Unclogging a fan?

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starshine

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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.
 

Anon E. Mouse

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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.
 

chevre

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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.
 

Spirit

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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!
 

starshine

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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 :(
 

Spirit

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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.
 

quattrus

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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 :D

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!
 

Vladimir

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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.
 

mm3

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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 ;).
 

quattrus

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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... :laugh:
 

Allanon

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Cooling fans are usually detachable from laptops. Take it out, fill up your air compressor (if you have one) and blow it out that way. Use a can of compressed air to hit all parts of the laptop that you can, since you can aim it more accurately.

Of course, be careful if you do use an air compressor. I've heard horror stories of people using some ancient compressor and blowing it in their computer just to find out that the air hose was full of rusty water.
 

recovery

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Lol, I have taken a fair few laptops apart. But They slightly differ.

I would recommend taking it back, its not worth voiding the warranty to be honest. However, if you feel adventurous and feel you can get away with it to open the case to get the heat sink and fan. But before you take the screws off the back, you usually have to take the keyboard off first. You this this by removing the panel about the keyboard, you may see a notch for putting a tool under to remove it. Its not held by screws usually and carefully rip it off.

Above that you'll screws holding the keyboard in place undo these and carefully slide the keyboard out and look underneath it to detach the ribbon cable. You might also see the mini-pciE card too. So if you need to tamper with that, by all means do so.

Now that you detached the cable, Take the appropriative screws out on the back, not the ones holding in the DVD drive of HardDrive. And on the back panel, you may have to remove screws underneath the hinges, Be careful, the screen my flop over on its own weight and might break something!

The top usually comes off the bottom, and be careful about the touchpad cable too. Thats still attached! Also the top pannel may have some connection that you may have to detatch.

I would advise not touching the ends of the flat cable strips as you make them dirty and they may not have a decent contact when you re-attach them.

But I am sure with a bit of googling you can find the service manual, I think HP gives them out for free on their site anyway.

You'll see that your processor has a heat pipes or what ever they are called to the grill usually in the top corner of the laptop with the fan below it. The fan can be easily removed.

I tried the cheap way of 'compressed air' and just used a hairdryer, but used the 'cold' button. XD. It wasn't effective, But i haven't tried use canned air either. So I don't know whats better. So maybe trying to blast that into a few of the grills on your laptop?
 

starshine

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Just wanted to thank everyone for the advice, I really appreciate it!

Someone mentioned to me that I, er, shouldn't be using my computer on my pillow, because there is no room for the fan to cool. So I've kept it on my desk the majority of the time and I've had no problems at all. :D
 

quattrus

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I, er, shouldn't be using my computer on my pillow, because there is no room for the fan to cool. So I've kept it on my desk the majority of the time and I've had no problems at all. :D
Oh my...... :laugh:

Reminds me of those phone calls to the technical assistance where the operator tries helping the customer for an hour to figure out why the computer doesn't work and then they discover that the power cord is disconnected..... :D :D

Anyway, good for your laptop you've discovered how not to make a stove out of it!
 

dogboy

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They don't like it if you place it on your bed. Same effect! I too found out by experience. I use a wood cutting board and put it on my lap while sitting on the bed. Typically I'm watching t.v. and on this site at the same time. Also lol.....
 

starshine

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lol Well I didnt' know! I've only owned one of these laptop do-hickers for like, 6 months! :p

But yeah, I think I may just have to go purchase one of those lap-desk things. I really hate this chair, it's uncomfortable.
 

Grutzvalt

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This happened with my laptop a while ago (Pavillion dv6000)....Basicly the fan melted. It would last a few minutes after starting up. It would freeze or just shut off...I sent it back to HP, took 2 weeks to fix...

To be honest, I wouldn't buy another HP laptop (sent it in 3 times for hardware problems).
 
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This is why I love desktops, I can see if my fans get clogged, although I can't tell because it's too dark, and my computer is always on. TV is right next to me, so I don't even need a "laptop."
 
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