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My laptop is scorching my thighs, can anything be done?

(17 Posts)
BallantyneBird Sun 11-Sep-11 14:59:26

It's newish, about 6 months old. It was fine when I first got it but it has got progressively warmer and is almost too hot to touch by the fan outlet now.

I use it every day in a variety of locations around the house. The fan is at the side, though there seem to be some smaller vents underneath it. I try not to put it on surfaces which might stifle it (like cushions) but I do like to have it on my lap sometimes.

I vaguely remember reading something about fans getting dusty and not working properly, is there anything I can do?

JellyBelly10 Sun 11-Sep-11 16:35:41

After about a year of having mine it kept shutting itself down because it was over-heating like yours. My husband (who is a bit of an IT geek so knew what he was doing and had the appropriately small screwdrivers) took the back off so he could access the fan and it was absolutely packed with dust, fluff and cat hair! After he got it all out it was fine. Maybe yours needs a bit of a clear out!

BallantyneBird Sun 11-Sep-11 16:40:12

ooh thank you I'm tempted to give it a go <flexes screwdriving fingers>

Though I suppose it would be safer to take it to a professional. Hmm - will see if we've got weeny screwdrivers first then decide.

Snorbs Sun 11-Sep-11 17:03:54

It will be the heatsink that's clogged rather than the fan itself. If you look through the vent at the side you'll probably be able to see a load of thin metal fins - that's the heatsink and because the fins are so close together it's easy for them to get clogged with dust and fluff. The air is usually sucked in from underneath, passed through the heatsink, and then dumped out the side. It's easy to accidentally block the vents underneath but it really doesn't do the laptop any favours.

Some laptops make it easy to clear the heatsink out, others require you to pretty much dismantle them entirely. Try having a look on Inside My Laptop to see if they have a disassembly guide for your model of laptop to give you an idea of how big a job you're facing.

Alternatively I'd suggest getting a can of compressed air (also known as air duster, eg this from Amazon]]) and then, with the laptop turned off, blasting the air into the laptop's vents. That might dislodge enough fluff to get it running cooler.

belledechocchipcookie Sun 11-Sep-11 17:19:16

I bought ds a tray for his, it has a cushion underneith. £9.99 from the works. Clean your filer out as well as this will really help.

BallantyneBird Mon 12-Sep-11 09:40:18

Snorbs - that is very helpful, thank you. I've had a look at that site and it looks terrifyingly complex (it's a Dell Vostro) so I don't think I'll attempt it myself.

Belle - thank you, a tray sounds better than what I have which is a gel cooling mat. In fact thinking about it, the cooling mat may even be part of the problem as it might be blocking the vents underneath, hmm.

niceguy2 Mon 12-Sep-11 10:11:11

Yes, it's very important to make sure there's plenty of airflow under the laptop. Kids used to think i was just being anal when they used to just leave the laptop on the sofa blocking all the vents underneath! shock

As for clearing it out, another thing you could try and see if it works is to use the vaccum nozzle against the fan and see if you can suck the dust out. Depends on the laptop & nozzle you have. Obviously make sure it's turned off first! It's worked for me a few times. Just make sure the body of the hoover is nowhere near the laptop. Just the nozzle.

Catsmamma Mon 12-Sep-11 10:14:57

oh whip the back off it, it'll be fine!

and do get right to the fan, I did mine when it started cutting out after a couple of hours with heat exhaustion and pulled out a good bit of fluff, but it didn't seem to make a lot of difference, so I went back in and took another bit off and found a really solid compacted wodge of catfluff

it's been fab ever since! :D and i keep mine on a tray too.

Snorbs Mon 12-Sep-11 11:50:02

Which model of Dell Vostro is it? Dell often has its own service manuals available on its website.

BallantyneBird Mon 12-Sep-11 12:03:03

It's a 3500. Will have a look, thanks.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 12-Sep-11 12:05:11

I hoover the fan bit of my laptop with the upholstery brush attachment on the Dyson. Gets all the fluff out.

Niecie Mon 12-Sep-11 12:07:29

Yes, once it is cleaned out, either by you or a repair guy, get a laptop tray.

I was told never to put it directly on my lap, on anything fabric, so not even a table with a table cloth, on the carpet or on a cushion (which I had been using to protect my knees from scorching). Only put it on a bare table top or a tray. I lost one computer to over heading (PC World own brand - apparently susceptible to it) but have avoided it with my new one and it gets a regular clean too.

Graciescotland Mon 12-Sep-11 12:12:18

Belkin do a tray with a fan, plugs into a usb port, which cools both lap and laptop.

BallantyneBird Mon 12-Sep-11 12:16:52

ooh and shock at compacted wad of catfluff! We don't have pets but it does tend to sit near open windows where all manner of crap blows in!

Snorbs Mon 12-Sep-11 14:04:37

Service manual for the Vostro 3500 is here. It does look like it would be a fairly major job to get enough access to the heatsink to de-fluff it.

Catsmamma Mon 12-Sep-11 14:13:46

ballantynebird....we do have cats so no need for the shock....tbh it's amazing the children do not need hoovered out on a regular basis! grin

maybe yours will be full of bellybutton fluff??

BallantyneBird Mon 12-Sep-11 14:36:03

Snorbs - thank you for the link, I think you are right about the major job. I'll have a bash at hoovering it and see how it goes.

Actually the more I think about it the more I have come to the conclusion the so called 'cooling pad' was actually the problem. It's soft and bumpy so could easily have been blocking the vents at the bottom, especially once the gel went soft. I'll look at the tray options instead.

Catsmama - the shock was at how apparently hungry laptops are if they suck that much stuff in, yikes. And retain it. grin at belly button fluff - yes quite possible - along with household dust (plentiful) and the general aura of pig pen that surrounds the under 5's.

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