Fan control for X240 generation?

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Edward Mendelson
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Fan control for X240 generation?

#1 Post by Edward Mendelson » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:47 pm

I've been working with ThinkPad X240s, with hardware modifications made by RealBlackStuff (amazing work, to be described in detail later), and this is one of the questions that's come up. (There will be more...)

The fan on this machine tends to make a fairly loud high-pitched noise, even with Thermal Adaptive control set in the BIOS to "Balanced" (not "High Performance." I've reduced the noise by installing TFFanControl 0.62 under both Windows 10 and Windows 7:

http://www.tpfancontrol.com

This seems to help a lot, though it pops up an ugly-looking window on startup. EDIT: I see this can be fixed with a setting in the INI file.

Is there an alternative, or something better? Is there a reason NOT to use this?

I'll be grateful for any advice on this.

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Re: Fan control for X240 generation?

#2 Post by ajkula66 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:44 pm

Edward Mendelson wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:47 pm

Is there an alternative, or something better?
Not that I'm aware of.
Is there a reason NOT to use this?
No. I've been running it on a variety of systems - as I expect you have too - since the earliest versions, and it worked wonders IME.
...Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules...(King Crimson)

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Re: Fan control for X240 generation?

#3 Post by Edward Mendelson » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:19 am

ajkula66 wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:44 pm
No. I've been running it on a variety of systems - as I expect you have too - since the earliest versions, and it worked wonders IME.
I seem to have been the last person to hear about this, for some reason. I've never used it before, though I certainly could have used it had I known about it. This was the first time I was bothered by a high-pitched noise. Will now install it in some other systems too - now that I belatedly found the option to let it start minimized.

Thanks for confirming that this is what I need!

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Re: Fan control for X240 generation?

#4 Post by Edward Mendelson » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:31 am

Here's something that accurately describes one aspect of the X240s fan noise, though I doubt I'm going to use the video-maker's solution:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8At6nb1iZsU

In summary: the design of the vents on the base under the fan causes a whistling noise at certain fan frequencies. If you put your thumb over part of the grille (as shown in the video), the whistling stops. It's not a question of the fan being dirty or ineffective - it's a mistake in the design of the base. Or at least that's what it seems like!

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Re: Fan control for X240 generation?

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:54 am

Quite amazing!
If you try covering some other holes, you could probably play some music... :lol:

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Re: Fan control for X240 generation?

#6 Post by Edward Mendelson » Sat Sep 02, 2017 11:37 am

Here's a further progress report on fan noise in this system.

First, following a private suggestion from RBS, I put down new thermal grease below the fan - and also replaced the fan itself with a new one, because, when removing the original one, I broke one of the little plastic tabs that hold cables on the fan housing. That little tab doesn't really do much, but it suggested that the plastic had aged, so a replacement made sense.

The new grease and the new fan effectively silenced this machine. But I also put in a strip of high-temperature masking tape over the part of the grille shown in the video in an earlier post. I don't see any increased temperatures, but I'll keep alert with this.

Once again, advice from RBS was exactly what I needed.

I'll be posting a longer account of RBS's amazing work on this machine at a later date. Stay tuned!

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