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How to replace fan/heat sink on Lenovo T410

Posted on 2014-09-10
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Last Modified: 2014-09-25
Lenovo T410. Left side heats up, esp. when I'm using YouTube. I'm assuming the fan/heat sink needs replacing.
1- How do I do this? Do I just remove keyboard, then unscrew 4 screws?
2- Should I get a fan/heat sink assembly as opposed to fan alone?
3- Once installed and re-assembled, how do I know fan is working?
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Question by:RaiderNationDelegate
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epichero22 earned 167 total points
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Have you tried dusting your laptop?  Dust builds up around the fans and, over time, makes it less effective at exchanging air flow which keeps the heat in.

If you want to replace the heatsink and fan for a laptop, you'll have to contact the manufacturer for a replacement.  Also ask them if they recommend thermal paste as that's required too.  Here's the contact page for Lenovo: http://support.lenovo.com/us/en/supportphonelist

But if you dust the laptop, it's still heating, and want to avoid the headache of replacing the heatsink, I would instead go with a cooling pad:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834992853&cm_re=laptop_fan-_-34-992-853-_-Product

They also make other cooling pads that have dual fans, which may work better since they provide directed cooling to the side of your laptop that's heating.
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by:RaiderNationDelegate
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It's not dust.
Cooling pad helps, but doesn't address the core issue. Computer is overheating
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by:ShrampBoat
ShrampBoat earned 167 total points
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Hi there,

If it has gotten significantly worse recently or over the duration of time you have had the laptop, it may not be that your heat sink or fan needs to be replaced, but the crappy/dried thermal paste that OEMs use when they install them that tends to wear out.

As far as opening it up to verify and (hopefully) answering your questions in order:

1.  For the vast majority of laptops, it's going to require that you remove all screws on the bottom casing (including those under the battery, hard drive, ram slots, etc.)  At that point, you should have removed the keyboard screws, as well, so from the top you should be able to pull the keyboard out and disconnect its cable from the board (should be directly underneath the actual keyboard).

There will be more screws underneath where the keyboard sits that will keep the top half of the casing from coming off, so once they are all removed, start to gently pry the top half of the casing apart from the bottom, revealing the board and other connections (be sure to be careful pulling the top half of the casing off, as the touch pad is still connected and will need to be disconnected, as well).

Then you will have to remove the speakers, disconnect the LCD from the motherboard and unscrew its hinges to remove it, as well.

After that you can get to the heat sink/fan and remove them.  You will notice if the thermal paste is dried and thin in the middle, especially.  This can cause serious heat issues, but as long as you clean it off with Isopropyl alcohol and are very careful not to over saturate the chip and surrounding components, you can easily clean it off the top of the chip and the bottom of the heat sink and replace it with new thermal paste (just a small dab in the middle of the chip, as it will spread out naturally).  Typically I just dip a q-tip in alcohol and slowly clean off the old thermal paste so that I don't run the risk of having too much liquid everywhere, and then just make sure you aren't leaving any lint/fibers behind on the board or chip.

I recommend you go through the documentation on Lenovo's site that shows pictures and, at the top of the page I am linking, shows you the order you should remove components with reference to the individual parts, etc.:  http://support.lenovo.com/us/en/documents/pd005269

That is basically a diagrammed process of what I am trying to describe.

2.  It is worth testing this to see, because over the years I have had a lot of heat issues with laptops and quite a few were badly applied or just plain shoddy thermal paste on the heat sink.  If it does not alleviate the issue, however, I would just buy the whole assembly as it isn't much more expensive than getting just the fan in MOST cases (don't hold me to it for this particular one!)

3.  You should be able to hear the fan and/or feel it blowing air, especially when you run a video or something graphics intensive that will stress your inbuilt GPU for that system.  Chances are if the fan wasn't working you would already be able to tell if you weren't hearing it ramp up when the heat was climbing inside the computer.

The main thing I will tell you and can't stress enough if you decide to do this is, if something is not coming off or coming apart pretty easily, DON'T FORCE IT!  There is a reason, often times you missed a screw or something, and those plastic tabs that hold the casing together break quickly if they are stressed or pulled apart too aggressively.

Overall laptops just generate a lot of heat, especially when running video or anything graphic-intensive, because the onboard graphics are pretty lackluster and frequently create these types of problems.  It may not be a night and day difference at the end, but should help.
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by:nattygreg
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there is a youtube video for that, to replace the paste.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 166 total points
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here the service manual; read pages 98 for cpu replacement,  and starting around pg 60
http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/mobiles_pdf/t410_t410i_hmm_en_63y0535_06.pdf
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by:RaiderNationDelegate
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Thank you
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