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Beginner
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Why is my CPU fan not working properly now?

Graphics card died and got a new one. While I was in there, I did some spring cleaning. Pulled the CPU fan and put on new compound. Put fan back on, turned computer on, now CPU fan won't stop turning off and on. It maxes out, then shuts off, maxes out, then shuts off. Over and over. I've now taken it off 6 times, re-did the compound 4 times putting more or less each time, and the CPU fan still doesn't stop this pattern. The fan is seated correctly, but obviously something is amiss. I put it on exactly how I pulled it off (position wise), so I have no idea why it isn't working correctly now.  I used to build computers and am no stranger to CPU fans, CPU's, compound, etc. But I am stumped as to what went wrong here.

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Super User
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Obviously, you did something to cause the problem. If your board (and processor) have onboard graphics, remove the graphics card and use the onboard graphics as a test. Or, try a different graphics card.

 

Also, is the new graphics card pulling too much from the power supply?

 

If the problem still exists, I suggest you take your PC to a repair shop.

 

Doc

 

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Beginner
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I've checked and double checked. It isn't the on-board graphics or the new or old card. Something is going on with the fan. I've removed the card to check this and the fan still does its pattern. And it started immediately after cleaning it all out. I doubt highly I broke something as I've just done this so many times before and would have noticed.

 

The new graphics card is rated for a power supply 200 below what I currently have. And the rest of the PC consists of a SSD, 2 hard disks, 2x 4 gigs RAM, and that's it. Power supply is an 800 watt.

 

Is there some sort of software that can check to see what is throwing off the error that is causing the fan to keep resetting? I'd rather not have to switch my motherboard to start the fan in a manual mode.

 

 

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Super User
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You have not said what model motherboard you are using, and what model processor, and the os version and build.

 

You are looking for a systemic answer, when something clearly went wrong with your cleaning process. It is difficult to say what it is. It could be something occurred with the handling of the board, perhaps due to age, or something caused by static and improper grounding.

 

You can try the Intel Processor Diagnostic Tool. https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/19792

 

However, I would question any results from this tool in light of the problem you are having.

 

Try using a different motherboard, different memory, a different fan, a different power supply, and even a different processor. If you do not do these tests to eliminate a problem source, your only choice is to take your machine to a repair facility. Do not convince yourself that any or all of these components are OK.

 

There is nothing that can be done here.

 

Doc

 

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Beginner
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Building a whole new computer to trouble shoot a fan not working properly is a bit strange to me for a solution. Normally, I would just swap fans or re-seat the thing, but in this case, I do not have any matching parts. As this happened immediately after cleaning it, I suspect maybe I bumped something or a sensor is somehow misaligned. But after taking it a part and putting it back together several times and even cleaning everything thoroughly, I'm at a loss.

 

I know the BIOS reads data coming from several parts of the computer. Is there no software that can help me find the error that is causing the repeated boot up cycle of the fan? It seems so obvious considering we have tools like this for vehicles for reasons pretty much just like this.

 

I've ran the stress test on the processor and it checks out. No errors, and it runs perfectly. The heat sink is in place and the locks are in place correctly. But the fan is still not working properly. It got a bit hot, topping out at 87 Celsius, but that was the same temps before I messed with the fan. So the temps are actually normal. I have new "performance" compound with the new card to try and bring the temps down. I just haven't applied it yet till I figure this issue out.

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Super User
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There is nothing that can be done here.

 

Doc

 

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Beginner
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Would anyone else have any experience in this matter, then? Software or any other advice? First time ever having this problem in over 15 years of building custom computers. Never had to delve this deep into CPU fans before outside of a direct replacement.

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Super User
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One more time, what motherboard are you using, what is the processor model number, what OS version and build?

 

You want assistance, yet you have not provided any information. I have given you the steps to isolate whether it is the processor, motherboard, memory, fan, etc. Yet, you are unwilling to do those steps. It does not matter how many years you have been building computers. You know what the debug/diagnostic steps are. Use them.

 

Doc

 

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Super User
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Also, make sure you have the proper MEI installed on your OS, whatever it is.

 

Doc

 

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Beginner
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I was just looking for software that helps with error checking. But the OS is Windows 10, CPU i5-4670 3.4, motherboard Z87-A.

 

The debug/diagnostic steps do not show the errors the fan is throwing that is causing the restart. In fact, everything I've checked shows it is operating normally, even though it clearly isn't.

 

I didn't provide much info because I was just asking for software to look for a check on fan communication and errors. Please refrain from getting upset.

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Super User
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Not upset. Now, from a previous fan issue similar to yours, believe it or not, it was the MEI. So, assuming you are on W10 1809, get the latest MEI for your board.

 

Doc

 

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Beginner
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Will give that a shot, thanks.

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Super User Retired Employee
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Translation: Install the latest BIOS for your board; it installs the ME firmware. The MEI is a hardware communications (message passing) mechanism that allows the firmware running on the ME to talk to software running on the Host processor. You need to install the MEI driver package in order to support this communications on the Windows side.

 

This is getting a lot off topic, I think. Let's go back to the beginning. Are you sure that the fan is properly plugged into the 4-pin processor fan header? Having it improperly plugged in can cause issues like this, especially if the fan is not properly receiving the PWM control signal. Plugging it into the wrong header can have similar effects.

 

Because there is no digital communication mechanism included, the operation and monitoring of fans is very primitive. Fans send back what is essentially a tachometer signal. A fan typically sends a pulse on this signal for each half revolution completed. A sensor is constantly measuring the time between the appearance of the leading edge of one pulse and the appearance of the leading edge of the next pulse and, from this, determining a speed, in RPM. A problem is that, when no pulses are being seen, you do not know if this is because the tachometer signal is not being received (i.e. whether a fan is present), the fan is stalled (broken/not working) or the fan is simply (and purposefully) stopped. In the case of 4-wire PWM fans, they are allowed to work in certain modes, depending upon the state of the PWM signal. If the PWM signal is being received, the fan is supposed to try to use its duty cycle (percentage) to set its rotational speed. If the duty cycle is too low for the fan to operate properly at, it may choose to turn off, it may choose to run at some specific minimum speed or it may choose to try and run at the specified duty cycle (and obviously it will stall if the duty cycle is too low). If no PWM signal is being received, on the other hand, the fan may choose to not spin or it may choose to run at full speed. in some cases, going to full speed is a metered operation (your description of what the fan is doing could match this). Note that these modes I have defined are part of a particular fan's specification. You are supposed to purchase 4-wire fans that operates the way you want it to. Unfortunately, many fans are sold without this being identified.

 

Ok, let's talk about software. You need an application that includes support for the device providing the temperature, voltage and fan speed sensors and fan speed controllers. On most boards, the device that provides this capability is the Super I/O (SIO) IC. There are a number of paid and freeware applications that include support for a goodly number of devices. The absolute best tool you can get is Finalwire's AIDA64. application This is a paid application, but they let you try it out for a period of time before you have to pay for it. Other applications, mostly free, include HWiNFO64, SpeedFan, Open HW Monitor, etc. For an "older" board like yours (isn't that a depressing statement?), all of these applications should have support its sensor-controller device. But, if you want one that can collect and save readings over time, AIDA64 is the app you want to use.

 

Hope this helps,

...S

 

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Beginner
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Fan plug seems good. It actually has a notch that prevents me from putting it one pin off or backwards. I checked the pins and they are not bent and look solid.

 

I've been running CoreTemp and Speed Fan for CPU and fan info. Here is a screenshot of Speed Fan with my computer at idle. temps.jpg

 

I updated all drivers immediately after the format and got no errors. However, I went ahead and redid the BIOS drivers just in case. The fan speed now does the same thing, but stops after maybe 8 or 10 cycles. Then operates normally, including speeding up as the CPU gets hotter and visa versa.

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Beginner
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I think I may have fixed it. Had a bit more time tonight and I looked things over. Totally forgot to unseat the battery on the mobo after the BIOS reboot. Shut everything down, removed the battery, counted to 30, and then plugged everything back in and the problem seems to be resolved.

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Super User
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Super news. Fingers crossed that you resolved the issue.

 

Doc

 

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