Fan stopped working

By Lost2006
Apr 30, 2006
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  1. My computer was making incredibly loud noises. I have 2 desktops and a laptop. Both the laptop and one of the older desktops I used for typing/printing only started making noises. Since the laptop is new I fixed it immediately (bought the warranty and everything). Now the older PC, I tried fixing it myself. I cleaned the fan. And it actually started working again. But now, a week after the cleaning the fan doesn't work at all. The computer has been on for 3 days and it's still working. Just out of curiosity, how long can a computer last before it dies without a CPU fan?

    I'm going to buy one today though. Is it enough if I just tell them the stuff that's written on the CPU fan (CPU COOLER - DC 12V / 0.09 A - PL 50S12M) or do I have to measure it? It's around 2.5" long I think. Maybe even less. I'd appreciate any help.

    update: OK for no reason whatsoever my fan seemed to have started spinning now. The only difference I noticed is the room temperature. When it wasn't spinning the room was very cold (open window all night). Now it's warmer by at least 7C and it started working for no reason. Does the room temp have anything to do with it?
  2. KingCody

    KingCody TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,568   +7

    hi lost and welcome to Techspot :)

    you obviously have an Intel because an AMD system would have shut down if the fan stopped spinning (due the the CPU overheating)

    however, certain Intel systems (i'm not sure if some or all) will slow down to a crawl but will still remain on. If the fan stops spinning the HSF turns into a passive cooler, the CPU will downclock itself so that it will not overheat.

    as far as what HSF you need to buy to replace it. if you're only going to replace the fan itself (which i dont recommend) then you can pretty much replace it with any 3wired 12v fan of the same size. if your going to replace thewhole HFS unit (which is what you should do) then you need to know the CPU and socket type so that it attaches correctly
  3. Lost2006

    Lost2006 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I have to admit I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't know computer terms so I don't know what HFS stands for.

    Also can you explain why my fan works now but didn't earlier? Does it mean it's defective? And if so, why is it bad just to replace the fan? Will it work if I just replace the fan? Because I wouldn't know how to replace the whole thing to be honest.
  4. KingCody

    KingCody TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,568   +7

    i said HSF, not HFS... lol :)

    HSF stands for heatsink/fan. the HSF is designed as a single unit. i suppose if you could match the CFM (cubic feet per minute) to the old one it would work just as good.

    your system is not in front of me, so i cant explain it's behavior. your fan is not defective because it worked fine before, it's simply getting old. a simple way to check if it's any good is to spin it with your finger (with the system off of course). it it spins freely and doesn't stop the instant you pull your finger away then the fan is still good, if the fan is very resistant to manual spinning, then it's probably caked with dust and all it's lubrication has dried up -in this case it will need to be replaced.
  5. Lost2006

    Lost2006 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I tried that earlier today. It's spinning freely. I don't understand why it didn't spin before and now started again. I just hope it won't stop spinning again. If it does, I'll replace it.

    I'm still wondering how it's possible that I could still use my computer if my fan was off. I know you said Intels do that (Yes, it's an intel). Does that mean it has extra cooling from some other source? And if so, how long can it work with that cooling alone? I won't risk it in case it stops spinning again, but I'm still wondering.
  6. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,572   +9

    Your Intel still has the heatsink attached to it, and it still loses heat passively. The fan helps by blowing away the hot air (you want Newton's cooling formulas? :D) and thus it cools faster.

    Given that stock fans probably don't move that much air (its barely over 1W), it shouldn't make such a huge difference, especially if you've got a big case fan close to it.

    You asked how long it can last before burning out the comp. About as long as it'll last before it burns out naturally (about 10 years from new, give or take abit). You might lose a couple of years running it a little hotter, but if your comp is 8 years old, you should consider an upgrade anyway. Not to mention the other moving parts will run into problems much sooner than your CPU will (parts like your Hard Disk Drives (HDD), CDRW/CDROM/DVDROM/DVDRW (Optical drives), other fans (on the case/Power Supply Unit (PSU)), etc).

    Also, we're assuming you're running a P4 (Fan specs doesn't seem like P3). If its not P4, there might not be the auto-shutdown-when-overheat feature, and this may be bad. AMDs of the same time have the same mechanism.
  7. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,572   +9

    Also, you might want to get a can of air and blow out the heatsink, and the problematic fan to get rid of the dust. Do not use a vacuum cleaner, unless you formally know how to use it with electronics. Most enthusiasts here use an air can for cleaning purposes.
  8. KingCody

    KingCody TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,568   +7

    no, there is no other source. your HSF simply changes from an active cooler to a passive cooler. it still radiates heat as it's supposed to.

    the CPU will downclock itself (run at a slower speed) to reduce power consumption and heat output (the less power going into it, the less heat coming out of it). as long as it runs slow then it can continue to run on passive cooling.

    hope that clearifies things a bit :)
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