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Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

Actually, this all started one morning a little over a week ago,  My computer would't boot had nothing but a steady yellow light, The consensus said it might be the power supply but more likely a component in the motherboard went bad., I've had my unit for 9 years, so i'm not surprised that something is breaking down, Anyhow, I tested all the voltages on the power supply & they checked out ok, Next i bought a motherboard from Dell got it a day ago and installed it and still I have nothing but the steady yellow light,  I can't suspect he motherboard because I have to believe that Dell sold me a good board, so I opted to check the power supply again & disconnected he power supply cables from all destinations. and again it checked out good, so I reconnected all of the cables & wires to their proper destinations and turned the unit on again., Still have he steady yellow light land now the fans on the heat sink & the fan mounted to the back are racing, The power supply fan is running normal speed., The only way can shut them off is by pulling the plug our of the power supply. The only other time I had fans speed up is when we have house power failures and all I did in that case was to shut the power off to the computer and right away turned it back on and the computer ran normal.

What's happening? What do i do next since i have go assume the motherboard is good  and the power supply checks out ok, and why are the fans racing,.

.

 

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8 Krypton

Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

Always include version of Windows in your posts. emoticon.Idea.title

Did you clean the surfaces and apply a thin, even coat of thermal paste (eg, Arctic Silver) to both the heat sink and CPU when you moved the hardware over to the new motherboard?

Sure the motherboard battery is any good? Did you remove the battery and press/hold the power button for ~30 sec, before reinstalling the battery, after you installed all the hardware on the new motherboard? Otherwise BIOS might not correctly recognize all the hardware that you installed.

Do you have an add-in video card or are you using onboard video? A racing fan sometimes means there's a video card problem. So possibly an add-in video card died or maybe you have a corrupted video card driver.

If you're using an add-in video card, physically remove the card from the PC and connect the monitor to one of the onboard video ports (VGA or HDMI). If that works, then the card may have died.

If onboard video works and then you reinstall the card, what happens if you boot in Safe Mode? If that works,  you may have a corrupted video driver.

And if none of that works, strip it down to bare essentials. Disconnect all drives except the boot hard drive, remove all add-in cards, except video (after doing above testing), remove all RAM except the module in slot 1, do the battery thing and see if it will boot now...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

Thank you for your reply,  I did clean both the cpu and heat sink and applied new conductive paste,

The motherboard is a refurbished unit from Dell which I just installed, I assume then that the battery is new, but i did the test you described anyhow, 

Since you bought up the video; Before my computer shut down and was working ok, when I turned my compeer on, a series of horizontal colored lines would appear at the top of my monitor screen & then go away and the computer would boot OK and would operate Ok from there on. Now, what I get on the screen is a mottled greenish screen with a bulky blue border all murky,

In doing research & googling a lot, I saw an article describing things that a bad cpu could cause and month them was racing fans. So, I made a choice to buy a twin pack of 2 used cpus and tried both of them but the results were the same,. 

It appears that I replaced everything hat can be except the video unit.

 

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Inspiron 546 Desktop, won't boot, out of options

 

Started out a couple of weeks ago yellows/amber light on steady. After numerous discussions; replaced, motherboard (Dell refurbished), power supply & CPU. Still have steady yellow/amber light. Had a speeding fan issue along the watt but new power supply solved that. Out of options. Help.

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Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options

And I thought your problems were solved after you replaced the power supply...  emoticon.TongueTied.title

You've replaced the motherboard and CPU, so unless you're really unlucky, there isn't much left to test.

Are you using onboard video or an add-in video card? If using an add-in video card, physically remove it and switch over to one of the onboard video ports. If using onboard video now, do you have PCI-e x16 video card you can test?

Have you stripped it down to bare essentials? Disconnect all drives, except boot drive, removed all PCI cards, except video (but see above), removed all RAM except the one in slot 1? Then clear BIOS by removing the motherboard battery and pressing/holding power button for ~30 sec before reinstalling the battery.

Examine all USB ports with a flashlight to see if any of them is damaged or shorted.

 

 

 

 

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options

What was solved with the new power supply was the racing fans which is another post. Yes, I did all of what you suggested and more than once. Only thing left now is the hard drive or I got a defective motherboard which is refurbished. So, how can I check that without spending any money. I'm in for $150 so far.

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Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options

I don't think I ever mentioned that when I turn the unit on I do get a couple of those buzzes that go along with the unit booting. But that's all. Don't know if that helps.

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8 Krypton

Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options

No, you never mentioned getting "buzzes" when booting. Are they buzzes or beeps?

Beep codes come in a diagnostic pattern, that usually repeats, so count them and look up the error code on page 29, here.

I guess it's possible the replacement board or replacement CPU is faulty, but since you're getting the same symptoms as you got with the old ones, that would be a very unlucky coincidence.

Strip the motherboard down completely. Disconnect everything, except CPU fan, and remove all cards and RAM. Reset BIOS by pulling the battery and pressing/holding power button for ~30 sec. Reinstall the battery and power on. You should get 2 beeps, meaning no RAM detected. If no beeps, the motherboard is likely bad....

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options

I did that test and got no beeps. I contacted Dell and am sending the board back for replacement. 

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Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options

Geez, I guess you are unlucky.

Hope the new board solves the problem. Post back and let us know what happens...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options

Got the replacement motherboard today and there is no change, still got steady amber/yellow light. Only thing left is the hard drive and consensus says that it shouldn't cause the problem. Possible cable  problem, but what. I'm going to ask what is probably a stupid question but here goes. Should everything be hooked up to the computer? My computer is open with nothing hooked up and I just plug it in and turn it on. 

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Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options

Can I assume you installed a known working CPU and heatsink+fan, and connected the front panel to the motherboard... ?

Do you see a (yellow) LED on the motherboard when the PC is connected to a working outlet, even if the PC is off?

You don't need the hard or optical drive, but I'd put in one RAM module in Slot 1, and the video card. And then reset BIOS by removing the battery and pressing/holding the power button for ~30 sec before reinstalling the battery to make sure BIOS sees the hardware correctly. Then connect monitor, mouse and keyboard and see what happens

Without the hard drive you should get a "no bootable drive found" or similar message, but at least that gets you beyond "not booting".

Did you examine all the USB ports from the outside with a flashlight for any damage? A shorted USB port might cause this type of problem.

And now there's the question of whether the I/O circuit board in the front panel has failed...

Is it time to call it quits..??  <sorry>

 

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options

Solid Amber power button is Dead CPU/Motherboard.

NON EPS12v  80 percent efficient power supplies WILL NOT WORK and will present with this issue.

Its also possible that the "new" power supply fried the cpu.

 


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Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options

I gave in and took my computer to a repair shop. I have my fingers dressed and tried to protect myself to come extent by asking only for an analysis for a fixed fee rather than a carte blanche "fix it". We are already at odds about what direction a cpu fan should be blowing,

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Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options

If they charge more than $75 total you would be better off finding a working used model.

https://www.amazon.com/Dell-OptiPlex-Athlon-Professional-Mini-Tower/dp/B0048IA8K2/

 https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0094MT4QG/

https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Precision-T3500-Ram-Windows-installed/dp/B00CLJHG78/

 


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Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options

JUST GOT MY COMPUTER BACK FROM THE SHOP AND APPARENTLY, I AM DEALING WITH ANOTHER BAD REFURBISHED DELL MOTHERBOARD. C'MON DELL WHAT'S GOING ON?

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Re: ReL Dell 546 Inspiron Desktop, Computer won't boot, out of options


@zuko53wrote:

JUST GOT MY COMPUTER BACK FROM THE SHOP AND APPARENTLY, I AM DEALING WITH ANOTHER BAD REFURBISHED DELL MOTHERBOARD. C'MON DELL WHAT'S GOING ON?


<rant>

Google says this is a 6-year old computer?

See if you can return this 2nd motherboard and anything else you spent money on (and can't use somewhere else).

Stop now while you still can. You tried but it didn't work-out. Lesson learned. 

You can buy a refurbished desktop similar to this for $75-$100 retail. Your local computer recycler likely has some working Dell desktop for $50. Your friends likely have something this old in their closet (that still works, but just needs a hard--drive which you have).

Yeah, the auto junk-yard is full of good cars, but they just can't be fixed easily and affordably (so you move to the next one).

I only fix the nicer/newer/originally-expensive ones ... All computers are "expendable crew-members". emoticon.Smile.title

</rant>


Registered Microsoft Partner and Apple Developer
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- I answer questions here, but I'm not a Dell employee.
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I need help from anybody out there who is from Dell

I don't appreciate playing ring around the rosy with the Tech Dept and Support care and finally waiting for over 20 minutes with an open phone where I hear people talking but nobody answering me. The guy i was speaking to left and didn't come back. I got the feeling he was hoping I would hang up.

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Re: I need help from anybody out there who is from Dell

Is the shop sure it's not a problem with the front I/O panel and/or the cable connecting the front panel to the motherboard?

You might want to post just the last part about getting what may perhaps be a second bad board and your tech support experience in the Customer Care forum that's monitored by Dell employees.

 

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: I need help from anybody out there who is from Dell

What cable do you mean? The front  bezel is off and the only thing  that is on  the front are the optical drive, card reader, usb ports & the power switch and they  are all connected.  When I got the first refurb motherboard and that didn't work, I had the computer checked by a friend and he determined that the board was bad and I got a replacement and when that didn't work, I took it to a guy who is in the business over 25 years and he determined that the second motherboard is no good. Cost me $50 so fat just for testing.

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Re: I need help from anybody out there who is from Dell

There's a cable that goes from connector #12 on the motherboard (page 45, here) to the front panel, and there are also 3 USB cables from the motherboard to the front panel, motherboard connectors # 17,18, 19, and an audio cable from the motherboard to front panel, motherboard connector #20.

All of those cables have to be properly connected at both ends.

Seems hard to believe they'd send you 2 motherboards with exactly the same problem. Makes me wonder if somebody goofed and just sent you back the same 1st board that was bad...??? Keep in mind that onboard video is part of the CPU, so perhaps you have a bad processor? Have you tried any of the other ones you bought to replace the original?

What happens if you plug in a PCI-e x16 video card into motherboard slot #23, assuming you have a spare laying around or can borrow one from some other PC?

And as I said before, only you can decide how much more time and $$ to put into this older system...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: I need help from anybody out there who is from Dell

Dell™ Inspiron™ 535/537/545/546 Service Manual PDF

Inspiron 546 Setup Guide PDF

Earliest models came out in 2008 last models were sold in 2009.

5 years past this is 2014 in which case windows 8.1 systems were being shipped.  Optiplex, Dimension, Inspiron models changed from 3 digit models like 760, 780, 790 to 3010, 7010, 9010  Inspiron 535 620 630 became 3650 3847 etc.

The 546 is a model that is well past End of life End of support.  Dell would not sell spare parts for this model more than 5 years after even extended warranty ran out. As systems can be warranteed for up to 5 years (7 years in some rare cases - usually government models.) The System Design Life Cycle for systems is 3 years and 5 years with warranty extension which is not free.

- They stop manufacturing when they have planned the replacement - based on component availability. INTEL, AMD, etc do not make the same parts available for 20 years.


- They stop providing technical support on products after the purchased warranty contract term is up , within the scope of their "out-of-warranty" support.


- They generally limit purchasable extended warranty terms to 5 years.


- They gradually dimish stock on replacement parts available to the public as more and more systems go out of warranty,  to the point that any parts they have in stock are reserved strictly for in-warranty customers and are no longer available for purchase from Dell.


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Re: I need help from anybody out there who is from Dell

Actually he said the board is bad (NO VIDEO)

 

v

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

PS. Sorry, I must add; O/S is Windows 10 after Windows 7

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

Another PS,.  Just in case you are not aware:  The initial problem of not booting included the study yellow/amber light on the front of the computer rather than the silver white normally,.

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

You still didn't say if you're using an add-in video card or onboard Intel Graphics.

Those strange patterns on the monitor suggest a video card issue. So if you haven't already done it, pull the add-in video card and switch over to onboard video.

And can you test this monitor on a different PC or a different monitor on this PC?  In either case, use the same video port on the monitor that you use with the 546.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

I'm assuming that when you say on board, it's part of the motherboard & if that is so, wouldn't a refurbished motherboard include a good on board video card, I am sitting here with the computer  opened on my work table & can see everything inside & I don't see anything that can be construed as being the video card., 

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

Lets back up. This is an Inspiron 546, not a 546s, correct? I assume it's a 546 in the following:

What color is the power button, and is it steady or blinking when PC won't boot? 

  • If the power light is blinking amber - The computer is receiving electrical power, but a device might be malfunctioning or incorrectly installed. You may also have to remove and then reinstall the memory modules.

Onboard video is built into the motherboard, so you won't see a "card". A replacement motherboard would only come with onboard video (presumably that actually works), but not with an add-in video card.

You would have had to move an add-in video card (either AMD or NVidia) from the old motherboard to the new one. Did you do that?

The add-in video card would be installed in the PCI-e x16 slot on the motherboard. See the motherboard layout on page 45 of the service manual for location of that slot.  (Make sure you look at the 546 diagram because the Inspiron 535, 537, and 545 are also included in the same service manual.)

Look at diagram on the page numbered 16 in the setup guide. This PC has both onboard VGA and HDMI ports. The VGA port is blue and the HDMI port is directly above it, both in the area marked "4". If you have an add-in video card, it would be in the area marked "5" in that diagram.

What video port are you using, either onboard or add-in, and is it VGA, HDMI, or other, since an add-in card might also have additional ports. If you have an add-in video card, the 2 onboard video ports would be disabled so the monitor must be connected to the add-in card.

Have you checked this monitor and cable on another PC or tried a different monitor and cable on this PC?

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

Thanks for your reply Ron. My unit is an inspiron 546. If there is any controversy about the model #, it is in the fact that my paperwork when I bought it refers to it as a 546MT. On he back of my computer it says it's a 546. 

The power light is on steady Amber/Yellow when I plug it in,

The part number on the replacement mother board is exactly the same as the one in my computer. I checked it component to component and the only difference that I saw was a slight variation in battery case tabs that hold the battery in,

The only "cards' in the unit are the memory cards which I removed with the exception of #1 . I have a total of three which I removed from the old motherboard. After installing the replacement motherboard, I started the unit up with no change so, I did put one memory board (#1) back in to see if made any difference when I started the computer back up again but it didn't.  

Going back, I remember after installing the replacement motherboard and starting the unit up there was no change, the amber/yellow light was on steady the fans ran at regular speed, the green light was on to the power supply and the light was on by the battery, Physically that's about all you see operational. Then I opted to check the power supply again and I disconnected everything that it was connected to and there are four groups of cables coming from it. Two of those sets of cables terminate at the motherboard, the 24 pin and a four pin, of the other two, one goes to the hard drive and the other to the CD drive. The power supply checked out good again and I reconnected everything and turned the computer on and that is when the fans went racing and that's the way it is now.  So, at this point, I'm thinking that something happened to the power supply so I took it out of the unit to check it again,. I plugged the unit in and the green light to the power supply goes on and as soon as I insert the jumper (modified paperclip) to green & black, the  fan comes on and the green light goes out. Then I check all he voltages and they check good. The question that comes out of that is should the green light go out and if not is something shorting out in power supply or is the light supposed to go out when the jumper is inserted?    

Note: When the problem on my computer developed. (Won't boot) and there was nothing that I could source or try that would get me into the computer: So, I thought right off I would buy he least expensive item (power supply) & I ordered it as a 546MT which is what my paperwork states and it turned out to be wrong because there are more cables coming from it that what is in my computer. It came damaged anyhow and opted to send it back but they just refunded and I still have it. 

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

You're still using the original power supply.  Correct?

Is the new one a Dell OEM PSU or something else? Even if the new PSU has more cables coming out of it, that doesn't mean it wouldn't work with the 546.  Assuming it's a Dell PSU, it's possible they started using a different version with more power outputs, but Google its (Dell) part number to see if there's any links to the Inspiron 546. BTW: How was it damaged?

Read this and this to troubleshoot the power supply. The green light should probably not go off when you jumpered it. Does it go off when the PSU is fully connected to the motherboard and you power on? If it goes out, then suspect the PSU, even if the voltages seem to be ok. The PSU may be failing when it's under load.

Unless you're very unlucky, since you had the same problem with the old motherboard and old CPU, they're probably not at fault.  Assuming it's not the PSU, disconnect all drives from the PSU and remove all 4 RAM modules from the motherboard. Do you get 2 beeps (= No RAM detected) from the tower when you power on? If not, you may have a bad motherboard.

And only you can decide how much time/effort/money to put into this older system...

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

Yes, still using the original power supply and the new one I spoke of is a generic and there are a couple of connectors that aren't included that would connect to the motherboard,.The damage on the unit was external but suggested a heavy hit which may or may not have caused internal damage,. I accessed both "go here" sites and from what i see, there aren't anything that I didn't do. I am thinking that although the power supply might check out good with the simple test, that there might be a problem under load. I am going to reinstall the old board with the intention of going back to the state where my computer failed, just to get another start.  I am thinking I jumped the gun going right for a motherboard replacement. 

I just want to run this by you; If i happened to hit the sleep button in error, could my computer still be in that mode? I do not have the key on my keyboard that would give me the option of waking it up. So, if it is asleep, how could i wake it up without that  key.?

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

I think I mentioned hat I have experienced speeding fans before;   Once when my computer would speed up intermittently and that became a matter of removing the cpu heat sink and cleaning the cpu and heat sink of old conductive grease and applying a new coating which cured the problem. On other occasions, when we experienced what we refer to as mini power failures in our home and that is the power would go off and come right back on again. The result of that was the computer fans would kick in to high speed and that would continue until we shut the power to the computers completely off and the switch them back on. The computers would then operate normally. Apparently the power supply reset itself then, Now using that as a reference, I can reason that the power supply is stuck in the condition that it takes on when we had our mini failures and is unable to reset to a normal condition. So with that, I am going to buy a new power supply which is comparably inexpensive. So, let's put the trouble shooting aside until I get that computer and install it,. I'll let you know what happens. 

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

Presumably your PC would wake from sleep just by moving the mouse or pressing any key on the keyboard. And if you rebooted, it wouldn't still be sleeping (solid amber power button).

Yes, get a new power supply and try that. But do you really want to go through all the trouble to revert to the original motherboard at this point? Just plug in a new PSU and see if that works. If that does it, you could assume the old board works and either keep in as a spare or sell it.

Let us know what happens when you replace the PSU.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

No matter what, I am going to get a new power supply and yes, I will let you know what happens. Meanwhile, I did some inquiring about the power supply which I believe is of the switching variety. As I described earlier what I experienced when we had power failures in our house whereby the computer doesn't go off all together but assumes a high speed fan mode. Accordingly, shutting the power down to the computer completely and then turning it back on will trigger the switching mode in the power supply to turn the computer back on. 

You know, usually when it is necessary to shut a computer down without going through the usual process, you would push the power button in until the computer shuts down. When I plug my computer in at the power supply, it starts the fans up running at high speed and I cannot shut it down by holding that button in, I have to unplug it from the power supply. Would that offer any kind of clue to what the problem is?

 

sdown but that doesn't work when my computer goes i

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

Don't know if those symptoms help solve the mystery, but it sure sounds like you're in serious need of a good surge protector and an uninterruptable power supply to protect your hardware from all these power blips.

BTW: You might contact your electric company and tell them their blips have damaged your PC. Some of them have insurance to cover such damage. They may make you jump through a few hoops, eg provide dates/times of the blip(s) etc, but if you can even get close to when they happened, they might cover the cost of a new motherboard and/or power supply. emoticon.Wink.title

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

OK, got the new power supply, installed it and the speeding fan issue is solved, so I guess the switch in the old power supply went bad.

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

Glad the new PSU solved the problem. More likely the PSU itself failed, not just the switch, but at least it's fixed now.

emoticon.Yes.title  emoticon.Yes.title

Please mark this thread as Answered - thank you.

Ron

   Forum Member since 2004
   I'm not a Dell employee

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Re: Fans in my Inspiron 546 are racing

Actually, only the racing  fans issued is solved. The new power supply solved that issue but the computer is still to operational. 

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