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Weird whirring/humming sound from power supply fan.

by Jiesu / January 11, 2009 5:29 PM PST

Sometimes my 4 month computer's power supply fan makes a whirring, humming sound after I turn it on. I know some computers are pretty loud when they turn on, but this persists until I turn the computer off and on, and it's not a usual occurrence.

When I feel around the back of my computer where my power supply is when this sound is happening, and it's not hot or anything, and there's clearly air still circulating. If it's not overheating, then I thought maybe dust was messing it up, and I cleaned dust out with some compressed air, there wasn't much in there though.

So what do you think the problem is? Is it even a problem? From as much as I can tell there's nothing really wrong yet, the sound is just annoying, but I want to know if I should look to get my power supply replaced in the future or something.


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Four months old?
by Coryphaeus / January 11, 2009 9:25 PM PST

One wonders why you asked here and not your PC's customer support. Make use of the warranty. Reason being, any suggestions given here may void said warranty.

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Some options
by Willy / January 11, 2009 9:30 PM PST

Fans are mechanical devices that can fail. In their best operation maybe less noisy than other times, but relatively be a constant noise level that's bearable. Any difference in noise level suggests its starting to go. If you have warranty, use it ASAP. Since, you believe its the psu at fault, then replace the whole unit. -OR- Replace using a less noisy fan alone that fits like the old one. -OR- Get a better rated wattage(it helps) of a decent name brand psu as a replacement.

You should open case and inspect&verify all fan operation. Understand, some psu fans are multiple speed and can kick-in as it deems necessary, thus a higher noise level when in higher RPM. As a quick and possible, lube the fan. Google for this trick, but usually this is a desperate last resort and fan needs replacing anyways.

tada -----Willy Happy

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by i8246i / January 13, 2009 12:10 AM PST
In reply to: Some options

I don't think that its worth the trouble and possible damage to your computer (or yourself) to "lube" any cooling fans in your computer. ESPECIALLY with a power supply: there's enough current in those devices to kill someone, even with the power off and all cables unplugged (capacitors can hold a charge for a long time).

Unlike a car engine, the best course of action in correcting any hardware-related errors in a computer is to replace the failing part. The time and money you'll spend in replacing a part will pale in comparison to the headaches (or injuries) you'll have attempting to repair a component by hand.

Though the rest of your post is logical: machines are machines, and they all break at one time or another.

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Lube - valid option
by Willy / January 23, 2009 12:11 PM PST
In reply to: wait....

My statement correctly made the point this is a last resort. AND no, if done properly no one gets hurt. This process is *not done* with the fan still inside the system. Once, you've done a few lubes, you'll understand. The fan may still be required to be replaced but in the meantime, usage is valid after a lube. Considering the possibility of a cheap fan going bad is very high and/or high rpm usage a lube at times is an valid option for short term fix. In some cases, it actually resolves the issue.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Possible high CPU usage
by pizzcaj / January 17, 2009 12:24 AM PST

I had experienced the same problem a while back. Go to this link for a possible solution; it helped me get rid of that annoying whirring sound.

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Bios Fix
by rick0301 / January 17, 2009 12:55 AM PST

Aloha, The fan in my new Dell desktop began making abnormal sounds - Dell support sent wattage adjustment via online instructions to bios - problem cured . . . Call Support!!!

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How loud is it?
by geekchef / January 17, 2009 5:08 AM PST

If it's just a slight hum, you do have to realize that the power supply is the same thing as the transformer on the top of a power pole, it's gonna make a hum. Now if it does sound like the fan, blow it out with an air compressor, not one of those canned air things, those things put out like 20lbs/psi, where as a compressor putts out around 120lbs/psi. That will blow all the dust and dirt out of it, and maybe solve your problem. If you don't have a compressor, take it to a mechanic, I guarantee they have one. Just don't recommend letting them clean it out. Tell the guy you'll give him 5 bucks if you can use his air gun for a couple minutes. If that don't work, CALL SUPPORT, now Dell support kinda sucks, alot, I do know that if you bought it at Best Buy, you can take it in there and they will send it to Dell for you, probably blow it out for you too.

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Do Not
by pyrrhus55 / January 18, 2009 12:34 PM PST
In reply to: How loud is it?

Do Not open anything, or oil anything, for you'll vaporize your warranty. Call support, make your problem, their problem , not relieve them of all obligations.

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what type of PC
by Mister_Do / January 23, 2009 7:11 AM PST

Hi Jiesu,

Sometimes a BIOS update can fix excessive fan spinning/noise.

What is the model of your PC?

--Although I am an HP employee, I am speaking for myself and not for HP.--

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