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Static/popping in my speakers

By MSmith506 ·
I have a Dell Dimension 4700 running XP home. I have a sound blaster Audigy 2 ZS card. Any time the computer is running (any application or nothing at all) there are annoying pops/clicks in the speakers. When the computer is off there is no noise so I am pretty sure that the computer is generating the clicks. I haven't installed any new hardware, but I have loaded some new drivers.

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Several things

by Dumphrey In reply to Static/popping in my spea ...

You can try:
1) Check the cable from the DVD to the sound card, a cheep cable will act like an antenna and pick up and broadcast electrical interference as noise.
2) Reseat the sound card in its PCI/PCX slot. A poorly seated card can create interference.
3) Try uninstalling all drivers and reinstalling them from a fresh download.
4) Try different speakers.
5) Try a different soundcard in same slot.
6) Try plugging the computer and speakers into different power outlets to eliminate ground loop and or emi from the house current.

If you can isolate if the sound is in the card or the computer or speakers, then the repair will be obvious.

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by intreverend In reply to Static/popping in my spea ...

I had an identical problem with an identical system. After a little investigation on various discussion boards, I learned that the Dell 4700 Dimension had installed several cooling fans backwards on their cooling units. I fixed fan, and my problem was solved.

The reason this happens (I think) is that the cooling fan is not able to effectively cool the system, so greater amounts of power are pulled into your system to increase cooling efficiency. Naturally, since the increase in power does not result in a decrease in temperature, thermo-electric phenomena that I do not understand cause excess static in your system that is manifested in your speakers.

I have provided a detailed outline below concerning how to solve this problem for the benefit of novice do-it-your-selfers. If you are not a novice, the solution is this: remove the cooling fan and turn it around.

If you need more help than that, read on:


1) There are two fans on the Dimension 4700. The top fan cools the power unit. The bottom fan cools the processor. Take a small, light-weight piece of paper, like a Kleenex, and place it on the vent at the rear of the Dell box. If the Kleenex is pulled toward the box, in other words, if air is being sucked INTO the the unit, then the fan is installed backwards. In my case, the fan on the power unit was installed correctly, so I will presume the error on most fans is on the processing fan (the bottom one). If the processing fan on your unit is pulling air into your unit, then proceed to step 2.

2) Unplug everything from the Dimension box.

3) Remove side-panel by pushing on black, L-shaped lever on rear and sliding side-panel backwards.

4) When the side-panel is removed, you will see a large green plastic cover. This cover is hinged and will lift off the colling tower of your processor. Remove this cover.

5) When the cover is removed, you will see a large metal cooling unit. The fins on this unit are easily bendable, so be careful. It won't be the end of the world if you bend them a little out of shape, but try to be delicate, as these fins are what help keep your processor cool, and bending many of them will impede this process.

6) At the base of the cooling unit there are two plastic, green pins. Remove each one by squeezing it.

7) When the green pins are removed, a black seat with a lever on it will be exposed on each side. Gently push downward on one of these levers, and tilt the cooling tower backwards in the opposite direction. Doing this, the cooling unit will remove easily. Set this aside.

With these parts removed, you will have easy access to the black electrical fan that is attached to the rear of your Dimension box. Unplug the electrical wire from the motherboard by pinching it together at the base. Remove the fan from the Dimension box by sliding it backwards.

9) With all these components removed, use a something to **** the dust out of them. Many people advise using a can of compressed air that you can buy at Wal-Mart. I used my leaf blower. Whatever you use, make sure the air coming out of the blowing apparatus is clean. I wouldn't, for example, use a shop vac blower in reverse unless I was sure that the canister and filter were clean. However, I would not hesitate to use a brand new, or even even cleaned shop vac. Make sure all of the components are as free from dust as possible. You can even use a soft brush to sweep out the ribs of the cooling tower. Thoroughly **** out the inside of your Dimension box as well.

10) The black fan is actually two separate units. Unit #1 is the electrical fan itself. Unit #2 is a plastic housing that secures the fan to the Dimension box. These units are fastened together by four rubber pins. Gently separate these two units by coaxing the electrical fan from the black casing. Try not to pull so hard that you break any of the four rubber pins. If you do happen to break one (or maybe even two), you might be able to get by by using only the remaining 2 or 3, but I would be more comfortable using all 4. So be careful.

11) Once you have the fan assembly separated, simply turn the fan around so that it blows in the opposite direction, and refasten it using the rubber pins. You may have to move the pins into different holes in this step. Just make sure that the fan blows in the direction of the plastic casing that will fasten to your Dimension box.

12) When the fan is put back together, simply replace the fan on the box, and plug it into the motherboard. Replace the cooling tower by snapping it back into the black seating clip, and return the green clips to their places. Recover the entire unit with the large green, plastic cover, and replace the side panel.

13) With everything back in place, you will be ready to go. Plug everything back in (power cord last), and turn on your PC. I virtually guarantee this will solve your problem if you have a problem with static and popping sounds from a Dell Dimension 4700, especially if the fan is blowing the wrong direction. It is a possibility this is also your problem if you have a different system in which a cooling fan is blowing into your system rather than out of it.

Good luck.

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by jdryner In reply to Solution

I didn't think that Dell was THAT jacked-up! Your solution looks promising (I currently own an upgraded Dimension 4700), and I look forward to implementing it on my computer later today. Wish me luck!


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Reversing the fan...

by jdryner In reply to Wow!

This worked on my computer, and now, aside from when I put my cell phone too close to the speakers, I don't have sound issues.

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Reverse the Fan. Awesome. Thank you.

by dlr7272 In reply to Solution

I'm no computer guy (that's one reason I became an attorney) but following the 13 steps was easy and it solved my speaker problem. Thank you so much (from my 7-year old and me).

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One more question??

by icecold240 In reply to Solution

I had the same problem but didnt think much of it. All of a sudden the sound just stopped working while watching a movie. My fan does **** in the opposite direction. I bought a new sound card but still no sound. Do you have any solutions??

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Thanks for the question

by CaptBilly1Eye In reply to One more question??


You will probably get a better response by creating a New Question in the Questions Forum rather than by replying to this thread that is over a year old.

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Could check..

That your mobile phone is not too close to your computer.

Please post back if you have anymore problems or questions.

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Did this Work

by James.Danielson In reply to Could check..

I have the same computer and the same problem? It is not a speaker or grounding problem. I have definitely ruled these problems out. It has to be something with the sound card or the wiring in the computer as someone else stated.

Did you ever find a solution?

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Have you check your fan orientation yet ? ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Did this Work

As detailed in the post of 01/26/2008.

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