Question about Dell Dimension 4600C PC Desktop
I get an error message when I turn on my computer:
"Alert chipset heat sink not detected system halted"
How can I fix this?
This is a relatively common problem in the Dimension 4600c. The small, fan-less heatsink for the Northbridge chip (a memory/video-to-cpu communications chip) is held down by a spring, which is anchored by two small wire loops soldered to the motherboard at locations marked "HS2". The spring completes an electrical circuit between the two wire loops. The spring puts a substantial force on the minscule bit of solder holding the loops to the motherboard, and was a poor design.
If a loop breaks off, the circuit is broken, which tells the BIOS that the heatsink fell off. To fix this, you need to 1) secure the heatsink to the chip, and 2) reconnect the circuit between the two "HS2" locations on the motherboard. I have sucessfully used this solution. This solution will not necessarly stand up to a lot of abuse if the Dimension's enclosure is frequently opened and closed to replace other components such as RAM and hard disks.
0) unplug the computer.
1a) Recover the heatsink, spring, and loose wire loop. Discard the spring. Get:
- a fresh tube of thermal paste from Radio Shack or other electronics supply store,
- some epoxy,
- a round toothpick,
- about six inches of insulated 14 to 20 gauge solid copper wire,
- electrical solder, flux, and a soldering iron,
- and a box of cotton swabs.
1b) Using pure alcohol and lots of cotton swabs, clean *all* of the existing thermal paste off of the Northbridge chip and the bottom of the heatsink. When both are dry, apply a dab of paste to the center of the Northbridge chip. Use a round toothpick like a kitchen roller to spread the paste evenly across the small raised center square of the chip.
1c) Apply small daps of mixed epoxy just outside of the four corners of the raised center of the Northbridge chip. Place the heatsink onto the Northbridge chip, centering and squaring it as best you can. Press firmly to make good contact with the thermal paste. Allow epoxy to dry.
2a) Firmly seat one or both detached wire loops into their mounting holes at the "HS2" locations. While pressing down on the loop, apply a small dab of epoxy to one end of the loop to secure it to the motherboard. Allow epoxy to dry.
2b) Strip the ends of the copper wire, and bend the wire so that it can reach around (rather than over) the heatsink to the two wire loops. Solder the ends of the wire to each loop. Knowing how to solder is an exercise left to the reader. "Use head main ting": don't drip solder onto the motherboard.
You can now plug in the computer and restart. The BIOS and/or OS may have saved the error state and return a different message about the heatsink issue. You may need to reboot a couple of times to allow the BIOS to notice that the "HS2" circuit is (hopefully) now complete. When you've sucessfully booted the machine, shut it down and gently close the Dimension's enclosure.
Posted on Oct 21, 2008
Fixed a pc when heatsink fell off when a spring broke off ,was laying inside the computer.
Clean with a little rubbing alcohol to remove any dirt or thermal paste, Get some thermal TAPE and carefully put one square on, and stick in back on. The tape is VERY thin so be careful. but works very well to hold the heatsink on the board so the chips don't overheat.
Posted on May 29, 2008
Have you moved your computer lately? It sounds like your heat sink has failed or come loose. This is what keeps the processor from over heating. You will have to take a look inside the computer to see if maybe the hold down spring popped or something.
Posted on May 21, 2008
Check/secure motherboard CPU heatsink clip.
Posted on May 21, 2008
I had the same problem; wire loop to hold end of heatsink retaining wire had come unsoldered, started getting the same alert message on my Dell 4600c.
Shook the case a bit to deposit the loop on the floor, then resoldered it to the motherboard. To avoid removing the motherboard, the plastic was removed from the loop to facilitate soldering the thing back from the face-up side, at the right height to get the same spring tension on the heatsink.
Posted on Apr 16, 2009
Far less complicated route, especially if you lose the U Pin:
Just take a bread tie, paper sleeve removed, and thread it through the holes in the motherboard (like threading a needle) then twisting the ends together to make a loop on the chip-side. Take the spring-loaded heatsink and hook the tension arm into the bread-tie loop. Circuit is now complete again, all fixed. No soldering, no money spent, no epoxy, nothing complicated.
Posted on Nov 10, 2013
Can you test the continuity of the clip with an ohm meter?
Posted on May 30, 2013
What is heat sink
Posted on Feb 21, 2013
I lost the wire loop to hold down the heat chip what else can I use to replace the wire loop ?
Posted on Nov 10, 2009
Sounds like your heatsink which is inside the computer and sits on top of the CPU is bad. There will probably be a fan that sits on top of the heatsink.
Look on ebay and purchase one for your system.
I found a new one below on ebay for $14.95 (the link is below)
Posted on May 12, 2012
a 6ya expert can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repairmen in the US.
the service is completely free and covers almost anything you can think of (from cars to computers, handyman, and even drones).
click here to download the app (for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.
Posted on Jan 02, 2017
Tips for a great answer:
Jul 27, 2014 | Computers & Internet
May 12, 2012 | Dell XPS Computers & Internet
Sep 05, 2011 | Dell Dimension 4600C PC Desktop
Jul 11, 2011 | Dell Optiplex GX280 (99301) Motherboard
Jan 07, 2011 | Dell Dimension 3100 PC Desktop
Jul 10, 2009 | Dell Dimension 4600C PC Desktop
Jun 29, 2008 | Computers & Internet
27,847 people viewed this question
Usually answered in minutes!