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RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Tech Help » Is my CPU fan dead?

Default Is my CPU fan dead?

May 7th, 2012, 15:35
Hi all, been a while since I visited the forum here, but when my laptop started having troubles this was my first thought.

Background info: I have a Dell Studio 1555. It's a nice enough laptop, got it two years ago and have been using it ever since. It's not really for gaming (though I have the model with the separate ATI graphics card), but it served my needs - good (enough) sound, good battery and most of all, very quiet. In fact, for the first 6-8 months of use I don't think I restarted it more than 10 times, it was just so quiet there was no need. This year, it got progressively louder and louder until I couldn't take it any more and I decided to clean it with some compressed air. Tried opening it, but it's really complicated to get to the fan so I just blew out the air from the side-grates, which seemed to help. Temperatures returned to ~50 (from, oh, ~70) during normal use and I was happy.

Unfortunately, a few days ago it seems that the CPU fan died. I definitely do not hear it working anymore and the laptop gets very hot (and then the CPU downclocks I guess and then I can't even watch a video, which is very annoying). To be fair, the laptop is still usable without a fan, which is quite a surprise for me (temps ~60 for normal web surfing and such, but any Flash or video kills it quite quickly). Anyway, I'm not sure how it happened - could've been because I blew the compressed air too much, could be because I left it on some very hot cloth-type stuff by accident or just because of normal use. My question is: is there some way to salvage the situation? I'm not very hopeful, but perhaps it is some sort of software/BIOS problem which could be fixed.

I normally use Linux (which is why I thought it might be a software problem - it wouldn't be the first time Linux did something stupid with my hardware), but I also have Windows installed and can use it for debugging. I installed SpeedFan (which seems to be the software of choice for this nowadays), and it reports that I have a "GPU Fan" - it seems at somewhere between 10 - 600 RPM usually (strikes me as kinda low?). SpeedFan also exposes a control for the GPU fan (as a percentage), but changing it doesn't seem to make any change in the reported speeds and definitely didn't turn on the fan "full power". I'm also comfortable with doing stuff on Linux, but I'm not very familiar with these things in particular.

Any help is appreciated!

EDIT: I also just checked my warranty; apparently, I'm still under the "Partly Only" warranty, would this include a replacement CPU fan if required? It appears that the Dell in my country (Czech Republic — bought the laptop in Serbia) only offers support to large companies; the warranty is for "Europe, Middle East & Africa" and I checked it on the www.dell.com website.
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May 7th, 2012, 16:42
Well I would assume failure of the fan should be covered by any warranty, even though I don't know what "partly only" means. I assume you will have to send it in yourself though, or bring it to a local service station.

Alternatively, if you feel brave, you could try to replace it yourself. Most fans should be available from dedicated providers or ebay. I While taking a laptop apart is rather complicated, if you can find a good tutorial for your model, it is actually quite an interesting experience. I did that recently to try to fix mine (however the GPU chip was fried and that was soldered to the base, so I couldn't really fix my problem) - so you could try that at least before you just toss it on the garbage. Of course opening the case will most likely void the warranty, so I'd go through that first!
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May 7th, 2012, 16:58
Too bad you don't live in St. Louis. I could fix it for you I'm Dell certified (and otherwise certifiable too), so I wouldn't void your warranty by working on it.

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May 7th, 2012, 17:08
Well, as an option there are still places who fix PC's at a fairly decent price.
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May 7th, 2012, 18:31
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Well I would assume failure of the fan should be covered by any warranty, even though I don't know what "partly only" means. I assume you will have to send it in yourself though, or bring it to a local service station.
Ah, I made a typo, it's a "Parts Only" warranty, which apparently means they'd replace the individual parts, but not the whole laptop, so, good enough! I think I'll opt for this variant, I'll have to call them tomorrow and find out more.. my biggest concern is that it would take a lot of time, and exams are starting, but I guess I have to do it.

Alternatively, if you feel brave, you could try to replace it yourself. Most fans should be available from dedicated providers or ebay. I While taking a laptop apart is rather complicated, if you can find a good tutorial for your model, it is actually quite an interesting experience. I did that recently to try to fix mine (however the GPU chip was fried and that was soldered to the base, so I couldn't really fix my problem) - so you could try that at least before you just toss it on the garbage. Of course opening the case will most likely void the warranty, so I'd go through that first!
I'm not sure I can find the right van - certainly not locally, and most of the fans I saw on eBay are for the model with the integrated graphics card. I'm sure it's possible, but again, it'd take at least ~10 days to get the fans all the way over here. I did already open the case (but just a little! ) — hopefully, they won't notice.


Thanks for the offer crpgnut, but unfortunately it seems there's a small ocean between us.

Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Well, as an option there are still places who fix PC's at a fairly decent price.
I don't know what you consider a decent price, but everything I've found here is quite expensive: ~20 euros to pick it up (and you can't just bring it to them) and then 25-35 euros per hour of technician's work… plus whatever the actual repair would be, which is all way way over my budget. Might as well buy a new laptop. For comparison, the fan itself is 10-25 dollars on eBay. So yeah… not a good choice.
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May 7th, 2012, 19:15
Sounds like you'll have to tear your notebook apart and replace the fan yourself. Doesn't look terribly complicated, but it will probably take a whole afternoon to do it slowly and carefully.
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May 7th, 2012, 19:31
It's best to take some pictures as you tear it apart. Take a picture before taking out the screws, tape the screws to the picture in the spot they need to go back into. I generally make two copies and take one picture for each layer of laptop that needs to be removed. Some stuff is no-brainer, but other parts can be a pain if you don't remember exactly how it went. Pictures make it simple

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May 7th, 2012, 19:43
Since crpgnut is a Dell person, you could, if he was willing, get some advice from him (like what he just posted, but more detailed).

Also, I managed to open my laptop by using a youtube tutorial. I chickened out of completely opening every piece, but it didn't look as if there was much dust anyway for me.
So youtube might be the way to go.

In case they don't have a tutorial for your specific model, I am guessing crpgnut could suggest similar models to look at.
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