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Old 2008-01-16, 02:25   Link #1
The Bloodlust Kid
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'Processor fan not detected'

My computer has recent error that says 'Processor fan not detected'.

I'm wondering two things.

A) I have a Dell Dimension 4500, does the fan have to be a specific model in order to be compatible?

B) Is installing a new fan easy enough for someone with no experience with computer hardware?
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Old 2008-01-16, 02:56   Link #2
hobbes_fan
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Ok be a bit more specific.

first thing to do check that it s actually fan failure. You'll have to take off the side panel and boot up the pc. Looks something like this

http://www.swiftnets.com/assets/imag...ts/mcx64-v.jpg
Is the fan spinning? Is anything obstrcting it from spinning, dust build up, a stray wire are common causes

Also is this under warranty? if it is send it to Dell. If not continue.

Do this first then I'll go into more detail about replacing the fan assembly and what to buy. It's not real difficult bt it's a bit long winded from the parts buying stage to installation
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Old 2008-01-16, 03:29   Link #3
The Bloodlust Kid
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Did what you said:

A) The fan tries to spin but it twitches and gives up. I already cleaned it too. Don't know if that makes sense.

B) No, it's an old Dell. (I assume the model has been discontinued)
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Old 2008-01-16, 03:57   Link #4
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ah... fan bearings are probably dead then (unless the power connector from the fan to the motherboard is just loose -- you might try reseating the connector just to see if the connection was loose).

I'll assume since its a Dell it probably has an Intel cpu. You'll have to buy a new heatsink/fan assembly. You have literally hundreds of choices in fans -- limited by what will fit in the space around the cpu. Just try to find a fan with the same style connector (usually 3 pin) and roughly the same size heatsink. Shouldn't cost more than $10-$20.

Getting an old heatsink off of a cpu can be tricky sometimes. First you have to loosen/disconnect the clips holding it to the mobo. That can be a bit scary, especially since some fan clips basically require you to take a flathead screwdriver and press down really hard on a clip notch to disengage the clip. The better heatsinks have a nice fliphandle clip release.

Then the heatsink might have to be pried off of the cpu because the conduction paste has sort of welded the heatsink to the cpu (more scary prying). This isn't as bad as it sounds but it *feels* scary for most first timers because you think you're going to crack the motherboard sometimes.

If you get past all that putting the new heatsink/fan on is pretty straightforward, especially if it has a snap-on fliphandle rather than the crappier "push with screwdriver with about 20lbs of force" types.

My description of the process is very short-hand - just to give you an idea. As hobbes_fan says, it is a rather detailed process. You might snap a closeup picture or two of the motherboard and the cpu/heatsink -- and then post those so we can understand any nasty details.
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Old 2008-01-16, 04:06   Link #5
hobbes_fan
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Ok probably safe to say the fan is dead.

Do you have any documentation from Dell? It should tell you if it is a socket 478 or LGA775. From looking around it seems to be socket 478, but verify this with your documentation. This is important as replacing the whole thing will probably be cheaper and less of a PITA so you'll need to order the appropriate socket type. They have differing install methods so I'll wait until specifics are available (should be around 10-15 dollars)

here's how to remove the heatsink
http://support.dell.com/support/edoc...ce.htm#1102481
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Old 2008-01-16, 04:13   Link #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbes_fan View Post
Ok probably safe to say the fan is dead.

Do you have any documentation from Dell? It should tell you if it is a socket 478 or LGA775. From looking around it seems to be socket 478, but verify this with your documentation. This is important as replacing the whole thing will probably be cheaper and less of a PITA so you'll need to order the appropriate socket type. They have differing install methods so I'll wait until specifics are available (should be around 10-15 dollars)

here's how to remove the heatsink
http://support.dell.com/support/edoc...ce.htm#1102481
I don't know what the documentation is or where. Would a picture help?
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Old 2008-01-16, 04:44   Link #7
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if you take the computer to the store they can get u the right one
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Old 2008-01-16, 04:53   Link #8
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Edit: Comments made after missing the "processor" part from the fan error. So, even though there is usable information, my suggestion would be to read it to your enjoyment, only.

People usually get this error after replacing the case fan too. So, as long as you place a fitting fan inside (the connector may or may not match dell's requirements), you can ignore the error.

For the fan, just buy a regular 92mm fan and either place it in the shroud or screw it to the case. Check Newegg, the prices for such fans are quite cheap, you can get a better and quieter one there (I suggest to not buy a replacement fan from Dell, as it is usually refurbished and not worth what you pay for).

I understood the problem as case fan error - you don't need to replace heatsink in this case. But just to have an upgrade, if you also want to replace the heatsink (which is suggested), then you need to be very careful, as Dell's heatsinks are usually out of the regular world, their sizes are just different from what you can easily find, so you need to make some careful arrangements inside, which allows for easy mistakes. Check either dell forums, or search the keywords in google that explain you how to change that too. But, I believe you need to buy more than the heatsink.

Last edited by Sazelyt; 2008-01-16 at 23:48. Reason: Need to post a reminder...
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Old 2008-01-16, 05:14   Link #9
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By the way, I tried turning on my computer to see if I can dig out any of the files as quick as I can. But as soon as I log into an account it reboots.
I read that that happens when the computer gets too hot that it'll shut down to prevent potential damage but it's barely warm and it's pretty cold down here too.

That's normal and it won't happen again after a replacement right?
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Old 2008-01-16, 10:08   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bloodlust Kid View Post
I don't know what the documentation is or where. Would a picture help?
Go to

http://support.dell.com/support/topi...n&lnki=0&s=dhs

and enter the "service tag" code for your machine. It's on a sticker somewhere, usually on the back. That will bring up all the documentation available for your machine. Or you can search by model name/number from the same page.
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Old 2008-01-16, 20:09   Link #11
hobbes_fan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sazelyt View Post
People usually get this error after replacing the case fan too. So, as long as you place a fitting fan inside (the connector may or may not match dell's requirements), you can ignore the error.

For the fan, just buy a regular 92mm fan and either place it in the shroud or screw it to the case. Check Newegg, the prices for such fans are quite cheap, you can get a better and quieter one there (I suggest to not buy a replacement fan from Dell, as it is usually refurbished and not worth what you pay for).

I understood the problem as case fan error - you don't need to replace heatsink in this case. But just to have an upgrade, if you also want to replace the heatsink (which is suggested), then you need to be very careful, as Dell's heatsinks are usually out of the regular world, their sizes are just different from what you can easily find, so you need to make some careful arrangements inside, which allows for easy mistakes. Check either dell forums, or search the keywords in google that explain you how to change that too. But, I believe you need to buy more than the heatsink.
There's so many things wrong here I don't know where to start.

"Processor" fan error. There is only one processor and one processor fan. Guess where that is? On top of your heatsink. You can run pc's without a case fan. In most PC's the exhaust fan in your PSU is enough. Unless you have a PWM case fan you will never ever get a case fan error, which dell never uses anyway if they do it's only recent as PWM tech in case fans are fairly recent. A failed case fan will never cause a critical shutdown a failed heatsink fan will. All Dell case fans are connected by 4 pin molex directly to the PSU, your motherboard which does the fan control and monitoring will never be able to detect it if it isn't connected to it. Now if you read his posts he has done the diagnostic work and identified it is the heatsink fan that refuses to spin. Has absolutely nothing to do with the case fan.

The only reason we're advising him to get a new heatsink assembly is he'll have to take off the old one anyway to remove the fan. A new fan costs like $6 a new heatsink + fan assembly is like $10. Removing the actual fan from the heatsink and replacing it is a huge PITA.

The only problem that he may run into is whether the plug on the Heatsink Fan is proprietary. That is why he needs to consult his documentation, if it is he has no choice but to order from DELL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bloodlust Kid View Post
By the way, I tried turning on my computer to see if I can dig out any of the files as quick as I can. But as soon as I log into an account it reboots.
I read that that happens when the computer gets too hot that it'll shut down to prevent potential damage but it's barely warm and it's pretty cold down here too.

That's normal and it won't happen again after a replacement right?
As for why it's shutting down, your PC may seem cool but it's the CPU that's overheating. You will not lose data so stop trying to remove the data. Has nothing to do with your HDD whatever's there will still be there. You run a greater risk of frying your CPU by running the PC for long periods without the fan than damaging your HDD.
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Last edited by hobbes_fan; 2008-01-16 at 22:59.
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Old 2008-01-16, 23:34   Link #12
Sazelyt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbes_fan View Post
There's so many things wrong here I don't know where to start.
There seem to be only one wrong there (though the suggestion on that wrong's part is still there), which is my mistake on just paying attention to "fan error" part. So your starting point is quite easy to detect, even for me, after reading it once again.
Quote:
A failed case fan will never cause a critical shutdown a failed heatsink fan will.
Many thanks for the enlightening(!) information, though, that is also something not mentioned in the posts, the ones made before me, at the least.
Quote:
Now if you read his posts he has done the diagnostic work and identified it is the heatsink fan that refuses to spin. Has absolutely nothing to do with the case fan.
I suggest you to read again. There is no wording of heatsink fan or processor fan used in the posts made by the original poster, regarding identification or etc. That is what I checked before posting, and it seems my eyes had insisted on not sending the processor word used in the first post to my central processing unit.
Quote:
The only reason we're advising him to get a new heatsink assembly is he'll have to take off the old one anyway to remove the fan. A new fan costs like $6 a new heatsink + fan assembly is like $10. Removing the actual fan from the heatsink and replacing it is a huge PITA.
As far as I know, the good heatsink fan assemblies costs around or more than $20. You can find fan+heatsink combo for less than $10, just like you can find case fan for $1.
Quote:
The only problem that he may run into is whether the plug on the Heatsink Fan is proprietary. That is why he needs to consult his documentation, if it is he has no choice but to order from DELL.
Talking from a dimension 4600 point of view, to replace the fan-heatsink assembly, you have to make modifications, as you cannot get an exactly fitting one out of the box. That means, if 4500 shares the same qualities as the 4600, he has a choice to do it without ordering from Dell.
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Old 2008-01-17, 00:11   Link #13
hobbes_fan
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Why would you install a top of the range heatsink on a dell? you can't overclock it. Dell takes great care to make sure their PC's are impossible to overclock. A standard size design will be sufficient. Look at the processor too, Dimension 4500's had generally low end p4's around 2.0ghz. Not exactly toasters.

(OP DO NOT BUY ANYTHING WITHOUT CONFIRMING TECHNICAL SPECS OF YOUR PC)
Standard aluminium designs like this will more than suffice
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835150086

AFAIK dells have this stupid shroud/vent system as well so chucking in something like this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835185114
probably would be more trouble than it's worth with additional mods.

I do know definitely that dell's have used 5 pin fan connectors in the past and am not sure
what other shenanigans they do other than proprietary RAM and PSU

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sazelyt View Post
I suggest you to read again. There is no wording of heatsink fan or processor fan used in the posts made by the original poster, regarding identification or etc. That is what I checked before posting, and it seems my eyes had insisted on not sending the processor word used in the first post to my central processing unit.
See the 2nd and 3rd posts in this thread. I used a picture to make sre he was looking at the correct thing as we all know there's case fans and CPu fans. But that's besides the point now
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Old 2008-01-17, 00:52   Link #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbes_fan View Post
Why would you install a top of the range heatsink on a dell?
The performance will be better, and in the case you decide to move on to a different machine, you can make use of a top of the range product instead of trashing it with the old dell.

Anyway, it is a hassle to work around replacing the original inside the dell with a different sized heatsink, so, if refurbished is ok with the op, there are some currently being sold on ebay...

Quote:
See the 2nd and 3rd posts in this thread. But that's besides the point now
Guess so.
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Old 2008-01-17, 04:05   Link #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sazelyt View Post
The performance will be better,
As long as the processor is cooled and running within its temperature range, it doesn't really make a difference whether it's running at 64˚C, 34˚C, or 0˚C. If you're talking about overclocking, then you're right - you'll be able to overclock more with a better cooling solution.

Quote:
and in the case you decide to move on to a different machine, you can make use of a top of the range product instead of trashing it with the old dell.
Unfortunately this probably isn't the case. The way that heatsink fan (HSF) combinations lock onto processors does vary with the motherboard types. I don't know how good Intel is about using the same HSF, but AMD has changed the way that the HSF mounts between socket types. I don't think that a HSF for a Pentium 4 could work with a Core 2 Duo processor, but I could be wrong - I've never built my own system using Intel parts.
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Old 2008-01-17, 04:09   Link #16
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If it was LGA775 yeah you could take it to c2d, pentium D and quads. But it a socket 478. very few HSF's have 478 and LGA775 compatibility.
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Old 2008-01-19, 18:09   Link #17
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Okay. Got a friend's dad to take a look for me.

He says that it should be easy enough for me to fix but it has to be a specific model since all the fans we had don't fit (they have 2 wires, mine has 3).

It looks easier than it sounds so I'll try taking it from here. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 2008-01-19, 21:56   Link #18
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Buy a whole new heatsink while you're at it.
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Old 2008-02-11, 18:52   Link #19
The Bloodlust Kid
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Me again and new problem.

The fan arrived today and I installed it. Booted the computer up and when I log in, the computer reboots a few seconds later and back to the sign on screen. The fan works fine and no error message pops up. So what now?
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Old 2008-02-11, 19:56   Link #20
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have you tried safe mode? Does it flash a BSOD briefly before rebooting?
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