Fan controller problem with laptop

Discussion in 'Mobile and Portable' started by eemuler, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. eemuler

    eemuler MDL Member

    Jul 31, 2015
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    I have a Sony Vaio VPCZ1 laptop in which the fan is controlled by an embedded controller. Temperature sensors and Sony Power Management software, together with the algorithm hardcoded into the embedded controller determine fan speed.

    From time to time my fan gets jammed and the laptop starts shutting down due to overheating. To fix this, I open the laptop, dismantle and clean the fan, re-lubricate the fan shaft, change the thermal paste for the heatsink, and put everything back again.

    Sometimes, the fan speed doesn't behave the way it is supposed to even after the cleaning and lubricating. It seems that the embedded controller doesn't communicate with the temperature sensors and power management software. The fan speed remains pathetically slow, sometimes showing a regular breathing effect - speeding up just a little bit, enough to be barely audible, and then going back to the very slow speed for silent operation. Things are much hotter because of this, and the laptop keeps shutting down under even very small loads. I am currently running with the CPU throttled down to 50%, and even then, idle temperatures are around 50 deg C, browsing the net takes it to above 60 deg C; watching a movie takes it to 80 +.

    I have encountered this problem earlier and have managed to get it working by fiddling around with certain things, like opening explorer and navigating to the program folders where the Sony power management and other utilities are installed and selecting files at random and checking their properties. Suddenly the fan would go to full speed, bring the temperature down to normal levels (below 40 deg C) and then slow down, and after this everything would behave normally.

    On one occasion, just launching a torrent client Qbittorrent fixed the problem. It seems that all that is needed is for the sensors and software to start communicating with the embedded controller.

    Now that I am running Windows 10, I can't seem to recover from this issue like before. I ran Windows 10 without problems for several weeks, and then the fan needed cleaning. I did everything like before, but now the fan is stuck in slow mode. Sometimes while booting up the speed becomes normal, but then as soon as Windows loads, it goes back to slow.

    Can anyone help me with this? I have looked around in the BIOS settings, even booted off a Linux live USB pen drive, but this time nothing seems to work.
    EC.png
     
  2. eemuler

    eemuler MDL Member

    Jul 31, 2015
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    #2 eemuler, Oct 16, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
    (OP)
    Could this be an incredibly stupid DEP (data execution prevention) kind of thing? If the fan stops spinning, the embedded controller triggers a system shutdown. Maybe Windows sees this module as a repeat offender and blocks it from causing further mayhem. Is there any way to check for this and unblock it? I have disabled DEP, but that hasn't helped. Maybe the blocked programs stay blocked.
     
  3. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

    Jul 29, 2009
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    What kind of lubricant you're using? Normally those fan axis using a special lubricant, like those the Watchmakers are using while cleaning and/or repairing a watch. That's some special silicon based lubricant!

    I would firstly look to get a brand new fan!! And if you look for that one, try to get one with ball bearing instead of slave bearing!

    Also, there maybe some Airfilter installed as well in that Laptop and that need to be changes as well. Look up all the way the way is taken inside the laptop.

    The heatsink thermal paste should also be very good! I use always Arctic Silver for that, not very cheap, just worth the money!!

    Personally I don't think it's the sensor, nor the controlling software, should be really a Fan problem!
     
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  4. eemuler

    eemuler MDL Member

    Jul 31, 2015
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    I'm using a light grease (silicon) that's normally used by hobbyists and for inkjet printers and similar gadgets. Has worked for me without trouble for a couple of years now - I clean the fan every 3-4 months. I do have an even lighter special grease that is used for pneumatic spool valves, and a heavier molybdenum based anti-seize grease.

    Laptop fans are not easily modded - you are pretty much stuck with the fan that's for you model. I'm due for buying a new fan though, but it will be the same type, as something different just wont fit.

    I would have agreed with you about that kast sentence, but I have done this many times now, and on at least 3 occasions the same problem had occurred. The moment the OS starts communicating with the EC, everything gets back to normal instantly, and stays that way for the next few months until the fan gets clogged again.
     
  5. MrMagic

    MrMagic MDL Guru

    Feb 13, 2012
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    Uninstall the power management software, let windows control it, extremely unlikely that the fan locks up physically so often, forcing you to dismantle the entire machine to get it running again, much more likely to be a software issue
     
  6. Antilope

    Antilope MDL Member

    Sep 15, 2015
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    #6 Antilope, Oct 16, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
    My old Dell Inspiron 1545 seemed to be running hot and the fan was running on high quite a bit after installing Windows 10. I solved the problem by going to the Windows 10 Power Settings and selecting Power Saving Mode. I found it had been running in the Windows 10 High Performance mode.

    Go to Settings, System, Power & Sleep, Additional Power Settings, select Power Saver. Made a difference of 20C to 25C in temps as reported by Speecy.
     
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  7. pisthai

    pisthai Imperfect Human

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    Simply Silicon Grease, even the best one, isn't good enough for fast heat transfer. Arctic Silver has an very fast heat transfer and will also not harden, even if long time used.

    For lubricants, one of the best for sleeve use is Ballistrol, which is in origin an Lubricant used for Weapons. It's excellent for the most used Sleeve Bearings in mini- fan's, beside of that Silicon grease Watchmaker using.
     
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  8. T-S

    T-S MDL Guru

    Dec 14, 2012
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    Try speedfan, it doesen't work on 100% of the mainboards, but if it works you can do whatever you want with it.

    You can alsto take a look to the power management options. On the advanced settings there is an active/passive policy about the CPU power management try to play with it and see if it helps.
     
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  9. eemuler

    eemuler MDL Member

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    Speedfan doesn't even detect the fan. :( I've tried everything in the power management options that I could think of. The only thing that has worked has been the CPU maximum setting which I have set to 50% so the CPU never generates the full heat it is capable of. That means the laptop runs slower, but at least it is not turning itself off like it used to.
     
  10. T-S

    T-S MDL Guru

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    #10 T-S, Oct 16, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015

    Not surprsing given the amount of proprietary things that can be found on vaios.


    The relevant setting should be called cpu cooling policy (or whatever is called in english) it has two options active and passive.

    One of them tries to keep the performance keeping the cpu at higher frequencies, and making the fan run faster if needed.

    The other one tries to keep the cpu temperature lower reducing its frequency before acting on the fan.

    Then the mileage varies depending on the firmware.
     
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  11. eemuler

    eemuler MDL Member

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    Windows power options gives me three plans - balanced, high performance and power saver. I'm currently running power saver. In the advanced settings for this plan I have changed the CPU maximum setting to 50% for both on battery and plugged in. Not doing that takes the temperature to 80 deg C while idle. Even something as mundane as opening Facebook on Chrome causes this to spike to nearly 100 deg C. The fan stays slow.
     
  12. T-S

    T-S MDL Guru

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    You need to look to the advanced options to see what I mean.
     
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  13. eemuler

    eemuler MDL Member

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    Drat! I switched to high performance mode and the laptop shut down after a few minutes. Back on power saver.

    Not sure what you're getting at here. Could you please post a screenshot or two? The plan that I have selected is marked 'active'. Currently it is the power saver plan. If I select another plan, then that plan will be marked as active. Like I mentioned earlier, I have three plans that I can select and change advanced settings for.
     
  14. T-S

    T-S MDL Guru

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  15. Hadron-Curious

    Hadron-Curious MDL Guru

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    I would advice you to replace the fan itself.