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View Full Version : Powerbook's fan more active-is this a problem?


vsp
Feb 3, 2005, 01:21 PM
Within the last three weeks it seems my powerbook's fan is coming on a lot more often (it just came on as I typed this). It's a 15.2 1.25 Al powerbook. It's my only computer so it runs a lot and has so since last March.

My concern is that this is a sign of an impending problem with my computer. The fan didn't used to come on until at least a copule of hours of running. Now it seems it can pop on after 15 minutes, run for five or ten minutes and then cut out.

I'm running 10.3.7 on this machine. For some reason it appears the fan comes on a lot while I'm in Firefox. The other thing that kicks it is in running Neverwinter Nights with Hordes of the Underdark installed. Not surprising, but other games don't cause the fan to come on so quickly.

Is this anything to worry about, or is increasing fan action just part of aging in a powerbook? Is there anything I should be monitoring for potential problems?

Thanks

slooksterPSV
Feb 3, 2005, 03:11 PM
CPU intensive programs (yes firefox is, I don't care what anyone says) create more heat so your fans have to run a lot more. When you firstly got the computer you barely had anything on it so it didn't need to cool down till afer about a few hours. And where its the only computer are using and the usage on it, your fans will run a lot more since it hasn't had a couple day break. If you give it a break for about 12 hours, everything should be cooled off to room temperature and that should just alieveate the problem for about an hour. NWN uses a lot of CPU process so it has to cool it down for that too. If you can, get one of those laptop stands where it allows air flow under it.

MyLeftNut
Feb 3, 2005, 04:46 PM
Im no techie, but when that situation happens I open up activity monitor and check the lists for apps that are taking more than their fair share of CPU cycles and force quit them. Nearly 100% of the time its Finder. Maybe that could be something you should look at next time it happens.

It occurs very rarely, and I dont know the technical reason for it but it certainly fixes the problem...oh and getting one of those laptop stands is probably a good idea too. Mmm..better put that on my list. :cool:

vsp
Feb 3, 2005, 08:43 PM
Well, I've stopped using Firefox (back to Safari for now) and the only time the fan has come on is when I ran Neverwinter Nights. The fan turned off shortly after I shut down Neverwinter.

I'm surprised that these two programs draw so much. A browser simply shouldn't and no other games I play generate as much activity from the fan. I'll check the activity monitor next time this comes up.

Thanks for the replies. Another laptop item I can add to my soon-to-purchase list.

PlaceofDis
Feb 3, 2005, 08:47 PM
Well, I've stopped using Firefox (back to Safari for now) and the only time the fan has come on is when I ran Neverwinter Nights. The fan turned off shortly after I shut down Neverwinter.

I'm surprised that these two programs draw so much. A browser simply shouldn't and no other games I play generate as much activity from the fan. I'll check the activity monitor next time this comes up.

Thanks for the replies. Another laptop item I can add to my soon-to-purchase list.

Diablo II will cause the fan to come on my powerbook, and it doesnt surprise me that Neverwinter Nights is the same, the laptop stands really do help quite a bit, i use one every day with my book and it not only helps keep it cool, but also raises the screen up to a better viewing level

vsp
Feb 3, 2005, 08:58 PM
Diablo II will cause the fan to come on my powerbook, and it doesnt surprise me that Neverwinter Nights is the same, the laptop stands really do help quite a bit, i use one every day with my book and it not only helps keep it cool, but also raises the screen up to a better viewing level

Any paticular stand you recommend? Or any thing to keep my eye out for?

Logik
Feb 4, 2005, 10:16 AM
set your energy settings to reduced... see if that helps... it's probably set to highest.. and no matter what i do under automatic or highest my 1.33ghz gets hot.. i run mine on reduced no matter what.. and when i actually need the full speed that's when i go in and change it to highest... i need a quicksilver plugin to do this quickly i think lol

mactropy
Feb 4, 2005, 01:45 PM
You should also check if your usage patterns have changed recently. I had a similar problem, and started to freak out a little. But then I noticed that I just have the computer placed on the couch a lot recently. And then "under the case ventilation" is virtually non-existent.

donniedarko
Feb 4, 2005, 02:00 PM
Any paticular stand you recommend? Or any thing to keep my eye out for?

iBreeze 29.99 keep my processor under 120 F.... 126 F seems to be the point when the fan goes active

KD7IWP
Feb 4, 2005, 03:52 PM
Do you have Temperature Monitor installed? My fan never comes on until about 142-143 Fahrenheit. Then the fan stays on until it gets down to 138. It's always that way. If I'm compiling a DVD in iDVD, then the fan comes on, goes off, comes on, etc. But it always turns on and off at those temperatures, no matter how much I use the computer.

PlaceofDis
Feb 4, 2005, 04:19 PM
Any paticular stand you recommend? Or any thing to keep my eye out for?

i use the coolpad, you can find its on apples website, or in thier stores, i like it because of the height it adjust to as well as it being able to rotate 360 degrees, makes it easy to swivel around if i have to

Jon'sLightBulbs
Feb 4, 2005, 04:31 PM
Be aware of the ambient temperature. During a Chicago summer (read: dreadfully hot) inside of a full classroom, my fan would turn on almost immediately after I'd booted, only running MS Word. If you're environment is unusually warm, your fan will run more frequently than usual.

ericschmerick
Feb 4, 2005, 04:42 PM
That's interesting. I own a 1.25Ghz PB as well, and I've noticed that over its ~1yr life, the fan has begun to come on more often than when it was brand new. I'm reasonably adept technically, so I've always checked performance monitor, etc, and nothing stands out to me.

To be more specific, when I first bought the machine, I could run Photoshop CS doing lots of intense stuff (like batch processing RAW images, etc), and the fan would come on after say 10-15 minutes, then go off again almost right after I stopped PS. Now, within literally 2-3 minutes of firing up PS CS, sometimes even when I'm just doing basic editing on large files (rather than batch stuff), the fan comes on. It also doesn't go off as rapidly when I stop doing those CPU intensive things. Further, once I've gotten to a point where the fan did come on, it seems like it takes longer to dissipate the heat (i.e. the fan comes on more readily doing simple things) than it used to.

I downloaded temperature monitor X or something like that, and my temps are roughly in line with those in the DB, so I've just ignored it.

My only theory is that as batteries age, they generate or retain more heat (or something). Total speculation.

Thanks,
EE

MacNut
Feb 4, 2005, 05:04 PM
How much heat if any does the backlit keyboard give off? My fan seems to always run at some speed but it doesn't bother me id rather have it run than to never come on.

vsp
Feb 4, 2005, 05:49 PM
Well, it's been a while since I've stopped using Firefox and the fan no longer kicks on at odd moments. Very strange.

I've installed Temperature Monitor to track this. So far all the temps have been within reason (Power Supply Bottomside 125.2). Running Firefox for 3 minutes pushes the processer temp about 4 degrees higher and the Power Supply Bottomside about 2 degrees higher. And that's just reading a few posts on this site.

Safari doesn't seem to push the temperatures that quickly.

This, of course, has a sample size of one for a period of three minutes. Make of that what you will.

Now for the beginning of the Coolpad vs. iBreeze debate. My powerbook is basically a desktop. It's mobility is limited by the fact I don't travel much and prefer reading at coffee shops to working at coffee shops (then again, I always prefer reading to working). Its main travel path is to my living room once baseball season starts so I can keep one eye/ear on the game while I work/procrastinate.

I need to raise the screen of the laptop. So I can be ergonmically correct, along with all my other new found correctness (quit smoking, don't drink evey night, don't eat much red meat----soon I might as well stop speaking, breathing, thinking).

The iBreeze seems a bit more than I need for cooling but I would like some. My main concern is an adjutable stand to bring the top edge of the screen level with my eyeballs (you may visualize this for fun, if you wish). Hence my beginning preference for the Coolpad. Do any of you have any relevant stories about either?

As a final note--loading Safari has actually cooled the computer back down from where Firefox took it. This, if verifiable, could be part of an Apple campaign and the spark of many bad puns regarding Apple's role as seller of hip, cool, now products.

MyLeftNut
Feb 4, 2005, 06:15 PM
Haha,

Well VSP, I dont smoke, dont drink and dont eat red meat hardly ever. I can assure you that I am still breathing, speaking AND thinking, and all at the same time. Whoda thunkit?

;)

parrothead
Feb 4, 2005, 07:26 PM
Any paticular stand you recommend? Or any thing to keep my eye out for?


There have been a couple of threads with some nice stands listed. Try doing a search (they are several months to a year old, and I am not sure how long MR keeps old threads, but you could try)

Also:

My Albook 1.25 almost never runs the fan and when it comes on I am always really surprised. Such a nice change from my Tibook 500 that ALWAYS had the fan on. With the 1.25 the fun usually runs when playing Sim City 4, or when I am running a couple of DVD compression programs at once.

vsp
Feb 4, 2005, 07:38 PM
Haha,

Well VSP, I dont smoke, dont drink and dont eat red meat hardly ever. I can assure you that I am still breathing, speaking AND thinking, and all at the same time. Whoda thunkit?

;)

Oh good, there's hope then. :)

Don't miss the red meat much, except for occasional hamburger cravings.

Not drinking so often is actually a good thing since I can substitute quality booze (like a good single malt scotch or fine wine) on the same budget. It's become more about the taste than the buzz. With age comes an increasing slowness in the morning and two glasses of wine at night doesn't seem to help. And I'm not that old yet.

It's been four years since my last cigarette and I still have a strong desire to smoke. Oh well....if I were a deity I'd switch the health effects of broccoli and tobacco.

Other than that I kinda enjoy this healthy feeling stuff.

thrillz3
Feb 5, 2005, 08:51 AM
I'm glad this came up...I've been having the same issue lately, even using an iCurve. I just reduced the processor speed (don't know how it went up to highest), and it's already dropped a few degrees. (Running Konfabulator Temperature Text widget)

vsp
Feb 5, 2005, 10:17 AM
I'm curious about something. In an earlier response Logik suggested putting the energy settings at reduced. thrillz3 just mentioned lowering the processor speed. I've been assuming that these both refer to the Energy Saver preference pane and optimizing the energy settings for Longest Battery Life, or some custom set-up similar to that. Am I correct or is there another setting I should be aware of?

vsp
Feb 5, 2005, 10:15 PM
Today the computer has had the fan on often and it seems the processor/controller bottomside temp was racing up to 140-144 regularly. Within 5 minutes of coming out of sleep it would be nearing 140, with just Safari and Mail running.

Just a few minutes ago I went into Force Quit and relaunched the Finder, as someone suggested. I then watched the temperature steadily drop over 5 minutes down to it's current 130 (just dropped below 130).

Now why would the Finder be hogging so much cpu work and driving the temperature up?

127.8 as I finish this note :)

Whigga Spitta
Feb 7, 2005, 06:14 PM
my fan won't turn off.

all i have running is safari, adium, finder, and temperature controls.

processor bottom side is currently 149.

slooksterPSV
Feb 7, 2005, 10:01 PM
Hmm... I wonder what process Finder is trying to do... what I would do is I would do a Disk Repair and Permissions Repair... also it wouldn't hurt to download OnyX for OS X. Just run a few utilities. It could be a stuck permission or a stuck file that its trying to access, which in sense it would be sending processes like crazy. If you have an iPod, or Firewire/USB 2.0 drive, I would try installing OS X on one of those and starting up the computer from it. Seeing if maybe its something wrong with Finder. What version of OS X do you have? (those are a few ideas you could work on)

vsp
Feb 7, 2005, 10:26 PM
Hmm... I wonder what process Finder is trying to do... what I would do is I would do a Disk Repair and Permissions Repair... also it wouldn't hurt to download OnyX for OS X. Just run a few utilities. It could be a stuck permission or a stuck file that its trying to access, which in sense it would be sending processes like crazy. If you have an iPod, or Firewire/USB 2.0 drive, I would try installing OS X on one of those and starting up the computer from it. Seeing if maybe its something wrong with Finder. What version of OS X do you have? (those are a few ideas you could work on)

I'm running 10.3.7. I use OnyX fairly often to keep my system clean. I repair permissions fairly often also (depends on how much software I've installed/uninstalled recently). I've also run Disk Repair somewhat recently but I'll give that another go.

Not sure what it is that sets it off. Today I did a batch renaming of a bunch of photos and that set it off, but that's the first time I've ever done that. I use to think Firefox was the culprit but I've been reading reports of other people having the same problem without Firefox.

Not sure how I could boot the machine from my iPod. It's a first generation with 4 gigs. Any suggestions on how to do that and what to look for if I can?

This isn't a major problem for me but I would like to know what's going on.

slooksterPSV
Feb 7, 2005, 10:55 PM
If its firewire it'll work perfect:

Press T during startup
Start up in FireWire Target Disk mode


If its anything else try this:

Press Option-Command-Shift-Delete
during startup
Bypass primary startup volume and seek a different startup volume (such as a CD or external disk)
-screen comes with graphic of arrow and restart-looking button. Hopefully your Mac's hard disk should be there too! Start-up discs also show.*


I'm not sure how you would install it to your iPod, but there is a way.

EDIT: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=1220151#post1220151 that is where I got the key commands. I've been ranting over this for months now.

jackieonasses
Feb 7, 2005, 11:01 PM
i have this Go down to the bottom under Laptop coolers (http://vantecusa.com/product-cooling.html#) I got the second one for 10 bucks. It is quiet, and can really push some air.

kyle

Espnetboy3
Feb 7, 2005, 11:08 PM
My house is always very warm in winter particularly my bedroom. Any good website for places to buy a nice cooling system, maybe some external fans or something?

Lacero
Feb 7, 2005, 11:17 PM
I think you have some software issue if your PB fans run loud. It's a sign some app is eating up cpu cycles or is hung. That's the biggest offender when it comes to fan noise.

vsp
Feb 8, 2005, 02:05 PM
OK....latest update.

The Finder has still been grabbing the CPU usage and forcing the fan on.

This morning I was working in GoLive and placing jpeg images into a page. One image needed a bit of work so I closed GoLive and opened Photoshop. Made changes to the image but couldn't save because the file was still in use!!!

Nothing else was open but photoshop. Fan was running---opened and checked Activity Monitor and the Finder was around 89% of CPU. Relaunched the Finder and lo and behold I could now save the image!

So something is certainly up with the finder holding onto something.

I've just tossed finder.plist, run everything needed under Onyx (including all the daily, weekly, and monthly scripts) and did a complete test with TechTools. Everything is reported as OK. All seems to be running fine so far (haven't gone back to building the web site....that should be the true test).

One hitch is that I can't seem to boot to the TechTool CD. As instructed I've been holding down the "c" key during restart but all that happens is I boot to a blue screen. I can run the tests just fine from the harddrive but not repair anything. Any suggestions on booting to the CD that comes with AppleCare Protection Plan?

In another similar thread someone posted that they've noticed lots of powerbook problems possibly related to the recent OS update. If this continues I may just go back to 10.3.6.

Whigga Spitta
Feb 8, 2005, 02:34 PM
VSP, if you haven't already, create a new user and see if Finder is still taking up so much CPU.

I did that and found that the problem was only with my user. I placed all the files on my desktop into a folder (removing all icons from desktop) and then relaunched Finder. VOILA! problem fixed. I read that icons (?) can become corrupted on the desktop so Finder keeps working. Then go through the files and see which one is causing the problem...

good luck.

vsp
Feb 8, 2005, 02:42 PM
VSP, if you haven't already, create a new user and see if Finder is still taking up so much CPU.

I did that and found that the problem was only with my user. I placed all the files on my desktop into a folder (removing all icons from desktop) and then relaunched Finder. VOILA! problem fixed. I read that icons (?) can become corrupted on the desktop so Finder keeps working. Then go through the files and see which one is causing the problem...

good luck.

I'll try this tonight. Curious. Normally I keep my desktop clean but over the last three weeks or so there's been a lot of random things ending up there, including a few programs I'm trying out. Nice if it were this simple. Glad to hear you've solved your problem....

You can also ignore my question in the post you started. This covers it nicely. Thanks for the tip.

slooksterPSV
Feb 8, 2005, 11:52 PM
OK....latest update.

The Finder has still been grabbing the CPU usage and forcing the fan on.

This morning I was working in GoLive and placing jpeg images into a page. One image needed a bit of work so I closed GoLive and opened Photoshop. Made changes to the image but couldn't save because the file was still in use!!!

Nothing else was open but photoshop. Fan was running---opened and checked Activity Monitor and the Finder was around 89% of CPU. Relaunched the Finder and lo and behold I could now save the image!

So something is certainly up with the finder holding onto something.

I've just tossed finder.plist, run everything needed under Onyx (including all the daily, weekly, and monthly scripts) and did a complete test with TechTools. Everything is reported as OK. All seems to be running fine so far (haven't gone back to building the web site....that should be the true test).

One hitch is that I can't seem to boot to the TechTool CD. As instructed I've been holding down the "c" key during restart but all that happens is I boot to a blue screen. I can run the tests just fine from the harddrive but not repair anything. Any suggestions on booting to the CD that comes with AppleCare Protection Plan?

In another similar thread someone posted that they've noticed lots of powerbook problems possibly related to the recent OS update. If this continues I may just go back to 10.3.6.

Have the Tech Tools or Apple CD in the disc drive and go to Startup Disk under Preferences, let it load and show you what drives you can boot from. Choose the CD and click Restart. There you go, it'll boot from the CD w/out having to hold C.

EDIT: Just as a precautionairy, download clamXav - its an anti-virus program. I's only about 7MB to install and you never know when you might have a virus. I'm going to go check and see if Mac's have anti-spyware programs.

EDIT 2: http://macscan.securemac.com/files/MacScanPBCarbon.sit I'm going to try that program, and scan my mac for spyware, I suggest doing the same. - DANG IT They haven't updated it, so no one can download it.

vsp
Feb 9, 2005, 03:46 AM
Latest on the fan issue...

Couldn't replicate the problem under a new account I created. So I took every file on the desktop and put it into a folder, trashed the .plist file, repaired permissions, and then relaunched the Finder. Then restarted.

Everything worked well for a few hours. Then, working in GoLive, trying to place pictures from a specific directory, the fan comes on. I checked Activity Monitor and the Finder was up around 90%.

After checking various things it becomes apparent that any time I try to access this particular folder of images the Finder shoots up immediately and hogs everything it can. Doesn't matter how I try and access it, if the files are displayed the Finder blows its top. The reason this happens in GoLive, I believe, is because it uses a directory listing with an image of the icon displayed, though very small.

If the icons were the problem then it's not just the desktop. It's anywhere. Why these particular jpgs were a problem I don't know. I trashed all the images (I have backups that I can access with out driving the Finder kookoo) and all seems OK.

Now they weren't the initial cause of this thread, since they only existed as of four days ago and the fan issues started weeks back.

Tomorrow I try and recreate the directory of images. I'll see what happens then. For now, the system is clean, behaving well, and is quite zippy.

Still not too thrilled with all this, but if this solves the problem I'll be a happy man.

Thanks for all the feedback and advice.

vsp
Feb 11, 2005, 10:32 AM
Well, it's been about 48 hours since I removed all the icons from the desktop and threw away those photos and the fan has been behaving just fine. Guess it was corrupted icons.

And here I blamed Firefox at first. I feel...ashamed.

Thanks for all the help.