I've had my Inspiron 530 since last fall, and I like it a lot, but around the beginning of April I noticed that the chassis fan was speeding up more than usual, and for longer periods of time. When I checked, I found that the power supply fan wasn't spinning at all, so I went to the online tech support chat. The rep didn't have a definitive answer, but he said it wouldn't hurt the PC to keep using it, that at worst it would just shut down. He asked if he could call me the next day and I agreed. The PSU fan started spinning about three hours later, and when I talked to the rep, he suggested taking a wait-and-see approach.
I've been checking the fan pretty regularly since then, and it seemed to be spinning properly until this past Friday night (April 25), when the same thing happened. I did the online chat again, and this time I was told that the PSU fan has a thermal switch that only spins the fan when necessary. This seemed odd because of the way the chassis fan was speeding up (the PC was obviously running hot), so I ran the pre-boot diagnostic the rep advised. However, it turned up no errors. I've run the PC on and off for about 6 to 8 hours since then without any apparent problems except that the PSU fan is still not spinning.
The fan is not frozen -- that is, it spins easily when I blow compressed air on it. A little while ago I updated the BIOS to see if that would make a difference, and it didn't.
Any thoughts? I can't find anything here or thru Google that talks about a thermal switch for any PSU fan, and I'm starting to feel like I'm being jerked around by Dell's tech support. I wouldn't mind replacing the power supply myself, as long as it's not too expensive and wouldn't void the warranty.
The system is an Inspiron 530 with the Intel E6550 CPU, 4gb RAM, 320 HDD (I added a second one).
Just contact tech support via e-mail/chat/or by phone and have the PSU replaced. The fan is faulty, even if it only stops intermittently.
This is what I thought, but both techs I chatted were reluctant to take that step. I sent an email earlier this evening, and I'm hopeful that it will make the difference.
Thanks for the quick reply!
You bet. It's faulty - and to be honest - I wouldn't want to consider possible consequence of an overheating power supply.
Sure, the system will likely just shut down but there's also a potential safety hazard as well albeit rather small (fire).
I just logged on to the chat again and asked right off for a new power supply. This tech seemed to be more on top of things than the others (no nonsense about thermal switches) and is ordering up a new PSU under warranty, to be replaced within 2-3 business days. The tech also suggested not using the PC until that's done, which gives me the impression that he or she is properly concerned.
Not all the phone answerers are 'techs'. Sometimes it takes several calls to get a good one. Also, they operate under a strange set of metrics that penalizes them for sending out parts past a certain amount. The first two may have already sent out their 'amount' for the day.
I've never seen a power supply with an on-off fan. Not that it's impossible. But since the PS generates a fairly constant amount of heat, and the PS fan is almost silent to start with, there would be little sense in turning it off. And it would add a part or 2, making the PS more expensive. That's VERY unlikely to happen. Shame on them for making up that story rather than dealing properly with the issue.
I hear what you're saying about the "techs." I use that word as shorthand, but "rep" would be a better word. The advice to just say I need a new PSU at the start was very helpful. All my previous PCs have been the home brewed variety, so I'm still getting my "tech support legs." I'm supposed to get a local call in the next business day or two, so I'll see how that goes.
It's now been taken of. I put in the request late Saturday night, I got an automated phone call from Dell last night saying that the part had been shipped for next day delivery, and the tech just left about a half hour ago. It's good to see that once a job has been put into the system, it's taken care of quickly and properly. And it sure is nice having in-home service.
Thanks again for the advice!
Edit: I clicked on "Solved" for the wrong message (mine). The solution, of course, was to call and get a new PSU.