LinuxQuestions.org
Help answer threads with 0 replies.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Hardware
User Name
Password
Linux - Hardware This forum is for Hardware issues.
Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 05-21-2020, 09:29 AM   #1
hazel
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2016
Location: Harrow, UK
Distribution: LFS, AntiX, Slackware, OpenBSD
Posts: 4,375
Blog Entries: 11

Rep: Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471
My computer is making a funny noise


I have noticed it only recently, a kind of loud buzz. It's not continuous but starts up periodically and then stops again. I've traced it to the computer itself. The noise is made by the case, which is vibrating, but obviously it must be picking that up from something inside. If I put a fingertip on the case, the noise stops but I can feel the vibration.

This happens when the machine is idling, so I don't think it's likely to be disk noise. It could be the cpu fan, I suppose, but why would that be so active when the cpu isn't doing much? There is no internal power supply, so no fan there. The power cable has a built-in transformer, like a laptop charger.

Last edited by hazel; 05-24-2020 at 04:49 AM.
 
Old 05-21-2020, 09:59 AM   #2
dc.901
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2018
Location: Atlanta, GA - USA
Distribution: CentOS/RHEL, openSuSE/SLES, Ubuntu
Posts: 778

Rep: Reputation: 241Reputation: 241Reputation: 241
Over time, fans can go bad - bearings wear off, or simply it could be dust (sorry, I am not trying to say you have dirty computer); have seen that many times.

You can check CPU temps and fan RPM with sensors (lm_sensor package), you probably know this already.

Something to keep an eye on - temps and RPMs
 
Old 05-21-2020, 10:06 AM   #3
michaelk
Moderator
 
Registered: Aug 2002
Posts: 20,105

Rep: Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381
Could be the fan or ventilation system is clogged with dirt. The fan is running faster due to not enough cooling air.

The dirt on the fan blades is causing it to be out of balance which results in the noise.
 
Old 05-21-2020, 10:48 AM   #4
beachboy2
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jan 2007
Location: Wild West Wales, UK
Distribution: Linux Mint 19.2 MATE, MX-19, antiX, Manjaro
Posts: 2,973
Blog Entries: 17

Rep: Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097
hazel,

Switch OFF the PC but leave the power lead connected, so that the PC is earthed.

Undo the two screws securing the left-hand side panel and remove the panel.

Do not touch anything you are unsure about.

Inspect the CPU fan and any other case fans for signs of dust. Carefully clean the blades if possible with a small artist's paintbrush or slightly moistened microfibre cloth.

Restart the PC with the side off and try to locate the source of the noise.

If it is as bad as you say, it should be easy to find.

The traditional way is to use a length of tubing or wooden dowel placed carefully near the item to be checked, with your ear at the other end.

Please do not put the dowel in the moving fan blades!!

Good luck.
 
Old 05-21-2020, 10:58 AM   #5
michaelk
Moderator
 
Registered: Aug 2002
Posts: 20,105

Rep: Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381
From Hazel's description it isn't a typical ATX type case design since the computer is using a separate power adapter.

I am guessing more like a NUC or ultra compact PC type device.
 
Old 05-21-2020, 11:10 AM   #6
Soadyheid
Senior Member
 
Registered: Aug 2010
Location: Near Edinburgh, Scotland
Distribution: Cinnamon Mint 19.2 (Netbook) and 18.3 (Desktop)
Posts: 1,494

Rep: Reputation: 387Reputation: 387Reputation: 387Reputation: 387
With the power disconnected, you can check the CPU fan plus any other fan within the case by seeing if the blades rock - press opposing blades to see. If they rock, the bearings are shot and the best bet is to replace the fan.
Quote:
The traditional way is to use a length of tubing or wooden dowel placed carefully near the item to be checked, with your ear at the other end.
Yup! A mechanic's stethoscope! A large screwdriver used to be the preferred device.
Curious about your system as I've never come across a desktop with a power brick. (It is a desktop, not a laptop?) What's the make and model?

Play Bonny!

 
Old 05-21-2020, 01:21 PM   #7
beachboy2
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jan 2007
Location: Wild West Wales, UK
Distribution: Linux Mint 19.2 MATE, MX-19, antiX, Manjaro
Posts: 2,973
Blog Entries: 17

Rep: Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097
I suspect that it is a Lenovo Thinkstation E50 or similar with an external power adapter:
https://kingworldnews.com/review-len...nkstation-e50/

I am sure that hazel will let us know in due course.

Last edited by beachboy2; 05-21-2020 at 01:22 PM.
 
Old 05-21-2020, 01:51 PM   #8
michaelk
Moderator
 
Registered: Aug 2002
Posts: 20,105

Rep: Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381Reputation: 3381
Could be, I make frequent errors in my assumptions...
 
Old 05-21-2020, 05:00 PM   #9
beachboy2
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jan 2007
Location: Wild West Wales, UK
Distribution: Linux Mint 19.2 MATE, MX-19, antiX, Manjaro
Posts: 2,973
Blog Entries: 17

Rep: Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097
hazel,

If you have a Lenovo E50, I believe that it only has a CPU fan, so perhaps you can tolerate the noise unless it becomes severe?

Otherwise it probably means a trip to your local computer shop, whenever that becomes allowable.

The CPU fan and heatsink removal is covered on page 33:
https://www.mrmemory.co.uk/downloads...ons/152361.pdf

Used item:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lenovo-31...cAAOSwlfFdsyZg

The surfaces of the replacement heatsink and CPU must be thoroughly cleaned with isopropyl alcohol before applying thermal paste the size of a rice grain centrally on the CPU.

These iso swabs are cheap:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Universal-U...A3P5ROKL5A1OLE

MX-4 thermal paste:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/ARCTIC-MX-4...0097556&sr=8-3

You may be lucky and find that the old fan can be removed from the heatsink without actually separating the heatsink from the CPU.

Alternatively, there is a 12 month warranty on this E50 at 112:
https://www.box.co.uk/(Grade-A)-Leno...p_2386717.html

I hope this info is useful.
 
Old 05-21-2020, 08:27 PM   #10
rnturn
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Illinois (SW Chicago 'burbs)
Distribution: Currently: openSUSE, Raspbian, Slackware. Formerly: CentOS, MacOS, Red Hat. Other: Solaris, Tru64
Posts: 1,942

Rep: Reputation: 309Reputation: 309Reputation: 309Reputation: 309
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post
Inspect the CPU fan and any other case fans for signs of dust. Carefully clean the blades if possible with a small artist's paintbrush or slightly moistened microfibre cloth.
Also, try not to use canned air to clean dust off fans. It's likely to force the dust into the fan bearings making the problem worse.

Quote:
Restart the PC with the side off and try to locate the source of the noise.

<snip>

The traditional way is to use a length of tubing or wooden dowel placed carefully near the item to be checked, with your ear at the other end.
An old auto mechanics trick except they'd use a long screwdriver.

I've often used a cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels as a means of localizing the source of any noise. Hold it up to your ear and it move it close to whatever you think is the noise source. Sort of a cheap-n-dirty stethoscope.

If it's a noisy fan, you'll almost certainly need to replace it.

If it's a vibrating disk drive, tightening any mounting screws helps. Some cases that I have came with little silicone grommets that act as vibration absorbers for disk drives that help a lot for quieting noisy computers. You might be able to find some online if a disk is your noise source.
 
Old 05-21-2020, 09:24 PM   #11
//////
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Land of Linux :: Finland
Distribution: 2 x Arch x86_64 | OpenBSD 6.7 bridge | Fedora 31 | Virtualbox Guest windows 10 pro
Posts: 470

Rep: Reputation: 206Reputation: 206Reputation: 206
computer stores actually sell vibration damping material.

my arch machine #1 hums a lot too.
 
Old 05-22-2020, 03:51 AM   #12
hazel
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2016
Location: Harrow, UK
Distribution: LFS, AntiX, Slackware, OpenBSD
Posts: 4,375

Original Poster
Blog Entries: 11

Rep: Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post
I suspect that it is a Lenovo Thinkstation E50 or similar with an external power adapter:
https://kingworldnews.com/review-len...nkstation-e50/

I am sure that hazel will let us know in due course.
Yes, it's a either a Thinkstation or a Thinkcentre, whichever of the two has a SATA disk controller. I bought it second-hand a couple of years ago for about 80 and it's been a lovely little workhorse, more powerful than anything I had before. But I don't see anyone being willing to fix problems in such an old machine for a reasonable sum, especially now when all the shops are closed.

I'll transcribe all advice and see if I can carry it out. I don't want to touch anything in there but just looking shouldn't hurt.

It has always hummed a bit but this occasional loud humming is new.

Last edited by hazel; 05-22-2020 at 03:53 AM.
 
Old 05-22-2020, 04:29 AM   #13
hazel
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2016
Location: Harrow, UK
Distribution: LFS, AntiX, Slackware, OpenBSD
Posts: 4,375

Original Poster
Blog Entries: 11

Rep: Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471
Something else I just noticed. My computer case has a raised bit on the top in front, which is hollowed out at the back so that you can use it as a carrying handle. The power button is set into this with the disk light just beside it.

When the computer is just making its usual quiet hum, if I put my finger on this structure, just above the disk light, it sometimes makes this louder noise, which is actually more a buzz than a hum. Conversely, if it is buzzing, I can quiet it permanently by putting my hand on this ridge.

Note: I've just tarred up a couple of partitions for my monthly backup. This involves a lot of disk read/write action, but there has been very little buzzing. So I'm inclined to agree with the consensus on this post that it isn't disk-related. It probably is the cpu fan.

Last edited by hazel; 05-22-2020 at 08:28 AM. Reason: Added something
 
Old 05-22-2020, 10:56 AM   #14
beachboy2
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jan 2007
Location: Wild West Wales, UK
Distribution: Linux Mint 19.2 MATE, MX-19, antiX, Manjaro
Posts: 2,973
Blog Entries: 17

Rep: Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097Reputation: 1097
hazel,

There is no harm in contacting a local Harrow firm, PC Wizards Onsite for advice:
https://www.pcwizardsonsite.biz/

You could ask them the cost of fitting a CPU cooler and fan supplied by yourself.

Then you can then weigh the combined cost against buying a new old stock Lenovo E50 with a 12 month warranty.
 
Old 05-23-2020, 05:03 AM   #15
hazel
Senior Member
 
Registered: Mar 2016
Location: Harrow, UK
Distribution: LFS, AntiX, Slackware, OpenBSD
Posts: 4,375

Original Poster
Blog Entries: 11

Rep: Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471Reputation: 2471
I looked inside this morning. As I thought, there is no internal power unit; the only fan is the one on the cpu. It bears the legend Foxconn and it was indeed somewhat dusty. So I blew it clear (by mouth, not compressed air blower). It seems to be very firmly seated; I don't think there is any instability there.

When I started up, it ran smoothly with no buzz. So I shut down, closed up the machine and rebooted. At present it is only making the usual quiet hum, no buzzing.

I found the receipt from Computer Exchange and it turns out I have not had the machine as long as I thought. I bought it in January 2019. It was second hand but fully reconditioned so I would expect it to last for at least two years. My old HP lasted longer, though at the end, I had to nurse it along, setting the time by hand and patching my kernels to make ACPI work.

Last edited by hazel; 05-23-2020 at 05:07 AM.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
DVD drive makes funny noise and doesn't read. flamelord Linux - Hardware 24 01-31-2012 05:08 AM
LXer: Lawyer's Funny AntiLinux FUD Turns Out to be Not So Funny LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 08-11-2008 04:00 AM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Hardware

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:36 AM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration