Buring smell coming from PC, screen frozen, heatsink very hot and heatsink fan stopped

Posted on 2004-04-19
Last Modified: 2010-04-25
Came in today to find my PC screen frozen. There was a buring smell coming from the PC. When I removed the side of the case the CPU heatsink fan had stopped, adn the heatsink was very hot. I powered off the PC and left it for an hour. It restarted OK but instincts tell me something is cooked!

Given the CPU is still alive, is it worth replacing the heatsink & cpu ? Also I am struggling as to why the heatsink fan would have stopped - or is that a symptom of the cpu overheating and cutting out ?

Many thanks
Question by:p_kiernan
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 10861179
If it restarted ok, your cpu is still alive, and you just need to replace the cpu fan, which is much cheaper than a cpu.  Fans die from old age, excessive wear, overvoltage, any number of things.

Author Comment

ID: 10861366
OK thanks - just wondering about any damage to the heatsink or the compund between the cpu and heatsink (i.e. if either is damaged). Will try the fan in any case. It has started a couple of times since, and also failed to start a couple of times. cheers.
LVL 69

Accepted Solution

Callandor earned 250 total points
ID: 10861570
The heatsink can't be damaged this way, but you may want to play it safe and scrape off the old compound, which could have been dried up by excessive heat.  Reapply a drop of Artic Silver 5, and it should be as good as new.

Author Comment

ID: 10861754
Many thanks will give it a go. cheers
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Expert Comment

ID: 10862146
The compound probably should be cleaned off.  If it is a thermal pad the pads become hard with excessive heat, which can render them useless.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 10870882
or the fan can stop due to dust try spinning by hand if it spins freely then it is just some bad connections

if it is hard to turn  no biggie just peel back the label on it and pull back the usaully rubber but not always plug and put in small motor oil not stuff for lawn mowers or cars but some motor and bearing assembly oil put in enough  to make it spin nice and easily turn the fan when putting the oil in it also only put a couple of drops at a time  or it spills

hope this helps

Author Comment

ID: 10876847
Took off the heatsink and the compund (or ex-compund) had been completely incinerated. Applied some Arctic Silver and re-mounted the heatsink. Now boots and runs lovely! many thanks.Paul.

Expert Comment

ID: 10878465
>>had been completely incinerated
that is what i figured

sounds good your welcome.

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