Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cleaning your laptop fan

The other week I decided to open up my missus’ old Vaio laptop as it was having problems with some keys not typing and using pressurized air didn’t seem to do anything. 20 or so screws later, having to take the keyboard out, the keyboard cable, the touch-pad cable, some of frame, anyways a lot of work, I could see the fan at the back and said hey, I should have a look at that as well as I noticed it was struggling lately.

I thought at first that it wasn’t able to cope with today’s Flash applications and things like Yahoo Messenger and so forth – it’s an old 1.2 GHz Pentium M Mobile CPU – but man you should’ve seen the crap it collected in there over the years; dust burned to a black char got stuck in the radiator and the fan was struggling to push the air out without much success. I should’ve taken a few pictures, but it didn’t seem like something anyone would do, I said ok it had its years, it only happens to old laptops...

And I couldn’t be more wrong, cause the next day I said, ok how about my 2 years old Dell Vostro? Luckily Dell Vostro has a much better design where you can access the memory, fan and the CPU under this panel held by a couple of screws. Below you can see a couple shots with the crap in the radiator and fan blades.

To clean up, I use pressurized air and an old toothbrush for radiators, then for the fan blades cotton swabs with medicinal spirit, slowly going through the blades holding the fan so it doesn't rotate to make it easier - it’s not like I do it every day and 5 minutes later you’re done anyways.

It made quite a bit of difference to the old laptop, the fan doesn’t go on high as often and the one on my Vostro barely kicks in every now and then. For some reason I thought before blowing air (pressurized or human powered) through the vents was enough to get the stuff out of the fan, now I think I will do the real thing again every couple of years.

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