General discussion

Dell Precision 470 memory fan problem

Aug 28, 2007 1:08AM PDT

I called Dell to order a memory cooling fan with shroud and was told that it would cost $18 with $5 for shipping, but they would need to call me back because the fan was out of stock. The next day I got an email telling me to go to the Dell service parts ordering website but they too were out of stock.

I did a Google search and found two companies which carried the fan, one in the US and the other in the UK. Both companies wanted over $220 for the fan and shroud. I gagged at the increase in price and looked around for a new fan cooler.

I ended up using TechBargins to find me a OCZ fan and ordered it. The fan was a little hard to hook up, but I got it on tight and both fans spun up and the LEDs came on when I turned on the system.

But then the system halted during boot with an error telling me there was no cooling fan and that because I was over 4gig I needed a fan. I ended up having to knock my system down to 4 gigs in order to run.

Any ideas or work arounds? Is there a ground or a button that the system is looking for in order to tell that the cooling fan is attached? or is it a voltage issue? Maybe there is another fan I can order which won't cost me an arm or a leg?


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Dell Precision 470 memory fan problem
Aug 28, 2007 8:46AM PDT

with it being a dell might have to get the part from dell is the system out of warranty if not sure call dell they will help you replace it if its under warranty

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Aug 29, 2007 5:06AM PDT

There is no warranty on the system. It expired last year, but the part I need from Dell is only found through third parties. I didn't want to pay $200+ on a Dell fan and shroud because I can get a OCZ cooling fan for $20.

The problem is getting the mother board to recognize the new fan. I'm wondering if the Dell system is looking for some thing to tell it that the fan is connected.

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Dell Precision Memory Fan Woes
Nov 8, 2007 12:54AM PST

Hi digitalbeachbum,

I had a similar problem with a Dell Precision 670. I modified a fan with RPM sensor to plug into Dell's memory fan port on the motherboard and the system still complained that no fan was installed.

What I discovered is that the third wire isn't an RPM sensor, it's just a contact that gets shorted when the fan is plugged in. This is why there is no Dell utility that shows the memory fan's RPM. That information is not collected.

So, I made a new connector that does nothing but shorts the two outside contacts. (The middle one is +12V). The system then booted up without complaint and no memory fan is installed.

Hope that helps,

Brian Kelly
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

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Shorting Contacts
May 13, 2008 3:13AM PDT

Hi Brian

I've had similar problems with a dell precision 470 and I'm contemplating following your advice and shorting the two outside contacts on the fan port. I'm wondering if you've had any problems since modifying the fan port (ie is it still working 6 months later?)


Peter Blouw

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Jun 12, 2008 12:26AM PDT

So just to work this out because I can't find one anywhere, and I don't know how to wire fan. What kind of fan should I buy and what should I do to it?

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Re: Shorting Contacts
Aug 11, 2008 2:06AM PDT


No problems at all. The system is running smoothly today with 6 GB of memory.


I didn't install another fan. I just shorted the contacts.

If you do wish to install a fan and are a little skittish about wiring it up, I'd suggest buying a fan with a 4-pin PC peripheral power connector that can tap power from one of your hard drive power cables.

Brian Kelly
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

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Dell Precision 470 Memory Fan
Oct 3, 2008 6:51AM PDT

After a frustrating series of conversations with Dell I find myself in the same situation.

I'd like to buy a fan and wire it myself. I'm a software guy. Can one of you tell me exactly what parts I need and how one does the wiring?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Parts and wiring.
Oct 3, 2008 9:47PM PDT

I found a fan that matched in size and voltage to where I needed it to mount and then wired it to a spare hard disk power supply connection.

In some dozens of systems I've used plastic tie wraps, plastic sheets to create mounting strips, nuts and bolts to hold the fans in place.

I doubt there is a "document" that could cover this but any technician found holding a solder iron should be able to get it done.

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No bios or motherboard changes?
Oct 15, 2008 10:36PM PDT

So if I shorted out the two outside wires of the fan.
Do I short them together i.e. jump them together or ground them to the chassis?
Also does the bios or mother board have to be changed?

p.s. I love how Dell says all you have to do is buy a "memory fan" and all will be right with the world.
I HATE Dell from the bottom of my pond.
Their help desk and technical service departments are run by idiots!
I can't wait till Dell goes out of business!
DOWN with Dell!!!!!!!!!

Anyway if someone can help with this it would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks much, Pete.

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I think I'm going with Dell on this one.
Oct 15, 2008 10:56PM PDT

It appears that many don't want to "dive in", research this area and learn electronics. For those the cheap exit is to buy the right part. Why is that cheap? Because a trip to the shop is much more expensive.

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Please let me know if you find the fan for a 670...
Oct 15, 2008 11:10PM PDT

I called Dell's abysmal sales, then they bounced me to small parts and service and when those idiots couldn't find the part I was talking about the bounced me again to tech support.
After an hour and a half they said they no longer carry the part I was looking for (Memory fan)!
I wish I could just buy the thing, let me know if you find one please!
I have all this ram just sitting in my desk.

p.s. I wish when I called Dell I could talk to someone that didn't ride a friggin camel to work.

Any help please, Thanks Pete.

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Oct 15, 2008 11:19PM PDT

Look on Ebay and find a good shop that will fix it. At some point these things become too expensive to fix. Just look at how much RDRAM is today. Some thought old parts should cost less. The truth is harsh.

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Another source for the 4 wire PWN fan.
Oct 16, 2008 12:03AM PDT
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Yeah I called out this place yesterday...
Oct 16, 2008 12:17AM PDT

Yeah I called out this place yesterday and asked the girl if any of these fans were for the memory (Ram) fan.
She was unshure and I will call them back today.
Thanks much, Pete.

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Ok I called them back and they said the WC417...
Oct 16, 2008 12:47AM PDT

Ok I called them back and they said the WC417.
It cost $199.95.
I know it shows that it costs $249.95, but I guess it's on sale.
It works for the 470 as well as the 670.
They do have a return policy so that's good.
Here is the link:

I hope this fan will work.

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Do you need the shroud and fan or just the fan ?
Oct 16, 2008 8:32AM PDT
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Sounds like you are buying the entire assembly.
Oct 16, 2008 11:01AM PDT
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Buying the entire assembly.
Oct 16, 2008 9:43PM PDT

Yeah I (or we the company) is buying the fan and shroud assembly.
If it was my money I would try the cheap way out, but it's not my money so...
Plus I don't think the company wants me to start shorting out wires in my computer.
I will let you know if this assembly works.
They have a return policy so we shall see.

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Got the fan and shroud...
Oct 23, 2008 12:21AM PDT

Got the fan and shroud and it installed in a couple of minutes.
It works great and the ram really increased the speed of large Solidworks model files.
It co$t $200 bucks but the ROI is well worth it.

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Dell Precision 470 and 670 memory fan workaround.
Nov 20, 2008 2:28AM PST


If you will note there is a 3 pin memory fan power connector on the MB around the area where the fan shrowd should be installed. Locate this connector. If you jump pins 1&3 you will no longer get the error. This can be accomplished with a wire wrap tool and some 30 gauge wire purchasable at Radio shack. Once you have jumped pins 1&3 (grd to BIOS mem fan), then get yourself any fan that will fit the case and plug it in to whatever power source is available. This will resolve your problem.

Please pass this info on.

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memory fan for Precesion 670
Nov 5, 2008 11:06PM PST


How did you go about shorting the contacts.

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Documentation of Precision 670 Memory Fan Fix by Short
Feb 26, 2009 6:59AM PST

Hi everyone,

I just upgraded the memory on four more Dimension 670 computers around the office without installing a memory fan. Since there have been some questions here I thought I would document the process.

First, I bought some three pin jumpers from the local surplus electronics store.

I then pulled the middle pin from the jumpers and shorted the two outside pins by soldering a wire across the top. The terrible soldering job is the fault of the iron; yeah, that's it.

I then opened the computer and located the power plug for the memory fan. Here it is in the Precision 670 I was working on.

With the jumper shorting the outside two contacts, I could then boot the computer with more than 4GB of memory without the BIOS complaining. Here's a picture of the jumper in place.

If you can't find the jumpers at an electronic surplus store then I'm sure some of the other methods of shorting the outside pins discussed here would work as well. The 30 gauge wire and a wire wrap tool from Radio Shack sounds like a good idea.

Good luck everyone,

Brian Kelly
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

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Thank you Brian.
Feb 26, 2009 7:20AM PST

Its nice to see this in pictures.

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Dell Precision 670 Memory Fan Shroud
Nov 20, 2008 2:44AM PST


The problem is easily rectified by jumping pins 1&3 of the Memory Fan Connector on the MoBo located in the area just below the memory. A wire wrap tool and .30 gauge wire should do the trick and is obtainable from any Radio Shack or reputable electronics dealer.

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more wonderful memory problems with Precision 470
Jan 23, 2009 2:07PM PST

jhauprich (or anyone please),
i just purchased the Corsair Dominator AirFlow cooling system for my Dell Precision 470 system... and like everyone else I have been facing the same problem and refuse to pay $200+ for the Dell part. I noticed it was a 3 pin connector and I purchased this great 3 pin memory cooling system.......

and then of course I put it on and go to plug it in and find that Dell screws us with a proprietary 3 pin connector. This cooling fan does NOT have an RPM sensor (and I know it was mentioned that we don't need that).... so the question is, if I go and buy the 3pin to 3pin adapter (seen here I know it will fit, but will that plug properly short the pins 1 & 3 so I don't have to go doing radioshack mods? The reviewer said he still got an error but I believe he may be referencing a different error.

Or should I just pull the 3pin cover off the board so that the one I have will fit properly (as one other poster did)....

any suggestions will be extremely helpful...

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Re: Corsair Dominator
May 15, 2009 2:22AM PDT

I am running into the same problem myself. I've done the 1-3 jumper so the system can be used. However, I'd feel better with a fan. Dell my be evil for handling it the way they did, but they may be right about needing it. Anyway, I purchased the Corsair fan, and would like to know what you did to make it work. If I am understanding what's been said here so far, I may be able to pull it off by cutting the yellow (RPM?) wire on the fan's connector and splicing it into the black (ground) wire. Here's a diagram of what I'm thinking about:

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using the Corsair Dominator
May 15, 2009 3:28AM PDT

Yes, that is exactly what I had to do. I pulled back the mesh cable cover and clipped the yellow wire in about the middle. Then I striped a bit of the black wire shielding off and soldered the yellow wire to the black wire very carefully. It wasn't a beautiful job by a long shot but it did work!

Keep in mind that because Dell loves those proprietary connectors, I had to follow a suggestion I found here or elsewhere online to take a wire cutter and carefully cut down the fan connector on the motherboard so that the corsair connector would fit. You may find that you will have to flip the physical connection around one way or another once you plug it in to get it to power up. I dont remember if it worked both ways when I tested.

Preferably we would have found a way to purchase just the proprietary connector shape but I don't think that's possible in this case, and I simply refused to bother getting a 3 pin to 4 pin molex adapter to use off the main power supply.

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Dell Precision 100mil spaced headers (for fans et al.)
Sep 3, 2009 3:32AM PDT

"Keep in mind that because Dell loves those proprietary connectors,"

FWIW they're not in any way proprietary - they're just Molex C-Grid (AMP Latch) style headers. Or at least that's what I think I'm seeing from the pics. If I'm right then here's what seems to be on the motherboard end (I don't have my Precision 670 powered down & opened right now to verify):
And then if right here would be the mate that one needs for a fan connection and enabling the fan_present flag:
(you'd then need crimp pins):
And of course the crimp tool (or fake it by careful soldering or crimping with pliar skills).

Good to know that pins tying pin 1 to 3 eliminates the error. Thanks! Now that aside does anyone know which of either 1 vs 3 is pulled up or down signal vs power or gnd? and with that is pin 2 +5VDC (or 12V) or GND to the fan with the other end of fan tied to either 1 or 3? Just looking to save from having to meter this myself - how about a definition for all 3 pins. Anyone? Or need I scope it and define it here?

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you can get a standard 3pin to Dell 3pin converter
Oct 14, 2009 8:45PM PDT
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Dell was able to help me
Aug 17, 2009 12:20AM PDT

I called Dell spare parts department at 800-357-3355 and they were able to find a fan for me within 24 hours and it should be arriving today, it was $16.99 + shipping & tax, total $24.08.

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