A Broken Heat Sink Can Shut Off Your PC!

So I go turn on the PC this AM. Whirr whirr whirr it goes as usual. I’m not paying attention as usual. Because it’s a looooong bootup process.

But then I hear Click!

Huh? No bootup.

I turn it on again … and stupidly not pay attention again.

This time Click! happens faster.

Repeat this process about twenty times with the PC turning itself off at various points in the bootup process.

I have the beginning of Panic. Major Panic. I need this damned crap PC!

At first I thought it was the hard drive. That’d make me want to slit my wrists because I still have stuff on it I haven’t archived to my terabyte drive.

But then I began to suspect this is a power problem. Don’t ask me why, but I did.

So I decide to open the PC.

Yeah: Yecch! Crud galore from years of never looking in there.

So I vacuum it out and wipe out some dust (OK, a helluva lot of dust).

I pull away the fan exhaust and something drops to the bottom of the PC casing. WTF?

Then I notice a loose clip. And it falls off.

Then I see the Mother of All Heat Sinks.

Look at this bloody thing!!!

The Celeron CPU it sits over is one inch square. This thing is four times that size and near two inches high!!!

Look:

(You will see water drops in there bacause I rinsed it out. Oh, it was thoroughly dry when it went back in!)

So, I try to put everything together but the damned heat sink won’t stay in place. It turns out the crappy plastic border for it that connects to the clamps has broken! There is no way to keep the heat sink in place.

This computer is oriented vertically. So is its CPU.

Anyway, I try to turn on the computer with the heat sink sitting over the CPU with just the pressure of the fan exhaust vent over it.

We get to nearly-full bootup and then Click! The PC shuts off.

Grrrrr.

I’m thinking, what can I put in there to keep that damned heat sink in place? Duct tape? No. What if it gets so damned hot the glue melts and spills down onto other components? OK, I’ve got no idea what the hell I’ll do to keep that heat sink in place.

Until I have a brain storm. Use gravity!

So I turn the damned computer onto its side, so it’s oriented like a flat desktop, and the heat sink can now rest — via gravity — over the CPU.

I turn on the PC — and it works!

So, for the time being I have a portrait-oriented piece of hardware sitting in landscape mode on a box on the floor.

And I’ve got to go track down a stupid stupid stupid piece of plastic so I can clamp the heat sink back over the Celeron.

I had no bloody idea there was some sort of mechanism to shut down the PC if the CPU wasn’t in contact with a heat sink. I’d never heard of this before. And as far as I can see, there’s nothing connected to anything that looks like it’d sense temperature. Maybe the Celeron just dies on its own due to heat?

Anyway, maybe in the future your PC will mysteriously not want to power up. Before you go all crazy, check out the clamping of the damned heat sink.

Who knew?

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