Viewsonic VOT120 Project

My VOT120 Mini PC was originally purchased as a media server, and although running slightly warm, has done a good job.

I have recently resurrected an old project, RAWRWoW, and decided to host it from the VOT120. Either down to the increased usage, or the ridiculously warm temperatures at the moment, it was running at ~86 degrees Celsius the other night, I could smell burning, it was awful.

The airflow on the VOT120 is awful. There is an inflow grill on the back and a 40mm next to the heatsink, which pushes air through the heatsink ,and out through a grill at the top. The 2.5″ HDD is mounted to the rear of the motherboard, meaning all the heat has to pass through the heatsink to leave the case, or just go through the case.

First thought was to swap the HDD for an SSD, it has 160GB in there at the moment, of which only about 10GB is used. Although the prices for SSD’s have come down phenomenally, they’re still a bit too pricey, and there is still a debate about lifetime on server usage.

In the meantime I need a more efficient way of cooling the VOT120. I rummaged through my box of parts and found a 120mm 12V case fan. Fits almost perfectly to the side of the VOT120! The only issue being, the case fan requires a 3 pin fan connection, or a 4 pin molex connection. The current fan in the VOT120 connects to a tiny 3 pin fan connection, not to mention it only supplies 5V , instead of the needed 12V.

The 120mm fan on the left and the opened up VOT120, with 40mm fan on the right.

I figured I’d give it a go anyway, so cut and stripped the tiny 3 pin fan plug, soldered and taped it to the case fan cable. Apprehensively (after the shock from the Landrover the other day), I connected the power supply and switched it on. The fan did try to spin, and with a little encourage it did spin for around 10 seconds, but then slowed to a measly ~1 RPM. This would probably be worse than the original fan!

Old fan connector on the left, new soldered and taped tiny 3 pin connector on the right.

I shopped around on the internet for a 5V 120mm fan, I thought they would have been fairly common, but no. If I was in the USA, I could have picked one up just about anywhere, but here in the UK, there was one (unless I fancied waiting 14 – 23 days for it to arrive from China). Ended up getting the Endermax UR Vegas, it’s USB powered, and has lots of fancy lights (which luckily have an off mode)! Depending how adventurous I’m feeling when it arrives, I might solder it onto the tiny 3 pin plug, rather than waste a precious USB port. Time will only tell.