Cleaning Your Laptop Cooling System

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Introduction: Cleaning Your Laptop Cooling System

About: Engineer making renewable energy products for African entrepreneurs.

My main computer is an hp zv5000 - it uses two heat pipes with heat sinks and two fans to cool the processor. Through use, those heat sinks (copper?) and pipes collect quite a bit of dust reducing the machine's cooling capacity.

If you don't have this specific machine, not to worry. Just use some common sense as the basic idea is the same.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies and First Step

You'll need two things:
Q tips and a screw driver

First Remove your battery (possibly a duh! step, but just being thorough).

Unscrew the Ram cover - to make removing the rest of the case easier.
You'll need to remove the plastic cover just behind the battery 'cave' - remove any required screws and keep track of where they came from (some of mine were longer than average).

Step 2: Removing Fan Ducts/covers

Remove the plastic cover carefully. It should not stick - if it does, go back and look for a missed screw.

Now we have the lovely task of removing some tiny screws that hold down those two fan ducts/covers. I used a #1 screw driver with a magnetic tip. This saved my butt as I would have easily dropped/lost one of those screws.

Step 3: Clean

Use your Q tip and wipe away any dust etc. off the fan blades and from the heat sinks. I guess you could use some compressed air, but I did not have any on hand and was able to get everything out.

When you're done, reassemble.

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    60 Comments

    i have done this 2 times and worked very well.. but this time i removed heat sink and cleaned a bit better.. but after reinstlled .. my computer turns on but will not boot any more ?? any comments ?? what went wrong

    3 replies

    Since this only happened when you removed the heat sink, you probably disturbed the processor and need to take apart again and reseat processor and heat sink make SURE you use new heat sink grease to attach. I did the same thing as you and what happened was the heat sensor in the motherboard claimed the processor was running 50C hotter than actual temp so it shut processor down. New heat sink grease fixed it

    it didn't claim that. your processor was running much hotter than the surrounding air and heatsink because you had a poor thermal interface. where did you get "50c"?

    I don't know if biire2u installed the free applications software called CPUID HWMonitor?

    I have installed CPUID HWMonitor and it displays the CPU and GPU temperature.

    You need to take the fan out and clean underneath it. My fan had wads of dust underneath that wouldn't come out any other way.

    I just got a laptop from an old teacher, 2005 ACER one, 1gb of ram, windows xp. I installed ubuntu and it's been lighter on the processor (celeron mobile, 1.4ghz) and ram.

    Anyway, followed your tut (I'm a computer geek-o-rama but I was thinking twice about opening my first laptop) and I opened it all up, even took the cooling assembly apart. No wonder she was gonna throw it out (it kept turning off and overheating) this thing had no way for air to escape (dust-wise) So thanks :D

    i repaired identical hp laptop before, the pentium 4 M version. after years of heavy usage the thermal compound has 'frozen' makes it stick with the p4 chip (use penknife). reapplied thermal gel and it's as cool as new.

    LOL, I have a Pavillion ZE5200 and it is the NOISYist laptop I have ever heard, of course it has about five fans (literally), but at least it stays cool!
    I just might have to use this instructable when I go to clean it out......

    Trebuchet: I just did this based on another instructable. When I did, noticed that I only have one fan, though I have the same back case as yours. I have a 5320 (I think). Wonder if there's any way to add a second fan... At any rate, I cleaned out my heat sink, and haven't had the fan stuck on for an hour like I did before. Great Post.

    3 replies

    Can you post a picture?

    Does the back casing have two fan grilles like/similar to mine?

    To be honest, I don't know how I would go about adding a fan.... laptop modification (other than "snap in" parts) is rather difficult and depends on hardware specific limitations :/


    But I'm glad to hear cleaning it out helped :)

    We had the same experience with the same model.  There is an open space where the second fan appears to be missing. There is a foam piece inserted where the heat sink would go and an open circular space where the fan blades would go.  I am hoping that this helps to solve our problem of shutting down. I think we caused the problem by leaving it sit on soft surfaces :(  Thank you for the step by step instructions. Very easy to follow and I learned something!

    The casing I have is identical to yours. I have the grating on the bottom and the side. Just no fan. Very strange. btw: sorry for posting twice; I thought that the comments were one common thread, so I re-posted my question on the first page.

    Hi, I have HP DV6000 laptop, does the same instructions work for them ?

    2 replies

    There are several models of DV6000, look at the sticker on the bottom for the exact model. However, I had one in the DV6000 family and it does not have a fan housing cover, you have to take the ENTIRE laptop apart including taking the mainboard out to access the fan for dust cleaning. This was a very aggravating and poor design by HP for sure, from then on I always insisted that any laptop I buy have a removable fan cover panel.

    You should really get the service manual for your laptop before unscrewing things at random. Just google "HP DV6000 service manual". I've got an HP NX6110, and the fan is accessed from the top, behind the keyboard. Very easy though, just three screws.

    I've heard that using compressed air on a lappie is bad news. Someone else might want to confirm that. Either way, some sort of vacuum would help.

    3 replies

    I used compressed air on my computer CPU and it lived, the dust on it was a couple of centimetres on it!!!!

    the affects of moisture and static shock can effect a computer, even if its not immediate. if it has a horrible crash a few months from now it could be due to this. but i could be completely wrong too, and it could be perfectly fine.

    Using compressed air isn't necessarily a bad thing - but you want to take two things into consideration. 1) - don't randomly blow the compressed air unless you can completely remove the bottom of the case AND get access to behind the touchpad and keyboard. 2) - make sure to hold down any fan blades when using compressed air. The bearings in the fan(s) are generally not designed to spin at super high speeds and compressed air will certainly make them spin faster that intended.