zaterdag 12 maart 2011

Quiet down a Noisy Fan (Sony VAIO VPCEB1S1E model PCG-71211M) (OS independent)

This post will tell you how to solve a noisy fan problem. My notebook ran hot very quickly resulting in a fan that is going crazy. (This post won't be about ubuntu nor android but the solution worked so well that I thought I should share it anyway.)

First it is interesting to think about any possible reasons your PC is running hot. If you are doing very intensive tasks it might be normal that it's hot. But if your notebook or PC runs hot when doing normal stuff (e.g. searching in a large PDF document) then there might be a problem with the heath conduction within your notebook.

My Notebook worked fine before so I knew it wasn't a design flaw of my notebook itself. One very likely possibility is that there is dust in your computer which prevents a good internal air (and thus heat) flow. Since my warranty expired 2 weeks before being fed up with the noise there was only 1 budget friendly solution, so I searched for my screwdrivers.

Before opening up a notebook it can be wise to search for a service/repair manual of your notebook which describes how to open up your notebook. As I couldn't find any on my model (PCG-71211M) I decided to work without a map. Be warned that notebooks can be quite a pain to put together again (ordinary PC's are like 4 piece jigsaw puzzles compared to notebooks!). Luckily my Vaio didn't need a lot of disassembling for my goal.

Now I will describe how I opened up my notebook with some accompanying pictures (you can click on them to enlarge them). If you try this yourself, know that it is on your own responsibility! Lets start with a picture:

This is the backside of your notebook, you might already familiar with it. You can notice that there are quite a lot of screws. Since they may vary in size it is important to work neatly. HINT: It can be useful to work on a large table and put the screw upside down on the table in the same layout you took them out of your notebook. (This sounds lame but if you've got more than 20 screws you won't remember which one went where.)

Ok, first remove the battery. Slide the lock and pull the release button away and you can roll out the battery. Your notebook should look now like the picture below. As you can see there already 19 screws visible (don't worry we only need to remove 21 screws in total).

When you remove screws 16 and 17 you can remove the cover protecting your hard disk. You can raise the cover at the side that is nearest to you (nearest to the bottom of the picture). Then you can see screws 21 and 22. Apparently I forgot number 20 when photo shopping the pictures and I am to lazy to redo them :-).

Now that all the screws are located remove them all! And I mean all of them. Otherwise you can force the body at the places where it is still screwed together! When all screws are gone you can first remove your Hard Disk. When screws 16,17,21 & 22 are removed you can slide your Hard Drive as depicted below. You want to treat this hard disk with care since it contains all your precious data.

After removing your Hard disk you can remove your CD/DVD drive. When screws 6 and 9 are removed, you can just slide it out.

You can also remove the cover that is fixed by screw number 10. Behind this is your RAM memory. I removed the RAM memory also but I don't think it is necessary. (The cover must be removed however!)

Now you should be ready to open up the body! Maybe to be sure you can do a last check to see if all screws are removed. Then you can start lifting the side that is nearest to you and open up the body like it was a treasure chest (full of dust). Be careful however, there are little plastic hooks that hold the body together. So you might have to apply some light pressure at some points using a screw driver. Be gently however since you don't want to break of any of the hooks. It is not hard but the first time you might have to get used to it. When your notebook is opened up it should look like this:

At this moment you might be a bit disappointed as you might have thought that there would be much more dust. But don't worry! The picture above was taken before the cleanup of my notebook so it didn't look too bad either! But the cleaning helped a lot! Before you start cleaning: REMOVE THE POWER SUPPLY OF THE FAN!. This is circled in blue on the picture above.

Now the cleaning can begin. I cleaned it using a vacuum cleaner which can blow air. If you don't have a vacuum cleaner which can blow you might want to search for cans containing pressurized air (so called air dusters). I've heard that sucking air isn't a good idea (don't know if this is true but I'd rather play safe). The metal on the upper part (see picture) I have cleaned using a cloth (that was a bit wet). Then I dried the cloth and cleaned it again. Make sure everything is dry when you put your notebook back together! The other parts I have blown out using the vacuum cleaner. When cleaning the ventilator you should hold it still using one of your hands. Be sure to send a strong air flow through the ventilator shaft. (The metal block that goes to the side of your notebook on the right.) Since this is a place were dust can easily get trapped. (Again hold the ventilator).

When the cleaning is done you can put your notebook back together by performing the steps above in reverse order. THE FIRST STEP IS TO RECONNECT YOUR FAN. If you don't reconnect your fan you are blessed with a notebook that will be very silent (but silence can (and will) kill!). The re-closing of the body is the hardest part. First make sure the back sides (sides furthest away from you) fit together and than close the body. Then gently press the body together at the sides. You might hear little clicking sounds.

Next insert the hard drive and CD/DVD drive again. Just gently slide them back in. Remember that screws 16 and 17 are there to keep the cap fixed to the body so they should be screwed after placing the cover over the hard disk.

If everything is back at its place then you should boot up your notebook and enjoy the silence.