Qwiic Blower Fan

The unmistakable sounds of a tiny cooling fan spooling up usually means you've sat your laptop on a soft surface, or launched one too many tabs in your browser. It's a textbook cry for help from all of our favorite consumer electronics but what if your next hardware project could also complain about overheating? Well now it can!

In all seriousness, though, sometimes you need to move a little air around. Whether for active cooling or ventilation, a tiny fan can make a big difference. However, a tiny fan also has tiny wires which can make it difficult to work with. We've remedied this issue by mounting it to a board along with the mating flat-flex connector, a voltage booster and an ATtiny-based driver so you can power and control the fan over the Qwiic bus.

The control firmware monitors the tachometer output of the fan in order to implement PI Control over the fan speed, allowing you to set your desired speed in real units. It's also possible to disable the PI control loop and set the speed as a proportion of the maximum. The accompanying Arduino library includes example code for controlling the fan, tweaking settings, and even setting the fan speed based on an attached Qwiic Temperature Sensor and a lookup table.

We're unable to find a datasheet for this fan in particular (which is intended to replace the OEM fan in a Nintendo Switch)

Heads Up! This device draws enough power that it operates at the upper limit of the Qwiic bus. If there are few other devices on the bus and the fan is not allowed to rapidly change throttle, it is possible to power this fan directly from the bus. In some applications, however, it may be necessary to provide the blower fan with a dedicated 3.3V supply.

The SparkFun Qwiic Connect System is an ecosystem of I2C sensors, actuators, shields and cables that make prototyping faster and less prone to error. All Qwiic-enabled boards use a common 1mm pitch, 4-pin JST connector. This reduces the amount of required PCB space, and polarized connections mean you can’t hook it up wrong.

Experimental Product: SparkX products are rapidly produced to bring you the most cutting edge technology as it becomes available. These products are tested but come with no guarantees. Live technical support is not available for SparkX products. Head on over to our forum for support or to ask a question.
  • Same cooling fan found in the Nintendo Switch
  • Closed-loop PI controller
  • Power and control from the Qwiic bus
  • On-board boost converter derives 5V fan supply from 3.3V Qwiic bus

Qwiic Blower Fan Product Help and Resources

Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

2 Programming

Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

2 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Looking for answers to technical questions?

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  • yspacelabs / about 2 years ago / 3

    This is very much a “sparkX” product. Something just seemed cool to the engineers, and might have a use somewhere.

  • Member #134773 / about 2 years ago / 3

    FWIW, about 8 years ago I did an "IoT"-type project where I needed to assure a small airflow over a temperature sensor to assure that I was getting ambient temperature unskewed by the heat from the other electronics in the box. I ended up using a small brushless fan, but it had quite a bit more airflow than I really needed. Some experimentation lead me to finding that adding a resistor in series with the fan would cut down on the speed -- at startup, the fan is drawing no current, so there's zero voltage drop across the resistor and the fan sees full voltage to start, but as soon as it starts to draw current, there's a voltage drop and that limits the speed of the fan.

    I probably could have used this fan in that project, and wouldn't have had to worry about testing the little fan I actually used (which, at least in the prototype, has been running constantly for about 8 years, except when the power is out).

  • Sweet! While not intended for it, this looks like it could make a "Qwiic," quality fume extractor when soldering. ;)

    • yspacelabs / about 2 years ago / 3

      Connect a qwiic air quality sensor that monitors VOCs to the qwiic bus (along with a uC), and you would have a really nice automatic (although somewhat overcomplicated) solder fume extractor.

  • Member #640078 / about 2 years ago / 1

    I definitely would buy one of these which was qwiic to 3/4 pin fan header (I have already made one and sent off for a board spin, but you guys would do it better). It would have support for the majority of fans (~1a output), deterministic auto addressing, opto isolated fan interface, and external power input.

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