Scythe KM-01 Review

Scythe KM-01

Front panel of the Scythe KM-01.

The Scythe KM-01 is a 4-channel, 12 watt per channel manual fan controller. It comes in both 3.5-inch and 5.25-inch versions, so if you don’t have a 5.25-inch drive bay to spare, it’s definitely worth considering. It comes in two colors (black and silver), and features a vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) display which should provide a bright and easy-to-view screen.

The box that the KM-01 comes is a simple, mostly black box. The front has a picture of the KM-01’s front panel and has a few small boxes near the top listing some of the features of the fan controller. The bottom of the box contains warranty information as well as a rear view of the controller. The side mentions product specifications and contact information.

Opening the box reveals a polystyrene box inside the outer cardboard box. The polystyrene box contains separate compartments for the Kaze Master and the cabling. The box contains the fan controller, installation manual, 4 3-pin fan cables, 4 thermal probe cables, 1 male-to-female Molex power cable with a mini 4-pin connector, 4 screws and adhesive tape for the thermal probes.

The front bezel of the KM-01 features 4 numbered knobx and a small Scythe logo in the top left corner. The front display uses vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) technology. Unlike liquid crystal displays, a VFD emits a bright light with a clear contrast and can easily support display elements of different colors. While VFDs are easier to read from different angles (unlike LCD displays), they can suffer from fading.

Looking at the rear of the KM-01 reveals a well-designed PCB. On the left is the speaker, which can be controlled via a jumper below and to the right of it. The sensor cables are attached to the pins at the bottom, to the right of the power cable connector. Fan cales are attached to the headers on the far right. The KM-01 will handle fans with an output of up to 1A (12W), which should cover most fans.

Scythe KM-01

Rear view of the Scythe KM-01, including the fan, sensor and power cables.

Installation of the KM-01 is not difficult. The unit is secured into place with 4 screws, and there are versions for a 5.25-inch drive bay and a 3.5-inch drive bay. All you need to to is connect the fan cables, put the thermal probes in place and secure them with the provided tape, and connect the power cable to the header. Once everything is connected, you can power up your computer and check to make sure all the hardware that you have connected is being monitored. If it isn’t, the RPM monitor in the top row will flash depending on which channel is not connected or reading properly, and the alarm will sound until the problem is fixed.

Once the controller is up and running, you will find that the display is generally easy to read and the controls are responsive. One issue is that there seems to be a lag time between when you change the speed and when the fan actually changes speed. On the plus side, unlike some fan controllers, you can actually bring a fan to a complete stop with the KM-01. As mentioned, the controller has an alarm which you can set to go off at a set temperature for each channel, which can come in handy in detecting a malfunctioning fan or other problems.

In summary, the Scythe KM-01 is a stylish, well-designed and durable fan controller that is reasonably-priced as well ($42.95 on Amazon as of this writing). It’s likely to be a sufficient controller unless you fall into one of two categories of users: [1] those who want a controller that automatically adjusts the speed of fans when the sensor reaches a certain temperature, and [2] those who need to control more powerful fans or more than 4 fans. For everyone else, the Scythe KM-01 is likely to be a reasonable choice.

Scythe KM-01 Specifications:

Model Name: Kaze Master 3.5 (3.5 inch Version)
Model Number: KM01-BK-3.5 (Black) / KM01-SL-3.5 (Silver)
Dimensions: 103 x 25 x 93 mm (WxHxD)
Display Dimension: 60 x 15.5 mm
Length of Control Dial: 12 mm / 0.47 in
DC Input: 5V or 12 V (From PC Power Supply)
Fan Adjustment Range: 3.7V (±10%) – 12V (±10%)
Fan Channels: 2
Maximum Fan Ampere per Channel: 1A per channel
Fan Speed Range: 0 – 7,500 rpm (Display Range: 30 rpm Increments) [Package indicates the maximum range as 9,990 rpm, but the actual range is 7,500 rpm.]
Temperature Module Channel: 2
Temperature Range: 0 – 100°C / 32 – 199.9°F
Measurement Frequency: Every 2 Second
Weight: 125 g

External Links:

Scythe KM01-BK Kaze Master 5.25 inch Fan Controller on Amazon

KM-01 product page on Scythe web site (U.S. version)

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