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How often should a laptop fan be replaced?

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by Ghosthostile, Feb 14, 2011.

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  1. Ghosthostile

    Ghosthostile Notebook Consultant

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    I know question isn't exactly the most easy thing to answer, but in your experience how often do laptop fan's break?

    I am concerned because my laptop fan becomes audible and very frequent when doing virus scans or running anything flash based, sometimes they don't turn off until the scan is complete or flash hasn't been used for a while.

    Is it possible for a fan to wear faster even if free of dust if it's on more often than not?

    I know a fan never really turns off, but mine is pretty audible, not ear piercing audible nor very annoying but its definitely the loudest laptop I've owned (I use it only on a wooden desk and keep everything dust free)

    I do not hear anything that could indicate a fault with it, I can only hear it spin up and hear the airflow, the laptop temperature has never gone above 60oc, and the fans have been set in BIOS to switch on once the machine has peaked 50oc, there is no way to change this as there are no options in BIOS and speedfan does not work, obviously they don't want people changing this.
     
  2. Nick

    Nick Mr.Mischief

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    When the fans starts making a grinding noise or it stops turning, thats when I would replace it.
     
  3. Gracy123

    Gracy123 Agrees to disagree

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    The FAN, pretty much as every other material thing in this world, gets old and wears out! Don't forget the fan is actually a bearing - each bearing has certain estimated lifetime, based mainly on millions of cycles. Hence - the more and the faster the FAN is in use - the sooner it will need replacing.

    This however gives no particular information about "how often" as it depends on the quality, as well as on dust, temperature and other factors. I used my previous laptop for 4 years (it has been on almost 24h a day) and I never had to replace the FAN. Unfortunately others complain of a broken FAN few months or an year after purchase.

    As said above - whenever the FAN stops spinning or starts making unnatural sounds - this is the time to replace it. If you think it is just more noisy (pay attention that it is normal to be more noisy when spinning on higher speeds!) - you can try lubricating the bearing - this might help a bit.
     
  4. ramgen

    ramgen -- Morgan Stanley --

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    The average lifetime of a fan should be around 50,000 hours (read it somewhere long time ago). That's why most users don't need to change it during the lifetime of a laptop.

    50,000 hours means 5.7 years of continuous operation. If you are using your laptop for 12 hours/day it should take more than 11 years for the fan to die out.


    --
     
  5. Pirx

    Pirx Notebook Virtuoso

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    Uhmm, to be anal about it, the fan has a bearing, but it's a fan (or a fan assembly), not a bearing. ;)

    In any case, practically all laptop fans these days have magnetic bearings, that are not subject to substantial mechanical wear. Of course, these fans still only have a finite lifetime, and wear out eventually, but as has been pointed out the lifetime of your typical laptop fan far exceeds the useful life of the laptop itself. So, unless you have a bum fan, you should not have to replace it, ever.
     
  6. Gracy123

    Gracy123 Agrees to disagree

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    Thanks for the correction, that's what I meant :)

    Yes - usually one FAN lasts long enough, but there are always exceptions or defective models...:

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/sony/554891-where-buy-vaio-z-vpz11c5e-replacement-fan.html
     
  7. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow Super Moderator

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    If you don't constantly blow out the fan with compressed air and clean it out regularly, it should be quite a while. I still have Pentium 2 notebooks on their first fan. It really comes down to dumb luck, I have seen certain notebook manufacturer fan's fail very very quickly.
     
  8. Gracy123

    Gracy123 Agrees to disagree

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    To be honest the only few laptops with defective FANs I've seen were all Dell. But it is rather a luck-thing.
     
  9. exe

    exe Notebook Consultant

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    I agree with the posters above, if it's not broken/irregular sound, don't replace. Also, when fans and especially the heatsink it blows through becomes clogged with dust, the fans will work harder and will sound louder. I think this is what you are experiencing. I would suggest dismantaling the laptop to get at the fans and heatsink. Sometimes, just air pressure from the outside doesn't clean it all out and may force large dust clots to get on the fan fins and slow it or stop it from spinning. I had this happen on one of my laptops. Also, if using compressed air, try to jam your fans because it's not rated to spin at an abnormally high speed. I hope you don't have a HP, it's a b i t c-h to open up.
     
  10. DetlevCM

    DetlevCM Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Depends on the fan.

    My Vaios fan was replaced just within it's warranty time of 2 years, the fan on my old laptop still works after 5,5 years, 3 of those years with heavy use.
    On another old laptop the fan also still works after 6 years.
     
  11. lead_org

    lead_org Purveyor of Truth

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    that maybe the case when you have a clean environment, but when you factor in dusts, moistures, etc then the life expectancy of a fan is lot less. Usually 3 years of use (around 8 hrs of day) is about the average life of many Toshiba fans (which is used in many laptops, like Sanyo batteries are).

    There is no real hard no. that you can rely on to tell you how often a fan needs to be replaced. A good indicator that your fan needs to be cleaned or replaced, is when it start to make noises or it is working at its top speed all the time.
     
  12. Trottel

    Trottel Notebook Virtuoso

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    The only fans I have ever had fail on me were really crappy bottom of the barrel desktop fans I bought on Newegg.com for a pittance years ago. However, I opened them up, cleaned the sleeve bearing, and replaced the grease. That kept them going for maybe another 6 months to a year.

    Anyway, fans last a very very long time and are not a normal wear item. Chances are you will never have to touch it. Think about the wheel bearing in a car. It is similar in that it uses ball bearings and sees heavy use for years without failing. Some do fail and need replacement, but it is rare, and most cars go to the junkyard with their original wheel bearings.
     
  13. KSD

    KSD Notebook Consultant

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    not all have bearings. My g51j comes with a brushless motor. Also agreed when it dies...also don't forget to clean it once in awhile.

    EDIT also fans come as single and double ball ebarings mostly and have anywhere from 10,000-40,000 hours of operation. so they last a very very long time
     
  14. Crimsoned

    Crimsoned Notebook Deity

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    Most laptop fans will work for years.

    The dominant factor is the bearing used on the fan; sleeve, ball bearing, and I believe I've heard of fluid bearing used on laptops (perhaps very old laptops?).

    The #1 fan used in laptops, and also the technical worst is sleeve bearing. The good thing is the since the blades are small in laptop fans and weigh almost nothing they cause very little issue for the motor and cheap sleeve bearing so in the end they can last many years.

    The 2nd is ball bearings, these are not typical if present at all. I have only seen one single laptop use ball bearing, apart from just ordering one yourself.

    This is a ball bearing:
    [​IMG]

    Sleeve bearing: [​IMG]
     
  15. Trottel

    Trottel Notebook Virtuoso

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    There is nothing wrong with sleeve bearings. They can be good and they can be bad depending on the manufacturer.
     
  16. Crimsoned

    Crimsoned Notebook Deity

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    Well they can be good, however not as good as good ball bearing fans.

    While it doesn't really matter in laptops at all since the weight is so insignificant, in desktops it can really cause some issues with high performance fans.

    Ever seen a sleeve bearing 120mm@5000 rpm? Won't last long I can assure you of that, specially if it's in horizontal position.
     
  17. KSD

    KSD Notebook Consultant

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    as i said earlier soem laptops like mine use brushless motors....wish i knew how to overload the brushless motor to make ti spin faster and at full speed 24/7....darn thing won't turn on until it's like 85C :/
     
  18. reb1

    reb1 Notebook Evangelist

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    If it is keeping the laptop at a reasonable temperature then it is doing its job. Sony replaced the defective fan on my laptop twice within one year. The current one has been working for over a year without problems and keeps the laptop under 95 degrees ferinheight .
     
  19. Pirx

    Pirx Notebook Virtuoso

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    You guys are living in the previous century. Not many fans these days use mechanical bearings, and practically none use ball bearings. The cheap and crappy ones have sleeve bearings, but if your fan is any good at all, it will have (essentially contactless) magnetic bearings. Decent ball bearings are too expensive (unless you are talking about some fancy-shmancy just-for-show third-party fans), and make no sense for this application.
     
  20. Crimsoned

    Crimsoned Notebook Deity

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    Ah yes that is true however Sleeve bearing is still #1 (well rifle bearing would be more like it).
    At any rate laptop fans should not be due to failure for many many years.

    Also forgot to mention but maglev fans are expensive.

    I may have a maglev fan at my home from my desktop, I don't remember though if I had used that or my Yate Loon's for a shroud.

    Oh yes@ brushless motor:

    All computer fans (desktop/laptop) have bearings that help the fan stay rigid and stable on the assembly..
     
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