Aquacomputer Aquaero 5 XT Preview & Guide

Posted: December 20, 2011 in Control-Monitor
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Welcome to my review of the Aquaero 5 XT controller. While there are many manual fan controllers out there and some software controlled options, few take the features and control as far as the Aquaero 5.  This is not the first iteration of the aquaero, it’s been many years in development through previous generations, so quite a history(since 2004) behind it.  While I have done some testing on the aquastream XT here, this is my first look at a controller as advanced as the aquaero XT 5 and it is without a doubt the most feature rich and most highly configurable controller out there.  Calling it a fan controller really doesn’t do the product justice as it is so much more and really acts as a mini computer to monitor and control your entire computer cooling system.

Before getting started, I’d like to thank Shoggy from for supplying this review sample. Thanks!

The product I’m reviewing is the top model aquaero XT with IR remote as you see above but there are several model options and many accessories to chose from that I’ll go into later.


Aqua-computers called it the “Aquaero” because it serves to integrate controls for and between water and air and I think that pretty fitting.While it does control fans,  it also does much more to act as the brains and control behind both a normal PC and also HTPC with all the IR connection features and ability to control other IR devices through the Aquaero 5. I basically gives you the ability to monitor, adjust, and dynamically control pretty much anything air, water, and light related.  Since I’m a visual person, I created this simplified diagram to show the various communications that may occur depending on the setup.

A big part of my intent of this guide/review is to emphasize on the “Guide” portion by learning how to use the controller and sharing what I’ve learned.


  • Processor – 32bit, 48MHz with Watchdog functions
  • Flash Memory (140,000)
  • 148mm wide x 42mm tall x 62mm deep
  • Built programmable buzzer for alarm and key notes
  • Standby power via USB or 5V standby connector
  • Automatically determines which sensors are present and lists in menus
  • Automatically adjusts menus to custom renamed sensor values

LCD (XT and Pro models)

  • Backlight LCD
  • 256 x 64 resolution, 20 fps
  • Black and white (reversible & adjustible)
  • Configure menus and up to 32 customizable information pages (scrolling)


  • Native USB 2.0 Interface to PC (no need for special drivers)
  • 1x aquabus low speed interface  (multiswitch or tubemeter)
  • 1x aquabus high speed interface (aquastream xt or poweradjust 2)
  • Universal infrared receiver (Pro or XT models)
  • Device buttons – XT=3 capacitive navigation, 4 menu/programmable, Pro=3 mechanical navigation, LT-none
  • Remote Control “Aquaremote” (XT included) optional for “Pro”
  • External IR transmitter output expandable to control other devices
  • Remote control may also be switch to control the computer (minimal mouse/keyboard control)
Fan Channel Output
  • 4x dedicated fan channels (expandable to 10 via up to 6ea poweradjusts)
  • PWM free analog DC voltage to prevent noise capable
  • Channel #2 may be converted to flow sensor
  • Channel #4 may be used to control 4 pin PWM fans/pumps
  • Max Current @12V= 1.65A/channel, max total 5A (Heat Limited)
  • Min & Max Power Setting
  • Min & Max RPM Setting
  • Startboost functions (Improves low speed startup)
  • Programmable Fuse function (1000mA)
  • Fan channels could also be used to feed pumps withing current limits.
Other Channel Outputs
  • 1X 3 pin Relay – 12V, 1A may be used for emergency shut down or other uses
  • 2x 2 pin PWM – 12V, 1A modulated at 15 kHz.  May be used for lighting.
  • 1X RGB-LED 4 pin output – up to three single color LEDs or one RGB module. 20mA, 3-4V.  Resistor built in AQ5.
  • 1X “Tacho” signal generator for Alarm functions to motherboard.
Temperature sensors external
  • 8x analog sensors ports (expandable to 40) 10kOhm NTC
  • 4x sofware sensors
  • 4x virtual sensors (Min, Mas, Delta, Abs. Delta)
  • Renaming of sensors
  • Calibration of analog sensors by offset
Temperature sensors internal (built in)
  • 1x aquaero cpu sensor
  • 4x fan amp sensors
Flow sensors external
  • 1x dedicated port
  • 2x ports if using fan port #2 as flow sensor
  • Default calibration values for AC sensor
  • Custom calibration in pulses per liter in 1 pulse increments
  • Fans – RPM, %, Voltage, Current
  • Temperature Sensors –  Degrees C/F/K
  • AquastreamXT Pump – Speed in Hz, Current, RPM, Voltage
  • Fill Level
  • Power Consumption using flow rate and temperature differential values
  • Logging and programmable charting functions
  • May program controls of Fans and RGB-LED
  • 4x Curve controllers – 16 point programmable curves targeting temp sensors
  • 8x Target value controllers – Programmable PID targeting control
  • 16X Two point controllers – Simple on/off lower/upper control
  • 32X Preset value – Constant
  • 1X RGB LED controller
Alarm Functions
  • Can be triggered by Temperature, Fans, Flow, Pump, Fill level
  • A variety of programmable actions: speed signal generator, buzzer,relay trigger, profile loading, power down
  • Aquasuite 2012 – Allows configuration & monitoring of the unit. Settings can be saved to unit (autonomous)
  • Aquaero 5 – Software sensor tool –  Allows reading of 4X software sensors from speedfan and other programs (must be running)
So, without a doubt the AQ5 is busting out the seams in features and really has no equivalent or competition boasting this sort of feature set.   While I’ve already hit on a few notes about the model versions in the features list, next I’ll give you a bit more detail about the model versions available and expansion options.

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  1. Scott3 says:

    At the end of August, Aquacomputer announced the new version, the Aquaero 6. Among other changes, the AE6 offers PWM as well as voltage control of non-PWM fans for all four fan channels, instead of just one PWM channel as on the AE5. The AE6 also has a higher current rating for each voltage controlled channel, 2.5A, up from about 1.6A (and that is pushing it) on the AE5. Aquacomputer supposedly says that the AE6 can handle up to 20 voltage controlled fans, or one Laing D5 pump PER CHANNEL! There are other improvements as well. Here is a link to the English language AC forum post about the new AE6. On that page there is a video demonstration of the AE& running a total of 40 PWM fans and two Laing D5 pumps.

    The only bummer is that they will not be building an AE6 LT version, without the faceplate. If you want LT, you have to buy an AE5.


    • Martinm210 says:

      Saw that, but I don’t like PWM based controllers myself. Some fans are sensetive to PWM frequency and it can cause noise. This is what caused all the noise complaints with the H100i v1. V2 went to actual PWM capable 4 pin fans. I have seen it with custom built PWM controllers as well. One of those that may work perfect for 99% of the fans out there but 1% could have trouble. I have also seen this with some other PWM fan controller. Hopefully that has been thought through and tested well enough. I prefer true analog voltage for 3pin fan control myself. It produces a lot of heat but it is the best for fan noise.

  2. Sebastian says:

    The aquaero 6 has true analog voltage outputs at all 4 fan connectors. Now you have the option between voltage controlling or controlling the fan via PWM control signal (4-pin).

  3. Larry says:

    Your review is excellent. I have been reading your reviews for at least 5 years and never made a comment. Did a lot of thinking about posting a comment on Aqua Computer products prior to making this post. If nothing else I hope it will wake up Aqua Computer they have excellent hardware from your reviews including other reviews I have read. To be honest rather disappointed in Aqua Computer. Sure Aqua Computer has excellent products and the quality of there products is not I n question. A product is not only thing that makes a product stand out above the rest or be number one on the market. Aqua Computer Customer Support is lacking including there forums. I have done 2 post asking some very basic questions concerning fan control, pump control and the proper placement for temperature sensors. Warranty and RMA procedures in case of a product failure. Not only myself there is a number of other post as well with basic questions and no answers tot he questions in the forums. Sent the same questions to tech support. Hum no answers to my questions after waiting patiently for 3 weeks. There is absolutely no excuse for not answering a customer or potential customer questions. Aqua Computer is very lacking in customer service so that makes there products fourth rate at the very best. Spent a good number of hours reading there forums and searching the net for answers concerning proper hardware installation procedures on the Aquaero Pro 6 of 25 fans and 2 pumps with out damaging the controller because of high voltage and amps. Simple question. But reading the PWM is not quite as simple. While my computer hardware knowledge on your standards is limited have built a number of computers for my self and friends as well none with 25 case fans. If you are Techy Tech or not is not the question. If a potential customer has a question or multiple questions they should be answered techy tech or not. Any top rated company realizes the importance of customer support the questions should be answered period it does not matter if it a mom and pop business or a major corp. It is called customer service and respect to customers. Was really looking forward to purchasing a number of Aqua Computer products to install in a CaseLabs case. Aqua Computer lost a potential customer because of there support issues hopefully in the future they will realize the importance of customer support. I would certainly reconsider making a purchase if I could see the value in there customer support.

    • madcratebuilder says:

      I agree that AQ is severely lacking in customer support in the English language. If I had not located the full 48 page AQ 6 manual in English I would be lost at setting up the AQ 6, I still have many questions. Aquacomputer well never realize the potential of the US market until they address the customer support issue. AQ produces fine equipment but I would not recommend them to a friend that was not a hardware geek because of the lack of support.

      Hey Martin, I’m looking for a “contribute” link, got one?