Sentry 2 Fan Controller 5.25-Inch Touch Screen, Black ACC-NT-SENTRY-2-TS
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- Automatic and manual modes of control
- Five fan control through an intuitive interface
- Ultra fast selection and response time
- Display temperatures in both F and C
- With a minimum of at least 8 Watts per channel, the Sentry 2 will support almost all high end fans
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Sentry 2 Fan Controller 5.25 Touch Screen Black
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There are three modes you can operate in: Performance, Quiet, and Manual. The mode you are in is indicated by the icons that look like plugs to the left of the circle. The performance and quiet modes are both automatic control modes which control the fans based on temperature. Obviously performance is a more aggressive fan curve and ramps them up quicker (at lower temps) while quiet mode keeps them at minimum speed for longer. I use quiet mode for everything except gaming, when I am gaming I switch it to performance mode. I have my temp sensor shoved into the heat sink of my GPU, which gives me a pretty good temp reading during gaming (goes from around 25C at idle to about 70C gaming). In performance fan mode the fans are at 100% speed pretty quick, which I like. You cannot change the fan curves. Selecting the mode is done by the big round button with the fan number in it. It is a universal mode, meaning you cannot have some fans in manual and some in automatic, when you select a mode it applies to all fans and that cannot be changed either. Some might find that annoying but I actually like it. Maybe it would be nice to have the option of controlling some fans manually and others automatically but it doesn't bother me the way it is, plus it keeps it simpler to use.
With the fans in manual mode you can change their speed two ways: the arrow buttons on the lower left OR the slider bar on the upper right. Arrows change speed in 10% increments and with the slider you can take the fans all the way to 100% or off with one touch. Range is from 40% to 100% or off.
Fan selection is done by the small number buttons on the lower right, I think that's pretty obvious. You can link fans together in manual mode so that their speed changes together, its very easy to do: hold the link button for 3 seconds and then select the fans you want to link. The little orange link bars will light up telling you which are linked.
Other features: Speed feedback from each fan (upper left) in RPM, temperature display from probe in F or C (mine works well and seems to be pretty accurate), alarm if a fan dies, and an alarm if the temperature gets too high (you can set the alarm temperature by holding the temperature down). You can also shut off the display screen by holding the power button for 3 seconds, it turns back on if you touch it, and you can shut off all sounds (beeping and alarms). The one additional feature I wish it had is the ability to dim the display, it is rather bright, particularly at night, but its not that bad.
Again, I am really liking it so far but I just got it so I'm curious to see how it holds up. This review might change. Also, regarding the usability of this unit: if you are capable of building a PC then you will easily be able to learn how to use this thing in about 2 minutes. I did have to read the little booklet that came with it but it literally took me 2 minutes to figure the whole thing out and about 2 more minutes to get totally comfortable using it. Its functions and display are simple and well thought out. I recommend it, even for someone who likes using knob or slider style controllers.
With everything that I saw online through YouTube through the reviews that people had done here, I was pretty impressed with what they said overall it was pretty spot on.
Here are the good points of the fan controller:
The touch screen is pretty sensitive to any touch.
The display is clear and easy to see in any light and even if it is at a slight angle you can still read it.
The fan controller definitely does this job as far as managing the fans.
Now for the negative side of this fan controller:
Ribbon cable, it's a pain in the butt to deal with it makes it hard to run the wires where you need to run them because of the cable itself.
They give you to spare are thermistors. The only problem is to replace any of the bad thermistors you must remove the glue from the connectors on the board so you can remove the bad thermistors. Somebody did not know what they were doing.
Figuring out some of the functions is a pain in the butt because the manual for it is nonexistent. That is also something that has been said many times by other people who have done reviews.
Now what things that kind of caught me off guard is the fact that you cannot run some fans automatic and some fans manual. The two main fans the one upfront in the one in back or supposed to be automatic. I wanted to set any other fans up in the case as a manual in case I need to just do some additional cooling. You cannot do that. That would be a nice function to have.
Overall, I would say it's a decent fin controller, it definitely does what it needs to do and I would purchase it again if I need to.
Top international reviews
I love that you can connect ('link') the fans together so that you can adjust all of them at the same time, rather than individually. The display looks great and fits well into a standard sized bay, however, at certain angles, the display is difficult to see and glare can really affect its visibility. Finger marks can also be seen easily so you'll want to keep a microfiber cloth handy. The temperature reading is accurate so long as you place the digital sensor in the right place.
If you care about the aesthetics of your internal build, it might be hard to make this look nice as from behind, there's an exposed circuit board and the wires that protrude to connect the fans are quite long which is good for a big case but it makes cable management more difficult. It really does look barebones from behind, it's just the display and the circuitry which can also mean that if you're heavy handed, you might accidentally push the display back into the bay unless you secure it.
Overall, great budget fan controller that does the job well and looks great. I would recommend it for any build.
The only other issue I had with this controller is that if you are experimenting with fans or just changing fan channels it then thinks there should be one on that channel indefinitely and beeps at you because it thinks the fan has failed. The only way to get round this is to restart your computer, or to unplug the fan controller but I would not reccomend doing this.
The automatic function changes fan speed based on temperatures being recorded/measured by the "thermosensors" <-- which were effectively useless, the supplied tape was horrible and I found that no matter what I did the measured temperatures were not very accurate.
The LCD screen looks pretty cool but if your an enthusiast you might not even have a drive bay in your PC for this. If you don't have the option to plug your fans into your motherboard just go with something more minimal as the automatic control is basically a gimmick.
Took some time to route cables and connect fans and temp sensors ect.
Touch screen is ok till you need to tap something right near the edge that's small, then it comes down to persistence to get it.
Other than that it does it's job, displays temps, fan speeds, warns of a customer preset over temp, can group fans, and can set to speed fans up at a set temperature.
All in all quite technical and a pain to setup but worth it.
This has allowed me to turn down (not off!) the fans that make a bunch of noise to make my computer near silent when additional cooling isn't needed.
Plus its something useful to put into the large drive bays!
Easy to fit in to the 5 1/4 bay.
Decide on your four zones, I decided to allow the motherboard to regulate the CPU fan which meant the Sentry then managed 5 zones for me.
I picked front air in, bottom air in, top air out X2 and back air out = 5 zones.
For each zone tape down a temperature probe, they are all labeled 1-5, next connect up the fan you have in that zone to the corresponding fan power cable also numbered.
Each power line has two connectors, a three pin of 4 pin molex, you dont need to plug them both in, just choose one.
Connect 1 molex power supply from PSU into the labeled connector for the Sentry and you are done.
If you have done things right you can leave it on auto to control fans or select each one and set the speed manually.
Not a bad product, I just didnt trust it to run my CPU fan - rather the MB did this so it can warn of problems and prevent overheating.
It has 3 different fan modes, 2 are pre-set and the other is manual. Performance mode is for when you want good airflow and noise isn't an issue. I thought it wasn't working at first because when I put it in that mode, nothing seemed to happen. But after I ran War Thunder for a minute or two, the fans picked up to 60% after the case temp went up to 25.c. The lower pre-set does the same but it favours a slower, quieter fan speed. The manual setting, well that just does what it says, you set up the fans as you want for positive/negative pressure/max/min airflow.
Using the link option is easy too. You simply press the link button on the panel for 3-5 seconds and you'll get a 'beep' from the controller, then you can choose which fans you want to link, then once linked you just use the slider or arrows to adjust the fan speed.
The temperature alarm is easy to set, simply press and hold your finger on the temperature readout on the display then use the up/down arrows to select which temperature the alarm will come on at. I originally had it set for 35.c then when it went off, it was certainly loud enough to get my attention! When the alarm goes off, the controller will put all fans up to their maximum speed in an effort to cool the case down again.
The temperature display can be set to either Celsius or Farenheit simply by pressing the temperature readout on the display, according to your preference.
The rpm readout at the top left can be set to display either the rpm or percentage again, simply by pressing the rpm readout.
I don't know what more I can say about the Sentry 3, it's not an absolute must have for your rig but it's a really smart little add-on that I'm 100% pleased with.
Second, it's easy to use. Press the big fan on the right to look at each fan/probe to check temperature and adjust fan speed (off or between 40% to 100%). On automatic mode, the fan speed is controlled for you according to what temperatures the probes are reporting. Plus and minus signs on the left increase or decrease fan speed in manual mode. Press the temperature to toggle celsius/farenheit.
There's a lot of cabling to deal with, but that's all part of the fun ... I routed a lot of cables back behind the motherboard tray, which seemed to help with keeping temperatures down generally. The probes are sometimes difficult to place - this isn't a fault of the product, more it's generally difficult to get certain readings e.g. of the CPU. I get wildly divergent readings from the probe I've attached next to the heat sink and what SpeedFan tells me my CPU temp is.
I use manual mode rather than automatic. This is because the fan controller wants the fans to run a bit faster than I think they really need to. Doing my own monitoring of hard drive, motherboard and CPU temps in SpeedFan, it's generally fine to have it on manual mode with the fans spinning at a low RPM. But doing this does mean that if you put the CPU under load, you'll have to remember to manually increase the fan speed. I think the trade off is worth it however, as this allows me to run fans at the lowest RPM (40%), or even turn some off altogether, which makes for a much quieter computer.
Another review stated that the fan controller doesn't remember your settings when you restart the computer, but this isn't true in my case. It always remembers how I've set it, even when I've had everything unplugged. There were also some concerns about the beeping, but this is easy to turn off. Just press the on/off button in the lower right corner. It will beep twice and then you'll never hear it again (unless for some reason you want to turn it back on ... in which case just hit the on/off button again).
All in all a great product, I've had it for a couple of months now and don't know how I ever lived without it.
- The cables are very long and very messy. Without appropriate cable management in the case, internally the PC will be a rats' nest of cables, potentially restricting air flow.
- Using the included tape to attach the probes is a temporary measure. The adhesive is far too weak, meaning that your probes will be all over the place if you're not careful. Try purchasing some stronger stuff, you won't regret it.
But don't let those two points discourage you. This product is a very useful thing to have, and it looks good too.
Plug your fans either into the sockets in the back of the unit or into the extentions that are already plugged in, connect the power socket to a spare SATA socket and you're good to go!
For the automatic mode, I put the temperature sensor on the back of my motherboard, on the opposite side ot where my CPU sits which seemed the closest I could get to the hottest part of the PC. Don't even bother using the tape they provide, it had fallen off before I'd even got the side of the case back on! I just used some insulation tape I had lying about.
With this setup, the temp reading on the screen is dead accurate at base use, sitting about 30 degrees with the stock fan on an fx6000.
When I push it, running AC Syndicate the CPU reaches about 55 according to HW monitor whereas the screen says ~40. What I've done is to have the manual setting on full power for all fans and just switch to that when I play a game.
Because the fans aren't connected to the motherboard, monitoring software such as HW monitor obviously doesn't register them and so at first glace you'll see fan 1 0 RPM, fan 2 0 RPM etc and panic a bit...
Build quality is really great too, the dials at the front feel very well made and the finish on the product is of high quality too. Installation was very easy, they give you plenty of slack on the included cables which can be easily managed with a zip tie once you have everything sized up. Also comes with some extra cables too which is always nice.
Whether you're limited by the fan headers on your mother board or just want to tidy up your fan cables you cannot go wrong with this.