loud Drobo - disconnect fan?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by lars666, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. lars666 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2008
    Hi everybody,

    I own a Drobo (2nd generation, I think). The fan is VERY loud when it kicks in so that I was wondering if I should mabye try to disconnect the fan completely. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not stupid and know that the fan is in there for a reason. I wanna ask nevertheless: Would you dare this experiment, or will it simply get too hot with 4 drives? My single-external drives always worked without any fan just fine, but 4 of them in this thing could be a different thing ... I honestly don't know the risk, therefore I ask. Thanks a lot in advance for your help.
  2. cmaier macrumors G4

    Jul 25, 2007
    Don't disconnect the fan.
  3. lars666 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2008
    Hi cmaier,

    thanks for the answer - yeah, I expected this. I probably have to search for another, quiet solution for my huge data (2,43 TB) including a backup ...
  4. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    How long have you had your Drobo? I have had two for about half a year or so and both are extremely quiet. I never hear the fan at all. Maybe something is wrong with the fan on yours. Try emailing Data Robotics.
  5. mac88 macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2008
    Boston, MA.
    Whatever you do, do not disconnect the fan. The heat from the from the drives could cause failure. Email Drobo and see if there is a solution. Good luck!
  6. lars666 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2008
    Thanks for the answer. It really is strange that some people report that their Drobo is quiet, that they even don't hear the fan at all. Some others in net forums also report this - unfortunately, the reality for me and a lot others (also judging by net forums) is the complete opposite. My Drobo is annoyingly loud when the fan kicks in (and it does often). I had another Drobo before, exactly the same thing. Of course, I believe you and the others which claim their Drobo is quiet (if it was as loud as mine, you would definitely say something different, it's no personal tolerance thing), but I can't explain it. I really don't think my noise level is a defect one, but standard for most of us. I have no explanation why some seem so lucky that the fan doesn't is too loud. I even use the WD Green hard discs which hopefully don't get too hot. Strange thing ...
  7. lars666 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2008
    Thanks for the answer. As wrote above, I think the noise level of my Drobo unfortunately is normal for this thing. Which doesn't change the fact that it is annoying ...
  8. toolbox macrumors 68020


    Oct 6, 2007
    Australia (WA)
    Are you running the latest firmware? May be there is a firmware update that addresses the fan problem. Could be the drives are getting to hot hence why the fan is going into over drive.
  9. Rich1963 macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2008
    A couple of things-

    -I have never heard my fan run on high-speed. Even when it first powers up and runs the fan for 5-10 seconds, I don't believe that is it's full speed.

    -I also have a Drobo V2 that is nearly silent. Whenever it kicks on, I'm not sure whether it is my mac running its fan slightly, or the Drobo.

    -One thing you can do is open up the Drobo and make a note of the fan size (i think it is 92mm, but best to be sure. Then, go to egghead and purchase a high-quality, low noise fan and replace the stock unit. I've seen people do this before when their fan either stops working or they too are seeking a quieter option. One word of caution-the Drobo uses a standard cooling fan that is also found in a PC. But from what I have read, some soldering is required as the Drobo ices a custom plug to attach the fan to the motherboard, and you will need to modify the harness that comes with the fan to work with the Drobo.

    Good luck, and if you do go this route, post some pictures and advice you gathered along the way.

    Oh, and in response to your original question, do not unplug the fan.
  10. lars666 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2008
    Thanks for your new answers. Strange thing that there seem to be more silent Drobos than I guessed out there. I'll keep in mind to change the fan to a more quiet one. If I do so, I'll keep you posted, of course. Thanks again for the answers.
  11. atlisd macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2011
    I just replaced the fan in my unit for a quieter one. The old fan was very loud and driving me crazy. The new fan is completly silent and is about 14db. I should have done this a long time ago.
  12. amarcus macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2008
    London, UK
    Awesome. How difficult was it to change the fan and did you need to resort to soldering? Also, what fan did you end up using? Thanks!
  13. jmmo20 macrumors 65816

    Jun 15, 2006
    I would also like to know this.
    I've had the drobo for a week and it makes a lot of noise.. fan is on most of the time, even if the disk is not being accessed at all.

    Even when the fan revs down to almost silent, it will only last for a minute or so, then goes up again.

    I'd understand if I was doing heavy data transfers, but this is not the case.
    Also when I get home from work, the fan is always on at full speed and the computer has been idle for hours.
  14. jasonh1234, Mar 27, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012

    jasonh1234 macrumors member


    Jun 12, 2007
    Vancouver, BC
    Damn. Was hoping to see a reply in here about replacing the fan and the process.

    My drobo has just recently started having fan issues.

    It's very loud to the point that if my apartment is quiet I can hear it from my bedroom in the living room.

    It almost sounds like white noise or water running through pipes in the wall.

    I've contacted drobo/data robotics and I'm told I'm out of warranty and can't RMA my unit unless the fan is making squealing noises. I'd have to purchase drobocare and pay like $160.

    Not going to happen. I'm hardware savvy. I can replace a fan. but have never been inside a drobo and heard that there's SOLDERING involved?! (W..T...F..)

    Anyways. If anyone has done this can you please give some insight? Thx.

    Found this link with instructions on opening the drobo for fan replacement.
  15. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    I have a dock that has 2 very loud fans in it, but the speed is variable. If I'm caning the four drives in it (Which is rare) I leave the fans ramped up, but if they are idling i turn them down. I have become accustomed to the noise and don't notice it as much now.

    In a full enclosure though, you need the cooling, so don't turn them off.
  16. jasonh1234 macrumors member


    Jun 12, 2007
    Vancouver, BC
    I've uploaded the instructions to Scribd in case they ever vanish. Link.
  17. jasonh1234 macrumors member


    Jun 12, 2007
    Vancouver, BC
    Just an update. Just did this procedure using the same fan recommended in the tutorial I linked to. Took me about an hour. Disassembly was tricky with the clips. (One has NO flex due to length) and splicing the wires for the fan took a bit.

    No soldering needed but the old fan's connecter had to be severed and attached to the new fan.

    My drobo is completely silent now!! My ear right next to it can barely hear it!
    (Pushing almost the exact same amount of air too.) :D
  18. melhi macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2012
    Hi, I have another loudness problem with my just installed Drobo. Two drives (WD black caviar 1,5 TB) inside are very loud when writing/reading. And they doing that almost all the time, even when there is no reason for that...I'm mad of that clanking.
  19. Sparky9292 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2004
    Replacing the Drobo Fan

    My four-bay Drobo Gen 2's fan sounds like it's dying and I called Drobo and since it's out of warranty, they will "consider" replacing it for me. I'll update if that happens.

    Meanwhile, I'm going to order a couple of fans. Here's another site about how to replace the fan on a Drobo FS

    http://shankytown.tumblr.com/ (It's about 1/4 down on the page)
  20. No-Me macrumors 6502a

    Jul 3, 2011
    Ive tried a couple of drobo drives over the last few years, but hey unfortunately all had big issues with the soundlevel. The fans where even on when there where no drives inserted. Since the drobo was in my livingroom I decided to send it back within a few days.

    Its not only the sound, but drobos are also really power inefficient. Really annoying because they look so awesome :)

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