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tips on how to open a ThinkPad without breaking it?

X200/X201/X220 (including equivalent tablet models) and X300/X301 series specific matters only.
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angelofthesouth1
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tips on how to open a ThinkPad without breaking it?

#1 Post by angelofthesouth1 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:54 pm

My X201 has just failed (trying unsuccessfully to turn on), and I knw it's almost certainly the fan, because for the past couple of weeks I had heard it grinding quite loudly. I am interested in replacing the fan, but hesitant because I have never succeeded in messing around deeply inside a laptop (I mean as deep as the CPU) without damaging the frame. If the laptop survives at all, I don't do a great job of putting it back together. My dexterity isn't the best. Can anyone give me some tips? I'd frankly rather fix my X201 than replace it. It's used but nothing else is wrong with it.

MikalE
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Re: tips on how to open a ThinkPad without breaking it?

#2 Post by MikalE » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:44 pm

Take it to a competent technician. Taking it apart is easier than getting it back together without breaking something, finding a lost part, or wondering how something fits if you are not familiar with IBM/Lenovo laptops.

It's not rocket science, but if you are not mechanically inclined it's best to let someone else work on it.
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olex126
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Re: tips on how to open a ThinkPad without breaking it?

#3 Post by olex126 » Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:52 pm

I tend to agree with MikalE, but if you feel adventurous...

https://thinkpads.com/support/hmm/hmm_p ... 632_10.pdf

Download the Hardware Maintenance Manual and follow the tear-down procedures.

What you will find is that you have a greater appreciation of how your laptop works and how parts interact with each other.

Everybody's gotta start somewhere.. :D

Good luck!

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Re: tips on how to open a ThinkPad without breaking it?

#4 Post by cadillacmike68 » Fri Sep 25, 2020 4:12 am

Thinkpads are better built than most home use market computers, but get the HMM off this site as noted. The HMM will warn you to never re-use a screw, that can be ignored unless you have a screw kit which FS reps had when going on-site. Don't worry about it, just put the right screws back in the right places.
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Re: tips on how to open a ThinkPad without breaking it?

#5 Post by Vopu » Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:03 am

Hi ,
Equipped with HMM and good/correct set of tools and working methodicly, replacing a fan is not a big job. Thinkpads are really well build and designed which are more user friendly than most if not all others in terms of disessembly. That being said, you want to keep this unit and you say it is working fine except the fan , i am afraid i agree with MikalE,and others. Let a tech work on it. One other thing i can add is unless you are sure of his work,don't let a friend who says/thinks he can pull it off destroy your machine instead of you, :roll: if you even attempt to do it. Besides , you shouldn't be paying too much i guess.
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angelofthesouth1
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Re: tips on how to open a ThinkPad without breaking it?

#6 Post by angelofthesouth1 » Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:38 pm

Vopu wrote:
Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:03 am
Hi ,
Equipped with HMM and good/correct set of tools and working methodicly, replacing a fan is not a big job. Thinkpads are really well build and designed which are more user friendly than most if not all others in terms of disessembly. That being said, you want to keep this unit and you say it is working fine except the fan , i am afraid i agree with MikalE,and others. Let a tech work on it. One other thing i can add is unless you are sure of his work,don't let a friend who says/thinks he can pull it off destroy your machine instead of you, :roll: if you even attempt to do it. Besides , you shouldn't be paying too much i guess.
Regards
Vopu
The issue there is money. I can buy another used X201 at eBay between US$50 and 100. How many times that would a competent technician charge me for the labor?

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Re: tips on how to open a ThinkPad without breaking it?

#7 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:04 am

If that technician is competent, it should take him/her no more than 1/2 hour to replace the fan.
If that technician is incompetent, it would take him/her more than 2 hours to replace the fan.
Either way will cost you money, IF they even accept the job.
And Covid-19 will probably have jacked up their hourly rates as well.

However, even if you have two left hands, using the HMM and a Phillips #0 screwdriver, plus making a drawing of the screw locations (and taping those screws there), it should take you less than 2 hours to replace the fan yourself, incl. repasting the CPU.
Added benefits: it's free AND you learn all about the insides of that laptop.
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angelofthesouth1
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Re: tips on how to open a ThinkPad without breaking it?

#8 Post by angelofthesouth1 » Sat Sep 26, 2020 9:00 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:04 am
If that technician is competent, it should take him/her no more than 1/2 hour to replace the fan.
If that technician is incompetent, it would take him/her more than 2 hours to replace the fan.
Either way will cost you money, IF they even accept the job.
And Covid-19 will probably have jacked up their hourly rates as well.

However, even if you have two left hands, using the HMM and a Phillips #0 screwdriver, plus making a drawing of the screw locations (and taping those screws there), it should take you less than 2 hours to replace the fan yourself, incl. repasting the CPU.
Added benefits: it's free AND you learn all about the insides of that laptop.
Food for thought for me.

Additional benefit: You obviously indicate that I will have to remove the CPU to replace the fan; so I would also learn how to replace a ThinkPad's CPU if it fails, which also happens with these used ones I buy.

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Re: tips on how to open a ThinkPad without breaking it?

#9 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:52 am

Ehhh.. rePASTing, not rePLACing.
Still NOT a great day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff).
Ireland is on FULL lockdown until Easter 2021!
Covid-19: Stay safe, so Mask it or Casket!

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