T-Balancer TBAN-XL Review: The Knobless Fan Controller

Modding/Small Mods by jmke @ 2004-09-14

World?s most advanced fan controller? But how, it has no knobs to turn? An Austrian company made a stand-alone high tech unit which can be controlled completely from within Windows. Is it any good? Find out in this review.

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When the people from mCubed Information Technology Ltd. send over their version of PC fan controller, we were in for a surprise. This Austrian company decided to create a high tech revision of a popular fan controller and add a truckload of extra’s to it.

The T-Balancer (T-Ban) is a stand alone, temperature controlled, fan control system which can be configured through its onboard USB connection. The idea is simple, different temperature sensors placed in your system send data to the T-Ban, depending its configuration it will then speed up or slow down up to 4 fans which can be connected. Sure we’ve seen products do these things before, but none of them are stand alone, they need user interaction to work correctly and how you want it. Once the T-Ban is configured however you won’t need to touch it again, it will regulate the temperature of your system’s critical components.

The T-Ban regulates the speed of the fans not by adjusting the voltage like most controllers do, it uses Pulse Width Modulation, or PWM for short. What this does it give the fan full power (12v) every other millisecond; this makes it possible to let a fan turn at very low speed without it stalling. Most fans don’t work with less then 5v, by using PWM you can make them spin slower without problem.

When looking into the theory of PWM I came across this very informative site which explains the differences, PRO’s and CON’s of both methods. Although using PWM will reduce the fan’s lifetime, it will only be a matter of days.

A more noticeable downside of using PWM is the inability to read out the correct RPM of each fan, the T-Ban overcomes this problem “guessing” the fan’s speed:

With PWM it is normally not possible to get the speed signal of the connected fan. The T-Balancer instead has a unique built-in algorithm to recalculate the actual speed on the base of the signals from the tacho cable. For blockage recognition the T-Balancer also has to know how fast the fan is working or if it is not working. As a result of PWM the T-Balancer gets back positive and negative (no speed) signals from the tacho cable. This is why you have to adjust the sensitivity of the blockage recognition to react on negative signals.

This is taken from the Help dialog of the T-Ban configuration wizard, but more on that later! So now that you know what it does let’s take a look at the hardware side of things ->
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