Quiet down your homelab!

Hey all – some of you following my blog might already know that I have a few different Dell PowerConnect switches I use for communication on my home network.  I’ve been using a Dell PowerConnect 5424 that replaced my PowerConnect 2724 (the 2724 didn’t support 802.3ad or SNMP, amongst other things).  While the 5424 performed great and supported LAGs for my NAS, it had only a couple open ports remaining and was quite noisy.  I scored a Dell PowerConnect 5448 from eBay for only $40 and although it satisfied my having only a couple remaining open ports, it definitely did not help on the noise front as the 5448 has three fans while the 5424 has only two.  On top of that, the 5448 I purchased was especially noisy.  So, I sought out to solve that issue as well!

In the video below you can hear me ramble on about how to replace the fans in the PowerConnect 5448 – I apologize in advance if the video is especially rambly:

So, that definitely helped!  But while I was replacing the three fans in the 5448, I also replaced the two fans in the 5424 and as you can imagine, two quiet fans are more silent than three.

So, it’s pretty easy to do this modification.  As a disclaimer, I wouldn’t recommend doing this to a switch that is going to have all its ports packed and under heavy load.  The CPU under the (small) black heatsink gets pretty warm even under moderate use.  That said, I don’t feel that running these slower, lower cfm, quieter fans will jeopardize the operation.

When you first open your switch you’ll identify the fan ports easily as the fans are clearly plugged into them:

Dell PowerConnect 5424 shown

Dell PowerConnect 5424 shown

The only caveat is that the 24-port model (5424) will have pretty long cabling on the stock Delta fans.  So, if you’re using the Sunon KDE1204PKV3 fans like I am using, you’ll have to extend the wires.  The 48-port versions do not have this issue as the mainboard spans the entire 19″ enclosure.

Fan wires extended

Fan wires extended

When extending the wires just cut off the old fan wiring long enough to reach and tie the wires together as needed.  You’ll connect the red wire to the red wire, the black wire to the black wire, and the blue wire to the yellow wire.  Make sure you use some heatshrink before soldering and fasten the wiring place using the stock wire post as show above.

Dell 5424 no fan error

Dell 5424 no fan error

If done properly, you’ll be able to power up the switch with the new fans, barely hear them run, and will have a green power and fan status light.  That’s all there is to it!  Now you can put either switch in the same room as where you might work with minimal noise.  It will still move adequate air as demonstrated in the second video above, but will make it much more pleasant to work near.

Hope everyone finds this useful!  Here is a link to where I bought my fans from – for the 5448 you will need to re-pin the connector (easy with a small pick).  Don’t bother buy the fans pre-configured for Cisco, etc.  They Cisco-specific fans are just the normal ones re-pinned for almost double the price!

 

Author: Jon

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5 Comments

  1. Thanks for this info! I had used passive cooled 2716 until the lightning took it out. I got a good deal on the 2724 but it is a bit annoying.
    Looking forward to my quiet time!

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  2. Awesome guide! I just picked up a PowerConnect 2824 from work. The 2824 has one fan and that thing is loud. This should help a lot, thanks!

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    • Great glad you found it useful! I too have a 2824 or 2724 – it’s definitely noticeable but imagine 3 of those fans! The 5448’s are intense. Swapping out the fans made a huge huge difference and I have a pretty active lab setup and haven’t had any switch issues thus far.

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      • I’m just getting my first homelab put together. I’ll most likely never use all 24 ports but hey, it was free.

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        • Free is great, and it’s not a bad switch.

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