Laptop fan continually blasting hot air

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James321

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When I first started using the laptop the fan would regularly switch on and off as you would expect. However now the fan is on almost continually and blasting out hot air. It's like having an electric fan heater on continually in the room.

Where's the heat coming from? Microchips operate at extremely low voltages, less than static discharge, so I can't imaging microchips getting that hot!

Also one of the keys on the keyboard came loose today and completely detached itself. Fortunately I was able to click it back into place again. Had this been caused by thermal expansion?

I attempted to open the back of the laptop to give it a careful dusting but had a problem working out how it opened. I may have to do some further research on this one. However one thing I ascertained was that the focus of the heating through the back cover appeared to be an elongated rectangular insert which looked much like a socket (but wasn't) and was surrounded by a metal casing. You could tell it wasn't a socket as it had no holes to plug anything into. It lies towards the same corner of the laptop where the inlet and outlet of the fan are located.

Has anyone any ideas on this?
 

Couriant

James
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Run a temperature monitor like CoreTemp. (direct download link)

check to see what temps you are seeing.

As to the problem, you haven't said what laptop you have, and how old it is.

It's possible it needs a good clean out, and make sure that there are no vents being blocked.
 

Tanis

Shane
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What is the make and model of the laptop?
What are you using it for?
Are you using it on a hard, flat surface?

Its possible the vents are getting blocked, reducing airflow and therefore increasing heat build up, CPUs get very hot hence the need for heatsinks and good airflow.
 

James321

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Run a temperature monitor like CoreTemp. (direct download link)

check to see what temps you are seeing.

As to the problem, you haven't said what laptop you have, and how old it is.

It's possible it needs a good clean out, and make sure that there are no vents being blocked.
I guessed it might need an internal dusting, however I wasn't absolutely certain.

Already tried Core Temp. It gives a core temperature reading of over 70C while performing an ordinary activity like surfing the net.

I wonder if its the fan itself that's causing the heat problem which is localised towards the air intake and outlet? Possibly the fan is clogged up with dust and this is creating a friction problem.

Will try opening it up again tomorrow, hopefully with more success this time.

It's a Lenovo Thinkpad T410 which is on the old side these days.
 

Couriant

James
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70oC while being hot is still considered normal. I have machines that do 90o and that is still 'within acceptable range' for heat. It will feel hot when it's blowing out.

It could be that the thermal paste needs changing too (worse case)
 

James321

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What is the make and model of the laptop?
What are you using it for?
Are you using it on a hard, flat surface?

Its possible the vents are getting blocked, reducing airflow and therefore increasing heat build up, CPUs get very hot hence the need for heatsinks and good airflow.
70oC while being hot is still considered normal. I have machines that do 90o and that is still 'within acceptable range' for heat. It will feel hot when it's blowing out.

It could be that the thermal paste needs changing too (worse case)
Are you saying it's normal for a laptop fan to blow out hot air? I've not noticed it before on my laptop and the fan is on continually which I'm fairly certain it wasn't before.

I've just viewed an instructional video for opening my make of laptop and it looks a complete nightmare. You have to take literally everything apart just to access the fan! More than a dozen screws have to be undone which come in a number of different sizes. You have to remove the CD player, remove the hard disk drive and unplug and remove the keyboard. Solving the Rubik's Cube looks easier!
 

Couriant

James
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That is what the fan does in a laptop. The question is what is causing the higher heat. One possible issue is that the thermal paste is worn down. Another issue is that the CPU is showing it's age and is running hotter. A 3rd would be the dust build up... or... all 3 at the same time :)
 

James321

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That is what the fan does in a laptop. The question is what is causing the higher heat. One possible issue is that the thermal paste is worn down. Another issue is that the CPU is showing it's age and is running hotter. A 3rd would be the dust build up... or... all 3 at the same time :)
This was the instructional video I viewed for accessing the fan:



Will opening the laptop in anyway spoil the thermal paste?
 

Couriant

James
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Oh that Thinkpad.... that can be a pain to do. Opening the laptop should not spoil the paste. Since the heatsink has to be removed to get to the fan then you would want to get new paste on there. If you feel like you are uncomfortable, I would suggest taking it to an independent shop to look at it.
 

James321

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Oh that Thinkpad.... that can be a pain to do. Opening the laptop should not spoil the paste. Since the heatsink has to be removed to get to the fan then you would want to get new paste on there. If you feel like you are uncomfortable, I would suggest taking it to an independent shop to look at it.
Is there no way of cleaning the fan and outlets externally without opening the laptop?

I noticed that the inlet and outlets are almost directly connected to the fan itself and are part of the same unit.

What is also strange is how suddenly the problem came about in the first place.
 

James321

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Oh that Thinkpad.... that can be a pain to do. Opening the laptop should not spoil the paste. Since the heatsink has to be removed to get to the fan then you would want to get new paste on there. If you feel like you are uncomfortable, I would suggest taking it to an independent shop to look at it.
Here is an image of the inside of the exact make of my laptop:




I'm fairly certain that the region on the underside of the laptop where the heat is focussed is where the "wireless card" is situated in the above photo.

This would be odd as I do not use Wifi but use a hard wire connection, and both Wifi and Bluetooth are permanently switched off under Settings.

Could the problem actually be a software issue and not hardware?
 

Tanis

Shane
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Here is an image of the inside of the exact make of my laptop:




I'm fairly certain that the region on the underside of the laptop where the heat is focussed is where the "wireless card" is situated in the above photo.

This would be odd as I do not use Wifi but use a hard wire connection, and both Wifi and Bluetooth are permanently switched off under Settings.

Could the problem actually be a software issue and not hardware?
Most of the area between where is says CMOS battery and Cooling fan are likely to get warm/hot. The CPU is the bit that is at about 10 o'clock from the CMOS battery and the copper coloured line coming off from that is part of the CPU cooler which transfers CPU heat through that line to the cooling fins/fan.

Its quite possible that the fan and cooling fins are getting a bit clogged so they cant move enough air to get heat out effectively, so the fan runs more to compensate. Very common on laptops and is certainly where I would start.
 

Couriant

James
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The Thinkpad T410's release date is showing as Jan 2010, so the machine is 11 years old. If it's not been clean before, then more than likely its dust build up. From my experience and a quick google search, thermal paste generally is effect for up to 5-10 years, depending on the quality. If you are going to clean out the fan, I would recommend replacing the paste too.
 

James321

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Most of the area between where is says CMOS battery and Cooling fan are likely to get warm/hot. The CPU is the bit that is at about 10 o'clock from the CMOS battery and the copper coloured line coming off from that is part of the CPU cooler which transfers CPU heat through that line to the cooling fins/fan.

Its quite possible that the fan and cooling fins are getting a bit clogged so they cant move enough air to get heat out effectively, so the fan runs more to compensate. Very common on laptops and is certainly where I would start.
Can you please answer the question I raised in Post #1, which is what is the rectangular metal encased insert on the back cover? I quote, "However one thing I ascertained was that the focus of the heating through the back cover appeared to be an elongated rectangular insert which looked much like a socket (but wasn't) and was surrounded by a metal casing. You could tell it wasn't a socket as it had no holes to plug anything into. It lies towards the same corner of the laptop where the inlet and outlet of the fan are located."

Its quite possible that the fan and cooling fins are getting a bit clogged so they cant move enough air to get heat out effectively, so the fan runs more to compensate. Very common on laptops and is certainly where I would start.
Okay, so the dust clogging would cause the fans to run continually and faster to compensate. But what is causing the air to become so hot in the first place? I can feel a significant airflow caused by the fan.

But why is the air coming out of the fan so hot?
 

James321

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Joined
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Messages
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The Thinkpad T410's release date is showing as Jan 2010, so the machine is 11 years old. If it's not been clean before, then more than likely its dust build up. From my experience and a quick google search, thermal paste generally is effect for up to 5-10 years, depending on the quality. If you are going to clean out the fan, I would recommend replacing the paste too.
I've just put the laptop into shutdown and unplugged it and blew a lung full of air through the air inlet [putting the air inlet fully to my lips in the manner of a harmonica], and there wasn't the slightest hint of any resistance or any dust coming out of the outlet.

I could hear the fan whizzing around as I blew and further the air that came out while I was blowing was still hot.

As I've already suggested, it may not be a problem with the fan being clogged up with dust but some electronic component with the laptop that is producing excess heat.
 
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