The inside of your computer case can be a hot and somewhat nasty place. The CPU and other components generate an amazing amount of heat. In order to keep things running smoothly, DC cooling fans are used to cool the interior of the computer case. But as with most things, cooling fans can and do fail. Here are some things to keep in mind when replacing a failed fan.
It is important to remember that only certain fans will work with your particular computer case. Fans come in a variety of styles, speeds and voltages. A replacement fans need to be an almost perfect match for the old fan, in order for it to function properly. How do you make sure the replacement fan will match the old one?
You will need to physically remove the old fan from the case, but first, make absolutely certain to unplug the power cord from the wall outlet before starting. If possible, wear a static discharge strap, or if one is not available, dissipate any potential static charge by touching a section of the bare metal case before touching anything else. Be careful, as the internal components may have sharp corners. Disconnect the fan from the power supply or motherboard connector. The fan will be attached to the case with several screws, usually located near the corners of the fan housing. Carefully remove the screws and you should then be able to remove the fan from the case.
Hopefully, there should be a sticker attached to the fan motor. This sticker will list some of the electrical or performance specifications for the particular motor. Manufacturers will list the voltage, amperage and the model number of the fan motor. Sometimes other information, such as speed, wattage or motor type will also be listed, but this is not always the case. Most DC cooling fans operate on either 12 or 24 volts, while the amperage requirements can vary. If the sticker is missing, you will need to refer to the case manufacture’s literature, if available, to determine the model number or electrical specifications of the fan.
Once you have determined the specifications you need for the replacement fan, you should be able to find a suitable replacement online. In some cases, you may want to upgrade to a higher performing model. Some aftermarket DC cooling fans are capable of increased air flow or significantly reduced noise output when compared to the original ones installed by the manufacturer. Should you decide to go with a higher performing model, you will need to find replacement that matches the original electrical specifications. A 24 volt model still will not work in a 12 volt case. The replacement fan manufacturer should be able to help you to determine if the replacement fan will work in your particular computer case.
Once you have the proper replacement fan, simply reverse the removal process to install the new unit. Carefully tighten the screws, taking care to not over tighten, which could potentially strip the threads. Remember to connect the wire leads to electrical connector on the power supply or motherboard. Replace the case cover and plug the computer back into the wall outlet. Be sure to check for proper air flow once the computer starts.
Properly functioning DC cooling fans are an essential component in modern computer equipment. If a fan should fail, it must be replaced immediately. With a little patience, practical knowledge and a few basic mechanical skills, anyone can replace a malfunctioning fan.