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      UPDATED: August 29, 2023                       CONTACT       
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If you know the Watt rating of a fan, you can use that to calculate Amperage.

Brushless Fans
Return to FAN PROJECTS  > PAGE 1 <
Delta PAG Brushless Fans
Spal Aftermarket Brushless Fans
Volvo XC90 (Bosch) Brushless Fan
Gen 6 Camaro (Spal) Fan 18" Brushless
Jeep JK "Pentastar" Fan
18" Brushless
Methods used for
ACTIVATING a Brushless Fan
Testing Methods
Tools for Testing Brushless Fans

This page is new for 2023.

I began looking closer at brushless fans after I saw some videos and test data, which suggested SOME brushless fans can significantly out-perform a brushed fan with higher speeds, more CFM airflow, and all while using LESS AMPERAGE. 

I'll get into some performance test comparisons further down, but there's one very interesting thing I have found during testing that I wasn't aware of (since I'm not super experienced with these). These fans sometimes become more efficient at higher voltage levels. I began testing at 12.7v static battery levels and and then at 14.5v with the engine running and alternator charging.  In many tests, a brushless fan spins faster and pushes more airflow with LESS amperage draw when used at the HIGHER voltage level.


There are a few videos showing these aftermarket fans performing very well. In 2015 Delta PAG https://deltapag.com introduced a 16 inch brushless fan which is shown in the below first video. Delta PAG rates their 16 inch fan at 3200 CFM at 13 volts, using about 22 amps. Maximum RPM is about 2900. They've stated their ratings are done with a radiator in front of the fan, which will reduce flow, so in free-air tests, the actual CFM results should be higher than the rating they give. They also state that they're able to achieve 25% more airflow than other brushless fans because their motors are much smaller in diameter and that allows more flow.  Other brushless fan motors are much larger in diameter, because they contain speed control electronics inside of them. It seems logical that those wider motor cases take up more space and potentially reduce some airflow. Delta PAG has made their speed control modules a separate part, which is mounted nearby and away from the airflow.
Delta PAG offers a controller with digital displays for programming the temp-speeds.

A mechanical drawing of their 16 inch fan is shown in their web site. The 16 inch measurement refers to the overall width of the fan assembly at the outside (16.00 inches). So this means the fan blade diameter is actually about 15 inches. This type of measurement seems to be common with some fan manufacturers, so keep this in mind when considering the fan sizes you want.
16 inch fan:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIiH4ik2CD8&t=242s

The larger Delta PAG 18 inch fan was introduced more recently and is rated by them at 4100 CFM at 13 volts, using about 26 amps, Maximum RPM is about 2900. Again the CFM rating is assuming there's a radiator installed. 
In the below video you'll see their newer 18 inch fan tested in FREE AIR at 5100 CFM using an anemometer.
I'm always curious as to what calculations some people are using in their anemometer tests. I was curious about that 5100 CFM test in the video. If they rate this fan at 4100 CFM with the restriction of a radiator, it appears we might need to accept that a radiator restriction can reduce flow by 20% (or more) to 4100 CFM. That initially did seem like a lot to me.  Later (further below) I was able to do some FREE AIR air and INSTALLED "side-by-side" tests using the Jeep brushless fan and I discovered such a big drop in air flow is easily possible.

I will also point out this 18 inch Delta-PAG fan (ABOVE IMAGE) does NOT have 18 inch fan blades (I added the red dimension to this image).
This fan measures 18.11 inches at the outside of the shroud assembly
. So the fan blade diameter is about 17 inches.  I'm not saying this is bad. This fan may out-perform larger, more powerful fans from other manufacturers. My point is that I don't know if other people are considering the ACTUAL FAN SIZE when testing CFM. Accurate anemometer tests require an accurate fan area to be used. I've seen at least one other test of this 18 inch fan using an anemometer where the tester used the fan area for an 18 inch fan (instead of 17 inches) and then he ALSO failed to deduct the area of the center hub. Then he announced a finding of 3900-4000 CFM.  Entering an exaggerated cubic foot value into an anemometer always results in an exaggerated CFM reading.   

Ultimately, I think you can use anemometer CFM tests as an estimation tool, but true comparisons are probably not possible unless two fans are tested with the same anemometer or same method, and with consistent fan area calculations.

Using the above example, if someone uses the area calculation for an 18 inch fan when they actually have a 17 inch fan, it can result in an exaggeration of about 6%, or about 250 CFM.
And if that person fails to deduct the area for the center hub, this will result in error too, although Delta-PAG fans have a really small hub. It would be a smaller error. About 3% or about 120 CFM. This kind of error with other brushless fans with much larger center hubs can result in errors of about 6-8%.

Are there any draw-backs to a Delta PAG fan?
I have not found any draw-backs with the fans (I don't own one). There is one draw-back I see with the controller. At time of writing this the Delta-PAG controller cannot provide a lower speed for an AC override. It can only do FULL-SPEED (same as using the full-speed toggle switch).  If I'm using a super high-output fan, I prefer to not have it run at FULL-SPEED unless it's really necessary, and I can flick on the full-speed toggle for THAT.
I emailed Delta PAG and to their credit they said they're working on creating custom firmware in the future, which may be available in late 2023. They would not provide any specifics, so I can only hope they mean they'll offer a better AC override in the future.

If you're interested in a LOT more information about these fans (not posted in their page), there's a long-winded discussion at this link below in a Corvette C7 forum.  This link takes you to page 3, where the serious discussion begins. You'll see.


Spal Italy: https://www.spalautomotive.it/brushless
Spal USA site has some catalog info showing brushless fans, but it does not show a listing of brushless fans: https://www.spalusa.com/

I believe Spal introduced their new line of aftermarket brushless fans in 2014 with sizes up to 16 inches. These were called the NUOVA series.

An announcement believed to have been dated 2014 is below:
SPAL USA, a global leader in the production of high quality electric cooling fans and accessories, is excited to announce their new “NUOVA” brushless fan line.
SPAL “NUOVA” series brushless fans features include:
•Completely sealed/waterproof/dustproof motors with integrated power and signal electronics,
•"Soft start” technology (eliminates electrical in-rush spike),
•Digitally controlled for smooth and reliable operation,temperature sensor options for full variable speed control.
•Reduced axial dimensions and low weight,
•High efficiency, low noise, along with excellent resistance to vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.
In addition, the brushless design reduces the number of wear components versus standard brushed technology to deliver extremely long-lasting motor life as well as provide automatic power de-rating to guarantee performance in over-temperature operating conditions.
SPAL brushless technology is specifically designed for applications where low power consumption, fuel economy, low weight, advanced electronic control and high efficiency are key requirements.

I don't know what year this change was made. I have been told Spal discovered that they were selling lots of the "smart" sensors needed to run these new fans, but instead of selling their new (expensive) aftermarket fans, they discovered people were using the sensors for less expensive OEM C7 Corvette (2014+) and Gen6 Camaro (2016+) brushless fans (which are also made by Spal). Then Spal decided to discontinue the "smart" sensors that worked with Corvette and Camaro fans and create new sensors which CHANGED the PWM duty cycle ramps. And they changed all their new aftermarket fans to match the new sensors. The new aftermarket fans were then called the PLUS series and the NUOVA series was eliminated. From that point forward all new Spal "smart" sensors would only work with their second generation PLUS series fans, and OEM (Spal) fan users were tossed out in the cold. 

FIRST GENERATION "SMART" SENSORS (no longer available from Spal).
PWM duty cycle ramp is set for LOW speed = 85%. HIGH speed = 15% (Negative polarity).
SBL-TS01: Turn on 140F - Max at 165F.
Turn on 165F - Max at 185F.
Turn on 190F - Max at 215F.
If you still need one of these, CLICK HERE for Vintage Air.

SUMMARY OF CHANGE 1st Gen to 2nd Gen: 
Spal NUOVA series (first generation aftermarket): Fan speed decreases as PWM duty cycle signal increases.
This is an INVERTED ramp. OEM C7 Corvette and Gen6 Camaro brushless (Spal) fans also use this type of PWM signal.
Spal PLUS series (second generation aftermarket): Fan speed INCREASES as PWM duty cycle signal increases (OEM fans all retained the old PWM ramps).

SECOND GENERATION "SMART" SENSORS (for PLUS series aftermarket fans)
PWM duty cycle ramp is set for LOW speed = 15%. HIGH speed = 85% (Positive polarity).
Turn on 140F - Max at 165F.
Turn on 165F - Max at 185F.
Turn on 175F - Max at 195F.
Turn on 190F - Max at 215F.
(Note: Multiple fans can be run using one sensor)

The connector on this fan is this 4-pole MALE plug.
I found the matching FEMALE connector after searching for Spal PN 30130628 in Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CTDGNGT. This is the same plug used for the Camaro fan and the Jeep fan in this page.

Can Spal "Smart" Sensors be used for other Brushless Fans?
Yes, for some. Spal fans require a controller or sensor which uses a 100 Hz PWM frequency. Many other fans use that frequency. If you find a fan which uses 100 Hz, that fan must also use a PWM duty cycle ramp like that used by the Spal Plus series, one that powers the fan at low speed when the PWM duty cycle is low (Positive polarity). Keep in mind that some fans will share the same frequency, but the duty cycle ramp may be INVERTED. For more information on how PWM signals work, CLICK HERE for PWM Info section.

If you have a need to INVERT the polarity of a PWM signal, it can be done.  There are some devices SHOWN HERE which can do this for you.


Here's a diagram below showing how one of the above Spal sensors is wired to a Spal Plus aftermarket brushless fan.
Note that a brushless fan always has both power and ground going to the battery (or ground going to chassis ground). The speed/temperature control is regulated through the PWM signal wire.

Here are my personal feelings about using a "smart" sensor like this to regulate temp/speed:
I don't really care for it. If forces you to choose one temperature range and live with it. It allows no custom adjustments. Changing sensors is really expensive. Check the prices of those. They cost as much as a normal fan.
Also if you have AC and you want the fan to come on with the AC, your only choice is to wire it so the AC triggers the full speed override. 

Maybe some people are OK with the fan running full speed when your AC is on. That won't be too be bad if the fan is smaller, but when using a big, high-output fan, I prefer to be able to choose a custom speed for the AC (such as 50%, 70%, etc). Ok, I know you can't ALWAYS have everything you want, but going brushless is a LOT more expensive, so I would like to get more satisfaction for my money if I can.
Keep in mind that full speed with a high-output brushless fan can move a LOT MORE AIR and it might use more amps than you want, compared to a brushed fan.

Should a RELAY be used with a Brushless Fan?

According to Spal:
“Relays are used with brushed fans, and not used with brushless fans. As brushless fans are growing in popularity, we have had a few customers try to add a relay to a brushless system when a relay isn’t required. We don’t need a relay with brushless fans because they always do a soft start. In a brushless fan system, the fan is connected to constant power – directly to the battery. When the brushless fan receives the command signal to run, it makes a connection internal to the motor and runs. When the command signal goes away, the brushless fans enter quiescent current (sleep) mode.”

Here are some specs for a couple Spal brushless 16 inch fans.

From info I found in the Spal fan engineering catalog, the 2430 CFM fan above (500 watt motor) will use about 30-33 amps at full speed. The 2053 CFM fan (300 watt motor) will used about 20 amps. These results are maybe a little better than the performance numbers for their similar brushed fans. So choosing a brushless Spal based on CFM and amperage draw are probably not the best reasons. 

Spal also shows an 18 inch brushless fan in their online catalog info: https://www.spalautomotive.it/brushless, but so far I have not found it actually being offered for sale anywhere. For my use, I would prefer a single fan with CFM in the range of 3500 to 4000.


"19 inch?" VOLVO XC90 Brushless Fan (2003-2014)
I'm pretty sure that not all Volvos during these years got brushless fans, but it certainly appears most XC90s did. 
This fan was made by BOSCH and will bear Volvo PN 31111543.

I began making a dimension diagram below, but I don't actually have the dimensions yet. 
If you have one of these fans and can take some PRECISE measurements, please let me know.

As mentioned in the title, this is supposedly a 19 inch fan, although I expect to find out the actual fan BLADE diameter is about 18 inches.  The internet is wrong often, so the precise fan diameter needs to be confirmed.
If that fan diameter is correct, then I think the shroud should be around 22 inches wide and about 21 inches tall.

This fan reportedly has an inverted PWM duty cycle ramp (Negative polarity), meaning the fan will run slower when up near 90% duty cycle and it'll run faster when down near 15%.
THIS FAN REQUIRES A 100 Hz PWM FREQUENCY.  Reference: https://www.swedespeed.com/threads/xc90-pwm-fan-settings.621587/
Brushless fans will usually have 3 or 4 wires.  This one seems to have 3 wires, even though the connector on the fan is a 4-pole plug. The two fat wires will be power and ground. The smaller wire here may be PURPLE and it will be the PWM speed signal wire.  I'm not yet familiar with this type of connector or a source for finding one.

"19 inch" (18 inch) Camaro Brushless 11 Blade Fan
(2016+ SS or ZL1)

Gen 6 Camaro SS and ZL1 versions (850 watt motor) appear to be the ones that got the biggest brushless fans in the GM car line-up. I believe a similar fan is also used in some later Cadillac CT and CTS models. These fans were made for GM by Spal.
It's NOT really a 19 inch fan. See more below.

The fan pictured below is GM PN 23332215. I believe other part numbers for this fan will be 23455465 and 84100128.


This fan will be called a "19 inch" fan by most people all over the internet, but it's NOT REALLY.
The actual fan blade diameter is 18 inches (11 blades). The outer ring on the fan blade is 19 inches, but that ring does nothing to push air. So it's accurate to call this fan and 18 inch.


The connector on this fan is this 4-pole MALE plug, but the
fan uses 3 wires, so only three poles are used on that plug.
I found the matching FEMALE connector after searching for Spal PN 30130628 in Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CTDGNGT. This is the same plug used for the Spal fans and the Jeep fan in this page.

This fan has some fascinating performance.
From internet info, I expected this fan would have a standard PWM duty cycle ramp because there are sources on the internet which say that. The OPPOSITE is true.
I found this fan has an INVERTED PWM ramp (Negative polarity). So keep in mind the internet can be a liar.
Negative polarity means LOW speed begins when duty cycle is reduced below 85-90%. HIGH speed maximum is at 10% duty cycle.
850w Camaro Brushless Fan Testing (2023)
Tested in free air.
12.7v (static):  10% duty cycle 5300 CFM (2600 RPM). 50 amps.
12.7v (static):  20% duty cycle 5200 CFM. 45 amps.
12.7v (static):  25% duty cycle 5000 CFM. 38 amps.
12.7v (static):  30% duty cycle 4600 CFM. 32 amps.
12.7v (static):  35% duty cycle 4400 CFM. 27 amps.
12.7v (static):  40% duty cycle 4000 CFM. 23 amps.
12.7v (static):  45% duty cycle 3800 CFM. 18 amps.
See further below for 50% duty cycle test.
12.7v (static):  60% duty cycle 3000 CFM. 11 amps.
12.7v (static):  65% duty cycle 2600 CFM. 9 amps.
12.7v (static):  75% duty cycle 2000 CFM. 6 amps.
12.7v (static):  85% duty cycle 1360 CFM. 4 amps.
Below tests were done with engine running for full voltage.
Tested in free air.
14.5v:  50% duty cycle. 3300-3400 CFM. 13.6-13.9 amps.
14.5v:  10% duty cycle (full power) 5690 CFM (2800 RPM). 50-53 amps.
Yes, 50 plus amps is a LOT, but I can't think of a reason why you would ever need this fan to run at full speed.
However if you want to, I strongly recommend a super high output alternator with dual V-belts or a good serpentine belt. 

These last two tests above are shown in the below video (except for RPM). The low amp draw at 50% (3400 CFM) is very impressive.
The full power test pulled the battery voltage down from 14.4v at (50%) to 13.7v (at full power). So you really SHOULD NOT run this fan at full power for AC or for any reason, except maybe for a trip to the sun.


The above CFM testing was done using the same anemometer used by Fast Monty's Garage in his video along with the same fan area calculation methods: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYkuNP1RnoM&t=26s
  Aiomest AN-846A anemometer
purchased from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088QZ3689

Here are some interesting custom fan assemblies that Vintage Air is offering.  These all have 850w Camaro 11 blade fans mounted in custom, compact shrouds. Not cheap, but it's a very nice effort by them.
 850w fan PN 371252: https://www.vintageair.com/custom/product-pop.php?pn=371252

850w fan PN 371253: https://www.vintageair.com/custom/product-pop.php?pn=371253

850w fan PN 280479: https://www.vintageair.com/custom/product-pop.php?pn=280479

850w fan PN 280483: https://www.vintageair.com/custom/product-pop.php?pn=280483

Vintage Air is also offering "Smart" sensors for use with the above Camaro fans.
Since Spal no longer offers sensors like these that can work for a Camaro fan, I can only guess that either Spal has provided custom sensors to Vintage Air or Vintage Air has created their own.

850w Fan Sensor for 160 F thermostat. PN 113019: https://www.vintageair.com/custom/product-pop.php?pn=113019
850w Fan Sensor for 180 F thermostat. PN 113021: https://www.vintageair.com/custom/product-pop.php?pn=113021
850w Fan Sensor for 195 F thermostat. PN 113018: https://www.vintageair.com/custom/product-pop.php?pn=113018

"19 inch" (18 inch) JEEP JK "Pentastar" Brushless Fan
This fan is found on 2012-2018 Jeep JK (Wrangler) vehicles with a 3.6 liter engine.

Some original factory fan labels are shown above. I believe the Mopar PN is
68143894AB, which I have not seen on any fan label. These labels above show the manufacturer as Johnson Electric and "Made in Italy." These labels also show a date of manufacture, which will probably be from 2011 to 2017.

Aftermarket versions of this fan are also available: Dorman 621-601 is available and at least one other aftermarket manufacturer (unknown who). The unknown ones are common on eBay.
I used and tested this Dorman fan below.


This fan will commonly be called a "19 inch Pentastar" by lots of people on the internet. The actual fan blade diameter is 18 inches. The outer ring on the fan blade is larger (19 inches across), but that outer ring does nothing to push air. 
The above images (which I stole from the internet) show a 9 blade fan.  I bought a Dorman aftermarket fan. It has 7 blades. So I took a look at a number of used original Mopar fans on eBay and every one I found had 7 blades. So I'm not sure where the 9 blade fan is from. And I have no idea if the number of blades makes any difference in performance for this fan.


The connector on this fan is this 4-pole MALE plug. This fan has 3 wires, so only three poles on the plug are used.
The matching FEMALE connector may be found by searching for Spal PN 30130628 in Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CTDGNGT.
This is the same plug used for the Spal fans and the Camaro fan in this page.
The below video from 2016 discusses this fan and compares it to the previous 17 inch brushed fan that this fan replaced in Jeeps beginning in 2012. 

I tested the Dorman version of this fan. Dorman PN 621-601.
I don't know yet what the WATT RATING is for the motor on this fan, but it appears to not be as powerful as the Camaro fan. This fan also ramps up a bit slower than the Camaro fan. Keep in mind that the fan being tested is from Dorman, so it's not an original factory fan. I cannot verify if the performance of this fan is equal to that of an original Johnson Electric version, however I think Dorman has a good reputation for quality and Chinese manufacturers are certainly capable of accurately copying the specs of an OEM fan.
This fan has a STANDARD PWM ramp (Positive Polarity), opposite of the Camaro fan.
This means LOW speed begins when duty cycle is increased to 10% or higher. HIGH speed maximum is achieved at 85% duty cycle.
I've been told a 10 Hz frequency is also used by Mercedes.
Jeep JK Brushless Fan Testing (2023)
I figured since I was installing this fan I'd do some extra testing.
A bunch of speed and CFM tests were done at two different voltage levels (12.7 volts on battery only and 14.5 volts with engine running and charging).
They were also done with the fan in FREE AIR and also INSTALLED. Free air means there are no obstructions.  Installed means there's a radiator, intercooler and AC condenser in front of the fan.  Also of note, the lower 4 inches of the INSTALLED fan has a barrier that probably has some obstructing affect. That can be seen in the below installed photos.
Duty Cycle
at 12.7v
at 12.7v
at 12.7v
at 14.5v
at 14.5v
at 14.5v
10% Free Air
10% Installed
15% Free Air
15% Installed
20% Free Air

20% Installed
25% Free Air
25% Installed
30% Free Air
30% Installed
35% Free Air
35% Installed
40% Free Air
40% Installed
45% Free Air
45% Installed
50% Free Air
50% Installed
55% Free Air
55% Installed
60% Free Air
--- --- ---
60% Installed
280 0
65% Free Air
65% Installed
70% Free Air
70 % Installed
75% Free Air
75% Installed
85% Free Air
85% Installed
85% is maximum speed. This fan will run at values above 85%, but entering above 85% resulted in no appreciable increase in speed or power consumption.
It's interesting how in some tests this fan produced more air flow with less amp usage at 14.5 volts compared to 12.7 volts. It seems that brushless fans really like higher voltage levels.


Some installation photos for my Volvo.
Since this fan is taller than my 17 inch tall radiator, several inches of the shroud will hang below the radiator. So that portion must be sealed off with a barrier wall. 

I began with a piece of aluminum bar stock to give the barrier stability. It looks close to the blades in the above photo, but it's actually more than 1/2 inch.

Some thin aluminum sheeting was fitted.

Edges sealed with duct tape.

View from the front of the fan.

Electrical connection.

Top brackets made with some aluminum.

Lots of EXTRA room between the fan and engine compared with the Mark VIII fan.

Further installation info for this fan can be found further below in the Fan Controller Section HERE.

Dual 12 inch Chevy Volt Brushless Fans
This fan assembly is found on a 2011-15 Chevy Volt.

These fans were made by Spal for GM, so an original Chevy Volt fan assembly will have a Spal label like these. Original PN: GM3115258.
Spal rates their 12 inch aftermarket brushless fans (PN VA89-ABL320P/N-94A) at 1800 CFM (at 13v), using about 23-27 amps at full speed (per fan).
There are also AFTERMARKET Volt fans that are made by Four Seasons or TYC. TYC PN 623170: https://www.amazon.com/TYC-623170-Chevrolet-Replacement-Condenser/dp/B00X1MDO2U.

This fan assembly is too wide for most Volvo 240s, unless you have a much larger radiator than stock. Since this fan is popular among hot-rodders, it's a good addition here.

The connectors on this are a 4-pole MALE plug. These fans have 3 wires each, so only three poles are used.
The matching FEMALE connector may be found by searching for Spal PN 30130628 in Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CTDGNGT.

Here's one of these fans being used for a project. 
This installer used a Widget Man controller.

Like other Spal OEM fans, THESE REQUIRE A 100 Hz PWM FREQUENCY and have Negative polarity.

Here's a video of these fans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EYu5jVBvKA

Activating a Brushless Fan

You got to see a preview of one way a brushless fan can be activated in the Spal section above.
This section below will go into much more detail.


Keep in mind that there are a number of PWM fan speed controllers available now. Many are specifically made for BRUSHED fans only. Those controllers are not designed for use with a brushless fan, because the way they connect to the fan is different. Brushed fans are not wired and not controlled the same as brushless fans.
If a brushed fan controller manufacturer claims theirs will work for both brushed and brushless motors, that should be questioned and verified. 
This is discussed more in a section below.

Feel free to ask me for clarification or if you have a comment, please email:

A BRUSHLESS DC motor has at least three wires.
1. Power to Battery Positive
2. Ground to Battery Negative or chassis ground.
3. PWM signal wire.
4. A 4th wire may be present on some brushless fans (Spal aftermarket for example).
It will probably be an "Analog" signal wire used for other options.

Some brushless fans can be connected to run without a controller or a PWM signal. In these cases the fan will run at full speed. Otherwise, a PWM signal is needed to regulate speed on a brushless fan.
A PWM signal is generated at a specific frequency, which is measured in Hertz (Hz).
A Hertz frequency will be measured by the number of cycles in one second. The above example is 10 cycles, so this would be a frequency of 10 Hz. A 10 Hz frequency is used by the Jeep JK fan and also by Mercedes Benz. A 100 Hz frequency is used by Spal and Volvo fans (and some others).


A simple explanation of a duty cycle is to think of it this way. (ABOVE IMAGE): A 25% duty cycle can be viewed as a voltage signal that quickly pulses 25% ON and then 75% OFF.
The fan speed is changed or regulated by the duty cycle. It can be changed, allowing it to vary between ZERO% and 100% (or sometimes between 10% and 90%).

If a fan speeds up as the duty cycle is increased, then that fan has POSITIVE POLARITY. This type of fan reads and responds to the HIGH voltage "ON" at the TOP of the duty cycle.
This type of fan will slow down as the duty cycle is increased. This type of fan reads and responds to the lower voltage "OFF" at the BOTTOM of the duty cycle.
Can a NEGATIVE Polarity Fan be used with a POSITIVE Polarity PWM signal?
No, it should not be used that way, however if you have a situation like this, it's possible to 
INVERT the polarity of a PWM signal. There are some devices  SHOWN HERE which can do this for you .
In the below video, an inexpensive PWM signal generator is used to test and run an OEM Ford Fusion brushless fan.  The user has the frequency set for 100 Hz. Then he activates and varies the fan speed by reducing or increasing the duty cycle to different percent levels.
As mentioned previously, some fans use an INVERTED PWM signal (Negative Polarity). This one in the video is a good example of that. This fan comes on at 85 or 90% (slow speed) and then speeds up as the duty cycle is reduced, with full speed at or near 10% duty cycle.

Activating a BRUSHLESS Fan using a BRUSHED Fan Controller

Can you activate a BRUSHLESS fan using a controller designed for a BRUSHED fan? I don't know for sure YET, but my first thought was probably NOT.

I began using an AutoCoolGuy controller for my Mark VIII fan in 2018. More about that is in the Cooling Fan Project Page 1 HERE.
If you look at the Autocoolguy site, he claims (ABOVE) his controllers can control brushed or brushless fans.
Since I don't know, I began asking questions HOW.
Darryl at Autocoolguy told me that if you have a brushless fan, which can be made to run at full-speed (like a normal fan) by connecting certain wires to power and ground, then the fan speed can be controlled using an Autocoolguy controller.

From my limited research so far, the only BRUSHLESS fans that can be made to run at full-speed this way are those with FOUR WIRES.
A 4 wire fan has two smaller wires; a PWM wire and an Analog wire. If you review the below linked Spal "Drive Control Modes" document, it will explain how a Spal aftermarket brushless fan (which has 4 wires) may be connected without a controller or sensor in a number of specific ways. Some of these will force the fan to run at full-speed, similar to any normal DC brushed fan. 
Two such listed "Drive Modes" (Interface Mode 1 and Interface Mode 2) are activated by connecting the power and ground cables normally, then the Analog wire is connected to the power cable and the PWM wire is connected to the ground cable. 

When I emailed Darryl at Autocoolguy and asked him to provide more specific information on how his controllers will regulate speed in this situation, he did not respond. So my only guess is he means for his controller to be connected to the fan in the same manner as a brushed fan, using the ground cable to the fan as the PWM speed regulator.  Hopefully a brushless fan will respond to this as he thinks it will. It would be a shame if this caused problems or damage to a brushless fan.  Also the question of polarity comes to mind.  He's not responding to my follow-up emails.
If anyone knows more, please let me know:

There are a number of aftermarket modern engine management systems that will offer programmed (or programmable) PWM signal outputs for activating a brushless fan. Some of them can be fully customized.  Also some OEM engine management systems will offer this, such as GM LS engine systems.  I will not be going into detail on these, since there's a lot of info and each system is different. 

Delta PAG Brushless Controller
Spal Aftermarket Brushless Fans
Lingenfelter Brushless Controller
Widget Man Brushless Controller

I've listed detailed information about the Delta-PAG brushless controller in the above Delta-PAG section. I have not personally tried one of these fans or controllers. I would welcome your comments if you have any to offer.

I have already discussed the Spal "Smart" Sensors in a previous section. Those are designed for Spal Plus aftermarket brushless fans, but they may be used for other brushless fans, as long as they use a 100 Hz PMW frequency and a STANDARD duty cycle ramp (Positive Polarity). These sensors will generally NOT be compatible with a number of OEM style brushless fans with negative polarity, unless you use a device that can modify or invert the polarity, such as these devices HERE. 

Lingenfelter VSFM-002 Variable Speed Brushless Fan & Pump Temperature & Speed Controller
Lingenfelter offers a programmable controller: https://www.lingenfelter.com/product/L460320002.html
They have a detailed PDF user manual at: https://www.lingenfelter.com/PDFdownloads/L460320002.pdf.
Size of this controller is 3.6 x 4.3 inches. The below diagram was found in their user guide.

This controller appears to be quite versatile in that a large number of difference OEM and aftermarket temperature sensors can be used with it. It can be made to control a wide variety of brushless fans from a number of different manufacturers, including OEM fans from Spal or Bosch or most other makers.
It offers the option of an override or FULL-SPEED switch. If you need an AC override, it will trigger a fan to run at FULL-SPEED when the AC is activated. 

The only draw-back I see for this controller is that the AC override DOES NOT OFFER an ability to select any speed other than FULL-SPEED. If I'm using a super high-output fan, I prefer to not have it run at FULL-SPEED unless necessary. It might not be necessary to use a big, powerful fan at FULL-SPEED when using AC. Having an option for something less extreme for the AC, such as 50% speed, would be nice. 

The below video was made by a shop who does custom engine installations in Jeeps. They show a special version of the Lingenfelter controller, which appears to have been created by Lingenfelter for them with a custom feature, which offers an optional fan AC override to operate at 30% when activated. This shop does not offer this controller in their web store, so I don't know if it's available. If available, the only draw-back would be this change appears to eliminate the FULL-SPEED override toggle switch as an option if you prefer to keep that.

I have emailed Lingenfelter a couple times to ask a few questions and they don't respond.

Widget Man Universal Brushless Fan Controller (and other devices).
When I first saw this item on eBay I was skeptical, mostly because the price was low.  After reading more about it, and after thoroughly reading the extensive instructions, I thought it was worth a try to see what it could do.
So I bought one.

One feature that helped my decision was an optional (Force-On) feature which can be selected for 50% fan override when the AC is activated.  I've mentioned previously how such a feature was missing from other brushless fan controllers.
This is an optional setting where you can trigger either a FULL-SPEED override or a 50% override. If the 50% override is triggered (such as for the AC "ON" circuit), the fan will run 50% higher than the current speed setting.  So for example, this means if the fan speed is "OFF" (engine not warm yet), then the 50% override will run the fan at 50%.  If the fan is running at 20%, then the 50% override increases it to 70%. Nice feature.

Also the seller was VERY RESPONSIVE to emails and he's been offering great suggestions. This has been very refreshing to someone like me who was still in a steep learning mode when it came to brushless fans and I certainly had some questions.

This item (Universal PWM Fan or Pump Controller) can be found at: https://www.ebay.com/itm/143561612623
Other devices can be found at
This controller is typically referred as an "FPM" in the Widget Man literature (maybe refers to "Fan Pump Module?").

In addition to the above controller, I purchased
a temperature sensor and an adjustable power supply.

This sensor is not necessary. You can use almost any factory or aftermarket sensor with the above controller, but I thought I might want to try this too. In the end I did not use it.
This Widget Man RTD Temperature Sensor above is basically a universal sensor, which can be used instead of using a temp sensor you might already have in your car: https://www.ebay.com/itm/143563314206.
I bought it to learn how it works, in case it becomes a good option for this project or maybe this info will help someone else who sees this. In the end I didn't use this sensor. If you're curious, an RTD (Resistance Temperature Detector) is a passive device in which the resistance output changes as temperature changes. The resistance vs temperature relationship is reliable and repeatable. This sensor requires power. That power should be a consistent voltage if possible. If your charging system voltage at the battery moves around with load changes (more than a few tenth of a volt), a sensor like this would benefit from a regulated power supply. The below device could be considered.

Widget Man says this sensor can be placed anywhere, but they recommend the placement to be near an existing ECT sensor or near a thermostat housing.
Alternately, you can use many other sensors with the controller. I ultimately decided to use the VDO Volvo temp gauge sender in the cylinder head of my 240, which is shown a bit further below.
Adjustable Power Supply

This Widget Man adjustable power supply above is an optional item
https://www.ebay.com/itm/143083402375. It's not needed for the fan controller, unless you think you need one.
I DID use one of these as you'll see.
One optional use could be to provide a stabilized voltage level for the above sensor if you use that one. This power supply is typically referred as a "CTAS" in Widget Man literature. It can also be used to provide a stabilized voltage level for the fan controller input, or for any 12v device (consuming under 1 amp). It's output is adjustable from 1.25 to 12.55 volts. A stabilized voltage level may not be needed for every car, but if you find that your car system voltage can fluctuate more than a few tenths of a volt when the alternator is under load, then it can make sense to provide an even 12 volts to these devices for better accuracy or consistency.

I used this power supply to provide a stable 12 volts to the fan controller. This way the controller would not experience any voltage fluctuations, which is a pretty common normal thing in an old Volvo.

A good example of using this power supply for something different is how I tried one out for a 240 gauge cluster to replace a failed 10v regulator. The 240 gauge cluster has a small 10v regulator, which provides regulated 10v power to the temp and fuel gauges. That original regulator was not working as it should. This power supply fixed that perfectly. More on that is HERE in my Gauge Electrical Page.

Here's a diagram below I made showing the use of these Widget Man devices for a brushless fan. Plus I added an alternate use of the VDO Volvo 240 temperature sender, since I think that turned out to be a better choice for my Volvo than the Widget Man universal sensor.

Volvo Coolant Temp Sender

Side Note about Bad Used Volvo Senders: My car uses this VDO Volvo sender above (Volvo PN 460191).  I had two used ones in my parts bin, which I was pretty sure worked when I got them years ago. I tested them with an Ohm meter, but I couldn't get any readings.  It was like the sensors weren't connected inside. I questioned my Ohm meter until tried a different meter. Then I ordered a new sender and it worked fine (above right photo).

The below may seem unnecessary. It was done to find out the voltage values between the 240 temp gauge and the temp sender. This test was done on a bench with the sender immersed in hot water.
These values were used to decide if I should use a 5v or 12v sensor input setting on the Widget Man fan controller (dip-switch 6). The 5v setting is best because it has higher resolution, but if the fan TURN-ON point and FULL-SPEED point that I would be choosing were found to be over 5v, then the 12v setting needs to be used. In this case below, all values are over 5v, so the 12v setting is appropriate.
1984 Volvo 240 cluster temp gauge to sender voltage. Voltage readings taken at the sender output.
Sender is a new VDO Volvo 460191
. Input voltage to the cluster was 12.8v.

Room temperature







1/4 needle at 160-165 F

1/2 needle at 185 F


almost 3/4 needle
NOTE: This gauge cluster was first equipped with a Widget Man adjustable power supply, which was set to 10v to regulate and stabilize voltage to the temp gauge. This replaced the factory voltage regulator in the cluster, which I found to be not working or regulating voltage correctly. More on that project is HERE in my Gauge Electrical Page

Here are some OTHER devices from Widget Man which might come in handy for brushless fan conversions.

This PWM Frequency / Polarity Changer may be useful for getting a 10Hz positive (Jeep or Mercedes) fan to work with the 100Hz negative PWM frequency from a GM LS ECM. This devise lets you arbitrarily multiply or divide the Hertz rate and invert the polarity if needed.  The only thing it won't do is adjust the off, turn-on, and max speed thresholds. Those need to be compatible between the fan and controller. https://www.ebay.com/itm/143638043684.

This Sine-to-Square Digital Signal Converter (SQC2) is an inexpensive assembly of transistors, which can invert the polarity or shift voltage levels on an existing PWM signal. https://www.ebay.com/itm/143103138738.

  Widget Man devices are sealed or potted, except for the dip switches on the fan controller. Those switches can be vulnerable to moisture, which could disable the controller. If the fan controller is to be placed in an engine bay, Widget Man recommends that the dip switches be sealed with RTV after the setup is complete. I didn't want to put sealer on the switches and I felt it would be a better idea to further protect these devices by putting them in an enclosure. The fan controller and voltage regulator are attached to the bottom of this box with some double-sided tape.

This box is advertised as "waterproof." The top comes with a silicone gasket in a recessed channel, so it should do pretty well. Widget Man suggested that I smear some dielectric grease on the dip switches after installation to add a little extra protection. These devices are rated for 225° F. It's best to place it
in less hot area in the engine bay, never near a hot exhaust or turbo. This controller produces very little heat on its own, so internal heating will not be an issue inside a box.  Amazon sells this box and has it in a number of different sizes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07S6PKW2L
The cable exit uses an inexpensive plastic gland nut that required a 7/16 inch drilled hole. I used the smallest size in this assortment: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GJ03AUQ

During installation and PROGRAMMING of this in the car I decided to write down the steps I took for my own future reference. I'm adding it here for anyone doing a similar installation using the same controller.

1.    Controller was wired according to instructions and the Force-On terminal was GROUNDED. Dip switch 7 set to ON (left) for a fan test.
2.    Engine was started and idling. LED began flashing fast Yellow and fan slowly ramped up to full speed. This is a good test to confirm the fan was working so far.
3.    Moved Dip Switch 7 to OFF (right). Next steps will involve temp learning.

4.    While waiting for the engine to warm, I held down the GREEN button until the LED began SLOW flashing RED (low-temp learning mode).

5.    While monitoring the engine temp using an IR temp reader on the top radiator hose near the thermostat, I waited for my desired low-temp set point (about 175°F). Also I chose this set point because the temp gauge was just below the middle.
6.    Then I quickly pressed the GREEN button. LED changed to solid YELLOW. The low-temp set point had been set.
7.    As engine continued to warm, I held down the RED button until LED began FAST flashing RED (high-temp learning mode).
8.    I monitored engine the temp again and when it reached a desired high temp point (about 200° F), I quickly pressed the RED button. LED changed to solid GREEN. High-temp set point had been set. The fan began working immediately and it began to bring the engine temp down to normal.

After watching the fan and dash gauge in action for a while, I decided I wanted to re-adjust the low-temp set point to a slightly lower setting.

1.    I moved Dip Switch 7 to ON (left). This allowed the fan to slowly ramp up to high speed and it began to bring the temp down to a point below my original low-temp set point.
2.    I monitored engine temp and after the gauge showed the temp below my new low-temp set point, I moved Dip Switch 7 back to OFF (right). Fan turned off and engine temp began rising.
3.    As I waited for the engine to warm again, I held down the GREEN button until the LED began SLOW flashing RED (low-temp learning mode).
4.    I waited for my new desired low-temp set point and then quickly pressed the GREEN button. The LED changed to solid GREEN. The low-temp set point had been re-set and the learn settings were complete.

AC Activation Signal Notes

In reference to the AC compressor circuit being connected to the Force-On pin in the controller, I thought this deserved a good explanation just in case you were curious.
The Force-On circuit is activated when 12V is present or when an open circuit is present. It’s deactivated when a ground is present. So for this controller to work as I wanted, I needed 12V when AC is ON and a GROUND when AC is OFF. The AC clutch circuit will provide such a ground when it’s off, so this circuit will totally work for the Force-On. This is why: The coil winding in an AC clutch offers about 3~12 ohms resistance when off. This low resistance translates to enough continuity to be called a GROUND when the power is OFF. It would not be enough of a ground for a power device, but for digital signaling purposes that's sufficient for a ground.

Here's a couple pics showing the new controller in it's enclosure and mounted.

Experimental Methods Used to Test Brushless Fans
Keep in mind that most fan manufacturers are rating their advertised CFM tests to reflect a fan that is attached to a radiator, which in theory, restricts and reduces airflow by some amount. How is that simulated? Can there be any consistency? Who knows?
This is what I've been using to test these fans. If you use something else and you want to share that info, feel free to email me:

Most brushless fans cannot simply be connected to a battery to make them run for testing. This PWM signal generator below may be used to activate and run a brushless fan at any speed.
  There are FOUR connections. 
The left two wires are the battery power and chassis ground.
The PWM wire on the fan is connected to the PWM slot shown above on the right. The extra GND wire next to the PWM wire can be grounded also, but in most cases it doesn't need to be. It's a ground specifically for the PWM signal. So if you have this signal generator connected to the same battery as the fan, then the extra ground is not needed. In some lab settings, the power and ground for a brushless motor may be different than the the power/ground for this device.  In those cases the extra PWM ground would be needed. If you have a fan which you're unsure of the frequency needed, brushless fans will usually be OK if you need to experiment with different frequencies.
PWM Signal Generator. Price: $14.00 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07P848DYQ


Fan speed (RPM) testing was done using an inexpensive hobby optical tachometer above: Turnigy Micro Tachometer. This meter can be set to measure 2 to 9 blade fans. It was priced under $20.00.
Amperage usage was measured using this Digital 0 to 100 Amp meter. Price: $15.00. https://www.amazon.com/DROK-Digital-Multimeter-6-5-100V-Amperage/dp/B017BCXQO6/ref=sr_1_3

My CFM airflow testing was done using an Aiomest AN-846A anemometer.
Price: $69.00 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088QZ3689

This is the same airflow meter used by Fast Monty's Garage in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYkuNP1RnoM&t=26s. The same fan area calculation methods were used.
If you watch Fast Monty's video, you'll probably have to pause and re-watch this math calculations a few times.  It's a but much for a normal human. So I've placed the easier calculation steps I used below.

CFM Meter Calculation:
Begin with the (actual) fan diameter: 18 inches, for example.
1/2 of that is the radius: 9 inches.
9 ÷ 12 = 0.75.
0.75² (or 0.75 x 0.75) = 0.5625.
0.5625 x 3.14159 (Pi) = 1.767.
1.767 is the sq.ft. area of an 18 inch fan.
Now we must calculate the center hub area.
I used 7.4 inches for the Jeep fan.
1/2 of 7.4 = 3.7 (radius).
÷ 12 = 0.308.
² (or 0.308 x 0.308) = 0.0948.
0.0948 x 3.14159 (Pi) = 0.2978.
0.2978 is the sq.ft. area of the center hub.
Now deduct the hub area from the fan area.
1.767 - 0.2978 = 1.469 (sq.ft.). 1.469 is the final result of the fan area.
So now you can set the meter on 'CFM' and enter your calculation. I entered the rounded number of 1.47 below for the FT
² setting.

If you have any questions, comments or find any potential errors, please send me an email: CONTACT.

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