Left fan on raspberry Pi 4 case is dying

The last couple of days the left fan has been dying and making an awful noise, I have had the case and the Pi for less then a year. When contacting little bird about the issue i was directed to here. Here is the video with audio of the fan dying

Bearing failure. It could be a one-off, or it could be exceeded lifetime. Bearing lifetime is usually specified by a fan manufacturer, and the integrator can choose which price level they’d like to pay. If the product (the thing you bought, not the fan that it includes) isn’t specified for lifetime, then the people who chose the fan for the product can choose the shortest lifetime specified. I’ve seen fans with lifetimes under a year; used in products that turn the fan on infrequently.

Bearing failure will also occur sooner if there is any dust, or suspended chemicals in the air, or if the fan is run at a higher than specified voltage.

I don’t speak for Little Bird, but they could choose to replace, refund, or repair, depending on what’s wrong. To guide them in this they may also talk to the people they got the product form. Repair seems unlikely given the noise.

Hi elderwolf123,

Thanks for providing us with the information and video. We can send a replacement out to you. :slight_smile:


thanks, a replacement would be awsome as I have the pi running 24/7 as a pi-hole and without the fan it starts to heat up quickly

No problem at all. I have confirmed with our shipping team and your replacement case has been shipped out. You will have received a shipping confirmation email with tracking number :slight_smile:

Got replacement fan yesterday, installed it and no issue but this morning the right fan started to whine (bearing issue), here is a video and i also show the old fans as proof that they are the new ones

A different sound. That doesn’t sound like a bearing issue. The fan speed does not change. It sounds more like what happens when the Raspberry Pi power supply pins have voltage variations caused by processing steps made by the application program or kernel on the operating system. I’ve seen that with my own Raspberry Pi projects. Does the noise correlate to the application cycles or activity of one of the USB peripherals? Does the noise occur if the fans are run from an external regulated power supply? Are you using the correct 5V 15W power supply? Is the cable coiled in a circle or folded? Also, nearby oscillating magnetic fields from other equipment can cause this kind of noise, if the fields are strong enough to interact with the motor’s own fields. Check that none of the screws are loose.

All is fine, no power fluxuations, nothing to interfere, not peripherals. Using offical power supply, all the pi is doing is running pi-hole 24/7 so the load wouldnt change at all

Load would change based on network transactions through the pi-hole. Anyway, I’ve had another listen, and the fan bearings sound fine. I’ll leave it to Little Bird to give their opinion. My instinct is that the power supply has officially become noisy, and the fans are expressing that noise.

well if so its weird as its never happend before even with the old fan

I’m not surprised. I see inconsistent results like this all the time with fans. I’ve about 45 to maintain. :grin: This particular size of fan is a challenge to design correctly in factory.

  • small motor volume; not much space to put electronic commutator,
  • small blade area makes overspeed a risk,
  • small distance between screw-down holes makes any cross-frame forces large.

In one of my fans of about this size, I removed all but one of the screws to fix noise, and used a thread of kapton tape to keep the opposite corner in position. This is not at all a recommended method of supporting the fan frame, but I figure it will give me a few more months or years before I have to replace it.