What Is an Amplifier Fan?

G. Wiesen

An amplifier fan is designed to assist in cooling off amplifiers, or amps, and similar electronic devices through additional air movement. These devices are often designed to function with amps for car stereos, which frequently include heatsinks that pull heat away from electronics within the amp into metal fins. An amplifier fan can be connected to the amp itself, and blow cool air over the metal fins to assist the heatsink in reducing the temperature of the amplifier. There are also a number of fans and cooling devices that can be used with home theater equipment, including amps, to prevent buildup of heat during operation.

Active heatsinks are designed to move heat away from a computer's central processing unit using a fan, while passive heatsinks use no fan.
Active heatsinks are designed to move heat away from a computer's central processing unit using a fan, while passive heatsinks use no fan.

The major purpose of an amplifier fan is to assist an amp system with cooling, though it is not always sufficient by itself. Like other types of fans, a number of spinning blades are used to move air through the fan toward a particular direction. An amplifier fan blowing directly at an amp does not necessarily cool it down; instead it is typically designed to function with other cooling components in the amp. This usually takes the form of a heatsink which is installed in or directly connected to the electronic components in an amplifier.

A heatsink typically works through conductive materials and surface contact with electronics that build up heat during use. The heat is transferred by contact from the electronics into the heatsink, which then transfers the heat to metal fins that release it into the surrounding air. Use of an amplifier fan blowing toward these fins can greatly improve the ability for heat to be transferred out of the system and into the air. Many systems include a thermistor that can be used to control when an amplifier fan comes on. The thermistor allows the fan to come on automatically when the amp reaches a certain temperature, but to shut off again once this is reduced sufficiently.

Home theaters can also include an amplifier fan and various cooling devices to reduce the temperature of amps and other electrical equipment. These fans are often used to move hot air out of a closed system, such as an amp sitting in a piece of furniture, to help keep the system cool and prevent overheating. An amplifier fan for use in a home theater is typically designed to operate at high speeds. The spinning blades of these fans are designed to produce very little sound, however, which allows someone viewing a home theater to remain unaware of their operation.

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