Cleaning/replacing a laptop fan
Thread poster: veratek

Local time: 15:17
French to English
+ ...
Dec 12, 2010

Hello, I just wanted to share a recent experience with my laptop's fan. My Acer laptop is about a year and half old, so reasonably young as far as laptops go. Several months ago, after using the computer on my lap at times, it overheated (boiling hot) and shut down. Given that it was the first time this happened while I was using a laptop, I, at first, didn't realize that it could seriously damage the computer. Not being too interested in hardware, I came to realize then that all the fan vents were under the computer for this model. When the computer was on my lap or over a blanket, the fan vents would get easily blocked. After this happened a few times (I do not remember how many), the computer started to overheat much more quickly, even when it was just sitting on my desk. I continued using it, and it just got worse. The fan became increasingly noisier, until it sounded like it had serious chronic asthma. I started constantly backing up everything in case of a sudden death.

I was certainly upset at the thought of spending money on a new laptop, which I definitely was not in the mood for. (Or paying almost the same original purchase price to get it repaired). As I was preparing to bury my current laptop, a friend asked me why I didn't just buy a new fan and replace it myself.

My greatest hardware fixing experience in my life had been changing a memory, which I have to say, went well. It's the scariest thing when you have to do it alone. The tutorials scream that if you touch the computer with a little bit of accumulated static, the computer will explode, bringing down the house in the process. Not the most reassuring.

So, I went on the Internet and looked up tutorials on how to change a fan. I have to say it didn't seem like rocket science. I also found a seller for my kind of fan. Then I luckily saw a tutorial showing how to clean a fan. I decided to open up the computer and take a look at the fan to see if it matched the seller's picture. I took off the bottom cover, touching metal every 2 seconds to avoid the computer exploding in my face, feeling like a WWII bomb disposal expert.

The fan was filthy black with dust and guck and what have you. The internal vent that leads to the fan had been completely clogged with the same black guck. I beautifully cleaned everything. Having assumed that the fan was at least quite damaged, along with possibly other hardware, I said to myself that at least it would be clean now.

I closed the cover and waited the long, nerve-wrecking seconds until the computer booted up again. First thing that startled me: the loud heaving of the fan was completely gone. I could hardly hear the computer. I had forgotten what that felt like. I let the computer on for hours and it was as cool as a snowflake.

It's been working perfectly ever since. If there has been any damage, I can't tell.

I just wanted to share my happy-end experience. I'm not suggesting people should just open up their computers for any and all kinds of problems. However, there's no need to be afraid of small jobs, even if you are completely unexperienced with computer hardware repair. At least take a look at the video tutorials on the Net and see the task that you're up to. You might be surprised.

[Edited at 2010-12-13 07:22 GMT]


Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:17
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Thanks Veratek Dec 13, 2010

This is useful and encouraging information for people like you and me who are frightened of seeing their laptop in pieces.


Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:17
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Fan trouble signal Dec 13, 2010

My desktop cries silently to indicate full functions of fans. When it stops crying, I will replace fans before I completely destroy my CPU, display cards etc. In fact, my desktop failed due to motherboard disorder before fan replacement timing (are they very durable fans?).

Soonthon Lupkitaro


QUOI  Identity Verified

Chinese to English
+ ...
Options Dec 13, 2010

With electronic appliances which are indispensable to my day-to-day work I usually purchase extended cover on top of the statutory warranty.

And a can of compressed air from your local electronic store usually does wonders for a dirty fan and other tight spots. Look where you blow though.

[Edited at 2010-12-13 09:37 GMT]


David Wright  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:17
German to English
+ ...
And the moral of the story is Dec 13, 2010

a laptop is not meant to be put on your lap!


Vitals  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:17
Member (2008)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
I didn't dare...though Dec 13, 2010

This may sound discouraging, but I didn't dare to pull my previous Toshiba laptop apart to replace the fan, I asked a specialist to do that.


Local time: 15:17
French to English
+ ...
tricked by the name Dec 13, 2010

And the moral of the story is a laptop is not meant to be put on your lap!


Indeed, I think you are right about many models. Even though, as you can see, I'm no laptop expert, I remember seeing some models where the air vents are distributed also to the side (or back?), and the computer will be safe from overheating no matter where you set your computer. A more practical and intelligent design, I would say.

I also wondered about air quality. Although I'm not in an extremely polluted city, I'm sure once the dust starts sticking to the internal parts, if there is a reasonable amount of dust in the air, it can accumulate more quickly.

Maybe I can find an American lawyer somewhere to sue every such hardware company that has advertised a similar model as a "laptop"? Where are those lawyers when you need them?

It would be funny to read on the packaging: you have bought a laptop. Any use of this computer on your lap could cause extreme damage to same and it will never be covered by the warranty. Don't say we didn't warn you. We just thought the name "laptop" sounded cool.icon_wink.gif  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:17
English to Arabic
+ ...
Thank you Dec 13, 2010

Thank you veratek,

I have the same issue here with my Dell laptop. Inshallah I'll try to go through fan cleaning as advised as see what will happen.

Kind regards


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