View Full Version : Simple fan maintenance.

5th April 2005, 12:10 AM
Hey all,

It's that time of the year again when I go round all my comps and make sure that their fans are working alright, so I thought i'd make a mini-tutorial for those who dont know.

If your fan not pushing that much air anymore, making a bit of noise, rattling, or even stopped all together, this simple trick will get it running like it was brand new!

Tools needed; Screwdriver
Sticky Tape
Machine Oil (see image)
Fan *chuckle*

First off, remove the fan from your computer, in the example shown, I used the cpu fan from an original quicksilver machine. Now, just as an observation, spin the fan and see if it slows down very quickly, or has a bit of resistance when moving the blades, if so, this is going to help soo much!

Now face it with the sticker pointing upwards, see image below.


Now, with your knife, gently remove the sticker off the back. If you have removed it without loosing the sticky side, then keep it, if not throw it out.

Once its done your fan should look something like this.


The best oil to use, is sewing machine oil, its thick enough not to leak everywhere, yet still very lubricant in nature ;) Unfortunatley I couldn't find mine so I used this oil my father had around.


Now, very carefully, apply 2-3 drops (for 80mm-120mm fans 2-4 drops) of oil onto the centre shaft. Make sure not to get any oil on the back of the fan otherwise you wont be able to seal it properly! And Do not overfill! This will only cause alot of trouble and leaking oil because there is too much! .

Once you've put a couple of drops of oil in, spin the fan gently a few times, even blow into the fan and let it spin up, this will ensure that the oil is going right down the shaft. If you spin the fan now with your fingers, you should notice it moves extremely freeley.

Now, its up to you wether or not to put the original sticker back, or get some Sticky Tape and just put it over the seal. Either way, make sure that it seals it properly right over the hole. If you spilt oil on the back, clean it off with some tissue paper before applying the tape otherwise it will not stick!

And viola! you're done! When you put the fan back in the machine, you might hear a couple of funny splurting noises coming from the fan, its only the oil going into the bearing and spreading around, usually it goes for about a min or 2 randomly then its fine!

Hope this helps you all!

5th April 2005, 05:35 AM
Firstly, most fans I've seen have a rubber grommet (is that the right word?) that seals the bearings under the sticker. Interesting that this fan (factory from apple?) didn't have one.

I've never worked on a Mac desktop, but since working on the tender for VicRoads PCs 10years ago (when they introduced the hard plastic licences) I've always removed the fans from PSUs, Graphics, CPU, HDD caddies, and front of case fans before building a new PC and always use a $15 Teflon/Synthetic Aerosol like 'Super Lube with Syncolon™'. Nothing against oils, but I've found the bearing metals don't discolour when using synthetics and they don't perish the rubber seal (mentioned above).

Also, DON'T use a vacuum cleaner to de-dust your case, especially the main/motherboard. A $7 can of compressed air from Jaycar/DickSmith has a different balance of gasses to plain air and will not cause static buildup. Also has greater pressure and a thin straw to poke into nooks and crannies where the vacuum cleaner doesn't get into (or pushes things into). Also, better to pull out a can from the toolbox that a vacuum cleaner from yout boot when you're on-site at a client!

The Lube (as used by locksmiths) lasts me so long that each time I buy a new can they've changed the label, brought out new technology/additive or gone out of business so I have to look for a new brand.

Nearly all the PCs I repair are in factories and get very dusty, so the Air doesn't last quite as long. Only takes 30seconds to clean up a case and get down to checking cables.

That reminds me. I also apply a thin bead of silicon to ribbon cables and power plugs (at the socket, once inserted) to guard against them coming loose from vibration and transportation.

5th April 2005, 07:05 AM
Nice tutorial Bonsai. Pinned. I've always used a tiny bottle of sewing machine oil also, works wonders for stuck or noisy fans.

House: Quite a few computer fans these days don't have the rubber grommet you're talking about. I guess some do some don't. Obviously if it has the grommet (and it fits snug), you will not have to tape over the hole.

House brings up another good point. It might be a good idea to clean some ofthe dust out first. Especially from the heatsink. Better contact between metal and air will mean better heat transfer.

5th April 2005, 08:03 AM
Thanks for the feedback :)

House- Yes that is a fan from apple and i'm surprised as you are about the grommet not being there. However almost 99% of the time when you remove the backing the grommet comes out from the adhesion to the sticker.

The reason why I try and steer clear from locksmith lubricants is that a good deal of them are graphite based (to avoid liquids seeping out of the locks). If the graphite runs against any of the coils of the fan its instant death for the fan as it will short out.

Very good point about the compressed air though, Vacum cleaners are def. a no-go. The only time I ever use a vacum cleaner is when either a) sucking some minor dust outof a psu from the back of the case B) cleaning out an already hollowed out case. Otherwise we have an air compressor here which does the job nicley.

On a side note- When using compressed air, DO NOT let the fans spin up furiously with the compressed air, you will wear out the bearings as they will spin within excess of their specifications (sometimes up to 10000rpm!).

Thanks for pinning jobe, its still a good idea to use tape for the grommet as they do tend to pop out lol..

5th April 2005, 08:38 AM
You probably meant "voila" and not "viola" didn't you :)

5th April 2005, 11:39 PM
great work, i think you might be comming close to the knoledge of atomic... :|