Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly

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I've been running the same AI7 for many years now. It runs 24/7 and has
never given me a lick of trouble. Drives have been replaced occasionally,
but before any of them have died. Machine has an Antec Truepower 430W PS.
Recently, when I've had to actually power the system back up the PS will try
to start several times before finally "kicking in". It almost sounds like a
car trying to turn over. This happens several times, and then it will just
start. Once it does, it runs fine. AbitEQ seems to indicate that al the
voltages are correct once running. Any help on this appreciated.



Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly

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I would suspect the PSU rather than anything else.  Although the
Trupower 430 is a fairly good unit running 24/7 inevitably does
means that things will fail sooner than you might expect.  I'd have
a look at the PSU and if it is very dusty (bear in mind that it
usually takes a _lot_ of dust to cause problems) then I'd give it
a clean out.

This does mean opening the unit to do properly but if you take
common sense precautions when working with mains rated equipment
you should be OK.  Bear in mind, however, that it is at least
possible mains voltage is present, even after you have turned off
and unpluged the unit, although this is unlikely particularly with
a quality make.

I'd also oil the fan bearings while I'm in there.  While it is
possible that your PSU fans are genuinely wearing out they are ball
bearing units of reasonable quality so I would consider that
unlikely.  It's certainly worth attempting some basic maintenance
first.

--
Andrew Smallshaw
andrews@sdf.lonestar.org

Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly


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Funny thing. After I posted this I looked through the homebuilt newsgroup
and found another posting describing a similar problem. Recommendations
there also pointed to the PS being the likely culprit.

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All god recommendations. Thanks.



Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly

wrote:


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A common fault with those is failure of the Fuhjyyu
capacitors.  A visual inspection will usually find one or
more vented if that's the cause.


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If it is a ball bearing fan, oiling it may do little if any
good, and often makes the fan quite a bit noisier as the
bearing balls then rattlingn around a lot more in the lower
viscosity resulting when the oil mixes with the original
grease.  Oil can be an emergency measure to keep one running
till it can be replaced but doesn't extend life much like it
will with a sleeve bearing.

Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly


On Sat, 05 Jan 2008 13:29:29 -0500  'kony'
wrote this on alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.abit:

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Interesting. Last Easter I stripped down my system to clean and
lubricate all the fans with light oil and a puff of graphite powder.
IIRC one of the fans (probably the PSU) has ball bearings and it
does rattle a little since then. All the sleeve fans are running
very nicely. I must remember that next time :-)


Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly

abit.user wrote:
...
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My rooster weathervane wasn't turning in the breeze, so I poured some
dry graphite into the bearing sleeve. Didn't help enough.
So I added oil too, and the resulting sludge made it worse than before.

Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly

Beryl wrote:
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Not really an apt analogy, unless you have a weathervane in your
computer.  ;-)



Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly

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Don't use graphite powder anywhere inside a computer - there is no
need for it in a PC and it could potentially do far more harm that
good.  Graphite is electrically conductive so if it gets anywhere
it shouldn't there is no telling what may happen.

As for the noise issue, well I've heard it before and I still don't
see the rationale for it if you do everything properly in the first
instance.  Don't use too much and don't use too light a grade.
Things like watch oil or WD40 in particular (because it is so
prevalent) are far too light for this application and will leak
out or evaporate over time, potentially taking some of the existing
oil with it.  Standard 3 in 1 is good for this task as it is a
little heavier.  Try to get the mineral oil version rather than
the vegetable oil equivalent, although to be honest there isn't a
great deal between the two in practice.

--
Andrew Smallshaw
andrews@sdf.lonestar.org

Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly


On Sat, 5 Jan 2008 23:48:19 +0100 (CET)  'Andrew Smallshaw'
wrote this on alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt:

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Well, I used a small puff of graphite powder and a single drop of 3
in 1 oil inside the end caps of each sleeve fan with it *outside the
case* and cleaned each one up afterwards before re-installing. That
was last Easter and everything is running like magic. Even the PSU
fan isn't making enough noise to concern me.

I actually followed the lube advice here in this article:
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Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly

On Sun, 06 Jan 2008 00:04:42 +0000, abit.user


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Graphite is meant for a dry lube, shouldn't be mixed with
oil.  Rarely a special lubricating oil will add further
solids but these are often for one of two reasons:

Marketing purposes, add 20 cents of magic material then
claim the lube is worth multiple times as much.

Extreme situations - Not present in a PC fan bearing


Once a fan has worn enough to need relubed the ideal lube is
a synthetic oil as thick as you can find, almost grease
consistency.  ~ 80wt Gear oil like you'd find at an
autoparts store is the most popular thing most people might
have locally.

Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly


On Sun, 06 Jan 2008 00:07:07 -0500  'kony'
wrote this on alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.abit:

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Well, I hear what you say and also Andrew's previous comments but
it is the case that my fans run very nicely after the treatment with
graphite and oil.

In view of your comments, I'm stuck to know what to use in future!


Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly

On Sun, 06 Jan 2008 12:47:02 +0000, abit.user

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I don't doubt that they do work ok for now, but the bearing
has small pores into which the oil will seep (if it's not
clogged by solids like graphite) which is good as it means
more retention in the bearing and if the bearing where to
start drying out it still has more reserve oil in it, and
over the long term it should be worse to have solids
clogging the pores IF it has any effect at all.  These are
not new ideas to the PC/fan world, the basics of lubrication
have been around and extensively tested for 100 years and
more - though also in the PC/fan industry the worlds most
respected fan manufacturers do not put graphite in their
bearing lube which should say enough by itself, since
graphite isn't especially rare or expensive.

If you wanted to mix something into the oil, mix some
synthetic grease in, just enough that the drop-point of the
grease is below the ambient temp.  It's not really necessary
that it be synthetic, but it does tend to remain more stable
given some heat and time.

The thinner base oil will then seep into the bearing more
with the thicker portion remaining more around the thrust
bearing helping to keep all the lube where it does the most
good instead of running out.  In certain situations (like
some power supplies that come with cheap 120mm sleeve
bearing fans in them, or video card fans) using such a lube,
preemptively rather than waiting till the bearing is worn
down, can add quite a bit longer interval between subsequent
servicing... though ideally it's better to just replace any
marginal video card fans as they are often pretty poor even
in their best condition, turning too fast and wobbling too
much on too narrow a bearing in a horizontal position.

Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly


On Sun, 06 Jan 2008 08:35:00 -0500  'kony'
wrote this on alt.comp.periphs.mainboard.abit:

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Thanks kony, I'll keep your comments for the next time I
do some lubrication. Much appreciated.


Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly

On Sat, 5 Jan 2008 23:48:19 +0100 (CET), Andrew Smallshaw

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Ball bearings have some play in them to rotate, and once
worn onto the point of noise, even more play.  They ride on
a film of grease.  Adding oil reduces the film strength
allowing the bearings to move around more (in directions
they weren't supposed to be moving).

That's the rationale, but I also see it in practice.
Perhaps all ball bearing fans won't get noisier but IMO once
one is noisey it won't be improved long term with oil while
a sleeve bearing fan's life may be extended multiple times
it's original lifespan (if it weren't relubed).  This mostly
pertains to the low quality sleeve bearing fans found in
PCs, not the higher quality ones like Papst or Panaflo.




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The oil viscosity to use depends on the tolerances.  A brand
new fan which isn't likely to need relubed yet (except some
very poor ones) will have tighter tolerance and a medium
weight instead of thin oil would be called for.  With tight
fitting parts a very thick oil might not fully wick into the
bearingway but this situation is gone once the fan has worn.

Once a fan has worn the bearing, especially onto the point
of making noise or not turning properly there is a lot of
play in it, a larger gap that needs thicker, heavier weight
oil.  Thin oil will slop, be pumped out of the bearing much
faster due to the elliptical wear pattern in the bearing and
simply due to gravity because of the lower film strength.
Thin oil can work, but will not reduce fan wobble as much so
the fan wears faster and will need to be reapplied much more
often.  I would see thin oil as another emergency measure to
keep the fan running till a replacement can be found.  

The situation changes when dealing with different kinds of
fan bearings not seen in PC fans.  With larger fans such as
in a HVAC unit you will find much larger bearings and the
fans are typically relubed preventatively instead of after
the bearing is shot, and the bearing cup has a felt or
equivalent matting to hold the lubricant.  In that case the
lubricant has to be thin enough to flow through the matting.
Since a PC fan's reservoir has no such matting but only
gravity to assist it, the thicker the oil the more it will
stay where it's supposed to.

Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly


[SNIP]
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Don't they use sintered metal bearings in fans any more?

Re: Older Abit AI7 homebuilt acting oddly

On Sun, 06 Jan 2008 19:28:46 -0500, Strobe

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yes, and?

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