Rough DRAFT Notes by Julian H. Stacey
A tale of PC hardware butchery ...
My AMD64 BIOS BIOS has a section marked: "PC Health"
Worth thinking about when, or before a PC keeps crashing
I hacked 2 big holes in front of main PC & another of
same type chassis: power jigsaw on thin steel chassis, to make
a circle to match front fan size.
The original fan holes were small (2mm) & sparse &
useless, & front plastic holes/slots were miniscule &
did not align.
The low noise power supply ran OK, kept itself merely not
too hot, but was not adequate to pull air through chassis to
keep everthing cool.
Then I hacked a matching larger square hole out of the
plastic bezel (square so fan can now be unscrewed & replace
without removing bezel, without removing cdrom drives before
Made an awful doubtless posionous thus well ventilated stink
with soldering iron to poke 1st hole to saw from.
Took a 3 wire fan
took it from a CPU (athlon) cooler from a dead board, &
installed on 1st chassis.
- There are 2 types of 3 wire fans:
- Some report the speed theyre going at on the 3rd green
- Some use the 3rd green to join to a temp. detector.
- Theres even 4 wire apparently, though not seen 'em, I
guess they do both.
Now finally I hope chassis remains sufficiently cooler so
hopefuly the new box wont crash. It kept crashing before, till
I took side panel off, (no way was it BSD
crashing, it was just a hardware problem.
Much as I criticise MS, even MS may sometimes get blamed for
OS crashes that are really dodgy power or heat.
I use (/usr/ports/sysutils/xmbmon)
to sample CPU & chassis fan speeds, & voltages too,
both on a one off & or permanent graphical icon type.
Actually my hardware is not quire fully monitored yet: BSD
hasn't caught up quite, & won't display all temps yet on an
AMD 64 apparently, just some, more in progress @ Feb 2005.
Maybe Redmond's OS may show more at present.
The BIOS too shows fan speeds & voltages before one
starts the OS, ie BSD or XP, or more accurately for XP users,
if you manage to convince XP not to start immediately, &
stay in BIOS.
Whether via BIOS or mbmon, It's a way of keeping an eye on
PC health without needing to unscrew case.
Mbmon is very useful for my remote net servers One can remote
diagnose a crashing server before scheduling a visit to replace
the right part, eg a CPU fan. Armed with knowledge of a failing
CPU fan, one can even take action before visiting site, eg:
So my remote servers mail me their health status periodically,
- deload processes to another server, back up data to other
servers, before scheduling an outage,
- or to just issue a halt if really worried about
You may not know what fan speeds & temps you want/
expect, but if you just store the values, then if things start
to fail, compare with old values, & see if worse, ie hoter,
or slower fan speed, perhaps spindle jammed by dust fluff
When a modern PC crashes one can often take the side panel
off & see if it helps. OK, theoretically if the power
supply fan is pulling air hard enough, taking the side panel
off might reduce air flow, but power supply fans virtually
never do pull that much air, so usually taking the side panel
off cools a machine.
On a PC, particularly an ATX, there should be no more than
12V exposed, so you shouldn't electrocute yourself. (Some old
PC-ATs do have 220/240V runing to switch at front of chassis,
that may not be well insulated by rubber boots round spade
One should also be able to see in laptop what the temps are,
& BIOS &/or OS may also offer low power mode to save
battery (& thus over heating too).
A silent commercial