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Modding a Network Switch
Written by Rondog   
Thursday, 22 February 2007 11:19
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So I plug in the 1016 and, the two 40mm cooling fans are the whiniest most high pitched screeching noise creators on the Earth.

So instead of changing the switch for another, Rondog proceeded to appy some modding skills to the situation.



[ Exhibit A ]

My computer desk. The green machine on the left is current lacking a motherboard (due Monday). This means that I have two computers in my room, and only one network cable. This can be seen on the bottom right of Exhibit A. What is one to do?

Add a switch says the logical side of my brain. Last week due to upgrades, we had two spare 16 port 10/100mb layer 2 switches. D-Link DES-1016’s (See Exhibit B) to be precise. And one 16 port gigabit switch.

Our current setup dictates: modem > gigabit switch > our 3 computers.


 [ Exhibit B]


The new setup is: modem > gigabit switch > 2 computers and 1 10/100mbit switch > 2 computers.

So I plug in the 1016 and, the two 40mm cooling fans are the whiniest most high pitched screeching noise creators on the Earth. See Exhibit C1 and C2. This same logical part of my brain says ‘get the 8 port 10/100 switch out of the cupboard’. I then realize that’s admitting defeat. I decide to rummage through my cupboard to find some quieter 40mm fans. Not finding any, I despaired. Then I saw it, my 120mm blue LED fan. My hopes were quickly crushed; I don’t own a 120mm holesaw. I do however own an 80mm one.


[ Exhibit C1 ]                                                                              [ Exhibit C2 ]

 Quickly locating an 80mm fan and grill (‘borrowed’ the grill from a partially deceased 350W Enlight PSU). See Exhibit D.


 [ Exhibit D ]

This mod will be relatively easy because the switch already has holes predrilled along both sides for ventilation. See Exhibit E.



 [ Exhibit E ]

 I popped the lid on the switch to check clearance to make sure the fan would fit, seeing how it was just the mainboard along the bottom of the unit (see Exhibit F) I believed it would. Just to be sure, I put the fan inside, closed the lid, and it shut properly.


 [ Exhibit F ]

I decided to place the fan in the middle of the switch sucking air in and thus pushing it out of the circuit board and out through the ventilation holes in each side.

This part is the most difficult, as it actually requires work as apposed to looking and measuring. Using the fan grill I plotted my 5 holes. Each corner and the middle for the holesaw centre point.

Use plenty of lubrication such as oil for this as it is a fairly dense metal and can heat and damage/break drill bits. When drilling the main hole with the holesaw. I find it easier to drill about half way through, flipping it over and drilling out the other half. This reduces barbs and makes it much easier to clean up. Once the 5 holes are drilled, clean up any rough edges and barbs using a file. It is a matter of screwing the fan into place taking care to make sure the fan is installed the correct way, sucking air in. Remove old fans and cut off both plugs. Now this takes some dodgy wiring. To power an 80mm fan you need both 40mm power connectors hooked to it. (See below). I suggest using longer than necessary wires on the fan as it makes removing the cover much easier later on down the track.


 If possible use a silent fan. It doesn’t need to move much air to it doesn’t matter if you just put a resistor on an old noisy 80mm fan. Finally sit back and admire your handy work.



Abrasions visible on the top of the switch were caused by my negligence during the drilling process. I had the switch sitting on my bench (wood) which scratched the metal surface. A non-slip mat is recommended during this process.

Also, while being almost silent, switch was too noisy for me. So I have added an I/O switch for the fan.



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