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Dell Studio XPS 16 Heatsink fan trouble

Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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January 17, 2013 5:58:50 PM

I am running a Dell Studio XPS 16 laptop that has a recently replaced motherboard and a brand new heatsink fan. The fan was purchased to replace the stock one which I believed to have died, but the replacement fan doesn't receive any power to start up. I'm fairly certain that this should not be a motherboard issue as it was replaced by Dell in May on a warranty claim (the warranty has expired as of June).

The computer runs fine with my Cooler Master USB cooling fan pad and the bottom cover removed, but this removes, basically, all mobility of the laptop. Everything else on the computer is functional.

The laptop is running Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit). I have downloaded Speedfan to try and see if I could manually start the fan, but it will not recognize/find the fan.

Studio XPS 16
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo P8700
Video: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3670
MOBO: Dell Inc. 0p743d A15 (most recent BIOS)

Screen cap of my device manager: http://i.imgur.com/djMlk.png [1]

I'm wondering if there is anything I need to do (downloads/drivers?) or if I'm pursuing a lost cause. Any help would be appreciated.
January 17, 2013 6:21:13 PM

have you inspected the plug where the fan connects to the mobo? is it secure?

How many wires does the fan use, and how many pins is the connector?

It could be you got a fan with a different pin out than the Mobo so the power wire or control wire (if there is one) could be on the wrong mobo pin.
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January 17, 2013 6:43:58 PM

Yes I have, and yes it is secure. The fan uses 4 wires, the fan port has 4 pins. The wires on each fan have the same color coded order. The fan is supposed to be OEM, it fit exactly in place. The same manufacturer and plugs. I need a way to test the fans elsewhere to see if they will work but i'm not sure where to do this.
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January 17, 2013 7:17:58 PM

Do you have access to a voltmeter? You can power on the pc and check the pins for voltage, you should be able to figure out which pins are which by fan wire color..
usually black is gnd and red would be 3,5,8 or 12V, depends on the fan / mobo. If your getting voltage there, its a bad fan. No voltage there = bad mobo.
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January 17, 2013 7:29:41 PM

I do have one. I'm in class at the moment, but once I return I will test it. I'll update as soon as possible.
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January 17, 2013 7:35:15 PM

Sometimes laptop fans don't come on until they reach a certain point, so does it never spin or doesn't spin when you turn it on and you're assuming it's not spinning.
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January 17, 2013 7:39:42 PM

It doesn't start when I power it on or while using the computer for basic purposes. The computer would previously crash immediately after launching Steam games due to over heating, so I'll try that as well.
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January 17, 2013 10:02:33 PM

So my voltmeter didn't show anything, which leads me to assume that the fan is getting zero power. I did try to stress the computer to trigger the fan, but it didn't turn it on. Is there any possible fix rather than an entire MOBO? For instance like soldering a new fan port to the board?
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January 21, 2013 3:37:03 PM

something on the board isn't right, if its not getting power to the pin. its probably not the port, and trying to solder a new port is as likely to delaminate the board as it is to fix the issue, if it were even the port that malfunctioned. Too many possibilities to speculate the true issue.

Not sure what advice to give here, if you want to avoid a repair fee, or the cost of a mobo, maybe you could rig up a similar sized fan via USB (or modify one of your fans to be powered via USB, the signal wires would need be saturated to either pos or neg.) And you would need some routing space available to not make it look terribad. Really depends on the spec of the fans and voltages they are designed to if its even possible.
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January 21, 2013 6:33:36 PM

The issue with the fan is now resolved, but the laptop still likes to shut down spontaneously every now and then when under a heavy load. Its difficult to reproduce as it does it at different times.

The fan issue was resolved by flashing the BIOS (same version) again.. Did this immediately after I installed the fan and nothing happened, but I guess third time's a charm.
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