EeePC fan makes rattling, clicking noises

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Gullible Jones, Aug 18, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. My EeePC's fan has been making an annoying rattling noise for a week or so. So this evening I opened up the netbook, dusted out the interior, and checked to make sure there wasn't dust or pet hairs or something caught in the fan. There wasn't.

    However, the rattling sound is now more pronounced than ever, and accompanied by something I can only describe as a Gollumesque gurgling click.

    Is the fan motor dying, or is it possible that something else is going on?
     
  2. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Posts:
    6,956
    Location:
    Somethingshire
    open the notebook and see if you can pinpoint what is causing that sound. It could be the fan gone out of alignment
     
  3. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,265
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    If you can VERY CAREFULLY touch the center hub of the spinning fan with your finger for just a slight second, ensuring you touch nothing else, try that to momentarily slow the fan down - just long enough to detect any change in the fan's noise. If the noise is actually coming from the fan motor, the fan's noise, including the bad sound will change in pitch with the speed change.

    If the bad sound does change when the fan slows down, you have verified the bearings in the fan motor are bad and the fan needs to be replaced before the bearings seize and you have no cooling.

    If slowing down the fan does not result in a change in the noise, then it is likely a different motor going bad. Perhaps from a different fan, or a drive motor.

    Finding a replacement fan of the right size (width and thickness) and air moving capability (CFM - cubic feet/minute) may be the hardest part. Replacing the fan will be easy for an experience technician.

    Note fans are relatively inexpensive but you should avoid the very cheap or soon you will be back with worn out bearings again. The best fans use precision ball, or some form of fluid-based bearings. These last longer, create less vibration and less noise.

    If the noise is coming from a drive motor, you need to NOW! backup any data on that drive you don't want to lose.
     
  4. Thanks... FWIW the fan actually produces less noise (none, really) when it's going at full speed. It's only when it's at low speed that I hear the rattling and clicking.

    Thankfully, I'm pretty sure the problem is not the hard drive...
     
  5. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,265
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    That seems normal.

    When riding a bicycle, if you go too slow, the tires are not spinning enough to generate enough "gyroscopic" effect to keep you balanced and stable. With just the two points touching the ground, if you don't have Olympic balancing skills, you start to lose your balance and "wobble", like a spinning top running out of speed. Same thing with a spinning fan with worn fan bearings spinning around a single fan spindle (center axel).

    Unless the fan blades are precision balanced (and that would be very costly), the slower speeds will result in more wobble. And wobbling worn bearings can make a whole lot of racket.

    Who knows how long that fan will last? All I can say is it will fail - all fans will, eventually. But I can also say fans that have developed noisy bearings are in the process of failing now. The increased friction will create more heat that will compromise the lubricant's long-term effectiveness, accelerating the failing process even further. That fan will fail completely sooner, rather than later.

    Note too what will likely happen is this. All will be great the day before. The next morning, the fan has seized. The cooled and thickened compromised lubricant and worn bearings are locked up tight. You might be able to give it flick and nurse it along for a few more days, or maybe not.

    If you need this computer (or the data on it), this is something you should not put off getting fixed.
     
  6. Again, thank you. Fortunately I have current backups of all my data... Guess I'll have to see about getting a replacement fan.
     
  7. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,265
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    Great! :thumb:
     
  8. Well the fan chose today to die on me. Unfortunately I had my headphones on when it happened, and only noticed because the netbook was getting quite hot under my fingertips. :eek: But as far as I can tell the netbook is not damaged.

    Unfortunately though, there is a problem I will have to solve before ordering a replacement part: the fan appears to be glued to the heatsinks, and the heatsinks appear to be glued to the mainboard with some kind of hard-setting thermal compound. As far as I can tell, it's all supposed to stay stuck together.

    What's the recommended way (assuming there is one) for dealing with such situations?
     
  9. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,265
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    There are many TIMs (thermal interface materials) that are "adhesive" TIM, designed to attach heat sinks to devices that do not have latching/clamping mechanisms to hold the assembly in place.

    Some are very good at adhering - too good. :( Extreme care must be taken - as well as a little luck.

    Usually, however, with care and patience, you can break the seal and remove the heatsink. Here is the recommended way,
    1. Run the computer for just a few seconds to heat up (but not overheat) the chip. This will (hopefully) slightly soften the cured TIM,

    2. Quickly turn-off, unplug from wall, touch bare metal to put you and computer at same potential - thus preventing any static (ESD) damage,

    3. Carefully grap the heat sink and WITHOUT PULLING, twist the heatsink ever so slightly, back and forth, back and forth until (hopefully) the bond breaks, before the chip does,

    4. Clean the mating surfaces thoroughly with 91% Isopropyl alcohol or Acetone (in well ventilated area - with no spark/flame/ignition devices nearby),

    5. Apply a proper layer of TIM as per TIM instructions and attach heatsink assembly,

    6. Walkaway for designated curing time. ​

    Note - "Adhesive" TIM should NEVER be used on ICs with heatsinks that have latching or clamping mechanisms - like most CPUs.
     
  10. Thanks... As it turns out that wasn't needed though. I was wrong about the adhesive - there were two hidden screws that I hadn't seen. :p
     
  11. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    2,265
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.