Lamptron FC5 (v2) Review

 

Lamptron FC5

Front view of the Lamptron FC5.

The Lamptron FC5 is a 4-channel, 30 watt per channel fan controller that, like several other controllers marketed by Lamptron, combines functionality and style. The controller is made of CNC milled aluminum, and is available in black and also unpainted. As with most fan controllers it fits in a 5.25-inch expansion bay.

The FC5 includes 4 long temperature probes, 4 3-pin extension cables for the fans, an extra jumper pin for setting the various color options of the unit, a Molex cable, and mounting screws. The LCD screen takes up a good portion of the front of the FC5; unlike some of the cheaper controllers, this LCD is not black and white but is capable of producing various colors (although it can only display one color at a time). Unlike the FC Touch, the display screen on the FC5 is somewhat difficult to read; the angle of view at which the user can accurately read information is narrow in the horizontal plane and even narrower in the vertical plane. How readable the display is from an angle is partially dependent on the color the user chooses; the red and blue display colors have somewhat more contrast than other colors and thus allow for a slightly better viewing angle. Below the LCD panel are four large knobs; each controls one of the four channels. The plastic knobs are solid in their position and do not wiggle out of place when being turned. All changes to the color of the LCD, alarm function, and the display readouts are done by changing jumpers on the PCB.The user has a choices of displaying temperature (in Celsius or Fahrenheit) or voltages for the bottom line readout.

There are two PCBs for the controller: one for the LCD, and one for the controller itself. Along the top edge of the controller PCB are the 4 3-pin fan headers as well as the single 4-pin Molex input power connector (out of the way, to make room for the other wires). Below the fan headers are the heatsinks; each channel has its own heatsink, which are more than enough to dissipate the heat. There are also several high-quality Rubycon capacitors on the PCB. The mounting for all the fan, power, temperature headers, heatsinks and capacitors are solid and clean. Two Atmel ATMEGA8Ls, which are 8-bit RISC microcontrollers, Each one has 8K of in-system self-programmable flash memory, 512 bytes EEPROM and 1K of internal SRAM. On the lower left of the PCB, there are 3 sets of jumpers, one each for red, green and blue. If all 3 are jumpered, the display is white. If only the red, green, or blue jumper is enabled, the display will be red, green or blue respectively. If 2 jumpers are set, then the display will be either cyan, purple or yellow. The knobs can be adjusted from fully on to fully off on each channel. Voltages remain relatively stable across the board. The controller can handle several fans without much of a voltage sag. The temperature probes seem long enough to run anywhere in virtually any case on the market.

Retailing for about $55, the FC-5 is another solid performer from Lamptron. With 30 watts per channel, it should provide enough power output for most users. There are some negatives here: the colors on the display can only be changed via the jumpers, which some users may not appreciate, and viewing the display from an angle can be difficult. In addition, the $55 price tag may be a bit steep for some users. Still, those who purchase this controller will likely find it well worth the price.

Specifications:

Dimensions: 5.25″ bay
Power Output: Up to 30w per Channel
Face Plate Color Available: Black Anodized/Silver Aluminum
DC Input: +12v (Standard 4-Pin Connector)
DC Output: 0-12v
Changeable Display Color: Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, Purple, White
Control Channels: 4

Features:

New and Improved LCD!
CNC milled face plate from blocks of 3/4″ thick solid aluminum
Bring out that full aesthetic appeal you always wanted in the 5.25 inch bay
Four knobs to control four 3-pin channels
User’s choice of displaying Celsius, Fahrenheit, or voltages for the bottom line readout

External Links:

Lamptron’s product page for the FC5 (v. 2)

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