering — use analogue pump control instead.
Safety features check for fan malfunctioning:

Navigator — fan stop control

If contoller finds one of the fan to stop rotating the rest of the fans will be set their max speed. Fan RPM signal output onto motherboard via special cabel included in the package also checks the fan speed but using motherboard settings.

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