Keeping your PC Cool All PC’s use internal fans to keep them cool. They are a critical component to prevent instability and more importantly to prolong the life of the PC. Unfortunately the fan is the weakest link within the PC. Faulty and failed fans will very quickly lead to the breakdown of the PC. The Hardware Tutorial feature in October’s issue of PCZONE, Britain’s best PC games magazine, suggests that ‘replacing with a decent Papst fan’ is one way of keeping your PC cool. All electronic circuits generate heat and some, such as circuits and power supplies within PCs, can generate enough heat to damage themselves. All electronic components have a maximum working temperature. Exceeding this temperature will result in the characteristics of the component changing and/or failure of the component by the break down of the materials within. A change in the components characteristics means the circuit will function differently. This may have little effect to the function of the overall device, or result in some instability, or it could seriously damage other parts of the circuit. The failure of the component will often mean the rest of the circuit is unable to work, or cause serious damage to other parts of the circuit. When the components are running cool, well within their temperature limits, they can last hundreds of thousand of hours; decades. When they operate in hotter environments the lifetime will be much reduced, with components operating above their limits only lasting a few hours. The fans used within PCs have motors that too have electronic components within the motor drives and so too have a finite life, the same life as the circuits within the PC. However the motor also has one or more bearings and these have a much reduced life expectancy than the electronics. The bearing systems are either a sleeve design or a ball bearing based design. The life expectancy of both will vary with temperature; the life expectancy of the bearing will reduce as it operates at higher temperatures. Failing bearing are often identified by a rumbling noise, but often it is not found until it seizes and the fan stops rotating. So there is a component, the fan, within the PC that is there to ensure the life expectancy of the rest of the system will last longer than itself! The Hardware Tutorial in October’s issue of PCZONE magazine gives wise advice and suggested maintenance on keeping your PC cool and lasting longer. Learn more by visiting www.pczone.co.uk.
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