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Today's v1.694 update is hopefully a working version of the failed v1.691,692 release of a few days ago.
See the first post of the "v1.694" thread below for the CHANGE_LOG notes.
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first fan died... how long do these things last- what other cooling alternatives ?

I've got some more of these little fanlets from another application, and I'll try and splice in that mini-connector with some careful soldering and heat shrink. I know these are not mil-spec fans and are Chineseium consumables, but how long have others had 'em running?

I love this radio!



  • When the aluminum enclosure was being developed I specifically asked Seeed to use a ball bearing fan (i.e. sleeveless). But I'm pretty sure now they didn't given the observed failure rates. I should ask again. Note that we receive no royalty on enclosure sales in an effort to keep the cost low. It's all Seeed's deal.

    Alternative fans and ideas are mentioned in these posts:
  • Thank you John, I'll give a go at finding a ball bearing fan in that form factor. If that doesn't work, I'll fab up a new end plate and do an externally mounted version to avoid the fidgety work of getting that tiny fan int here. It is a 5V fan. Running it on the 3.3V available is great as just a flow of moving area helps a lot without sounding like a vacuum cleaner all the time.
  • Found a larger (2" or so?) 12V ball bearing fan in the stash. I have it externally powered by 5V (it starts fine) and blowing into one end of the kiwi. While I have no way to measure temps inside the enclosure, the external Kiwi metal box is certainly cooler. 12V fan at 5V still moves significant air almost silently.
  • As you have 2 kiwi, you might consider the cluster cooling approach I took with my 4X cluster. One good AC fan on a plenum, cooling multiple kiwi
  • edited April 2020
    I have four KiwiSDRs that I maintain and I had a 100% failure rate after 9-12 months of the fans supplied with the case: Three of these Kiwis were operating in a harsh environment (below freezing to >130F/54C) and one was not: The one in the temperature-controlled room did not last any longer than the other three - but beware statistics with n=1!

    In a posting about this same issue here a year or so ago I specified a cost-effective, good quality, known-brand ball-bearing alternate from a surplus source that I and others have used - in this case, the forum's search will probably be your friend.

  • Thanks to you both... I'll investigate both approaches.

    Appreciate it!

  • I've been peeling off the sticker and dropping some Hoppies gun oil into the little hole. Fans keep on keeping on, albiet a bit noisy when first starting, but then quiet down when up to speed.
  • edited May 2020
    Fans are here... they run quietly at 3.3v.

    Perfect for the job.
  • edited September 2020
    Is there news about this fan or did the shit hit the fan, so to speak. ;)
    I want original replacement fans if possible. It do help if the quality is better too as the original fan from Seed is a joke with such a short life span.

    Found it in anther thread, here:
    Thanks. :)
  • I run my Kiwi inside my house, where it stays below 90F. When my fan died, I took both end pieces off of the aluminum enclosure. Seems to stay cool enough.
  • @la6lu that made me smile...
    I too had problems with the factory fan and replaced several with Clint's suggestion

    I've now replaced four fans with this alternative but have just recently had to replace one of the alternatives when it too started to get noisy at the remote, poorly climate-conditioned site. It gets both hot and cold at that remote site so maybe this is to be expected. If someone finds an even better substitute or can identify a good maintenance plan for these (change oil every 20k km?) I'd be interested. Maybe this is just going to be part of the cost of keeping a Kiwi running continuously...
  • One of my ball bearing fans (installed on May 1--see above) got noisy and was failing . Peeling back the label and putting some thin synthetic lubricant has made it like new at least for the time being (thank you Ron!)

    While I was at it, I decided to see if I could quiet one of the fans in my Pi stack that is serving some other SDRs with sleeve bearing-ed fans of the same tiny size as these. No dice.

    Looks like 7 months before servicing. Not too terrible for cheap Chineseium fans, but kind of a pain to get to in order to service. I think next time I might take the end pieces off the kiwi cabinets and aim the airflow from a 120mm 12V fan running on 5 V into the end. I suspect I'd net more air with longer fan life and with less noise.


  • Two of my KiwiSDR units lost the fans finally. So I took them out, blew out the bugs, and put them back together without the fans. Set the two units on edge, with one end elevated 1 1/2" by using a book for a shim. Both of them ran fanless through the summer in the garage. High temperature in there was 95 degrees F this summer and the low is 55 in the winter. ( heated garage). Don't know if the on edge and elevating one end was necessary, but blowing out the bugs was seriously needed. LOL

    They continue to run fine.

    Ron - KA7U

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