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-   -   Tutorial: Repair your noisy cpu, system and video card fans (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/guides-how-tos/4695-tutorial-repair-your-noisy-cpu-system-video-card-fans.html)

nork February 21, 2008 10:36 AM

Tutorial: Repair your noisy cpu, system and video card fans
This works so well i now automatically do this on fans even when brand new.

This is not a short-term fix but a fix that will last for a long, long time. The reason i say this is that only oiling a fan only doesnt do the job and it must be re-oiled in a few weeks or so, again and again as the oil dissipates. My fix is a one-time fix that is 99.9% guaranteed to work.
Buy some graphite powder and some oil at an auto or hardware store. They come in different packages. For oil, the best is the pen-type as they are easy to handle and only give a small amount at a time. Just about any oil in a pen format will work fine. The graphite powder comes in small plastic tubes. But make sure you get graphite powder, not graphite oil, its too thin and runny for this job! So you need graphite powder in a small tube and oil in a round "pen" that can be squeezed out and placed just where you need it. Also, when the oil is used up in the "pen" you can open it and add your own oil.
First, clean the fan blades off real well. If you have a heatsink with the fan then clean the heatsink off as well. You can even use a bit of your oil and some q-tips for cleaning if needed. There is usually a small label in the middle of the fan. It will have a name and other info on it. Peel one edge up carefully and put a very small amount of oil in where you lifted the label up. Now add some graphite powder in the same place where you put the oil, add a fair amount more of the graphite powder than the oil. You often see the small electrical connections there, dont worry about it. Clean off excess oil and graphite with a q-tip and push the label back where it was. You may need a very small amount of duct tape to hold the label in position and to prevent leakage. This is important if the fan is going to "sit up" as opposed to lying flat.
Now put the fan back where you want it and when it starts spinning it may be noisy for a few seconds until the graphite\oil works its way in. Then it will stop and it will stay stopped for many years and you may very well not need to buy a new fan after all! Just adding oil will only work for a while.
I experimented a lot with this and this is the very best way to quiet all those fans and have them work well. I have always been a big fan of those removable ide hard drive trays that you can buy. But the fans are the pits, they get noisy real fast. So i had to find a way to fix them as they are very expensive and hard to replace. Now i dont have to. Combo of oil and graphite is the very best solution by far. One caution, graphite stains worse than oil, so be careful! Im talking about staining your clothes and hands.
You can use this oil and graphite powder system with all cpu fans, video card fans, system fans, and even fans inside power supplies. But one word of caution, its easy to open a power supply and take out the fan, but do be careful as there are voltages there can can hurt you badly. If you dont know what you are doing then wear rubber gloves to get the fan out and to put the fan back in after the oil and graphite repair!
It doesn't matter whether the fan uses a ball bearing or a sleeve bearing, long as you can find a way to get some oil and graphite powder inside it.
Trust me, this will work. If the fan spins my method will work for years and I have even fixed fans that were stuck and wouldnt spin! This is better done with the fan on the table but in those cases where you cant or dont want to take the fan out of the system, thats where the "pen" with the needle comes in again, but i still find a way to get some graphite in as well, graphite is what makes the oil last a long time! And graphite is also an oil, but you need both together for maximum effectiveness. Oil by itself will only last a few weeks or so and then evaporate, and the fan will get noisy again. Its the graphite powder that does the long term job. The oil really only helps to spread the graphite powder around really well so the graphite can do the job!
Graphite, i imagine is conductive, but i have never run into a problem. I imagine its because its not conductive enough to cause any problems in that area.
Another thing it does. If you cant get a part to fit in, instead of using vaseline or some other lubricant, use graphite powder. Graphite powder can withstand heat better than vaseline. The only thing, as i said above, it does stain, so you have to be careful with it, wipe up any spills, etc. And, in some cases, you might want to use it with a touch of oil, just enuf to help spread the graphite powder around a bit better and faster.
You can pick up a tube of graphite powder for about $3 or so and theres enough to fix maybe 100 fans or more. Course it works on noisy and sticky doors in the house, anything that needs to slide like windows in wood and aluminum frames. I got an email from a person who used it to fix a sticky key on an old favorite keyboard. It works on just about anything, but, again, be careful as it does stain so its hard to get it out of clothes.
Hope you do as well as i have with this info. And i hope you will report back here when you do the fan repair job so that others will go out and do the same!

I will try and add pics later when i have time

MacJunky February 21, 2008 11:03 AM

To be honest I would advise spinning the blades around with fingers first so you don't get high RPMs tossing anything anywhere because there are other gaps and ways for stuff to seep out.
Personally I would actually remove the blades from the main housing and manually lube up the shaft itself to ensure decent coverage with minimal spillage and dripping and such. I mean, then at least you could get a little rag or something and mix up the graphite with oil then use that to apply further reducing mess.

I don't mean to offend, just my two cents.

low351 February 21, 2008 11:22 AM

Thanks nork. I have a noisy fan in my new CM690 case, I'll try this on it.

have you tried this product?

Canadian Tire

I wonder if I can use it and dispense with the oil pen...

nork February 21, 2008 12:03 PM

MacJunky, no offence taken. I have done this so many many times that i find my way works 99.99% of the time.
In addition, i was trying to keep my tutorial simple as not all of us want to be taking fans apart, especially when my way works down to the shaft anyway and without all the extra work involved.
So, following my tutorial will take care of the problem 99.99% of the time.

low351, if you have any questions before i get the pics up, please email or pm me and i will be happy to help out. It really is easy once you have done it once, lol.
Just make sure you get graphite powder, preferrably in the plastic squeeze tube, Can Tire store or any auto parts store. And again, the oil is only to help spread the graphite around so any light oil will do the trick. But, there is oil in a pen format that is easy to work with. There is also a bottle with a long, thin, pullout on it so that you can pull it out, about a foot, and then squeeze on the bottle. This helps you direct exactly where you want the oil to go. Pretty sure you can get this at Can Tire as well, been a long time as i re-fill mine with oil when it runs out so i havent had to go looking for this bottle.

I tried your link to can tire, it doesnt work for me.
But, again, its graphite oil in the tube.
And let us know how it turns out, because i know it will turn out good, i've done so many.
Matter of fact i have started doing my trick on all new fans even before i use them. I feel that that would be a good idea for video card fans!

low351 February 21, 2008 01:31 PM

Thanks, nork, I'll let you know how it turns out, I have an old 80mm blue LED fan that I abandoned due to noise, I'll try it out on that first.

That link that didn't work was to Jig-A-Loo Graphite Extreme Lubricant (Jig-A-Loo)

nork February 21, 2008 01:54 PM

ya, but it looks like an aerosol can or some kind of can like that.
You see, when doing fans, all you need is a little bit of graphite and a few, maybe 5 drops of oil, and i mean drops, not spoons, lol
One small tube of graphite powder from Can tire, about $3, will last you a lifetime doing fans.
And the pen. Just buy the pen or the bottle with the hose on it, long, very thin, fine hose. Use up the oil in them and open them up and put some more oil. Any oil, long as its not too heavy. Heck, you could even use motor oil, but whats better is sewing machine oil because its very light and thin and gets into the places you want the graphite to get into. As i said, the oil is only there to move the graphite around. Oil dissipates with heat, but you are left with the graphite which doesnt dissipate with heat and thats why my method works!
It will repair, again, 99.99% of fans. I have only run into one fan that i couldnt fix, it was too far gone. But i did quiet it down some,lol, just not enuf to say it was a success. But the fan was simply too far gone.
As a matter of fact, the more i think about it, the more i should have pointed this out to MacJunky. If you use thin oil, like sewing machine oil, the oil and the graphite will get to where it should get to in order to quiet the fan down.
I do remember a couple times where i had to use more oil and more graphite to quiet a fan, the first try didnt do it. But thats rare as well. Get enough graphite in there and problem solved.

biff February 21, 2008 04:26 PM

Good idea, I'll have to give it a go.

nork February 21, 2008 09:54 PM

Those who do try my method, please post back and tell people how well it works so they will do it too!
Considering how expensive some fans are, its a real cheap fix that works really well. And when dealing with expensive video cards, boy, this can really do a lot of good! I dont happen to be a gamer. But i still put my graphite on every new fan i get before i even use it, prolongs the life of the fan by a lot i can tell you that.

Jack Rabbit February 22, 2008 11:03 AM

To echo some of the responses you are getting over at techspot I would like to point out that graphite powder is conductive and conductive particles are not good for electronics. If you look at the uses for graphite lubricant they are almost exclusively for mechanical applications. Some capacitors are made out of graphite.

I am sure this can be done safely as you have done it lots with no problems. I just wanted to caution everyone they they should be really carefull with it. If you accidentally dump a tube of graphite on a running mainboard it might just fry it or cause intermitant weirdness.

Just rip all those noisy fans off and go with water cooling!

nork February 22, 2008 11:13 AM

Mr. Jack Rabbit. Why do people like you have to come along and try to ruin a good thing. What you said is a lie. There is nothing over at techspot except 3 pages of "thank you's" from members who have used my methods. Best to keep your comments to yourself!

Here is the tutorial at techspot for all to read:
Repair your noisy cpu and system fans - TechSpot OpenBoards


If you accidentally dump a tube of graphite on a running mainboard it might just fry it or cause intermitant weirdness
I didnt think i would have to warn anyone not to dump a tube of graphite on a running mainboard, lol.

As i said, i have done this so many times, never a problem. But that kind of response can cause another person to shy away from using graphite when thats not the case. One has to be careful with all products that are used on computers. You can cause problems with thermal grease as well, but its still used on most computers.
My method is totally safe to use unless of course you happen to be insane, in which case, you shouldnt use my method.

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