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  1. #1
    Activated Node thekev506's Avatar
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    A very noisy laptop

    I have a Samsung E352 that was my uni laptop - widescreen so I can have multiple files open at once and no proper GPU to try and stop me gaming on it and getting distracted. I did a year of my degree abroad and spent the last summer working abroad too, and my trusty lappy has seen a lot of travel - rough estimate puts it at over 24,000 miles over the course of 17 flights since 2010.

    Landing back at Heathrow on the way home this year I set it up in T5 waiting for my next flight to see if there was free wifi in the airport (there isn't.) After 2-3 minutes of the laptop being on it began to make a really loud and high-pitched noise but kept running just fine, though I turned it off again pretty quickly, within about 10 minutes of the noise starting. I presumed it was a piece of junk in contact with the cooler that would come out if given a chance to.

    I left it a week or two to see if that happened, but when I started it up again I had no luck - the noise was still there, but now the laptop's performance had taken a significant drop and the battery had died. My hopes are still that it's something catching in one of the coolers, but the though of the hard drive failing is creeping into the back of my mind and I'm pretty worried. Does anyone have any experience with this, and should I be prepared for the worst? Getting a few opinions from people on here before I end up taking it to a repair shop would be really helpful. I can make a recording of the noise coming out of the laptop if it's any help.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Lesser Hivemind Node Feldspar's Avatar
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    Well, the only 3 parts that should be making sounds are the cooler, the hard drive and the speakers, noise off anything else would probably mean something really bad, but I doubt it would be working in that case (or that loud).

    I can't think of a way of isolating the cooler or the hard drive without opening up the case, in which case you can poke about the cooler anyway if it is anything stuck in there.

    Is the noise loud enough that you can pinpoint its source without opening the case? (You might want to do this somewhere private, people will give you funny looks when you start running your ear over the keyboard). If you can find a diagram of the guts of your machine on the net then you might be able to diagnose it a little better.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thekev506 View Post
    should I be prepared for the worst?
    Yes, always. Hard drives can fail at any moment with very little warning, so in IT circles the saying goes any data you have not backed up is data you do not care about. If it's not a lot of data, you can use free services like Dropbox. If you do not trust them, install TrueCrypt and make an encrypted storage container and put that in Dropbox.

    It would help if you described the sound and where it's coming from. Is it a grating propeller vs plastic sound? Is it digital noise over the speakers? Does it come from the front end of it where the HDD is likely to be, or the back end? Is it constant or intermittent?

  4. #4
    Activated Node thekev506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boris View Post
    ...Hard drives can fail at any moment with very little warning, so in IT circles the saying goes any data you have not backed up is data you do not care about...

    It would help if you described the sound and where it's coming from. Is it a grating propeller vs plastic sound? Is it digital noise over the speakers? Does it come from the front end of it where the HDD is likely to be, or the back end? Is it constant or intermittent?
    Everything is backed up on an external hard drive, my desktop PC, or both. I'm less worried about the loss of data and more about not being able to afford buying a new laptop if this one is doomed.

    The sound is coming from the rear vent, no unwanted sound coming from the speakers. It sounds to me like a grating propellers, as when it starts it rises in pitch until it reaches a certain point, at which the sound and pitch remain constant. When the laptop is turned off the pitch slows down for a few seconds before stopping, which suggest to me that this is a problem with a propeller or a spinning object of some sort, but this isn't my field; I know how to fix guitars, not laptops.

  5. #5
    Lesser Hivemind Node Feldspar's Avatar
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    Sounds like you might need to replace the cooling fan, which would undoubtedly be trickier than it sounds, probably a worn bearing or something of that ilk and you don't want your laptop melting itself.

    Either you can source the bits yourself and go through the rigmarole of replacing the offending bit or find someone who will do it for you, which would be pricier but safer and less aggro.

    Found this link with minimal goolging: http://www.laptopinventory.com/Lapto...eries/E352/Fan

  6. #6
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    OK - first up a "my laptop is making a noise" is a hard question to answer - but here goes ;)

    Noises come from one of 3 sources

    1 - mechanical - something catching or a failing bearing - on a laptop that's down to either the HDD, optical drive or the Fan(s)
    2 - audio - speaker buzz/noise/feedback from the mic etc.
    3 - electrical - components which are dying can 'sing' - often loudly - my 5-year-old monitor can hold a tune some days :)

    How to narrow this down - well we're going to remove/disable everything we can until the sound goes away.

    Is there a disc in the optical drive? Remove it - sounds obvious but it's a good start :)

    Remove the battery - obviously if that solves it, it's the battery (there's a pattern forming!)

    Replace the battery and remove the mains no sound or a DIFFERENT sound!? We're trying to see if it's the power supply in the laptop which is faulty.

    Next up - plug headphones into the headphone socket - silence means it's the speakers which are at fault (although why we'd need to look closer at)

    Put headphones (or a MIC if you have one) into the MIC socket - silence means you've got an open mic in the laptop feeding back into the speakers

    Disable the WiFi module (with the hardware switch as that actually powers-down the module for flight-mode) - silence means - you're getting the idea

    Disable the screen - this may mean having to plug it in a cable (pref a whole monitor!!) because the screen 'toggle' buttons on laptops won't always work without an external screen attached - but with the monitor off (not just 'sleeping' or in screensaver mode - OFF) if it's quiet - you're with me yeah?

    Nothing yet? OK - screwdrivers time, we're taking the HDD out. It's easy on almost every laptop - usually a couple of screws to get at it and 1/2 screws holding it in. Power-off - battery out - and follow this one (matching the one above)

    http://www.laptopinventory.com/Lapto...2/Hard%20Drive

    Power-up - it won't boot, obviously, but if it's quiet, it's your HDD and it's time for a new one (and you now know how to do install it!!)

    If it's still noisy - take out the RAM (one dimm at a time preferrably but if there's only one then hey!) and again power-up. It won't boot at all with no RAM but does it make a noise??

    Still noisy? Damn - but before we embark on the 20 screws, 10 catches and at least 2 inches of skin stripped from your fingertips which that video (last post) implies - you'll want to get a can of compressed air (ASDA/Tesco/any DIY or Car Parts place) and empty it into the exhaust area (left side of keyboard if that video matches your laptop). If there's anything caught in there, it may dislodge it and you can keep the skin on your fingers for another day.

    If not - you're looking to get to the fan so you can disconnect it and power-up the laptop - don't panic, it won't overheat instantly (it will within a few mins tho so you want to make this a QUICK test) - with the fan disconnected, if there's still a noise it's coming from the motherboard and that - well - that's a new laptop that is.

    GL!

  7. #7
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    p.s. HDDs seldom 'whine' - they tick/click or rattle before they die - so fingers crossed...

  8. #8
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    Be careful with overheating processors though. I melted mine in my last laptop by continuing to use it after it started to have cooling problems. It won't do it instantly, but if it's overheating then don't leave it on too long.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thekev506 View Post
    Everything is backed up on an external hard drive, my desktop PC, or both. I'm less worried about the loss of data and more about not being able to afford buying a new laptop if this one is doomed.

    The sound is coming from the rear vent, no unwanted sound coming from the speakers. It sounds to me like a grating propellers, as when it starts it rises in pitch until it reaches a certain point, at which the sound and pitch remain constant. When the laptop is turned off the pitch slows down for a few seconds before stopping, which suggest to me that this is a problem with a propeller or a spinning object of some sort, but this isn't my field; I know how to fix guitars, not laptops.
    Sounds like there's dust in your fan, or the bearing has run dry. Dust is easy to fix, just use a vacuum and suck it out. Reoiling a bearing is annoying work and depending on where they put the fan very easy or really annoyingly hard.

  10. #10
    Activated Node thekev506's Avatar
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    Alright, I know for a fact it's not speaker or mic related, tried running it without battery when the noise first started and it made no difference. I'm going to see if I can pick up a can of compressed air after work tomorrow and try out all of the tests that have been mentioned that don't involve me taking to the laptop with a screwdriver because I don't trust myself, honestly. If none of the tests resolve the problem I'll make a sound recording and post it on here. A big thank you to everyone to has posted - I'm clueless when it comes to hardware and I can't express how much I appreciate this.

  11. #11
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    Removing the HDD is easier than rewiring a plug - the video shows you clearly where the screws are (2 holding a coverplate - 1 holding the drive) - once they're removed you just slide the HDD to one side and it comes out. (You do with the power AND battery removed of course!!). Easier than Lego.

    If the noise persists with the HDD out, you know it's not the HDD and that your data is, at least, safe for the time being. If the noise disappears, it's time to buy a new HDD - simples...

    With that cover off you may even get a better idea of where the sound is coming from - the other video clearly shows the location of the fan - the noise should be traceable to that (there's not much else it could be if it's noisy on both battery and mains).

    Getting to the fan is a MUCH bigger job - finding and releasing all the catches in most laptops is a mixture of art and guesswork - and getting it all back together can require 'miracles' :)
    Last edited by trjp; 02-12-2012 at 09:22 PM.

  12. #12
    Activated Node thekev506's Avatar
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    quick update - I'm chronically unlucky. Thought 'I'll give everything a good blast of compressed air' first because I could clean out my PC too, no harm in keeping things clean. Found some after searching my town and the next town over, only to find the can didn't have a nozzle adapter, someone had taken it, and that it was the last can in stock. So I switch to taking the HDD out instead, only to find that the drive (and only the HDD) has the tiniest screws I've ever seen, that none of my screwdrivers will fit. Guess I'll go hunting for those tiny screwdrivers you get with xmas crackers tomorrow after work.

  13. #13
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    Screwdriver kits on eBay are CHEAP - get one with the full range of sizes for flat/hex/posi and 'security' bits (Nintendo, Nokia etc.) - shouldn't cost more than 5 - probably quite a bit less...

  14. #14
    Lesser Hivemind Node Similar's Avatar
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    My laptop just started doing this this morning. At first I thought a neighbour was drilling into a wall...
    The uneven noise, the vibrations and the types of sound remind me of when a graphics card fan started failing in my desktop once, so I'm pretty sure this is a fan too.

    Fairly terrifying since I can't afford a new laptop and my desktop is dead too...

  15. #15
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    I want share with you some reliable and best in use laptops.
    Alienware M17xR4.
    Alienware M18x.
    Dell XPS 15 (Summer 2012).
    Eurocom Scorpius.
    Maingear Pulse 11.
    MSI GT70 0NC-011US.
    MSI GT70 0NE-276US.
    Origin EON17-S.
    Razer Blade (2012).
    This post is for that person who is want to buy a new laptop.
    gold coast computer repair
    Last edited by Ezra; 19-01-2013 at 08:04 AM.

  16. #16
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    Am surprised no one mentioned actually diagnosing the issue using Speedfan or something like that.

    To me a noisy laptop usually means the cooling fan for the laptop either dying or more commonly covered in dust and other stuff that make the fan run worse, creating heat that forces the fan to spin faster creating the noise. I have solved this on my own laptop several times.

    Try this:
    - leave laptop for an hour off. so it cools off.
    - start up install http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php
    - monitor temperature, if you see it rise with the noise.
    - for my fan all I had to do with a blast air into it, I didn't need to open the chasis the first time but had to eventually when I couldn't reach certain parts.

    Worth a try and I hope it works for you.

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