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What could be causing the squealing coming from my computer?

Posted on 2007-03-26
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I have a Dell Dimension 4600C that has been working great.  The other day it wouldn't power up.  I checked all connections.  Came back to it the next day and it powered on just fine and has been up and running great since then.  The difference now though is I have a very high pitched squealing coming from the machine.

I'm certain this is a capacitor as I've had this happen to other machines in the past.  I checked and I don't see any visible leakage and physically touching all that are visible doesn't change the tone at all.  All of these items lead me to believe the PS is my issue but I’m just looking for other options.  Thanks in advance.
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Question by:GTKINC
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PUNKY earned 500 total points
ID: 18794001
Well, this is long shot trouble shooting though. Do you have Dell diagnostic to try on this issue? Also, run test for memory, hard drive, and good to check PSU. Aging might be cause for components.

And you are correct about the capacitor, and normally symptom you find on this defect is suddendly shutdown.
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by:GTKINC
ID: 18794061
I'm sure the Dell tool is something I can download right?  I'm running a HD test now.  Its Seagates tool.  The first error it gave me was that the drive had been over temp.  However its 40% through the test now and no issues.

Of course due to the nature of the PS I don't have an extra laying around.  I'm going to let it run its test and if all goes well just discount it as a fluke.
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by:PUNKY
ID: 18794118
Yes, Dell has tool for it. Type your system service tag and start to find correct tool for your system from Dell. Also, third party software such as:

http://www.memtest.org for memory test
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by:KCTS
ID: 18794153
It its squeeling then its almist certainly one of the fans. The bearing has probably failed or is failing.
Open up the case and locate the fans and see if you can determine which one it is. If its a fan on the case on of the CPU then you can replace it quite easily. If its on the power supply or on the graphics card then its more of a problem.
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by:GTKINC
ID: 18794298
Punky: Finished the HD test with flying colors minus the over temp error.  I usually don't consider those to be valid if it finishes the test with no other errors.  I'll dwnld Dells test and see.

KCTS:  I've manually stopped all of the fans momentarily and the noise continues.
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by:radnor
ID: 18794521
Overtemp error?!?  I would think the noise would be from either a fan or the HDD itself.  

Capacitor failing, if in the filtering section of the PS, 60 cycle ripple in output of PS.
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by:KCTS
ID: 18795910
Try disconnecting the hard disk, it could be the bearing on the drive.
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by:GTKINC
ID: 18796014
Its the PS.  I didn't have another Dell PS but I do have one that will work.  Hooked it up and the sound is gone.
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by:nobus
ID: 18798396
just a question : when you stopped all fans, did you stop the power supply fan as well? if this is the cause, you just need to replace the fan in the power supply
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by:GTKINC
ID: 18799831
Nobus - I did stop the power supply fan.  Incuding this fan the only other fan is the CPU fan.
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by:maimon22
ID: 18803609
try only to connect the memmory and the video card (but make sure that you wont hear anything if you have a fan on the video card because they make a lot of noise) and disconnect the cd roms and hard drives and everything else
then start connecting one part and another till you get the noise
but if u disconnect everything and u hear something then its from the ps or from the cpu fan
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by:GTKINC
ID: 18803949
PS was the culprit.
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