Fan runs constantly

Bug #1161820 reported by Matthew Turk on 2013-03-29
This bug affects 3 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Dell Sputnik

Bug Description

All of a sudden, the fan has begun spinning most of the time. It will spin up, sometimes spin up / down for a little while, and then it will simply stay on. This happens even if I put the laptop to sleep, and can happen when I have no applications open and top reports low usage. Sometimes (as while I was typing this message!) it will turn off for about a minute, then turn right back on at full speed. No messages in dmesg suggest anything odd, and sensors reports roughly 49-60 C. (Critical is 105.0 and high is 87.0, it says.) Note that often the fan will spin up or down without a corresponding change in the output of sensors.

Is there any way I can diagnose this? The sudden change in behavior makes me think it must have been something in a recent package update. The same upgrade brought with it non-functioning brightness keys.

Since the problems started, I've ensured that the Sputnik PPAs are in my apt list, and I'm now running "3.2.0-39-generic #62+kamal15~DellXPS-Ubuntu SMP Mon Mar 4 19:08:48 UTC 2013 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux". This happened to fix the brightness keys, but the fan problem persists.

Can you run "apport-collect 1161820" on your system so that we have more details about it for debugging?

Matthew Turk (matthewturk) wrote :

Hi Daniel, I have done so, but it says "No additional information." (Both sudo and as regular user.)

Huh, I am not sure why it is doing that. Could you at least attach the contexts of /var/log/dmesg?

Matthew Turk (matthewturk) wrote :

Yup, /var/log/dmesg is attached. Thanks, and I'm happy to provide any additional information.

Thanks. While you should update your BIOS to A07, you're at least running A06, so I don't believe that should be related.

You are using a factory install of Ubuntu 12.04, correct?

Matthew Turk (matthewturk) wrote :

I'll take a shot at upgrading the BIOS soon. I am still on a factory install, yes. I also haven't upgraded beyond what apt will do, and sources.list still shows precise everywhere.

Kent Baxley (kentb) wrote :

Fan issues seem to be generic to the system and not the OS (folks running Win8 are complaining about it too), based on some of the reviews I'm reading here:!stoneId=ratingsAndReviewsTab

Adam Sutton (adamsutton) wrote :

I've got the exact opposite problem, right now I'd be VERY happy if the fans were spinning full speed. All too often they seem to fail to spin at all, allowing the temperature to rise to worrying levels. If I'm lucky after it's had time to fry my breakfast the fans do sometimes kick in, other times I've simply had to switch it off.

I know these things are built to withstand pretty high temps, but mine is currently doing very little (about the only thing its doing is running spotify and this browser). All 4 cores report min cpu speed (775MHz), yet temperatures regularly reaching 85C+. I had overheating issues with my previous Inspiron (mainly due to lack of circulation where the exhaust was) but at least in that case the fans were spinning and I was doing some heavy crunching!

When things are working properly it normally idles at around 50C, which seems far more sensible.

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