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Background: This is a Dell E1705 (9400). It's 3 or 4 years old now and way out of warranty. Long story short, one of the fans has decided it didn't want to work anymore, or at least work to its full capacity on any regular basis. The left fan (underneath the ESC key) works fine, but it's the fan on the right side giving me trouble.

So to diagnose if the fan is completely dead, I've tried a couple fan monitoring programs - none whatsoever can detect any fan. This includes:

HWMonitor, SpeedFan, hmonitor, I8KFANGUI won't install - driver problem. BIOS (no settings within).

I've tried updating the chipset, nada.

So I can't even tell if the fan just needs some help, or if it's dead, or really what the story is. I'm not even sure how to replace it if that'll fix the problem.

Well, my left fan just kicked in, so I better submit this before the laptop shuts down. I wouldn't be against getting a new one since this one is old, but I'd rather pay $10 for a new fan and replace it if that'll do the trick.

Thanks.

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Don't be surprised that many utilities can't detect your fans. Check if there is some program made for Dell laptops, it may work. Otherwise, it'd be best to find service manual for your laptop and see what's the sate of your heat dissipation system. If you didn't clean the fans in 3 or 4 years, it's normal that they are near death. So my advice is get the manual, clean the insides and if it doesn't help, get replacement fans. They may be more expensive than $10 though. Also repairman will charge you for service too. –  AndrejaKo Sep 4 '10 at 8:15
    
@AndrejaKo: why not posting your comment as an answer? IMHO, it is a very acceptable answer I would upvote. –  MainMa Sep 5 '10 at 0:24
    
@MainMa I was originally just going to say that it's not surprising that fans aren't detected, but then I got carried away... Anyway, it's irrelevant now. The problem is fixed and your answer already covers that what I wrote in my comment. –  AndrejaKo Sep 5 '10 at 0:33

2 Answers 2

About the fan working at half speed:

Cleaning the fans is really the first thing to do. If the fan is working, but not at 100% speed, it's very probably because of the dust.

Sometimes, a fan can even stop working because of dust. Once, I had to repair a PC with a fan which wouldn't even work. With a lot of pain, I noticed that it was the cats hairs or something like that, that blocked the fan. Since it was not visible too much, it was difficult to find.

About the fan not recognized:

It is a common problem with some fans, especially with some companies with very specific hardware (Dell is known to produce very specific hardware). Having some experience with SpeedFan, I can tell you that it is often unable to recognize fans or HDDs (for S.M.A.R.T. data), or can recognize the fans, but is unable to control their speed, even when BIOS settings are set correctly.

How to solve this? The most obvious way to have "something" which recognizes the fans is to download an utility developed by the company which shipped the motherboard.

If you can't do that or find those utilities too horrible to use (like Gigabyte ones with the ugliest interface possible), you may want to try to get the third party tools, but they may not work.

A good thing is that you can sometimes report an incompatibility to the developers of those third-party tools. If I remember well, SpeedFan has a feature which enables you to specify the hardware which is incompatible with the app.

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I decided to bite the bullet and open the laptop up - twice, actually. I didn't see any lint or dust in the fan initially but I figured why not look again, went through the whole process and hidden VERY well was a string of dust and lint about the size of my thumb. Problem solved.

Still, no idea why the fans aren't showing up in programs but the overheating, and my need to see those fans is now gone.

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Just remember to accept an answer, so that the question will be marked as closed. –  AndrejaKo Sep 5 '10 at 0:34

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