1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Repair your noisy CPU and system fans

By nork ยท 98 replies
Jun 25, 2006
Post New Reply
  1. kullbone

    kullbone TS Rookie

    powdered artists graphite?

    Great tip, thanks!

    But before I try it...

    I have about 20 lbs of powdered graphite on hand. Yes I know, way too much, but I get it free. I was wondering if this is the same stuff as you can buy in the automotive or hardware stores.

    I use it in artwork, but if I have a ton of the stuff at hand....why would I buy any to repair my PC?

    If you want to test it, a jug of Generals Pure Powdered Graphite is only about 8 bucks.
  2. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,380   +53

  3. nork

    nork TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 303

    kullbone: Powdered graphite is powdered graphite so it should work, unless its adulterated with some other chemicals or agents. But as long as it only powdered graphite then it will work. You could make a business out of selling it if you get so much for free as you only need the smallest amount to repair a noisy fan. I would say that if there were no spillage or wasting when applied then you could fix 20 to 30 fans from a level teaspoon of it!
    supersmashbrada: I dont have experience with that cooler, but a fan is a fan, so the graphite would likely work. It certainly wont do any harm if you pack the graphite in the right place. The fan may be made to be loud and thus not affected by the graphite or maybe the fan is not so great and then the graphite will eliminate the noise, or reduce it greatly.
    It really does work so its worth a try, and it wont do any harm to the fan even if it doesnt take care of the noise so you cant lose by trying. Hope to hear from you that you did and it works!
  4. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,380   +53

    I'll let you know my result, thx a lot.
  5. LyricallyIsane1

    LyricallyIsane1 TS Rookie Posts: 28

    I really dont know anythin about Pc fan maintence,So can you tell me what kind of oil to use specifically? thanks
  6. nork

    nork TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 303

    Really, you can use just about any clear oil that is not thick. For instance, standard motor oil would work but my guess is that it might be better to go with clearer oil that is not any thicker than motor oil and probably thinner is best. You can get a small can of sewing machine oil with a needle type end on it. Personally i find that sewing machine oil is too thin, but again, it will work. Problem is that it wont work for that long, the oil will dissipate due to the heat in the fan assembly and you end up back at square one with a noisy fan.

    I am pretty sure that somewhere in this thread i pointed out that one good source of oil is the pen-barrel type. Now that is my description of it so let me explain. Its a clear, round tube, about the same thickness of a pen and maybe 4 inches or so long. One end has a needle on it. The needle may have a cap on it but when you take the cap off you find a needle. The needle is there to help you place the oil exactly where you want it to go. You squeeze the tube and oil comes out the end of the needle. Also, you can refill this tube with other oil.
    To me, any fairly clear to amber oil will do, within reason. It just cant be too thick. But again, even motor oil will work fine. But you would have to put the motor oil into the empty barrel of the pen-barrel oil stick that i am talking about.
    This post is bound to get a few replies. It shouldnt, though, because its not really that big an issue what oil you use as the graphite is far more important. So standard, common sense should prevail here.
    The oil only spreads the graphite around faster. But only use powdered graphite, not graphite oil as this oil is way too thin to be of any lasting goodness, this oil will evaporate in a few days. Use powdered graphite and you can use only the powder, you dont even have to use oil. If you are only going to use one thing, use the graphite!
  7. danimur

    danimur TS Member Posts: 24

    Hello Nork,

    I have used your method as well I used graphite vaseline.

    Both methods worked as charmed.

    Thanks again
  8. nork

    nork TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 303

    danimur: I dont think there is such a thing as graphite vaseline so i imagine you meant to print graphite and vaseline?
    On very worn fans you must use graphite, but on only lightly worn fans you can get away with greases and oils. However, the fix wont last as long and sooner or later the fan gets noisy again. But if you fix a fan once with graphite powder you usually dont have to fix it the second time. Thats the key to all this, graphite not only does a better job but it also lasts longer. But that isnt to say that oil or grease wont work. They will work, just not as good or as long as graphite.

    Its easy to imagine why once you have tried to use powdered graphite as you will find that it goes into the pores of the skin on your finger and you can feel that it is very very slick. And it goes into all pores, wether its the pores on the skin on your finger or the pores of the plastic of metal of the fan blades. or on the ball bearings or sleeves inside the fan. Either way, once you handle this stuff you realize why and how it works so well. A caution again, you dont want to get this stuff on your best jeans, lol.
  9. danimur

    danimur TS Member Posts: 24

    graphite vaseline

    Hello Nork

    I don't want to argue with you but the graphite vaseline there is on the market.
    It is used to grease the door locks of the cars, against freeze.

    It is a blend of pure vaseline (99%) and graphite, a bottle of 350 gr. it costs 8.30 Euro.

    I'm sorry to disappont you.

    Thanks anyway.
  10. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,380   +53

    I dont think you disappointing him, I do think you're being an a**hole. Nork wasnt trying to come off like he knew everything, he was basically stating what he knew. Remember he's here helping us, making our machines more quiet. Also you're the one asking him questions, try to respectfully not be a dumb *** when someone is tryin to help you.

    Nork: I removed my very loud 92mm fan from my freezone and put the graphite in the middle where the bearrings are. I borrowed my dads noise calculator (and yes that's what it says on it, dont know the tech term for it) Before my freezone fan was running at 40dbs, and it wasnt even on high. Now I'm running it same speed at 18dbs. Thanks a lot, this really helped out a lot.
  11. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,049   +15

    Wow, thats an incredible difference!!

    Just a question, were both readings taken at about the same time (just before putting in graphite, and just after), at the same place?

    I had the impression that you had a new fan on that freezone, I don't think it should have worn out so fast to make such a huge difference in noise...

    at 18dB, you shouldn't be able to hear it at all, compared to the tornado sounding 40dB. 40dB is about 22 times louder than 18dB. Not a typo, thats twenty two times louder.
  12. nork

    nork TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 303

    supersmashbrada, thanks for the defence! I appreciate it. My hockey team, Toronto maple leafs, could use you next year, lol!
    danimur, i thought you made a typing mistake as i have never heard of vaseline with graphite in it. But it would certainly do the job. However, i have repaired a whole lot of fans and i have found that there should be a lot of graphite and only a little oil. In your case it seems its a lot of vaseline and only a little graphite. Yes, it will work, but i just wonder how long? With oil a fan repair either doesnt work or only lasts a while as the oil burns off in the heat. So i expect that the vaseline will burn off as well. It may take longer, a month or more, but i expect it will burn off as well. But i dont know that for sure so it would be good to hear from you in a few months.
    But again, any oil will oil a fan and will help most fans but it wont last, it will burn off. But graphite doesnt burn off and graphite binds much better than oil and is even more slippery than oil. There is a term for "slippery" that i just cant think of at the moment, but it just means that the fan will work better with less noise. One such term, if i recall, would be "drag co-efficient" but we dont need to get that technical here, lol.
    Personally, i will stick with using either all graphite powder or almost all graphite powder and a small bit of oil as i have had such great success with this method. But others may want to know where to get this vaseline with graphite. The only problem i see is that you have quoted its 99% vaseline so its only 1% graphite. To be sure, in my mind, thats not near enough graphite. The repair will work, but for how long. And it will work for a noisy fan but will it work for an old fan that really needs attention, and, again, for how long? These are all things that will have to be answered, whereas, with the powdered graphite, i waited for a couple years of testing before i gave out this info to the public so that it could be guaranteed.
    supersmashbrada, although i am not really surprised that is one heck of a difference you are reporting. I certainly believe it as i have repaired some pretty beat up fans and reduced sound by quite a bit, i just dont have the measurement capabilities of CMH.
    Either way, this graphite is a powerful substance. It beats oil as a repair material very badly, and look at how many fans we use, case fans, cpu fans, video card fans (these can really benefit from a graphite application), bridge fans, removable drive fans, hard drive fans, and even power supply fans. But one has to be really careful with power supply fans as you can get a shock very easily, so first find out how to do this. On the other hand, i have repaired many power supply fans so the power supply could keep on trucking!
  13. nork

    nork TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 303

    And as for oil, its not really needed. I refer to supersmashbrada's post, just above, all he used was the graphite. Graphite is the main ingredient needed to repair a fan for a long time. Oil, vaseline, or anything else, can only help to spread the graphite around. I should have said, in my first post, to try graphite without oil first. If that fails, add a small touch of oil. That is really the best way to go. Some fans, you cant quite get at the bearings or sleeves that easy. But, supersmashbrada was able to get directly at the bearings on his fan so the graphite worked fine without any oil.
    I am going to amend my thread when i put it up again some other place, just so people understand that what is needed is 99% to 100% graphite, with or without a small bit of oil, if needed.
    This is my opinion, from my experience over the years.
    I am waiting to hear from people who used graphite 6 months ago and their fans are still working fine. Now, of course, this wont work on every fan. Some fans get really bad before they start making a lot of noise. When you repair a very worn out fan its not too likely to last a real long time. But when you add graphite to a fairly new fan that is just a bit noisy, well, that repair will last for years. I know, i have fans on my 5 year old system that i repaired once with graphite.
    Another thing, which i am sure that others can back me up on. Those cases we buy that you put a hard drive in, they have usb and or firewire connections on them. Some have fans and these fans are very expensive to replace and they almost always start making a ton of noise. Now, when i buy a new case, i immediately add graphite to the fan before i even start it up for the first time. And i do that with most fans as it will extend their life if you add graphite to them when new. I should put that in my first thread i suppose, i just dont like to appear to pushy or seem to be going overboard with this. But i just know how well it works. I have saved some really worn out fans over the years i can tell you that much.
  14. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,380   +53

    Both readings were taken right at cpu start up with no other applications running. I had the setting on medium both times, same speed, yes the fan is new, but it spins almost twice as fast as your "normal" 92mm case fan. This thing is ultra silent right now, and since I have my freezone set to medium instead of low, my c2q temps are peaking at 25C instead of the 30C it was on low.
  15. beef_jerky4104

    beef_jerky4104 Banned Posts: 782

    Cool. Thanks for the post. This my stupid old 80mm fans are quite now.
  16. nork

    nork TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 303

    supersmashbrada, thanks again for your help.
    So you are running the fan at medium instead of low due to lower noise factor, right? And, of course, that cools your cpu more.
    Thats great!! Your info is probably the best example of what graphite powder can do for a fan, so thanks for letting us know about it!
  17. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,380   +53

    oh np, I'm actually about to test out the Zalmans 9700 heatsink, Want to see what I can do with it and this graphite.
  18. mookiehk

    mookiehk TS Rookie

    Fan noise

    My computer fan is super noisy. Is your solution above applicable to all fans or are some fan just noisy after over years of usage?

  19. Jamrock

    Jamrock TS Rookie

    Excellent tip!...Thanks for sharing
  20. wesson123970

    wesson123970 TS Rookie

    Removing cpu fan from body

    thanks a lot for the tip on quieting fans and making them last longer. I have to repair a lot of older pcs throughout the day and many of the cpu fans are noisy. i have noticed though, that some of the cpu fans don't have the 'holes' you mentioned for lubing beneath the sticker...on the top or bottom. i've also noticed that the fans are pretty easy to 'pop out' of their housing so you can actually clean the inside (using wd-40) magnet and shaft and oil it while it's apart. my question is, is this safe?...as long as it 'pops' back in and doesn't easily pull apart once you've reassembled it?

    thanks for your help in advance!

    wes king
  21. nork

    nork TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 303

    Sorry, somehow i didnt see this post, not sure why i wasnt emailed, maybe i was, dont know for sure.
    But, yes, you wont have any problem if you lube it and put it back together and go.
  22. hormonat

    hormonat TS Rookie

    thx Nork for this priceless info. well done..
  23. nork

    nork TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 303

    hormonat, thanks, because its people like you and the others who have reported success that make this post good because others see the results and go out and get the items i mentioned, try it out for themselves, see how well it works, and then report it here!

    It really does work and its even good for the fans on those expensive video cards too! I have had emails from people specifically saving their video card fans!

    I know it works but i am really glad to see others trying it and reporting success.

    Now i have taken up the habit of applying my "fix" on all fans i get before i even start using them. My thoughts are that this will work even better as it will prevent any wear and tear right from the start. This graphite, if you get some on your fingers, you can see why it works so well because when you rub one finger on the other you dont get any friction at all. Its a tremendous product! And, as i said in my original post, its better than oil as a lubricant, but it also lasts a lot longer as it doesnt dissipate with heat the way that plain oil does. So there are several reasons for using graphite powder.
    I use it when i get a new lawnmover as the wheels dont wear out like they used to and i use it on almost anything i buy that has wheels or any parts that can wear out! I find that the graphite prevents wear and tear. So you can use this same method on all sorts of things! I hope to hear more stories showing how well it works. The more good reports the more others will use graphite.
    And for the naysayers, which hasnt happened yet, but could, i ask you please to not post here. My reason is that one naysayer can turn one person off who would have used my method and i know for a fact it works and doesnt cause any problems at all.

  24. keithk

    keithk TS Rookie


    Brilliant idea am gunna do just that and thanks
  25. nork

    nork TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 303

    It will work.

    I have repaired quite a few video card fans and we all know how much these video cards cost.

    And i have had a ton of feedback from people who have followed my instructions, works all the time. Of course there is always that one fan that is too far gone to repair and i have run into them myself, but its actually fairly rare. My guess is that 98 to 99% of fans will work when done with this method.

    I have taken to using my method even on new fans, get them before they go bad and they will last virtually forever. Again very important for vid card fans.
    Some are hard to open up though.

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...