Some of you may remember my adventures disassembling my BlackBerry 8120 to repair a cracked LCD screen. I decided to dive into amateur electronics repair once more this morning, this time to address fan noise on my Eee PC 901.
The problem had been growing for some time, to the point that a loud, very noticeable buzzing would commence whenever my Eee PC’s fan kicked in. A Google search revealed a possible cause: a piece of plastic tape dipping into the fan blades as it spun. After cracking the case, disassembling, and reassembling the netbook, I can confirm that this was in fact what was happening.
Taking apart a netbook isn’t exactly easy. Just for starters, it voids your warranty (though this wasn’t a problem for me, as my Eee PC was already over 12 months old). You’ll need one or two sizes of small, precision Philips head screwdrivers. My favorites are by Wiha, but I’ve bought acceptable tools from Ace Hardware. Just make sure you get ones with magnetized heads to help you lift out the tiny screws. You’ll also want some kind of stiff plastic object to help you pry open the case, such as a guitar pick or a credit card (though don’t use a card that you can’t risk chewing up).
Exactly how to get the case open wasn’t immediately obvious. I relied on advice from here and here to get the job done. There were a couple of moments when I was afraid I might crack the plastic — make sure you don’t overlook the one screw dead center of the metal plate that’s covered by a yellow piece of tape.
The hardest part, after loosening all the tabs around the sides of the case, was reinserting the flat, ribbon-like cables for the keyboard and trackpad. You might want to try booting the machine with the case still open, to make sure your input devices are working before you screw in all the screws on the bottom of the case.
The whole process probably took me about 45 minutes. But now that it’s done, I can confirm that the buzzing noise is gone and my Eee PC has new life as a device to take to the library, coffee shops, or anywhere else where people might have shot me dirty looks when my laptop started up its fan.