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REVIEW OF LAMPTRON FC TOUCH, CM430 AND CM615

Written by Tyler Rondman

REVIEW OF LAMPTRON FC TOUCH, CM430 AND CM615

Regardless of which type of cooling system (classic air or liquid) you use in a personal computer, it is rare to get one without several fans (used for creating cooling air currents). Therefore, after assembling productive workstations and gaming stations, it becomes crucial to reduce the noise level from them. Frankly speaking, software methods for adjusting the speed of fans and pumps of liquid cooling systems are quite suitable in modern days. And practically, you can tune-in to any UEFI BIOS. On the motherboards, the readings of the monitoring sensors are often given abrupt deviations. They bind not only to the CPU temperature, but also to other “hot spots” of the PC. Not to mention, the latter one features the “modding” visual component and it fulfills the need for independent monitoring of key parameters for enthusiasts of “overclockers”. The fan controllers have not lost their relevance too. The company Lamptron produces an incredibly wide range of “reobas” – from the simplest models with several potentiometric handles to panels in the style of “steampunk” with an indication of old-fashioned lamps.

This time we received three Lamptron controllers with liquid crystal screens and touch controls: CM430, FC Touch and CM615. Such 5.25″ models without extended controls are in demand. They contain strict rectangular shapes and fans of quiet cases. In the case, the compartments on the front panel are often closed with doors that has sound-absorbing inserts.

LAMPTRON FC TOUCH

Relatively ascetic model Lamptron FC Touch comes in a black cardboard box (measuring 184 x 173 x 61 mm) with glossy images on the sides. The two-layered packaging opens on the principle of a pencil case. Description of controller features and specification are in English.

Specification

• Dimensions: 148.5 x 42.5 x 64.5 mm;

• The display dimensions are 118 x 31.5 mm;

• Display Type: LED, touch;

• Character color: blue;

• Output power: up to 30 watts per channel;

• Number of fan control channels: six 3-pin;

• Power supply (input): +12 V via Molex connector;

• Power (output): a constant voltage of 0-12 V;

• Temperature control: six channels;

• In addition: a separate jumper to control emergency sound alerts.

Included with LAMPTRON FC Touch are:

• Brief User’s Guide;

• Extension cord with four-pin connectors of the Molex type;

• Four fastening screws;

• Jumper;

• Soft woven cloth for wiping the screen;

• Four extension cables with three-pin fan connectors;

• Four thermocouples.

The description contradicts the actual kit. Whereas the description says it comes with six cables for connecting fans, reality is – there are only four of them. Six control channels on the controller make it a significant omission of the manufacturer. I do not like the lack of translation of the instruction into Russian. Fan wiring leads are 52 cm each, thermocouples are 72 cm in length, and Molex extension cable is 20 cm.

The fan controller is made with two double-sided printed boards accompanying black textolite. One of which places the display trim, and the other concentrates on all the elements of the power supply subsystem and the fan connection channels.

On the rear side of the controller, there are a power connector, contacts for connecting thermocouples, a jumper and six independent channels for connecting fans, each with power switches in the form of separate P60NF06 transistors, inductors in a heat shrink tubing and electrolytic capacitors of the Chinese manufacturer with a maximum operating temperature of 105 degrees Celsius. The microcontroller is installed on the reverse side. The manufacturer has removed its marking in order to complicate copying by other manufacturers. The connection quality of the elements on the board is 4 out of 5 points. The uneven arrangement of some small elements and the shape of the droplets of tin gives an impression that all these are performed manually by collectors. But the fact is the process is completely automated. Remaining of solder flux are not completely removed. On the sound alarm in the upper right corner, a sticker is glued. It protects the system from any sort of damage during the factory operations of flushing the board by flux residues. The sticker must be removed. Another dislikeable thing is that flexible cable from the display is connected next to the mounting holes.

Most of the front panel displays the perimeter – a black metal frame with the texture of ground metal. Such a performance is unmarketable and will fit well into dark colored cases.

The touch interface of the LAMPTRON FC Touch fan controller is not piled up with unnecessary elements. Everything is brief and to the point. Sensitive element is made of resistive technology and reacts to physical pressure, and not to touch. Accuracy of operation is high, controlling the elements on the screen is easy.

Once powered, only the image of the virtual start button in the lower right corner is seen on the screen. Within 5 seconds after power-up, the screen backlight setting icon with three gradations of 50%, 75% and 100% is displayed. There is no complete deactivation of the backlight. You can hide all the icons on the screen by pressing the virtual power button.

After pressing it, the list of controlled fan channels is displayed in the form of icons with numbers. When clicked, detailed individual settings are opened. In the upper left corner, you’ll see the fan’s integer voltage, or revolutions per minute. At the top right, temperature in degrees Celsius, or Fahrenheit becomes visible. The temperature unit is changeable, just need pressing. The lower left corner serves as the channel operation switch from automatic to manual mode. The lower right corner brings back to the selection of the monitored channel. In the middle of the bottom, there is a strip for adjusting the fan speed. The left and right arrows allow you to quickly move to the next fan.

In the automatic fan rotation control mode, by default, 60% power is maintained at a temperature of 45 degrees Celsius. Long press the fan icon to change the value. Select the percentage of the power supply (sensor strip) and change the arrows to the left and right on the screen for the temperature value. This setting is specific for each of the fan power management channels.

Changing the set parameters of the fan speed is a snap. It takes about 0.3 – 0.5 seconds to read the temperature sensors. The fan speed is displayed correctly, the change in the display is also about 0.5 seconds.

When the alarm jumper is installed on the controller main board, an audible warning of exceeding the limit of 70 degrees Celsius on any of the connected thermos-sensors or stopping any of the fans with a supply voltage below 6.5 volts is activated.

With the power supply, the controller operates continuously. The temporary stoppage of the fans is possible only by setting the speed of rotation in the touch interface.

LAMPTRON CM430 RED

The second model for the test is Lamptron CM430. Sold in a compact box of 177 x 94 x 67 mm, which is slightly larger than the physical dimensions of the controller itself, including fastenings. The design is moderately catchy and its color is dark. Descriptions of the characteristics are written in English only. There are several color modifications (red, blue, green and a limited lot of UV – “ultraviolet”). A red option was provided for testing.

Specification

• Dimensions: 148.5 x 42.5 x 63 mm;

• The display dimensions are 129 x 32.5 mm;

• Display Type: LED, touch;

• Character color: red;

• Output power: up to 30 watts per channel;

• Number of fan control channels: four, 3-pin and 4-pin;

• Power supply (input): +12 V via Molex connector;

• Power supply (output): 0-12 V;

• Temperature control: four channels;

• In addition: PWM power management, automatic display shutdown, operation profiles depending on temperature.

Product page: http://www.lamptron.com/2016/08/30/limited-edition-uv-and-bluered-version/

In addition to the controller itself, the package includes:

• Mounting screws;

• Instructions for installation and operation;

• Four thermocouples;

• One extension cable for connecting four-pin fans.

• Three extension cables for connecting three-pin fans.

The instruction is an A4 sheet, on both sides of which a description of the functionality is given again in English. Wires extenders are 50 cm each, thermocouples are 66 cm.

The basis of the controller is one two-sided printed circuit board with black-textolite, on which all electronic components and a display are welded. According to the marking, the revision of the device V1.0 was on testing.

As in the case of the FC Touch model, there’s a buzzer on the board with a factory protective sticker, which must be removed before use. In the center of the board, the Holtek HT1621B screen controller and the Nuvoton chip with wiped out marking, most likely, the Nuvoton M058LBM microprocessor with the ARM Cortex M0 core are immediately evident.

The FC430 controller has 4 fan control channels – 1 with a KF2510-4P connector for a four-pin PWM connection and 3 with KF2510-3P connectors for a three-pin connection, labeled as OUT1 to OUT 3. The channels are rated for a load of up to 30 watts each. It works on power transistors 4435a in strapping with inductance coils and capacitors in SMD packages.

As a whole, the joining is a simple mess, and apparently, it looks hand-made. Many small elements are crookedly placed. The flex from the sensor module of the display is bent at the location of the mounting holes, which is potentially not very good. This practice increases the risk of accidental damage during installation in the 5.25″ bay.

The display occupies almost the entire front part. Along the edge, there is a black invoice non -market metal frame made of anodized aluminum. From above and below, it’s 4 mm; On the right and left, it’s 9 mm.

Turning on the controller is not fast. It takes 12 seconds to start. At the very beginning, an animated tachometer is displayed on the screen, you’ll also see the connected fans running at full power. After initial initialization, an interesting graphical interface is displayed. In the central part, an animated tachometer appears showing the speed of the selected fan. At its right, there are the channel numbers to which fans are connected and the status of their work (a halo around the figure). Here, the large round power button F is manual, P is the total power (100% or 12 V), 9 is quiet (40% or 7 V). In the lower right corner, there is a button for turning off the controller with a long press. On the left side of the panel, there are buttons for controlling the backlight (off, 50%, 100%), mute sound and Start-Boost mode. With the “boost”, the operating voltage is adjustable from 7 V to 12 V, with 0 V to 12 V disconnected. To the right of the buttons, the temperature and the speed of rotation or the voltage of a specific channel are displayed. Looking above, we get the switch of manual and automatic control of fans.

In automatic mode, for each channel, the possibility of an audible alarm is implemented when the critical temperature levels are exceeded. Factory settings are as follows- the lower limit is 20 degrees Celsius, the upper limit is 50 degrees Celsius. To change them, you need to press the temperature value for a long time, then set the desired ranges with the + and – buttons. Press the temperature value for the second time to select the lower (LLLL) and upper (NNNN) level.

In the manual power management mode of the connected fans, the step of voltage change is 10% in the range of 40% – 100%. If Start-boost is turned on below 40%, you cannot go down, and when it’s off, 0 value is set immediately and the fan stops.

How much time it takes to change the display? For temperature and voltage, its’ about 0.3 seconds, for a rotation speed of 1.5 – 2 seconds.

Note: During the testing, an unpleasant moment with an erroneous operation of channel No. 2 was detected. The power management was not working. At values below 100%, the voltage gradually dropped to zero in 1 minute. Consequently, the fan stopped and immediately an acoustic alarm started. What caused this behavior? The flaw might be in the firmware of the device. Or, a particular defective fan controller. The mystery remained unsolved.

To reset the LAMPTRON CM430’s settings to the factory settings, go to the manual control mode and long press the fan icon in the center of the screen.

LAMPTRON CM615 INTERNET CONTROLLER

The most advanced of the three models reviewed in the review is the Lamptron CM615 fan controller. The box in which it is sold in size and design is identical to the FC Touch model, except for the appearance of the controller.

Specification

• Dimensions: 148.5 x 42.5 x 63 mm;

• The display dimensions are 129 x 32.5 mm;

• Display Type: LED, touch;

• Output power: up to 15 watts per channel;

• Number of fan control channels: six 3-pin;

• Power (input): +12 V through a four-pin Molex connector;

• Power (output): a constant voltage of 0-12 V;

• Temperature control: six channels;

• In addition: control switching on and off the PC, software for monitoring and control via USB port.

The bundle of the LAMPTRON CM615 controller for the Internet Controller is richer than the models discussed above and includes:

• Brief user instructions;

• Extension cord with four-pin Molex connectors;

• Four fastening screws;

• USB flash drive with software;

• A soft woven cloth for wiping the screen;

• Six extension cables with three-pin fan connectors;

• Six thermocouples;

• Cable for connection to internal USB connector on motherboards;

• A cable for connection in a rupture of the button for turning on and off the personal computer.

Similar to the models reviewed above, the instruction comes on a A4 sheet and it is also written in English. The length of the wires – extensions for connecting fans are 50 cm, thermocouple is 70 cm, power extension is 22 cm and the USB wire is 80 cm. The wire in the power button, that breaks from the controller to the motherboard, is 48 cm long, whereas that ranges to the button is 76 cm. The device includes a USB flash drive Kingston DT101 G2 with a capacity of 8 GB in a red case on which the software is located.

The design of the LAMPTRON CM615 fan controller consists of two double-sided PCBs with black textolite and a display module. One of the boards performs the functions of a display controller, and the other one hosts all other electronic components.

The basis of the device is a microcontroller STM32F103 with an ARM Cortex-M3 core and channels for power management of fans on transistors 443582. The piping of inductances and electrolytic capacitors ChengX is placed on the reverse side of the printed circuit board. Like its predecessors, the cable from the sensor module of the display is located on the side of the mounting plate. On the board in the upper left corner, there are the contacts for connecting the wires of the temperature sensors. At the bottom, the contacts for the USB cable is found, and slightly to the right, there’s the two-pin connector for joining the PC power button through the complete splitter. The transmit connected to its function (in the yellow case) is placed on the back of the PCB. Upper row – six three-pin connectors KF2510-3P for connecting fans marked OUT1-OUT6. In the right corner, the four-pin power connector of the controller itself is placed. The quality of connection is slightly better than that of the two models discussed above, but unevenly placed elements are present.

The display of the LAMPTRON CM615 with a resistive type sensor responds to the pressure. On the outside, a black metal frame is made of anodized aluminum with a texture of ground metal. The image on the screen is black and white with a bluish tint due to the backlight.

Turning on the controller takes 6 seconds, during which the LAMPTRON logo is displayed. After that the control interface appears, but within 3 seconds, it does not react to pressing. The connected fans remain at full power during this time. The control interface is simple – the main menu consists of several control virtual buttons. You can see the readings from sensors and icons of six fan channels there. Select the channel for displaying the voltage or speed and temperature by clicking on the fan icon with the desired number in the center area of the screen. The focus will simply shift to the bottom of the image.

When you long press on the selected channel, its detailed settings are opened. In this mode, pressing the automatic (A) or manual (M) method of fan power control is selected in the upper left corner of the screen and the power level is set as a percentage of the maximum possible. In the automatic mode, the lower (min, 0 to 80%) and upper (max, 20 to 100%) fan limits are available and the target temperature (target, 25 to 85 degrees Celsius, standard 45 degrees Celsius). Select the parameters by clicking on the corresponding sensors, and set the values by touching virtual strip. When applied, the mode of Start Boost gets activated, and the icon in the lower left corner comes in the form of an up arrow. The operating voltage of the fans is adjustable in the range from 7 V to 12 V, with the disconnection from 0 V to 12 V.

In the main menu, there are three buttons on its right. They work for controlling backlight (off, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%), locking the screen sensor (to prevent accidental pressing) and turning off the audio signals.

Controlling the PC’s power is done from the corresponding virtual button on the controller screen. With a short press, a touch screen appears at the bottom of the screen. Shifting from left to right, according to the principle of unlocking smartphone screens, the normal shutdown procedure starts. If the operating system hangs, hold the power button on the screen for more than 3 seconds. It will force the PC to turn off. During this time, If the 12 V supply continues to flow to the controller for 10 seconds, the PC power supply did not turn off. Rather, an audible error message will appear.

CONCLUSION

The company LAMPTRON produces interesting and functional controllers for fans with a variety of design, front panels and controls. In the review, we discussed 3 models with large touchscreens – LAMPTRON FC Touch, CM 430 and CM615 Internet Controller. All of them fit into virtually any PC system unit that has external 5.25 “slots. Through the flat surface of the screen with touch controls and the lack of protruding controls, the controllers are perfect for PC enclosures with lockable compartment doors. The models reviewed are generally not bad, even with the signs of manual welding. The main thing is that according to the base element, the characteristics are good and can handle both automatic and manual control of the power of the connected fans.

For customers who are interested in a simple interface and need six powerful channels for connecting fans or pumps of liquid cooling systems, LAMPTRON FC Touch is suitable.

Advantages of LAMPTRON FC Touch:

• Six channels of fan control;

• Up to 30 watts of load per channel;

• Remote temperature sensors;

• Simple interface;

• Sensor control and the absence of protruding elements.

Disadvantages of LAMPTRON FC Touch:

• No significant was found.

For those who need remote control of shutting down the computer, can look no further than the LAMPTRON CM615 Internet Controller. However, they need to compromise with the fact that the complete software does not work in Microsoft Windows 10.

Advantages of LAMPTRON CM615:

• Six channels of fan control;

• Remote temperature sensors;

• Monitoring and configuration of parameters remotely through the bundled software;

• Sensor control and the absence of protruding elements.

Disadvantages of LAMPTRON CM615:

• The software does not work in Microsoft Windows 10.

Model LAMPTRON CM430 recommend to fans of a bright animation of the fan control process, which is enough for four control channels of 30 watts. Moreover, this model can be selected in different colors.

Advantages of LAMPTRON CM430:

• Four control channels for fans;

• Remote temperature sensors;

• Up to 30 watts of load per channel;

• An interesting graphical interface in several color variations of the performance;

• Sensor control and the absence of protruding elements.

Disadvantages of LAMPTRON CM430:

• Failure to monitor the second channel (probably defect of a particular instance).

About the author

Tyler Rondman

When he isn't enjoying the beautiful Northwest outdoors, you can find Tyler on business and tech sites, writing about the latest news, analyzing trends, and generally making the Internet a more interesting place.