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"Main fan Error" M-series Gateway notebook

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Keawolf, Dec 4, 2010.

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  1. Keawolf

    Keawolf Thread Starter

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    It's been about a year since we've used this computer, and last time we did, it ran perfectly. Now all of a sudden it pops a black screen, saying that there is a "Main fan error" and to check the fan. The first thing I did was clean out the fan. There was a small amount of dust in it, but nothing major. The fan turns on for five seconds on start up, then something turns it off. Things that I know so far, is the fan is NOT damaged, and the computer is NOT overheating in anyway. My father and I tested this by pulling out the memory chips. The fan runs continuously without stopping when the chips are removed. Also the air coming from the vent is not warm, and I can touch the fan itself and it is not even warm. My father and I believe there is something wrong with the sensor that says whether or not the fan is running. Possibly a heat sensor of some kind. What we need to know is if there is a way to find where the sensor is at, and if there is a way to repair it.

    The warranty of this computer has expired, so please don't suggest taking it back, or just buying a new computer.

    Any information about this issue would be greatly appreciated.

    M-series Gateway Notebook Model#: 6866
     
  2. Keawolf

    Keawolf Thread Starter

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    Here's a photo of the notebook. [​IMG]
     
  3. Frank4d

    Frank4d Retired Trusted Advisor

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  4. Keawolf

    Keawolf Thread Starter

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    The error pops up before the operating system can launch. In addition to that, this laptop is running Vista and has never been downgraded. The only thing I can access is the BIOS.
     
  5. Keawolf

    Keawolf Thread Starter

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    A new problem has appeared. The screen has gone a yucky pixelated white. My father and I believe this is due to a graphics card failure. I'm guessing the main fan error was directed at a problem on the graphics card. Any additional information on this would help us understand what went wrong on this, even though there might not be a way to fix it.
     
  6. dustyjay

    dustyjay

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    Problem with any of the problems such as the Graphics, or the heat sensor for the CPU Fan is going to require a Motherboard replacement. you can buy one from Gateway IF they have any available, or you can possibly get one by looking on eBay (less expensive buy greater risk). Eitherway it is not going to be a cheap fix.
     
  7. trezhunter

    trezhunter

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    These fans have very sensitive sensors. I just tried swapping a t7500 into my e295c and got the same error.. I picked a few hairs out of the fan and thought "did I make it worse, damage something??" But that wasn't the case as the fan spins up initially and quite strongly. Now I've fixed a few broken fans with Bios updates, but that is neither an option or a likely culprit in my situation. I then remembered something from my days doing bulk warranty repairs.. That is to never overtorque the heatsink screws.. we always had to use hand screwdrivers, not for ESD.. since we had ground mats and wristbands and smocks..etc.. it was because pcs would come back to us every 2-3 months with the same fan error. The flimsier mounts can bend convex, and some just relied on plastic>insulator>plastic... but they are supposed to pull away from the board allowing a certain clearance gaps between air-path cages. Many of the smaller systems would fail to boot because of overtorqued heatsinks & motherboards > bottom case mounts. Just keep it a notch before your personal 'fully tight".. Its not going anywhere.. and that micrometer counts a lot.
     
  8. Keawolf

    Keawolf Thread Starter

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    Thanks, Trezhunter! That was very helpful information! :D
     
  9. trezhunter

    trezhunter

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    You're certainly welcome Keawolf!:)
    I also read that your screen has a pixelated white.:(
    This could be a a few different things. And there's a few tests.
    As already suspected, and highly likely, your on-board GPU may be going bad from the overheating and that would require motherboard replacement. A temporary>partial fix may be a BIOS update. (Although failure is bound to reoccur through that fix since your chip is degrading internally) If the GPU is failing it will only probably support native resolution and go crazy if you try to change it, or use updated OR outdated drivers depending on what system the exact failure is in. (sometimes a failing GPU really prefers the older driver) Other tests included trying to change bit depth, refresh rates, and resolution to see if Windows will even detect them as supported & allow you to.

    HOWEVER, it could also be a loose lcd cable if you're lucky. Generally the symptom of that will be vertical or horizontal pink or white stripes, occasionally the pin headers on the PFC cables go bad/thin-out from being removed as they aren't designed for repeated removal; the entire screen can become affected if a certain pin(s) is loose. The easy test for this is to try jiggling the lcd, from the hinges, around to see if the picture flickers or changes. Also try pressing the spot where the connector plugs into the back of the LCD itself, somewhere behind the screen usually toward the bottom of top of the lcd enclosure. (Of course you can just pop the lcd casing off and check the harness.. it can be a dissapointing time-spender, as this failure is like a 1in20 occurance with this type of issue.) While I'm doubtful if this is your case, due diligence is the only way to be sure, and that will let you know if it's a cheap hardware failure, vs an expensive failure.. One can only hope to be so lucky.
    Hope some of this helps. Take care and best of luck!
     
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