by Ryan Perry on March 18, 2011 in Cooling
Think fan controllers are boring? You haven’t seen Lamptron’s FC Touch, then. This is a unit that’s encapsulates three important factors. It looks great, is powerful, and is simple to use. It can power up to 6x 30W fans, and it has a touch screen that’s reliable and does just what is promised. Though a bit expensive, the FC Touch is unmatched.
About two years ago, while I was visiting an overclocking forum, I came across a post about a fan controller from a company that I had never heard of named: Lamptron. What impressed me was that an employee had taken the time to register as a forum member and began fielding questions as well as providing updated information on when the units would ship.
The controller itself looked very solid but at the time I was running a basic system that did not require one. Since reading that post, I have been keeping tabs on the company, and not only do I have a system with multiple fans now, but I have the chance to take one its controllers for a test drive.
To some, fan controllers may not have changed much but recently there seems to be a shift towards a more technologically savvy touch style controller, as is the case with the FC Touch. The faceplate of the 5.25″, 6 channel controller comes in black anodized or straight aluminum with a simple screen stretching from left to right. Immediately after removing it from the box, there is a feeling of quality due to the weight. This is partially due to the CNC milled aluminum face plate, but this is more than just a big piece of metal as you will see.
Across the top of the back side are the 6x 3-pin fan connections that support 30 watts each. Below that is the alarm speaker that will sound if temperatures stray outside of the preset limits. On the right side is the 4-pin Molex connection to power the unit, the 6x 2-pin temperature sensor connections below, and the 2-pin jumper for the alarm below that.
For those who are a little bit more adventurous, the black screws in each corner can be removed from the first PCB layer, which we just looked at. This will give a view of the Rubycon capacitors, which come with a temperature rating of 105 degrees and an ARM chip. “Wait, did he say an ARM chip?” Yes I did. The STM32 chip acts as the brain of the fan controller, and is based on the Cortex-M3 core. While the data sheets on the manufacturer’s website would not load, this chip falls into the performance line so there should be no issues with it handling the intended tasks.
Included with the controller are 6 fan extension cables and 6 temperature probe connections. Rounding out the package is a spare alarm jumper, 4 black mounting screws, a 4-pin Molex extension cable and the instruction manual.
All in all, from a hardware standpoint, this looks to be another solid fan controller from Lamptron, continuing on with what I saw two years ago. Testing and installation is up next and I hope to be wowed since my experience with touch based fan controllers has been subpar to date.