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Macbook, OS 10.6.2, fan runs almost continuously

by endoart / December 29, 2009 5:48 AM PST

I have seen this question answered before but can't find it in the archives. Almost immediately after starting to use the laptop the fan starts running and doesn't quit until you put it back to sleep or turn it off. Any ideas on why this is happening and is it harmful to the computer in the long run?

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well there are acouple of things to look at
by rnauth1418 / January 5, 2010 2:25 AM PST

The first thing I would do is install iStat (its a widget you can find on the apple website). Using this app, look at the temperatures of the components in your computer. If anything jumps out as being out of the ordinary then you should take your computer the the apple store and explain the issue.

Another thing to remember is that the fan will usually stay on for the entire time, although it should not be spinning at a high rate unless the computer is getting very hot. As such, if the fan is spinning at a moderate rate then there is no problem at hand. If indeed the fan is spinning at a high rate continuously, even when the computer is cool (or as soon as it starts up) then there may be a problem with your fan.

More details would help me to analyze the problem a little better. Does the fan spin violently loud? Are there any clicking noises coming from the fan? Does it stay at one continuous spinning rate, or does it change? And one of the biggest tests is, let the computer sit with the power off for several hours. Ensure the computer is cool and in an area at normal room temp. Power up the computer and look at how fast the fans are spinning. If they are spinning at a high rate (above 10,000 rpm) and they consistently stay at that rate, then there may be a problem with the hardware...

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Fan running constantly
by endoart / January 6, 2010 10:02 PM PST

I have been out of town and just got your message.Thank you for your reply. There is no violently loud spinning or clicking noises, only the fact that the fan rarely ever goes off and does seem to increase its speed often. I installed istat and found the fan is running considerable below 10,000 rpm's at the moment and I will check it again when it does it's speed up thing. I have two Macbooks that are just alike. One I purchased new three years ago and a used one I purchased recently as a back-up. The back up never seems to have the fan problem thus prompting my post. Thank you again for your reply.

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by rnauth1418 / January 6, 2010 10:26 PM PST
In reply to: Fan running constantly

Well considerably below 10k rpm is the normal operational speed of these fans. I have seen my fan jump to 11-12000 rpms under a heavy load. I would not be too concerned with that.

What is interesting is that you can hear your fan. In all of the macs that I work with, you need to be in a completely silent room to even begin to notice that the fan is spinning... Just a thought.

Depending on the model year of the laptops apple would have changed the cooling (and inherently the fan) architecture. And so you will likely notice a difference in the fan speed between the two. The newer macbooks, while still running hot, are designed to run cooler than their predecessors. Hope this clears things up...

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Fan running constantly
by endoart / January 6, 2010 11:48 PM PST
In reply to: Interesting

Thanks again for your reply. Both MacBooks are the same age. 2006 models. I just bought the used one cheap a few months ago as my security blanket. In a quiet room you can't hear the used one at all, but you can certainly hear my original one without a problem when it kicks in. I will check the fan speed when it kicks into the noisy higher speed and get a reading. Many thanks.

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dust may be playing a role.
by rnauth1418 / January 6, 2010 11:56 PM PST
In reply to: Fan running constantly

I would not be too concerned about the noise as long as the computer components are registering as being cool enough for operation. What you can do is take a can of compressed air and blow any residual dust from the grill in the back of the computer. it may just be that the computer is a bit dusty on the inside...

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Fan problem
by endoart / January 7, 2010 10:41 AM PST

I will do that tomorrow and thank you again. You are the ONLY person who attempted to assist me with my concerns and I am certainly appreciative.

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not a problem
by rnauth1418 / January 7, 2010 11:27 PM PST
In reply to: Fan problem

I have so many questions that get no responses and I know how frustrating it is, so i often just come on to see if there are any posts that have not been looked at. Its truly no problem at all. Good luck!

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