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MiDiMaN888

join:2002-08-04
Flushing, NY

1 edit

1811w JACKASS mod - more memory for cheap $, less fan noise.

 
 
 
 
Background story about my quest for a quiet Cisco router:
»1811/1812 fan noise, dual wan operation

**** WARNING **** DO NOT attempt to try this on your router unless you know what you are doing. What I did was for sure voiding the warranty already. And during the attempt of my experiment, I blew a Zalman fan mate and saw white smoke coming out from it, it was just a capacitor got smoked. Glad I didn’t damage the route. So do this at your own risk and I am in no way responsible for any of your own action.

I like my 1811W, it is more powerful, 2.8x faster than 871W, 8 ports LAN, 2 ports WAN, modem backup, around $900 USD, check www.provantage.com. Upgrade cost is dirt cheap. For additional memory you can buy regular 256MB PC2700 SODIMM, around $15 USD in these days. And for flash just garb one of your old CF card from your camera as long as it is no larger than 128mb. Even you need to buy new 128mb CF, those are like less than $10.00 USD in these days. Very cost effective. Although this may void the warranty if you add uncertified parts to the router, but I don’t see this is a problem. This is just my personal opinion. If you need more ports, getting a 1811W will be cheaper than buying one 871W and one 871 together, plus 1811W is much faster than 871/871W.

The Cisco brand 128mb CF is over $520 USD, 256mb SODIMM is over $1500 USD, what a serious rip off!!!!!! Check www.pricegrabber.com

Fan noise is a concern to me, read below and you will see what I did to quiet the router and let it sits on my desk.

The 1811W that I have is using a Sunon KDE1204PKVX, 27.5 dBA, 8200RPM, 10.8 CFM

Check the spec on P.19 and pin layout on P.3
»www.sunon.com.tw/products/pdf/maglev.pdf

The fan noise is actually loud to me. Once I turn the router on, the fan noise will cover all 4 of my PCs fan noise all together. All my PCs are using Zalman 7700AlCu for CPU fans, Coolmax CR450B for power supplies, and Cooler Master CAC-T05-UW chassis. I have Zalman Fan Mate 2 on all fans, keeping all fans at 1/3 speed.

Zalman products: www.zalmanusa.com

What I found on PC is, having a faster fan rotation speed and increased air flow may not help lower the temperature further. There is always a limit on heat per air flow performance, after reaching the limit, even you have faster fan rotation speed, it may not help to drop even 1C further, so why leaving the fan at maximum speed and creating all the unnecessary noise? All my PC CPU temperatures are around 22C – 35C. Not hot at all, I have Intel P4 2.4Ghz, 2.8Ghz, 3.2Ghz and AMD Althon 64 3200+. I also use Arctic Silver for thermal compound.

When you first turn 1811 on, you will hear a faster speed fan noise followed by a slower speed fan noise. When I used a multi-meter to measure the voltage changes, I found the initial voltage was at 11.58v, then dropped down to 5.38v. If the fan was at 8200 RPM for 11.58v, then 5.38v will be at around 3800 RPM. I believe there is a temperature sensor on the circuit board, if temperature is rising and cooling is insufficient, then it will increase the voltage for faster fan rotation speed in order to increase air flow.

Below pictures show you what I did, I added a “Zalman Fan Mate 2” to it.

**** BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL HERE **** , unlike conventional PC, the Cisco fan plug has the black – and red + in reversed position, this is how I blew the first fan mate and saw smoke coming out of it!!!!!

For the second fan mate, I needed to reverse the pin layout for two heads on the fan mate cable in order to avoid smoke out again.

After adding a fan mate the voltage can be adjusted between 3.81v to 4.73v instead of 5.38v. When the temperature increased, the voltage will also be increased, so it is not always staying between 3.81v and 4.73v but at least slower fan speed creates less noise. I can sit comfortably 1 FT away from it.

The other two pictures show you I added 2 plastic anti-vibration washers to the contact points between the fan and the chassis; this is to minimize the vibration noise from the fan.

The last picture is to show you I plug in a regular non-cisco-certified PC2700 333Mhz SODIMM module and using an old Memorex 64MB Compact Flash (CF) for flash.

You cannot just format the CF on a PC and copy files to the CF and use it on the router. The IOS won’t be able to read the CF directory. What I did was, first attach a CF USB card reader to the router back USB port, and do the format via IOS “format usbflash0:” or “format usbflash1:” Once it is done, you can plug it back to a PC and copy files onto the CF.

The router just can’t see the directory of a PC formatted CF card, but PC can read and copy files to a CF card formatted by router without any problems.

For more Cisco CF format info:
»www.cisco.com/univercd/cc/td/doc···flsh.htm

Another interesting discovery is, by using a CF/SD/MiniSD etc USB memory card reader and plug to the back USB port, IOS can format the USB flash device even up to 2GB!!!! But the CF slot on router can only read up to 128MB.

I have also ordered a silenx 40mmx20mm fan:
»www.silenx.com/ixtremaprofans.as···xp-13-14

It is only 14dBA, 6CFM and 3000RPM, less than the original Sunon fan inside the 1811w. I am going to get it in a few days. I will update my post and let you know what happen next. Hope I am not going to tell you I see smoke from my 1811W, ha ha

The 1811 has more IOS commands than other models, currently I am trying to find out if I can see the on board temperature sensor readings, like what I can do on a PC. Anyone knows how?


TomS_
Git-r-done
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-19
London, UK
kudos:5

Cisco's prices may be higher than your average PC shop, but the parts they sell are GUARANTEED to work in the router and not cause any issues, and if there are issues you can get it fixed.

As you say, using non genuine Cisco parts can void the warranty. I guess thats a risk you have to be willing to take.


MiDiMaN888

join:2002-08-04
Flushing, NY
reply to MiDiMaN888

To read 1811 router temperature use this command:
#show environment all

»www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps6···e54.html

It is so quiet now, I am sitting just 1FT away from it.

So far my router is still ok!!!

#show environment

Fan Running successfully.

Board Temperature : normal.

I am going to create heavy traffic on it next.



sporkme
drop the crantini and move it, sister
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-01
Morristown, NJ

1 edit
reply to TomS_

said by TomS_ See ProfileAs you say, using non genuine Cisco parts can void the warranty.
Put the originals in when returning the router.

I'm not even positive Cisco actually states that anywhere. There are plenty of reputable stores that sell Cisco-compatible memory...

mr_dirt

join:2006-02-14
Denver, CO

I suspect you'd be at the mercy of the person handling the support case or the guy who processes your router for RMA. Here's the policy:

»www.cisco.com/en/US/products/pro···594.html



TomS_
Git-r-done
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-19
London, UK
kudos:5

3 edits
reply to sporkme

said by sporkme:

Put the originals in when returning the router.
And watch the prices of smartnet contracts and other support services rise as Cisco has to deal with more cases of "faulty" equipment caused by non genuine/certified parts...

Innuendo
Premium
join:2002-12-20
Evansville, IN
reply to MiDiMaN888

The way I understand it is you pay more up-front for Cisco-branded memory modules, but what you get in return is the same level of warranty & replacement time as the router they are in, i.e. your SmartNet contract covers the memory modules as well. This may not be important to the home user, but it is vital to businesses who have these routers in mission-critical roles in their networks. Do what you feel is best in your situation.

As for you, MiDiMaN, I don't know if I could call that a "Jackass" mod, but I will be on the look-out for your new hit TV show "Pimp My Router"...

Now what you need to do next is install some remote-control hydraulics to open and close the router case when you press a button on your keychain.



sporkme
drop the crantini and move it, sister
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-01
Morristown, NJ
reply to TomS_

said by TomS_:

said by sporkme:

Put the originals in when returning the router.
And watch the prices of smartnet contracts and other support services rise as Cisco has to deal with more cases of "faulty" equipment caused by non genuine/certified parts...
RAM that blows up routers? Comeon now. Even my buddies in the "All Things Mac" forum have given up the argument that Apple RAM is "better" than any other RAM from reputable vendors.

But hey, if paying 4-12x more for memory with a Cisco sticker on it floats your boat, more power to you.


TomS_
Git-r-done
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-19
London, UK
kudos:5

1 edit
reply to MiDiMaN888

I didnt say blow up, but if it happens to cause issues, such as unreliability/lockups/pakcet loss/corruption that requires the router to be shipped back to Cisco and/or replaced, and all because you used some yum-cha brand memory, or something that wasnt certified by Cisco, its a waste of time and money that Cisco will factor into their products, and support contract prices.

Its like shoplifting. The more people steal, the higher food prices become as supermarkets have to raise their prices to cover the cost of it. The more bogus faults Cisco has to deal with will affect the prices of hardware and support contracts. Theres no denying it, they wont give it away for free.

Im not saying you absolutely shouldnt do it, but installing non certified parts into a router which subsequently causes issues, then sending that router back to Cisco with the original parts in it and claiming its "faulty" is something you should not do.


MiDiMaN888

join:2002-08-04
Flushing, NY
reply to MiDiMaN888

Innuendo: thanks

I am trying to install Linux on this router, there are external USB TV video capture devices out there, may be I am able to turn it into a PVR + router, or perhaps I will be able to make it a toaster too. Adding more blue and red flashing LEDs, ha ha

So far the router is quiet and stable, no crashing logs, I have setup 4 WAN DHCP IPs to NATs + firewall, check my another post for details.

#sh env all

Fan Running successfully.

Board Temperature : normal.

Be honest, I am a Cisco newbie, started playing around with my first router 871W in July.


SodaAnt

join:2005-09-02
San Ramon, CA
reply to MiDiMaN888

This is just like reading in a car's owner's manual that the warranty is voided if you use anything other than a Ford, Toyota, Honda, or [insert vehicle manufacturer name here] oil filter. As if making an oil filter is rocket science...

Same for memory. I doubt that Cisco memory is better than the premium brands of 3rd party memory such as Kingston, Crucial, or Corsair.



sporkme
drop the crantini and move it, sister
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-01
Morristown, NJ
reply to TomS_

said by TomS_:

Its like shoplifting.
No, it's not.


sporkme
drop the crantini and move it, sister
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-01
Morristown, NJ
reply to SodaAnt

said by SodaAnt:

Same for memory. I doubt that Cisco memory is better than the premium brands of 3rd party memory such as Kingston, Crucial, or Corsair.
It's the same thing. Cisco does not manufacture RAM. They buy from many different vendors. Quality memory is quality memory. I'm sure sometimes *gasp* they don't even use the best memory. Make no mistake that they use FUD to keep their profit margins up.

tburns

join:2006-07-19
UK

Quite.

I have seen plenty of routers shipped from Cisco with micron memory modules. Crucial is the retail part of Micron. If Micron is good enough for Cisco it should be good enough for the rest of us ;~)

And actually Cisco aren't particuarly "difficult" about 3rd paty memory. If it looks like you have a memory related problem then yes they will expect you to verify it with genuine Cisco memory (which isn't unreasonable) but for other problems it has not been an issue in my experience.


MiDiMaN888

join:2002-08-04
Flushing, NY
reply to MiDiMaN888

When I opened up my 871W, I saw the on board 128MB memory chips are actually made by Winbond. In history the quality of Winbond chips in general is not as good as Micron chips. But they are cheaper than Micron in average. I also added a half height Micron chips PC133 128MB module to my 871W, $25.00, it was pulled from an old PCs.

I ordered Crucial memory modules many times in the past, Crucial is no longer a Micron chip only company, they are selling modules with other brands on it.

Cisco documents show you how to open up routers and install memory on your own, that means they are not making it tough on voiding the warranty on self-installation activities. I am sure Cisco has calculated the potential customer support costs and expenses caused by these users activities, otherwise, they would never make those documents public.

Cisco never post detailed performance spec on their compact flash, whether it is 2x, 4x ... 120x etc. The only thing I see is the outrageous high prices. It is deceptive, it makes us think their "branded" memory is better than other brands.

I just received my SilenX 40x40x20mm fan and Transcend 128MB 80x CF, there may be other faster 128MB CF out there, but I can't find them. 80x should be good enough. There is a cheap $5 PNY brand 128MB available www.compusa.com but PNY doesn't post the spec, this Transcend 128MB 80x is around $12 including shipping. The lowest price in history was $5.00 with free shipping. Since logs will be saved to CF on 1811, I better get a fast CF for better performance.

The production of CF sizes below 512MB are becoming less and less, 2GB/4GB CF are the current main production lines. You even see 256MB CF/SD free after rebate, 512MB is just around $15. I'd suggest you to get fast 128MB CF or 256MB CF for your routers quick, don't wait any longer, once these fast and cheap CFs are gone, you will need to buy those $500 Cisco brand CFs.

I am going to install the fan and CF and let you know the result.

tburns

join:2006-07-19
UK

said by MiDiMaN888:

I ordered Crucial memory modules many times in the past, Crucial is no longer a Micron chip only company, they are selling modules with other brands on it.

That may be true but my point was that Crucial is a Micron company (whether or not they use 100% Micron memory). What expertise and quality Micron bring to Cisco memory they can bring to Crucial memory.


spamd
Premium
join:2001-04-22
Cherry Valley, IL
reply to MiDiMaN888

I agree 110% with MiDiMaN888 See Profile . Cisco does not make there own memory and fans. They buy from other makers just like everyone else does. I just ordered an 1811w from CDW today. At first was deciding on which to buy a 871w or the 1811w. After reading this post I decided on the 1811w because of his pioneering efforts to use off branded components. But before I go tearing into my new router I will test it for a few weeks just to make sure everything is in working order.
--
When everything is coming your way, you are in the wrong lane.


MiDiMaN888

join:2002-08-04
Flushing, NY
reply to MiDiMaN888

spamd: you will be happy with the performance of 1811W, see Cisco routers performance chat here:
»www.cisco.com/warp/public/765/to···ance.pdf

I found that 1811w is more easy to upgrade for flash/RAM than 871w. The 871w requires special low profile half height PC133 128MB module, such module is a bit hard to find in these days, they were very popular back in 2000 - 2003. I was just lucky to find one for $25.00, as for flash on 871w, I still can't find cheap source to upgrade the internal flash module, it is not using CF.

I installed the SilenX fan, but the result was not as good as using the original Sunon fan + fan mate. Read my first post at the beginning, once the router passes the initial boot stage the fan voltage will be at 5.38v instead of 11.58v. The SilenX is very quiet at full voltage input 3000rpm, 6 CFM, but once it is cut in half, the rpm is very low and CFM is way too weak! It is just insufficient to suck air into the router. While the SilenX fan was installed, the outside router chassis became very hot, a lot hotter than using the fan mate with fan rotation speed at minimum. So I finally took it out and put back the original one. Also the SilenX fan has all 3 wires in silver color, you will need to be extremely careful to trace which pin is + or -, a mix up will definitely causing you a big time!

It seems like the Sunon fan is very popular for 1U solution, it is "meglev" design. Much quieter than other 1U fans. The one inside mine is KDE1204PKVX, it has the highest rotation speed and CFM. There are other models available:
P.19 »www.sunon.com.tw/products/pdf/maglev.pdf

Perhaps I'd try the KDE1204PKV1, the second highest model.

"I think" by using the less high speed version of the fan, when it is at 5.38v, it will create a bit slower rotation speed and less CFM, so does fan noise, it may reach the same result as using a fan mate.

I am going to do a more accurate temperature reading next.

Also going to run a CF performance test between the original Cisco 32MB CF and the Transcend 128mb 80x CF. Will let you know.


MiDiMaN888

join:2002-08-04
Flushing, NY

1 edit
reply to MiDiMaN888

One thing worth to mention is how easy it is to copy IOS, SDM files on to the CF, and have the 1811 start running immediately without the need to telnet and tftp ios in rommon.

I just read something here about upgrading 877 flash:
»877: Problems after installing Strata Flash

That is the same situation as my 871W.

In additional to my instructions above on formatting the CF, when I first received the 1811, I just formatted a 64mb CF and copy IOS and required SDM files on to the PC formatted CF, then put it into the router CF slot and boot up. Although the router couldn't list the CF directory when I "dir", but it did boot up the IOS without any problem, from there I was able to do other CLI activities. I didn't even need to tftp the IOS.


MiDiMaN888

join:2002-08-04
Flushing, NY

4 edits
reply to MiDiMaN888

After you receive your new router, you may want to make a complete image backup of the CF first, even before booting it up for the first time, below is what you need to do.

There are many tools out there can do the job, but I use All Image. It is pretty straight forward. Download here:
»www.towodo.com/products/allimage/

Below is the instruction for using All Image:
1. Plug the Cisco CF to a memory card reader and attach to a PC.
2. Run All Image.
3. Select your memory card reader drive letter in Disk Drive pull down box.
4. Enter a valid Image File name.
5. Click Read Disk button.
6. Now you should have an exact image backup of the Cisco CF.

You can restore the CF image easily if the CF is corrupted one day, or transfer it to another CF card with very little effort.

To restore select Write Disk instead.

Another interesting discovery. I insert other larger size CFs to the router CF slot and they can all be formatted even up to 2GB. Initially I formatted these CFs once via a memory card reader attached to the router USB port, but the router couldn't read the CFs properly from the CF slot.

- 512MB Sandisk Ultra II CF
- 2GB Kingston Elite Pro 50x CF

And the router is able to load IOS from the above CFs!

So we don't need to stick to the old and outdated 128MB CF. This is good news.

On the other hand, the 128MB Transcend that I bought specially for this router seems to be not working on this router!!! I actually bought 2, and both of them didn't work!!!

#dir
Flash card inserted in flash. Reading filesystem...
Error reading flash
%Error opening flash:/ (No device available)

#format flash:
Format operation may take a while. Continue? [confirm]
Format operation will destroy all data in "flash:". Continue? [confirm]
Enter volume ID (up to 64 chars)[default flash]:
%Error formatting flash (No device available)

It cannot even be detected or formatted on the router!

****** DO NOT BUY Transcend 128MB 80x for this router ******