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High pitched squeal from PC

Posted on 2016-08-20
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Last Modified: 2016-09-18
I hear a squeal from PC when cover is off

If it's not the fans is it cause for concern ?
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Question by:feck1
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Dr. Klahn earned 250 total points
ID: 41763446
Two things commonly make noise inside a system enclosure ...

a) Fans.  Fan noise is often discontinuous, "it comes and it goes", shifting from grumbling to high-pitched squealing and back again.  Fans can be opened and re-lubricated, but it's not worth the effort; the bearings of a squealing fan are damaged and the problem will be back shortly.  Replace the fan(s).

b) The power supply.  This noise is continuous and high pitched.  It's caused by delamination in the output transformer.  Replace the power supply immediately, because this problem can cause the power supply to overheat and catch fire.
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by:feck1
ID: 41763451
Can the fans be stopped for a second to see if it's them ?

Psu - will swap with another Psu to see
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
☠ MASQ ☠ earned 84 total points
ID: 41763452
Or a fan in the PSU or graphics card.  Might be worth checking to see if a cable is fouling a fan suddenly but otherwise pretty much as above.  The only other moving part is going to be HDD platters and that IS serious!
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by:Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn earned 250 total points
ID: 41763458
Fans can be stopped briefly by sticking a nylon cable tie into the blades.  Don't do this longer than a few seconds.  Some fans, particularly the CPU fan, are monitored by the motherboard.  Stopping those fans may cause the motherboard to "protectively" shut the system down without notice.
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by:rindi
ID: 41763538
Maybe if you could record the noise and attach the recording we may be able to identify what causes it.
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by:Serena Hsi
Serena Hsi earned 83 total points
ID: 41763702
Have you thought about turning off the overspeed protection in the bios menu?

To access the bios menu on Win10, for example

If the noise persists, it may be from a bad capacitor (if the machine is new, maybe get it repaired under warranty?).

Also, if it isn't the bios (turn the overspeed protection back on), and use a can o' compressed air and blow all the dust bunniez out of the case, the fans, the cpu fan, etc etc. Dust is not your friend.
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by:IT-Expert
IT-Expert earned 83 total points
ID: 41763756
From experience, noises can be extremely difficult to diagnose where they are coming from, and what is causing them.

As has already been stated, it can be;
1) Fans (very common)
2) Electrical noise coming from failing components
3) Hard disk drive (common, but the most worrying) (get stuff backed up!!)

What I have done in the past, as funny as it might seem, is use a stethoscope and touch various parts of the case and components (PSU, hard drives, cdrom, floppy etc), taking care NOT TO TOUCH ANY LIVE electrical components (if you're not sure about this, best not to attempt this method).

As has already been suggested, perhaps record the noise and upload?
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by:Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn earned 250 total points
ID: 41763924
IT-Expert raises an excellent point.  A mechanic's stethoscope is a useful thing to have in any technician's kit.
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by:rindi
ID: 41763938
Or just attach a sample of the noise. Often that will be enough for us to say, Ahh, I recognize it, it's the ethernet interface...
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 41763941
Ahh, I recognize it, it's the ethernet interface...


Is that the 10BaseT one that sounds like a '58 Chevy shredding the clutch facing, or is that the 10Base100 one that sounds like the mournful wail of the Numidian turnip?
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by:rindi
ID: 41763945
It's the 10base100 that sounds like a water tap fully open.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 41764094
i have also seen cases where the noise came from vibrating coils (loose windings)
they can be in the PS, or on the mobo

i use a screwdriver with a long stem, and put it on the non- conductive surface of the part i wan t to check - while holding the grip to my ear - usually that's enough for locating it roughly
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by:IT-Expert
ID: 41764112
Something else that is also worth bearing in mind, is that people can often describe noises in different ways (or even find it difficult to describe certain noises), which is why the suggestion of recording and uploading the noise may be a good idea.

Also, whether you use a stethoscope, long screwdriver or whatever, it is just another method of trying to locate the source of the noise.
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by:rindi
ID: 41783449
Delete the Question. Without a sample of how it sounds there is no hope of us identifying the source.
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by:nobus
ID: 41783579
at least, feck should give us some update
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Author Comment

by:feck1
ID: 41803835
Trying to close this but I am unable to - error
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Author Closing Comment

by:feck1
ID: 41803851
Replaced processor and case fan
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by:IT-Expert
ID: 41803984
I am NOT saying it's impossible, but I've not yet come across a scenario where TWO fans in a computer system were causing noises at the same time?

You say that you replaced the processor fan AND 'case' fan?  Of course, it IS good news that you've resolved the issue, however how did you actually discover that it was those two fans causing the problem?  And what do you mean by 'case' fan?  A standalone fan in the case somewhere, that wasn't actually cooling any particular component?
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