SOS - SCREAMING COMPUTER!

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My guru is not here, so I don't know what to do! My computer (PC, 5+ years old; well-behaved), has started SCREAMING every few minutes. It wants something, or is warning me of something.
Turning to knowledgeable NG members: Did you ever experience this? What might it mean?
I just paid a consultant pretty fair bux about two months ago to upgrade, so I'm tapped out, computer-wise, but scared to death I might be hearing a death rattle.
SOS!
HB
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On 4/29/2011 9:39 PM, Higgs Boson wrote:

Indeed...either power supply fan or hard drive preparing to crash.
--
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I had a several-year-old computer a few years ago complain in a similar way. I learned that the screaming was due to the uC overheating. Sure enough, when I opened the case, I found so many dust-bunnies in the fins of the heat sink on the uC that it couldn't possibly be cooling efficiently. After I cleaned the heat sink, the screaming disappeared. Just a thought.
Good luck.
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On 4/29/2011 10:53 PM, RosemontCrest wrote:

learned that the screaming was due to the uC overheating. Sure enough, when I opened the case, I found so many dust-bunnies in the fins of the heat sink on the uC that it couldn't possibly be cooling efficiently. After I cleaned the heat sink, the screaming disappeared. Just a thought.

Might not help, but it can't hurt, and the price is right. I use a leaf blower, but a shop vac set on blow also works well. Note- do NOT spin the CD drives with the air- they can't handle it. If there is a SWMBO in the house, carry it out into the driveway and do it there- just like killing dust bunnies under the bed- it goes everywhere.
--
aem sends...

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On Friday, April 29, 2011 8:17:51 PM UTC-7, aemeijers wrote:

In my case, the "screaming" was a tone generated by the speaker in the computer's case. The OP didn't bother to define what kind of "screaming" it hears, so it's anyone's guess as to what it means by "screaming." It could be mechanical such as a fan or disk drive, but without clarification of the noise emitted, it's hard to diagnose.
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On 29/04/2011 10:53 PM, RosemontCrest wrote:

learned that the screaming was due to the uC overheating. Sure enough, when I opened the case, I found so many dust-bunnies in the fins of the heat sink on the uC that it couldn't possibly be cooling efficiently. After I cleaned the heat sink, the screaming disappeared. Just a thought.

Ok, I'll bite. What's a 'uC'? Been building and maintaining computers since the mid-seventies and never heard of that terminology before.
Gil
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I learned that the screaming was due to the uC overheating. Sure enough, when I opened the case, I found so many dust-bunnies in the fins of the heat sink on the uC that it couldn't possibly be cooling efficiently. After I cleaned the heat sink, the screaming disappeared. Just a thought.

with peripherals, usually on one chip.
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shut down, open case, turn on, and check for wire too close to fans as well as others' tips here.
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On 4/29/2011 9:39 PM, Higgs Boson wrote:

probably the fan ontop the processor.
--
Steve Barker
remove the "not" from my address to email
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tendancy to dry out in the heat. A drop of turbine oil or other fine lubricating oil (NOT WD40) will usually solve the problem for a year or two.
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On Sun, 1 May 2011 21:08:04 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

Really? http://www.google.com/search?q=The+debate+%22is+it+a+lubricant+or+water+%3E%3E+displacer%22+is+not+complete+until+someone+explains+what+%3E%3E+the+letters+abbrev&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
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wrote:

I meant to cancel this message instead of sending it. Sorry
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My PC did that years ago. Turned out to be the bearing in the hard drive. Better backup your stuff now and get ready to buy a new hard drive (or new PC).
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There are 2 to 3 fans in the PC...these are most likely what is screaming (a dry bearing type of scream).
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Higgs Boson wrote:

Any honest consultant who upgraded your computer just two months ago will check your computer for free and charge you nothing for minor repairs.
Stuff that can screech in a computer:
1. Fans -- in the power supply, on the CPU and maybe the graphics card, in the case. Try stopping each fan momentarily and listen for changes. Do NOT try to stop the power supply fan by sticking a screwdriver into it because there's exposed high voltage all over the interior of the power supply. Instead use a disposable plastic straw because plastic doesn't conduct electricity, and disposable straws are flexible and won't break off or break fan blades. Stick the straw(s) in before turning on the PSU. Replace or relube noisy fans. Relubing ball bearings usually doesn't help, but a drop of light machine oil (5-10 weight) can silence sleeve bearings. Sometimes it's not the bearings but a thrust washer that's screaming because of scoring or distortion. Real hardware stores sell replacement washers, both metal and plastic (nylon or delrin).
2. Disk drives -- rarely. If the drive is identified on the BIOS boot- up screen, it's highly unlikely the drive is screaming.
3. Speakers -- the audio circuitry may pick up noise because of buggy software or because a filter capacitor is really bad and causing AC to get into the circuitry's power.
4. Inductors -- coils and transformers in the power supply, on the mother board, and on most graphics cards. Sometimes their windings are simply loose, but screaming that suddenly appears often indicates bad capacitors, which can make transistors (MOSFETs) turn on and off more gradually or make the output voltage low and cause a voltage regulator to try too hard to compensate. Bad capacitors aren't unusual in 5-year-old computers, and in the case of power-hungry Pentium 4s, even quality brand capacitors. Also one of those quality brands, Nichicon, had a bad run of HM and HN models from about 2001-2004. See www.BadCaps.net for lots of information about such problems. Bad caps can eventually make MOSFETs burn out.
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wrote:

Hmm...never occurred to me. I'll call him & see how he reacts.

My knowledgeable neighbor came over & showed me how to take off the cover -- piece of cake; I feel like a jerk for not noticing! He checked the fan. Spins freely. WAS cleaned and dusted by consulted, so that's not the prob.
NOTE: This computer has only ONE fan; doesn't have a separate one for the processor or graphics card.. Is that a function of old model? It's a Dell Dimension, only about 5-6 years old.
Fan cover fits well; no dust inside. Neighbor spun the fan; didn't hang up or stick; not noisy. I'll do the test you suggested, but don't know what "changes" to listen/watch for. COULD YOU ELUCIDATE.

Screaming heard even when outside speakers are not on. There is also a tiny speaker inside, as some have pointed out. I'm not techie enough to check on FILTER CAPACITORS but will ask my neighbor if that rings a bell.

Thank you for that precious (but over my head <g>) analysis. I'm grateful for the heads-up about potential reasons for screaming, and will bounce them off neighbor. As well as calling consultant.
One thing neighbor did suggest: Put in a new mother board. But would that address the SCREAMING problem?
TX
HB
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You must have at least 2 fans with a PC that age. Power supple fan and CPU fan...and spinning them will tell you little. Turn it on with it open and listen where the squeal is coming from. You seem to like to complicate things...like you want the attention!
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That is so unfair! I am way in over my depth and appealing for help; trying to report conditions as accurately as can, along with steps already taken. The last thing I need is an unkind comment like that. How would like it if you were struggling with a potentially disastrous problem, and someone treated you like that!
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Waaaa...you can't be *that* helpless!
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