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Thread: Unclogging a fan?

  1. #1

    Default Unclogging a fan?

    I have a HP Pavilion.

    It started randomly shutting off a few weeks ago, and I noticed it was getting really, really hot on the bottom. Now it started doing it more and more, then it started making a funny noise.

    I have had it on a cakerack cooler thinger, with a fan blowing on it, seems to help but annoys me.

    I'm pretty sure that it's my fan. Do you think it might just be clogged? Any way I can fix it without opening up.

    I do have a warranty with Best Buy, I'd just rather save the trip across town if I can.

  2. #2

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    I hear a simple can of compressed air works fine. However, I would still wait for a few more answers before thinking it's that simple.

  3. #3

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    If that's the problem, compressed air, as Anon E. Mouse suggests, ought to do the trick. However, it could also be that you have a fan that's seized. This is especially common if your fan is a sleeve bearing fan (in my experience, at least). With the computer off, try spinning the blades of the fan with your fingers. If they don't turn freely (and don't spin after you let go) then you probably have a bad bearing. Not to worry, though. Case fans are cheap and easy to replace. Just order one online and it'll take you about 5 minutes to change once you have it.

  4. #4

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    Is the fan pulling in cool air? Is the rear fan exhausting warm air? As a general rule, in a dusty environment you should clean it out every three months, but I only give mine a through cleaning every twelve months (I'm always working on it so dust gets disturbed and doesn't really settle).

    If you plan to use a can of compressed air, do NOT hold it upside down and do NOT use it inside, you will blow dust everywhere! It's also not recommended that you do this while the side panel is on, as this will blow dust around inside the system and could cause more problems.

    If it is still under warranty take it back to BestBuy and have the so-called "Geek Squad" take a look at it.

    Otherwise, if trying not to destroy warranty seals is your thing, undo two screws on the very right side of the case (at the back), this will release the side panel, then don't be afraid to give it a good blast with your canned air (or a proper air compressor if you have one, NOT those compressors that run off your car battery for pumping up the tire).

    Hope this helps.

    Also, if you only have a little while left, I'd just forget about the warranty if I were you. You can be seriously ripped of for something that only needs a $15 can of compressed air and ten minutes work. I have heard of tragic stories where people have been conned into paying for new computer parts when they work perfectly fine already, then there is the stupid "labor" fee, hell if I actually got $30 per hour to fix a computer I would have taken up a repair job when I started walking!

  5. #5

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    Erm! I forgot to mention that I have a laptop, I imagine that changes things. >.>


    The fan, when I put my hand over, does blow out a bit of cool air, that part of the laptop is a bit less-warm than the other ones... but it's still not as cool as it should be. I'll try the compressed air, can I do that without taking it apart?


    And yesh, I'd rather -not- bring it into the geek squad. but I'm also not going to purchase any parts, they can do that if it has to be done

  6. #6

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    Oh! Laptops are a bit of a mystery to me. Just where does it feel hot? Does it feel hot around the vent, the fan, or the battery?

    If it's not too hot around the vent or the fan, there could be a cross (short circuit) somewhere.

    Give it a blast as most laptop heatsinks have a "channel" design for maximum efficiency. If you haven't opened up a desktop, definitely don't try it on a laptop!!

    So, give it a blast, if that doesn't help, it may be the battery, try using it for about six hours with the battery out and the AC plugged in. If you still don't see results, best to take it back to BestBuy.

    EDIT: I should mention that apart from the hard drive, the RAM and sometimes the CPU, there is usually nothing that can be upgraded on a laptop. Most of the components are soldered to the motherboard. I've never repaired a laptop or even used one for more than ten minutes, but I probably wouldn't recommend giving it a huge blast, as the fan will create a dynamo effect and the motherboard may not like that.

  7. #7

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    Laptops can be opened as well as desktops.... the only difference is that components are smaller and have less space between them

    I suggest you to open it as much as you can, unmounting the screws on the lower side, and then give it a good blow with an air compressor. If you're not sure on how to open it, google the net with the exact model of your Pavilion (I have one too) and you should find some do-it-yourself tutorials on how to do it properly without damaging anything. Basically, all you need is a screwdriver and something to blow the dust away... I sometimes do that simply blowing with my mouth if I don't have a compressor available, that's better than nothing!

  8. #8

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    You should just elevate your laptop with a book instead of using another fan. It works perfectly for me and never overheats now.

  9. #9

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    EDIT: I should mention that apart from the hard drive, the RAM and sometimes the CPU, there is usually nothing that can be upgraded on a laptop. Most of the components are soldered to the motherboard. I've never repaired a laptop or even used one for more than ten minutes, but I probably wouldn't recommend giving it a huge blast, as the fan will create a dynamo effect and the motherboard may not like that.
    If it's overheating enough to shut itself down to save itself from burning out, then you probably have a lot of dust in the heatsink/fan, as speculated. But, cleaning laptops are not fun. Taking them apart, and putting them back together still ranks a 6 on the difficulty rating for me. It's difficult, but definitely doable.

    Hell, you have a warranty, don't void it -- take it back to best buy and have them do it for you just to be safe .

  10. #10

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    Ooops... I just missed the part where you said it's still covered by a warranty. In this case I'd immediately bring it to the tech assistance as mm3 said, since you may lose the warranty if you open it yourself.

    I usually tend to forget about warranty issues as most of the time I am messing with computers that need some fixing is because their warranty has expired by a looooong time...

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