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Friday, October 29, 2010

How to Fix your Laptop Fan Grinding.

You are in the middle of lecture hall in college, its all silent and you are on your laptop surfing facebook, checking your tweets, and maybe doing homework. Then all of a sudden your laptop starts making this horrible, loud grinding noise and everyone turns and looks at you. Embarrassing huh?

Not only does it become annoying, depending on what is causing the grinding, it could damage your laptop.
In order to fix it,and preferably yourself, you are going to have to dissemble it, but it will be way cheaper to do it this way.

Disclaimer: Opening up your laptop may void warranty depending on the model, especially older laptops. Don't attempt unless you know what you are doing and know for sure that opening the laptop won't void warranty or if the warranty has long been expired. I am not responsible if you damage your laptop in anyway while attempting this repair.
Also, be familiar of anti-static procedures to ensure you don't accidentally damage a vital part of the computer.

In this tutorial, I will be opening up my Sony Vaio CS (Model: VGN-CS250J). You may have to do something different and the components won't exactly be the same but the same process will be done more or less.
My Sony Vaio CS that will undergo surgery.

Depending on the problem your tools will vary, but you need a Screwdriver and a bag to hold the screws.
If you are doing a fan replacement you need the following:
  1. Screw Driver
  2. Replacement Fan / Replacement Heatsink + Fan
  3. Toothpicks
  4. Alcohol (90-100%)
  5. Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Paste Grease (On the Right)
If you are oiling up the fan (as shown) you just need the following:
  1. Screw Driver
  2. All purpose machine oil (On the Right)
    NO WD-40!!
  3. Toothpicks
  4. Alcohol (90-100%)
  5. Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Paste Grease 
(3 to 5 are optional since its not being replace but doesn't hurt to do it)

Step 1: On most older computers, before you begin to disassemble the computer, we have to remove the battery unit, the Hard Drive, and just the cover that encases the RAM.

 Once they are removed we can continue.

RAM Cover, Hard Drive Cover, and Battery Unit Removed

Sony Vaio's have this little thing right there for its LED Light.
Unplug it.   

This screw keeps the hard drive in place.

And we should be somewhere around here.

Step 2: Now for the actual disassembly. On this particular laptop, there are 21 screws including the 1 from the RAM case, the 2 from the hard drive case, and the screw that maintains the hard drive. All the screws that remain are the same except for 3. The two on the back corners next to the battery, and this little one here. This is a small one and doesn't fit anywhere else. DON'T LOSE IT.

Bottom Removed

Step 3: After disassembly we should be looking at the motherboard of the computer. Don't get touchy feeley with it or your static electricity might fry it. Our focus is on the heatsink here.

Removal is very simple. Unscrew the 4 screws over the CPU as shown.
Also be sure to disconnect the wire coming out of the fan near the ram or else it will rip (and if you were intending on fixing the fan you just earned yourself a fan replacement for your heatsink or hope you are good with wires).

PROFIT? Not so fast! We're not done yet.

Before we continue, check your fan. Physical damage? Melted somewhere? Fan chipped? Something that doesn't look right physically that causes a grind? Then you have to replace the entire heatsink. Look up the model number of the heatsink and order it from the internet. Already have one? Awesome! Skip to Step 5 now.

But what if it looks fine? Blow into the fan until the fan goes fast enough. Hear the grinding? Your fan needs some oil or maybe a little cleaning (doubt it but always check). Get your machine oil and lets jump into Step 4a). And I hope that oil isn't WD-40 because I said don't use it. It isn't effective.

Step 4: a) Time to pop the fan off the heatsink. On this model, you have to unscrew the 4 corners. Then once you are opening it up, its gonna be a little hard to open because of the tape on the fan exhaust but you should be able to easily take the fan bit off.

b) Here it is. This part can easily be removed by hand if done gently, or you can use a flat head screw drive to pop it off. If you need to clean it now do so.

Fan piece popped out

Now its time to bring out the machine oil. Follow the directions of usage in the captions.

Pour 1 to 2 drops of machine oil in the hole
smear a drop of oil on the magnetic insert

Place fan in, hear it magnetically stick... Success!!

Alright! We are almost there. It's now time to put everything back together. Skip over to Step 6)

 Step 5: a) Use a tooth pick to remove either the sticky film or old thermal paste of the new heatsink. Thermal Paste might be on the heatsink because it came from another computer that may have been damaged or totaled and ironically that survived. Then with a cotton moth ball and alcohol clean the section.

b) Remove the blue sticky film off the old heatsink and place them in their respective location on the new heatsink.

Awesome! Your heatsink replacement is now ready! Lets jump over to step 6.

 Step 6: Use cotton and clean the CPU with alcohol until the old thermal paste is cleaned off. Make sure you are gentle when cleaning it.

Step 7: Apply a generous, and I mean generous, amount of thermal paste onto the now cleaned CPU on the metallic part that was just cleaned off. Then use a toothpick to smear it around in the gently in the small area. Try not to make a mess and make sure it doesn't go anywhere else on the computer.

Step 8: Install the fan back into the computer, screw it back in. And remember to plug the fan in before closing it back up!!

Step 9: Screw everything back in! With this laptop, make sure you snap the bottom piece in good with the monitor hinge. When you see its secure and its not wiggling around and it clicked in, you know its all good!

Success!! Your laptop should now be in working order.

Now we have Profit.
Hope you enjoy this informative guide. Now you possess what you need in the case your fan starts busting up.

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