(Pi 4) Fan Shim suddenly stopped working

If you do buy another Fan Shim, you could try plugging your current Fan into the new board. That will tell you if the fan died, or the board failed. I wouldn’t chuck the fan in the bin just yet.
Another option is to cut the JST connector off, strip the end of the wires bare, and apply 5V to the red wire, ground to the black. If the fan spins its still good and usable.

This will work too for reusing the fan.

For anyone who finds this in the future; the replacement also failed after a few weeks, and it turns out the fans used are not designed to be in a vertically-mounted position for prolonged periods of time, as they will fail to self-lubricate correctly and die.

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Thanks for the heads up. I’ll make sure it’s kept horizontal. I’ve been running mine on Libreelec with a spread threshold 40c-66c on constantly for 2 weeks but the fan only runs intermittently, all working fine, even vertically, but why take the chance? Will Pimoroni replace it under warranty? Running a pi vertically doesn’t seem like misuse to me.

Well if the fan is not designed for that orientation then yes is misuse of the fan. Pimoroni should add a warning to the product page though.

Most fans have at least one orientation they don’t like, although they do normally work vertically.

They are vertically mounted in a PC, case and CPU fan. Horizontal in a laptop though. As far as I know I have never had a fan fail because of its installed orientation. I’m not disputing that it may happen, just hasn’t happened to me. Mine have failed because they just wore out over extended use. Usually the bearing dry out / wear out and it gets noisy.

Have to disagree with you. (and I’m not saying that it is sure they’re failing due to vertical mounting) I disagree it would be considered misuse to mount a Rpi vertically and by virtue the fanshim. In the absence of clear instruction as to orientation, and the abundance of vesa mounts and cases for the Rpi, the man on the Clapham omnibus could not be expected to know that a design flaw prevented use vertically. From a consumer rights perspective it could easily be argued that the fanshim was not fit for purpose. The “warning” you suggest could not be retrospective.

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A normal fan will fail if you mount it with the rotor pointing down. It soon gets noisy and eventually the rotor can fall out. Some cheap Chinese 24V power supplies have that problem.

I agree there should be a warning but presumably the only way to fix it is use a different fan, which may or may not exist in that strange form factor.

I’ll bet that fan is not manufactured specifically for the fan shim but is a generic fan with 2 mounts that the PCB was built around. I have looked previously and couldn’t find a similar fan with the 2 mount points. Though my search was only limited to about 10 mins or so. I was pleased with the shim but concerned that as it was running 24/7 on Libreelec I wanted a backup fan ready in case of failure rather than having to replace the whole unit.

Search for graphics card fans and you may find similar fans with just the two mounting points. Those fans are a lot smaller than the CPU etc fans.

Thanks, good idea , but I now it’s working properly in Libreelec I am not as concerned so as to have a spare fan in hand. The fan should have a better lifespan than running it 24/7, I’ll keep it horizontal though, just in case.

Or plug jumpers into the jst

My Fan Shim has also stopped working. It does occasionally pulse, like its trying to get going but perhaps hits dead spots on the windings?
My unit has always been horizontal since fitment.

I would guess that its just not designed to run 24/7?

What fan specs should i look for if not replacing it with another fan shim from Pimoroni? I could just replace the fan on the shim.

Should have added, whats the warranty procedure for one of these?

There is a link on the Shop page to here
https://shop.pimoroni.com/pages/refund-policy

I’d go here first though an e-mail them and see what they say.
https://shop.pimoroni.com/pages/contact-us

The Fanshim fan has Known lubrication problems. if pimoroni won’t replace it it may be worth trying to oil it before buying another.

Hi everyone,
seems this item is really effective to contrast the heat, is well engineered but it’s poorly built, unfortunately.
I contacted the Pimoroni team and they offered to replace it. As I’m living abroad, a refund was a more logic and less expensive solution, so they gave me back my money.
+1 to the service, -1 to the fan-shim.
I would suggest to find a different solution to keep the RPI cool.
Personally I went for a different case (one that has a good ventilation design), a BIG heatsink and a Noctua fan, 40x10 mm on top of it.

They have a Hat in the works, prototype stage, that looks to have a much better quality fan on it. Might even be a slightly bigger fan. There is a picture of it on their Twitter account. Link at top of page to that account. If anybody is interested in a look see.

My fan shim is working fine, its not on 24/7 though. A couple of hours a day maybe. My fan does run continuous when its on though. I set it up that way. Just my personal preference, I didn’t see the point of on, off, on, off…

I think you may have just caught a duff one? The forum is bound to have more users with problems than people praising it, so it may seem like they have design problems. My fanshim has been great, although quite new it has worked without issue, once I could use it with LibreElec, it is still very quiet, it is on 24/7 but it is used sparingly , with software infrequently setting temperature thresholds on and off. So I can’t speculate as to the fans lifespan running continuously.

@NotAfan: well, it could be, yes. My comments are based on my experience and the few ones (compared to the whole amount of sold items) of the people that I may read on the forum that, being a “problem handling environment”, obviously have a massive number of evident issues.
It’s interesting to notice, anyway, that these issues are all related to the fan being noisy. This could indicate a weak spot to work on for improving the quality of the device, IMMO.

Yeah, you will get negative feedback more often than not on a tech forum. Its where you go when you have issues. The positive comments are usually in the reviews on the product page.
It could be that they got a bad batch of fans from the supplier? Made on a Friday or Monday maybe? Those in production will get that. ;)