T420 Heatsink Cleaning: Quick Update (Part 1)

I’m down one laptop… 🙁

I’m not going to sugar coat it. The ThinkPad T420 is currently broken and out of service. (It’s 2:30 a.m. as I’m writing this.)

I got to my grandparents house at 5:00 this afternoon. I decided to do it over there since they have an air compressor that I could use to blow the dust out of.

The T420 before going under the knife.

I started disassembling the T420. I put the screws into two lids I found, to try to separate them. It wasn’t long before I had issues with the screws mixing and mingling, despite trying to separate them.

I also ran into many problems with disassembly alone… first one of the screws was being stubborn, then I was having difficulty with the palm-rest assembly, etc.

The T420 with the palm-rest removed, before going further.

I went to reassemble the laptop when I accidentally dropped the wireless LAN card screw into the laptop. It slipped over and down into a hole, and was rattling around the laptop. I tried to get the screw out by moving the laptop around, but it didn’t work. After a while I couldn’t hear it rattling, and I found a screw laying on the work surface. Hoping that it was the screw, I continued with reassembly.

As mentioned, my screws started to mix. I tried to separate them, but that idea didn’t last too long. So I’m hoping I got the right screws into the right places.

After getting the T420 buttoned up, it was midnight. I put the battery in to test. The disc drive did spin, and the power light started flashing continiously. No LCD backlight, no sounds other than the drive, and no fan spinning. The computer didn’t get into BIOS, and did nothing even after plugged into AC power.

I double checked to make sure my connections were tight and correct and compared everything with my “before” pictures, but everything looked right. It was 1:00 a.m.

I was out of time. I have a cousin who may be able to help me fix it, but Spring Break ends tomorrow and I have to return. So I’ll be returning without the T420, hoping my cousin can make the repair.

The laptop (mostly) reassembled, but not working. I left it there for my cousin to (hopefully) fix.
The heat sink before reapplying thermal grease…

This post written on the MacBook Air