A.C. Ryan Blackfire UV LED Fan Review


Getting close to the blackfire

The fans are made of hard plastic and are a translucent grey color. Four large LEDs are positioned into each corner of the fan’s housing, secured with a glob of UV reactive hot-glue. While this glob may look unsavory at first, it completely covers the LED, has no drips, and looks as tidy as goo can be made to look. The LED’s power cables are routed through the back of the fan, finally converging at a standard 3-pin fan power cable.

The LEDs have a different power source than what powers the fan, so there are two cables to route when plugging in this fan. I have reviewed many LED fans that lose their brightness or begin to flicker when their voltages are turned down (which many modders to do control the noise their PC makes). You may choose to plug the LED line into a seperate fan connector. A fanbus is your best bet, because motherboard fan connectors are a precious commodity. A.C. Ryan has included an adapter right on the main power cable, so you can power the LEDs from a single cable if you so choose. If you do this, then the LEDs will receive the same amount of power that the fan does, which may diminish the brightness if you lower the fan’s power.

The power cables are sleeved with flexible black mesh and secured with small black cable ties. No heatshrink was applied, so you can see the frayed edges of the sleeving, which frankly looks a little sloppy. The LED power cable is slightly shorter than the main cable, and made to fit perfectly in the main cable’s adapter with no slack in the line.

I must say that I disagree with the two-power-cable approach. If the LED cable is really only long enough to connect to the integrated splitter, then why have it at all? A.C. Ryan provides a feature to make their product more flexible, but then practically compels you into not using this flexibility. Basically you have a fan cable that is twice as thick as it needs to be, which doesn’t help when routing cables to keep the inside of your case tidy. The one advantage about this method is that you can turn off the LEDs if you so choose, where as you can’t with an integrated system.

The main purpose of this feature as I see it is to prevent the LEDs from losing brightness (or start flickering) when the fan’s RPM is turned down to control noise… but other quality fans makers like Zalman have tackled this problem while only using one power cable. Either use LEDs that aren’t so sensitive to voltage fluctuations, or provide circuitry to keep the LED power constant (like using a simple circuit that keeps the LED voltage at 3v or 5v, regardless of the fan voltage).