Cooling fans - reliability

Good morning Experts,

Over the last 18 months our house has been very dusty - building works. The cooling fans in/on:

PSU
Video chip
Main case
CPU

have all threatened to fail of have become noisy. To overcome the problems I have taken each of them apart, cleaned them out, oiled the bearing/spindle and re-assembled them. I have had to do this 4 times on the video chip fan (3.3cm dia).

So my question is:

How can I avoid having to do this and is there a way of either fitting more robust fans and/or filtering out the dust so that it doesn't get in, in the first place.

Patrick
LVL 45
patrickabAsked:
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BillDLCommented:
I'm sure I've seen those small fans (that are held down onto the card with the spring-loaded plastic clips) in PC World.  Don't take that as a recommendation to shop in PC World though, because they are rip-off artists.

Maybe Maplin would have one that fits your graphics card.  Do you have a Maplin near you?
http://www.maplin.co.uk/StoreLocator.aspx?cmd=searchregion®ionid=8&doy=22m11

I've seen "Vantec" fans that are fairly universal, but it all depends if there is space adjacent to the card's main chip to accommodate a slightly larger fan and heatsink.

http://www.vantecusa.com/p_ccb_a4c.html
http://www.vantecusa.com/pdf/ccba4c.pdf
http://www.kustompcs.co.uk/acatalog/Graphics_Coolers.html (top two)

That one is 62mm in diameter across the heatsink's fins, and the two clip lugs are spaced 68mm apart.  It sits flush, so it wouldn't allow the heatsink fin thingy to overhang any components up close to the chip.

That seems to be Vantec's smallest fan, but there are other manufacturers.

Incidentally, Maplin also sell fan filters and accessories similar to those shown near the end of this page:
http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/products/casefanaccessories/x-filter-80

Although I wouldn't necessarily recomment it, fanless heatsinks like the last one on the following page (intended for the Northbridge motherboard chip) are getting more and more efficient as long as you have sufficient case ventilation:
http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/products/northbridgecooling

You might be able to replace the graphics card fan with one of these Akasa chipset fans that stick down with self-adhesive thermal tape:
http://www.akasa.co.uk/
http://www.akasa.co.uk/akasa_english/product_list/system_coolers_menu.htm

Bill
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patrickabAuthor Commented:
phototropic,

Thank you for those links. They all hold out some hope in my efforts to prevent my pc from getting a 'chest infection'.

Patrick
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phototropicCommented:
I rather like the low-tech approach...
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BillDLCommented:
I use the gauze from inside disposable medical face masks.  You know the type, like this by Kimberley-Clark:
http://www.surgical-face-masks.co.uk/images/tie-back-masks.jpg

It allows very free exchange of air (or nurses would be walking about wheezing and gasping), but have a thin membrane of interleaved fibres in between the outer paper-type mask which is very effective at catching dust.  Just cut out a few squares or circles that fit over your intake fan grilles and even on the inside of the case sides over any "gill" slots.  Use Blu-tac to stick them around the holes.  Easy to replace that way.

If you know anyone who works in a sterile or clean-room environment, get them to pilfer a couple for you every month or so ;-)
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BillDLCommented:
Actually, those "Bounce" sheets in Phototropic's "low tech" approach link are quite similar, but less fibrous and interleaved than the membrane from the masks.
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nobusCommented:
>>  have all threatened to fail of have become noisy. To overcome the problems I have taken each of them apart, cleaned them out, oiled the bearing/spindle and re-assembled them. I have had to do this 4 times on the video chip fan (3.3cm dia).   <<  time to put in new ones, unlees you foresee more dusty problems

 
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patrickabAuthor Commented:
nobus - I've done that previously for the Video chip fan but I know they don't have any more left - so it's make do and mend. - Patrick
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nobusCommented:
>>  so it's make do and mend. <<  maybe the fan is simply worn out, no oiling can help then.
I would look in other shops, or on e-bay for a bad card
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patrickabAuthor Commented:
Bill,

Maplin's a good idea - there's one about 5 miles away. Also perhaps Ebay for such an item.

Patrick
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patrickabAuthor Commented:
Thanks to everyone for your contributions.
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BillDLCommented:
Thank you, Patrick.
If I had a fan spare I would have been able to stick one in a jiffy and mail it to you, but I don't have one.
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