While my PS2 fat console isn't even close to as loud as my PS3 fat, the fan inside still makes enough noise to be annoying in game. This post covers the process of upgrading the fan inside of my PS2 fat to a standard 60mm computer fan.
Things you'll need
Here's a short list of things you'll need to upgrade your PS2's fan.
- PS2 fat console
- 60mm fan, I used a Noctua NF-A6
- Tools to cut plastic, like a Dremel
- Hot glue gun
- Soldering iron
PS2 fat stock cooling system overview
The PS2 fat has a pretty simple cooling system design. There is a single slim 60mm fan in the back that sucks air in from the vents on the front. The air goes through the power supply and heatsink fins, and out the back of the system. The fan does a pretty good job of keeping the console cool. My PS2 does get warm, but I haven't ever had it overheat.
To silence the PS2 I needed to find and install a fan that can pull at least an equivalent amount of air through the system quietly. I chose the Noctua NF-A6, because I installed a similar Noctua 80mm fan in my original Xbox and have had good results. If you want to avoid modifying the fan mounting bracket you'll want to find a 60mm fan with a depth of 15mm or less.
Modifying the fan mounting bracket
The stock PS2 fan mounts to a plastic bracket along with the power socket. Since the stock fan is 15mm deep and the new Noctua NF-A6 fan I'm installing is 25mm deep, I'll need to do some fan mounting bracket modifications. The separate bracket is easy to modify, and easy to replace if something goes wrong.
For the fan to fit it had to stick out the back of the case a bit. I started by cutting out the plastic grill vents. With the vents removed the plastic fan bracket broke into two pieces. I glued both pieces together with the fan in between using hot glue.
It doesn't look the best, but it does fit back into the case just as well as the fan bracket with the stock fan.
Modifying the fan power connector
Powering the fan is fairly tricky. The Noctua NF-A6 is officially a 12V fan, so I started by looking for a 12V power source. I found that all of the 12V lines are always powered on when the console is plugged in, and I didn't want the fan always running.
I spent quite a bit of time experimenting with different points on the board using schematics I found online without any luck. Eventually I ended up just wiring the fan to the old fan connector, which doesn't provide as much voltage. The stock fan port provides anywhere from around 5V to around 8V of power, which isn't 12V, but is roughly equivalent to the Noctua fan with low noise adapters installed. The image above is wired to the fan connector using alternate points, orange is for the positive voltage, and white is for ground.
I wired those two wires to one of the fan extension cables provided with the Noctua fan, so that I could easily connect and disconnect the fan. You can see the wires connected to the fan in the image above.
I'd like to mention that there are two possible solutions for this fan power problem. The first solution would be to use the hard drive expansion bay pins. There are pins on the expansion bay that provide 12V to the hard drive, but only when the system is powered on. I tried this and didn't get 12V, but you might have better luck.
Another solution would be to wire up a transistor to something that is only powered on when the system is on. This could be the fan connector, or the green power LED. The transistor would cut off the 12V power to the fan when the system is off.
Putting everything back together
Now that you have modified the fan mounting bracket to fit the new fan, and wired the fan to the PS2's motherboard, you can put your console back together. If you did everything right you should be able to put it back together just like you took it apart.
Above is an image of the fan installed before I put the top cover back onto the console. Below is an image of what the fan looks like once the top cover is back in place.
This mod was a success. I was able to upgrade the fan in my fat PS2 to something more silent. It isn't the prettiest mod, since it sticks out the back of the console, but it seems to be functional. Even though the fan doesn't have 12V, I haven't had any issues with my PS2 overheating since upgrading the fan.