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Old 15th March 2013   #1
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Fan spins for about 3 secs then stops


Hi guys.

I've got an Acer Aspire 5332 laptop in for repair. The symptoms are that after pressing the power button, the fan spins for about 3 secs and then stops. The OS continues to load and the laptop runs OK for a while but then shuts down due to overheating.

Thinking it was the fan itself, I got a replacement fan and swapped it out. No change. The laptop otherwise runs fine but shuts down when it overheats. I don't see anything to force the fan to run continuously or adjust it in any way.

One thing I did notice when disassembling it was that 2 of the screws between the hinges had damaged sockets indicating that it had some impact on its edge in the past. Maybe this damaged the motherboard?

Any other suggestions?

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Old 16th March 2013   #2
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Hi, have you blown through the laptop to make sure vents are clear?

You may have to renew the Thermal compound between the CPU and the heat sink. Neil.

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Old 16th March 2013   #3
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Hi Neil. Yes I had the laptop fully stripped down to the last screw.

All the vents are spotless. Why would replacing the thermal compound make this sort of difference? Is there a sensor that would be affected by that?

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Old 16th March 2013   #4
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As you, I would suspect physical damage. Not much you can do about that, besides replacing the system board.

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Old 16th March 2013   #5
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Originally Posted by dnmacleod View Post
Hi Neil. Yes I had the laptop fully stripped down to the last screw.

All the vents are spotless. Why would replacing the thermal compound make this sort of difference? Is there a sensor that would be affected by that?
Yes, there's a temp sensor. When temp gets to a certain level the comp will shut off. That level can usually be set in the bios. Thermal compound helps displace heat, and if failing the comp will shut off.

But more than likely the solution is replace motherboard.

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Old 16th March 2013   #6
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Hi Tony. That's presumably why its shutting down after about 10 mins or so. I suspect that if the fan turned at all it would cool it sufficiently to run for a bit longer. I did try using an air can to blow air through the vent and that did help it to run a bit longer, but it then shut down after a while anyway.

It looks like the consensus is looking towards the motherboard.

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Old 16th March 2013   #7
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Quote:
Why would replacing the thermal compound make this sort of difference? Is there a sensor that would be affected by that?
It shouldn't. TIM (thermal interface material) does not "go bad", dry out, wear out, get old or need regular replacing AS LONG AS the cured bond between the mating surfaces is never broken. The exposed edges may dry and get a little crusty, but the TIM between the mating surfaces will remain viable for 10+ years or more - if not undisturbed.

If the computer has never been bounced off the floor, the heatsink never removed or otherwise disturbed enough to break the cured bond, and the heatsink mounting mechanism is still properly attached, you don't need to replace the TIM.

You MUST however, always thoroughly clean the mating surfaces and replace the TIM whenever you disturb or remove the heatsink once is has cured (and note the curing process starts the very first time heat is applied).

Did you remove the CPU's heatsink? If you did, did you thoroughly clean the surfaces and apply a fresh new, and proper (thin as possible but still complete coverage) layer of TIM?

The most efficient transfer of heat occurs ONLY WITH direct metal to metal contact. The sole purpose of TIM is to displace any insulating air trapped in the microscopic pits and valleys of the mating surfaces. Any excess TIM is in the way of direct metal to metal contact and therefore counterproductive to the most efficient transfer of heat.

The CPU's sensor is located on the die (inside the CPU housing) so there is no way it can be affected by TIM.

I agree with Tony and suggest you look in the BIOS Setup Menu for threshold temperatures and perhaps fan control settings. Something may be off there.

Alternatively, you may need to "Mickey Mouse" this a bit and power the fan directly from a power source instead of the fan controller - if the system allows it (some systems will shut down if no fan is detected even if not hot).

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Old 16th March 2013   #8
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Hi Bill

Originally Posted by Bill View Post
If the computer has never been bounced off the floor
That's the thing Bill. It has clearly had an impact on the edge between the hinges as 2 of the screw sockets were damaged, but, assuming that this impact damaged the TIM seal, would the damaging of the TIM seal cause the fan to stop; bearing in mind that it stops after a few seconds before windows even starts loading?

Originally Posted by Bill View Post
Did you remove the CPU's heatsink?
No - its not necessary to remove the heatsink to change the fan on this model.

Originally Posted by Bill View Post
I agree with Tony and suggest you look in the BIOS Setup Menu for threshold temperatures and perhaps fan control settings. Something may be off there.

I thought of that and, no, there are no fan settings in the BIOS.

As for an external power source, I don't have a suitable one and going down that road will quickly make the repair cost more than the laptop is worth to be honest.

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Old 16th March 2013   #9
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Quote:
assuming that this impact damaged the TIM seal, would the damaging of the TIM seal cause the fan to stop; bearing in mind that it stops after a few seconds before windows even starts loading?
If the bond has been broken, air has gotten between the mating surfaces, reducing the effectiveness of the heat transfer. When you first boot, the CPU is not hot, but it can only take a few a second or two for the internal CPU heat to exceed "normal". So yes, if the bond is broken that could cause this symptom.

If in doubt, I would replace the TIM.

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No - its not necessary to remove the heatsink to change the fan on this model.
That's fine as long as the bond was not broken when replacing the fan.

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there are no fan settings in the BIOS.
It may not say "Fan". Instead it may be somewhat cryptic and talk about thermal protection, RPMs, temperature thresholds.

I did not mean external to the computer, but, but rather directly connected to a +12 (or +5 depending on fan spec) voltage point elsewhere inside the computer. If more than one fan, perhaps where the other gets power. But that's assuming some wayward setting is causing the fan to stop and not something else.

Any just for the record, are you sure the fan stops spinning? Or could it just be slowing down to a point you cannot hear it spin?

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Old 27th March 2013   #10
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Since the customer isn't wishing to spend any more money on this laptop, its as well to close this thread.

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Old 28th March 2013   #11
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Quote:
I did not mean external to the computer, but, but rather directly connected to a +12 (or +5 depending on fan spec) voltage point elsewhere inside the computer. If more than one fan, perhaps where the other gets power. But that's assuming some wayward setting is causing the fan to stop and not something else.
Yes. Even if it's a 12v fan, you can remove the fan and rig 2 wires connected to a 6v or 9v battery to test the fan. A battery will spin a fan without damaging the fan.

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Old 28th March 2013   #12
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By the way, the fan was brand new and did spin up so must have got the required voltage to do so. It then stopped completely. I did watch it through the grille and it most definitely did stop.

The likelihood of the new fan exhibiting the exact same symptoms as the old one would be remote to say the least.

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Old 28th March 2013   #13
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So it sounds like the PSU is sensing a fault, and shutting down. But at this point there is no way to determine where that fault may be, and as noted the customer is no longer concerned.

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Old 28th March 2013   #14
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Yes. Given that its a laptop and consequently poke and hope (with no guarantee of a cheap fix) is going to rapidly become prohibitively expensive, he's decided that its better to call it quits and put the money towards a new one.

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Old 28th March 2013   #15
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Well, you might want to suggest he pull the drive and put it into an enclosure or use an adapter connected to another computer so he can copy off, then delete any data he does not want to lose, or others to see. Then "wipe" the drive, or at least the free space before getting rid of it.

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