Thursday, January 19, 2012

Toshiba Satellite A105 Fan Maintenance 1.0

This laptop started overheating a few months ago, when I was using it to stream Netflix. So, I raised it on, essentially, stilts so that air could circulate under it. I could tell it was still getting too hot, but I continued using it for Netflix until it shut off a couple times. So I stopped steaming videos and I got a Roku. I also got a tabletop laptop fan to put it on

Recently, it started shutting off while I was running bigger programs like Photoshop, and even while streaming YouTube videos. I started getting more worried when it started shutting off multiple times everyday. But the final straw was when it shut off while I was viewing a PDF. I was concerned for a while that I might be damaging the CPU, but now I had to do something.

Of course, the easiest thing to do is clean the fan, cooling fits, and heat sink. But I didn't see a way to get to those parts. So I looked online and found instructions on how to disassemble the laptop and clean the cooling parts on Paul's Travel Pictures of all places. The author warns that he is not a computer technician.

After scrolling through the many helpful pictures and some of the instructions, I knew that I was in for a long haul. The computer has to almost be totally disassembled to access the cooling fan and fins. It requires removal of the hard drive, RAM, DVD player, keyboard, WIFI card, and screen. Also, multiple additional connections have to be disconnected. In all, there are approximately 32 screws you will have to remove and "catalog."

Just like Paul, there was 1/8"-1/4" of dust between the fan and the cooling fans. It was relatively easy to clean off, since most of it pulled off in one strip - and the rest I was able to pluck and blow away. Reassembly was pretty easy with most of my time spent arranging the WIFI antenna wires - so that they would not get crushed by the keyboard.

I did a little damage to some parts. I broke off two out of four plastic clips on the strip over the speakers and between the keyboard and the screen. I also broke off a metal tab that is part of one of the screen hinges. I almost broke one of the touchpad sockets off the motherboard, because I didn't know that the cable did not have a male or female connector but just inserted into the socket.

Once I fully reassembled the computer, it wouldn't start. I looked for help on the internet, saw something about RAM, discounted it, until I remembered that the RAM didn't look right when I seated it. That fixed the problem. I made the same mistake with the WIFI card.

I am seriously considering going back to a desktop for my main computer at home, because they are so much easier to maintain. I don't want to disassemble this Satellite again, because I don't think that it can take it. Of course, maybe new laptops are now easier to maintain.

Next In Series: Toshiba Satellite A105 Fan Maintenance 1.1

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