Question about Dell Dimension 4600C PC Desktop
The alert is caused by a loose chipset heat sink.
Dell has a self test that prevents further damage by halting the system and displaying the message Alert! Chipset heat sink not detected. System Halted.
The solder joint seems to fail from constant tension and heat.
If you find the missing clip inside the computer you can solder it back in place and reattach the chipset heat sink wire hook.
If you can't find the clip you can replace it by bending a thin piece of wire in a half circle.
You can see a picture of where the clip goes on your computer motherboard by following the link below.
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Posted on Sep 05, 2011
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
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