A liquid cooling setup can be a little tedious, even if you’re a tech-savvy user. You could have messed up the cables or other configurations that may lead to unexpected issues. One of these consequences could be your radiator fans not spinning or detecting.
Although connection problems are one of the prime causes, faulty headers and corrupted BIOS could also be responsible. While radiator fans do not run all the time, they should start spinning as soon as the water inside the pump overheats.
As they help optimize your computer’s temperature, you would definitely want it to function without any faults. However, if the radiator fans do not spin even when the PC is overheating, you could try the following solutions:
Check Fans in BIOS
Before moving forward, we first recommend checking whether the radiator fans are detected by your system. If the BIOS fails to detect the fans, you may need to reconnect the cables and headers, or in the worst case, replace the fan. Otherwise, some incorrect configuration or BIOS corruption could have triggered the problem.
Here’s a quick demonstration of how to check whether the fans are detected in the BIOS interface:
- Start your computer and use the dedicated key to get into the BIOS menu. Kindly refer to your motherboard’s user guide to know yours.
- Here, select the Hardware Monitor or similar options.
- Here, if you should the fan details, know there’s no problem with the internal cable connection. So, an incorrect BIOS configuration may be causing the trouble. To solve this, try resetting or updating your BIOS.
- While you’re at it, we also recommend enabling the PWM so that you can check and control the fan speed.
However, this option won’t be available on the motherboards with 3-pin headers. In such a case, you’ll need to tweak the voltage to control its speed.
- Sometimes, the fans may be spinning at low RPMs which might make you think that they are not spinning. Once you’ve enabled PWM, try increasing the fan speed to see if this does the trick.
Ensure Appropriate Connection
A loose connection on the mainboard is one of the most common cause for a faulty radiator fans. To confirm everything is fine, kindly open the PC chassis and examine all the configurations. Ensure that every internal cable is tightly connected.
When talking about cooling systems, you need to know that they come with multiple parts. For example, setting up an AIO (All-In-One) cooler will get you a pump, radiator, and fans. So, you’ll need to ensure that each of the connections is done appropriately.
The configuration varies based on the type of cooling system you’ve installed. For most AIO coolers, it’s recommended to connect the pump cable to the AIO_PUMP header on your motherboard. Next, attach one fan cable to the CPU_ FAN while the others can be connected to the auxiliary headers (labeled AUX_FAN).
In case your motherboard is lacking headers for multiple radiator fans, it’s best to get a Fan Hub. If you’re already using one, kindly ensure that the connectors are not mismatched. In most models, you’ll likely find labels to help differentiate RGB cables from the fan connectors.
When using Fan Hubs, you do not need to consider connecting the cable to the dedicated CPU_FAN header. Using any other fan headers, including the SYS_FAN, should make it spin without any issues.
Note: If your motherboard or HUB has 4-pin headers but the radiator fan connectors have a 3-pin configuration, you can still make a connection. However, if there’s a 3-pin header, you’ll need to upgrade your motherboard/HUB or get a new fan (having a 3-pin configuration).
Examine Damaged Components
If you hadn’t transported your PC safely or made unnecessary changes to the rig, some components may have been damaged. In case the fan header pins are bent or broken, you may experience power issues even when the connection seems secure.
Also, note that the fan headers have a locking mechanism. If the component is damaged, you’ll likely end up with frequent loose connections. In any of such situations, the best solution is to connect the cable to a different header.
Apart from the motherboard, faulty cables could also be a major problem. The radiator or any other fans can either have a 3-pin or a 4-pin connector. Each wire has a distinct functionality.
Although it’s essential that all the wires work fine, you need to mainly ensure that the red (for power) and black (for ground) have no defects. These are the ones responsible to power the radiator fans, and issues here will likely cause them to stop spinning. Likewise, if the yellow cable doesn’t function, your BIOS may not detect the fan speed.
While fixing the cables is possible, you require exceptional soldering skills. But this won’t be a problem if you take your radiator fan to the nearest hardware shop.
Clean the Fans
A clogged fan is never a good sign. If you haven’t cleaned the radiators, issues aren’t just limited to spinning. This may block the airflow from the water coolers and cause overheating problems.
If you find dust and debris stuck between the blades, know that it’s time to brush them off. In fact, we recommend doing this weekly. Go through the below steps on how to properly clean the fans:
- First of all, shut down your computer and also remove the power connection. We also recommend pressing the power button for at least ten seconds to discharge the capacitors.
- Next, take a screwdriver of an appropriate bit size and untighten the screws to open the PC chassis.
- Locate the radiator fans and remove all the cable connections.
- Now, untighten the screws and carefully take off the radiator fan.
- Place it on a clean table or an anti-static mat.
- If the fans are clogged, dip a microfiber cloth in 70% isopropyl alcohol and clean them well.
- Also, you can use compressed air to blow off the dust. While you’re at it, do not blow continuously. Instead, use quick bursts and prevent it from spinning rapidly.
- Once done, reattach the radiator fan as before and secure the screws.
- Now, close the chassis, turn on the system, and see if the fans start to spin.
Reset or Update BIOS
Any incorrect fan configuration in BIOS may cause issues with the radiator fans. If you do not remember the default settings, try resetting the BIOS. Here are the necessary instructions you need to follow on an MSI motherboard:
- First, get into the MSI BIOS using the Del key.
- Then, navigate to Settings > Save & Exit.
- Next, choose Restore Defaults.
- Then, hit the Yes button to confirm resetting your BIOS.
If resetting didn’t help, you can try updating the BIOS to fix potential bugs that might be troubling your radiator fans. Below is a simple guide that should help you do this on an MSI motherboard. These steps should be similar to other brands as well:
- Press Windows + R and execute the
msinfo32command to launch the System Information utility.
- From System Summary, check the BIOS Version/Date.
- Navigate to your manufacturer’s website, and search for your motherboard model.
- Then, download the latest update available. If the date matches the latest version, you do not require a BIOS update.
- Next, insert a flash drive having at least 8 GB capacity.
- Format the drive in the FAT32 file system.
- Now, extract the zip file and load them to your flash drive.
- Remove the drive, restart your computer, and get into the BIOS interface.
- Reinsert the flash drive and select M-Flash.
- In the confirmation prompt, hit the Yes button to enter flash mode.
- Then, select the update file and press Yes again.
- Wait until the update is complete, and restart your PC.
Caution: Power interruption during BIOS updates can lead to fatal errors. Avoid shutting down the PC or cutting off the power connection.
Replace the Fans
If none of the solutions helped, the final option is to replace your fan or related components. You can simply replace the Fan Hub or the motor if found faulty. Likewise, you may opt for a new motherboard if the headers are incompatible or broken.