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Mod? Noisy Fan in 2503 Advanced Dock

T60/T61 series specific matters only
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DukeOfURL
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Mod? Noisy Fan in 2503 Advanced Dock

#1 Post by DukeOfURL » Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:54 pm

I've really had it with the noise from the dock. The really stupid thing is that the fan is blowing out cool air. It does not need to be running at full tilt.

The fan I'm talking about is the one in back, not the small one inside near the video card. (Incidentally, I had read that the video card was PCI-Express, but my dock has what is clearly a PCI-Conventional slot.)

I have a fan controller I'd like to install. I can figure out the electrical part. But getting the case open is another matter.

I've removed all the screws that appear to hold the case together. The lock is in the way, and the front end (the edge towards you) won't come apart, maybe a few other places.

Anyone managed to open the case?
Anyone have experience with installing a fan controller?

Thanks
Mark

RonS
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#2 Post by RonS » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:10 pm

Why not just reach through the fan vent opening, grab a fan power wire, and snip it? That's what I did. It's been almost a year of continuous use and I've had no problems.
Apathy is on the rise, but nobody seems to care.

DukeOfURL
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Don't try this at home...

#3 Post by DukeOfURL » Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:00 am

Bottom line: don't do it. Live with the noise :evil: , or as RonS suggested, "just reach through the fan vent opening, grab a fan power wire, and snip it." :?

I got the unit open, spliced and soldered wires to install the controller, and got the thing back together in mostly working condition. With the controller "installed," I think the fan is running slower, and it can be turned off by unplugging it, but it is not adjustable as I hoped.

Opening the dock is difficult, but even more difficult is getting it closed and have the docking mechanism work. The cover holds the mechanism's moving parts in place, so the risk is turning the dock into an expensive piece of useless junk if you don't get it together right.

I had a Zalman Fanmate 2 controller, which has connectors for a desktop motherboard (mobo). The fan connector in the dock is much smaller. So I snipped the fan wire midway, snipped the Zalman connectors, connected red to red and black to black for both the wires to the fan and to the mobo, left the Zalman yellow and white wires disconnected because I thought they were probably for fan speed monitoring. I might have had more success had I tried installing the controller on a desktop mobo and used a voltmeter to check voltages on various wires, because I don't really know what the yellow and white wires are for. :oops:

The trick in opening the unit, which is also true for the Thinkpad itself, is that there are screws hidden under indented squares where a small black adhesive square is placed on top. The ones I was missing are on the TOP of the unit, around the multi-pin connector for the laptop. Even with all of the screws removed, it's tricky to get the cover off.

It was foolish to even try this operation. I feel lucky that the thing works at all. I guess that's what they mean when they say "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." :roll:

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#4 Post by ammar » Sun Feb 04, 2007 10:08 am

RonS wrote:Why not just reach through the fan vent opening, grab a fan power wire, and snip it? That's what I did. It's been almost a year of continuous use and I've had no problems.
Snip - like for ever cut?
You have a GPU or some other PCI unit in the Dock II slot?
I bought Dock II last week but it's so loud I can't use it. Someone ad an idea of drilling the front and placing the switch for the fan, but am not sure where to drll. Is there any other way to disable the fan except sniping the wire?

DukeOfURL
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#5 Post by DukeOfURL » Sun Feb 04, 2007 1:35 pm

ammar wrote:
RonS wrote:Why not just reach through the fan vent opening, grab a fan power wire, and snip it? That's what I did. It's been almost a year of continuous use and I've had no problems.
Snip - like for ever cut?
You have a GPU or some other PCI unit in the Dock II slot?
I bought Dock II last week but it's so loud I can't use it. Someone ad an idea of drilling the front and placing the switch for the fan, but am not sure where to drll. Is there any other way to disable the fan except sniping the wire?
Sort of forever cut. But if you pull the wire out far enough, snip it and secure it while it is sticking out (tape), you could reasonably splice, solder, and put it back in.

Having been inside the unit, there aren't really any good places for a switch. Drilling can introduce metal filings into the works, too. I settled for having my controller wire feed out of the case and dangling off. You can't see it on my desk anyway.

The noisy fan in question is the big one in back, quite near the power supply. I have never felt anything but cool air coming out of there, but then I don't have a GPU installed, and those things do draw current.

There is another (very small) fan near the PCI slot/compartment. Inadequate for a gamer's video card, perhaps enough for a simpler GPU. Of course many GPUs have their own fan too.

I am mindful that my computer room is often below 65F, but it won't be, this summer. There are times when it is 85F. Beyond that, I run the A/C. The point is that the unit will run in a hotter environment in the summer.

ammar
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#6 Post by ammar » Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:06 pm

DukeOfURL wrote: Sort of forever cut. But if you pull the wire out far enough, snip it and secure it while it is sticking out (tape), you could reasonably splice, solder, and put it back in.
I've done it, but I didn't really manage to pull the wire out. I jut cut it hoping I'd be able to solder it if ever needed. Seems like on my unit the wire is very short, I even had to cut one of the poles so I could access the wire.
Am not happy about it but I'm enjoying the silence :)
regards

ifixthings
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Re: Don't try this at home...

#7 Post by ifixthings » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:16 am

DukeOfURL wrote:Bottom line: don't do it.
It was foolish to even try this operation. I feel lucky that the thing works at all. I guess that's what they mean when they say "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." :roll:
Thanks for the heads-up. I was halfway through pulling the thing apart but thwarted by an oversized Torx driver. Then I read your post and immediately started to put the thing back together. Somehow during the dismantling process a small steel bracket had become loose after undoing the screw above the audio jacks. Apparently this screw was the only thing holding the bracket in place. I spent the next 5 minutes shaking the dock like a guitar with a plectrum stuck inside, lest it cause a short and send the whole thing up in flames.

It's out now and I'll wait until I have some very long pliers before attempting to put it back in. As for the fan noise... I ended up following the suggestion from PanEuropean in this thread: http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Options-Acc ... d-p/127200

Works fine and now the dock is silent. Hopefully the fan driver has some kind of stall protection circuitry.
X220 | Core i7 | 8gb | IPS | 256Gb Crucial M4

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Re: Mod? Noisy Fan in 2503 Advanced Dock

#8 Post by crazyfrog » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:18 am

I wish someone can come up with a software solution like tpfancontrol.
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Re: Mod? Noisy Fan in 2503 Advanced Dock

#9 Post by DukeOfURL » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:04 am

@frog: I suspect the hardware does not provide an interface for controlling the fan in the dock. It also does not seem to have a thermostat.

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Re: Mod? Noisy Fan in 2503 Advanced Dock

#10 Post by tporter » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:06 pm

This guide may be useful.
- you'll need a torx secure screwdriver #8 to remove a main cover screws. try purchasing a screwdriver with 15-20mm rod, there's one screw which's very difficult to remove.

- in the front panel (area where you attach laptop) there are 4 additional crosshead screws hidden under a small covers. There's also a small crosshead near the ultrabay, it's hard to get a correct screwdriver for it - very small. Don't remove a crosshead marked by "AA..." label near the lock, it just holds the locking mechanism.

- there's nothing under the dock's legs, so you don't need to remove them.

- the hardest thing is to correctly assemble-disassemble cover near the lock and in the area of the laptop holding/detaching mechanics.

- after you've removed plastic and then metal cover, you'll need to remove EVERYTHING to get to the fan. it's not hard but just make sure to remember everything you disassemble to attach correctly after the procedure, there's a lot of empty holes, so mark all holes where you remove a screws.

- detach fan, replace with any 60x60x15mm fan (25mm doesn't fit unless you make an additional tuning, you'll see). the fan has own very small connector, just detach cables with a solder and carefully attach to the new one. I've used PAPST 612FL, it's quiet, even I can say, it's MUCH MORE QUIET, ABSOLUTELY QUIET after the default Sunon.

- you may also remove fan near the pci-e slot, it's usually never used, especially if your video card has an own one.

- then very carefully assemble everything back. Make sure you correctly assembled ultrabay (I made a little mistake - now a locker doesn't go back automatically when you unlock it, but it's not critical)

- make sure you correctly assemble the laptop holding/detaching mechanism. it's really hard to do it in a first time, but when you find how it works, you can do it then in a minutes.

- enjoy the silence ))
But PAPST 612FL price is ~20$.
I simply soldered a resistor (62R 1W) in series with original Sunon fan (cut red wire).
Thinkpad W541, T430s

ifixthings
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Re: Mod? Noisy Fan in 2503 Advanced Dock

#11 Post by ifixthings » Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:03 am

Well, I tried the paperclip trick for a few days. However, I noticed that the back of the dock around the fan area starts to get hot when the fan is not on. I am guessing this is due to the power supply circuitry also being located in this area. For the time being I will leave the paperclip out.
X220 | Core i7 | 8gb | IPS | 256Gb Crucial M4

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Re: Don't try this at home...

#12 Post by n2ri » Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:36 pm

ifixthings wrote:
DukeOfURL wrote:Bottom line: don't do it.
It was foolish to even try this operation. I feel lucky that the thing works at all. I guess that's what they mean when they say "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing." :roll:
Thanks for the heads-up. I was halfway through pulling the thing apart but thwarted by an oversized Torx driver. Then I read your post and immediately started to put the thing back together. Somehow during the dismantling process a small steel bracket had become loose after undoing the screw above the audio jacks. Apparently this screw was the only thing holding the bracket in place. I spent the next 5 minutes shaking the dock like a guitar with a plectrum stuck inside, lest it cause a short and send the whole thing up in flames.

It's out now and I'll wait until I have some very long pliers before attempting to put it back in. As for the fan noise... I ended up following the suggestion from PanEuropean in this thread: http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Options-Acc ... d-p/127200

Works fine and now the dock is silent. Hopefully the fan driver has some kind of stall protection circuitry.
link is now dead. any other source?

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Re: Mod? Noisy Fan in 2503 Advanced Dock

#13 Post by rkawakami » Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:44 pm

Apparently the thread was removed from the Lenovo Forums. I can't blame them as the given advice was to shove something inside the fan to stop it from spinning :roll: :eek: .
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One more thing not to try at home

#14 Post by SurrealMustard » Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:35 pm

n2ri wrote:
ifixthings wrote:
Thanks for the heads-up. I was halfway through pulling the thing apart but thwarted by an oversized Torx driver. Then I read your post and immediately started to put the thing back together. Somehow during the dismantling process a small steel bracket had become loose after undoing the screw above the audio jacks. Apparently this screw was the only thing holding the bracket in place. I spent the next 5 minutes shaking the dock like a guitar with a plectrum stuck inside, lest it cause a short and send the whole thing up in flames.

It's out now and I'll wait until I have some very long pliers before attempting to put it back in. As for the fan noise... I ended up following the suggestion from PanEuropean in this thread: http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Options-Acc ... d-p/127200

Works fine and now the dock is silent. Hopefully the fan driver has some kind of stall protection circuitry.
link is now dead. any other source?
As of right now, it is still available in the google search cache, but it was a bit underwhelming anyway as the only suggestion discussed in that thread was to stick a paper clip in the vent to block the fan from turning. Sounds like there's no free lunch on this one.

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Re:

#15 Post by egoods » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:14 pm

RonS wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:10 pm
Why not just reach through the fan vent opening, grab a fan power wire, and snip it? That's what I did. It's been almost a year of continuous use and I've had no problems.
Sorry to bring the topic back up but since I found this thread I just had to... I took this exact advice when setting my dad up with my hand me down frakenpad-ish T61 (modified BIOS, WWAN added, T9500 CPU, display upgrade to whatever was best available at the time, etc...) and 2503 advanced dock (I also cut the wire on the super basic low-pro GPU I installed). Machine rarely left the dock since ~2010 or 2011 until tomorrow when I finally upgrade his setup to an T430s i7, he uses it daily and until he semi-retired two years ago he used it 8+ hours daily for work, light stuff, of course, at worst viewing some CAD or watching youtube... The setup has never once had an overheating (or any) issue, AND his desk even gets direct sunlight in the late afternoons. So, 11 years later, I'm here to say that at least with the GPU he's running. I'll update with the GPU model tomorrow, it was whatever low profile Microcenter had in stock for a good price vs power.

As a side note I'm thinking it's time to sell at least the 2503 dock, I'll toss it on the marketplace here if I go that route, I'm torn on selling the T61. I'm leaning more toward framing/displaying it in my office... seriously, does anybody know of a super basic linux distro that's only operation is displaying the uptime... a display case and battery backup could make that a cool piece of "art". I could even add a water feature through the keyboard drain holes!

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Re: Mod? Noisy Fan in 2503 Advanced Dock

#16 Post by W500tragic » Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:04 am

I just have to post this successful workaround with my 2503 Advanced Dock fan.

Ok so the on-again, off-again droning of the dock's fan was recently driving me mad - I was using a fanned AMD Radeon HD8490 (1GB) in the dock's PCIe slot, connected to an Acer X193hq monitor via DVI. Similar patterns of noise noted between T60, T61 and particularly W500 as the dock's CPU fan kicks in during bootup, triggered by dragging dialog windows into the monitor, and regularly cycling when working with large white document areas on the external monitor. The CPU fan worked harder than the card fan. Ordered a Papst 60mm fan from Germany and at the time of writing, it is still in transit to me here in Australia.
So just yesterday I swapped the HD8490 for a *fanless* GeForce GT710 (2GB DDR3/PCIe2.0) and connected it to a bigger 24" monitor (Benq XL2411T), expecting the original fan to blow a gasket, catch fire etc etc. But the dock's CPU fan is now silent! PROBLEM SOLVED. Possibly something related to memory allocation issues as others have suggested??

Don't know what to do now with the Papst - 612/FL when it arrives...
HTH :)

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Re: Mod? Noisy Fan in 2503 Advanced Dock

#17 Post by Vivecus » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:28 pm

W500tragic wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:04 am
So just yesterday I swapped the HD8490 for a *fanless* GeForce GT710 (2GB DDR3/PCIe2.0) and connected it to a bigger 24" monitor (Benq XL2411T), expecting the original fan to blow a gasket, catch fire etc etc. But the dock's CPU fan is now silent! PROBLEM SOLVED. Possibly something related to memory allocation issues as others have suggested??
Which model GT710 do you have?

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Re: Mod? Noisy Fan in 2503 Advanced Dock

#18 Post by n2ri » Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:08 am

My dock main fan wont run is there something I have to set in my computers? also the Express slot is on the side like laptops have not the internal slot. the internal slot seems to only work with old video cards also as the sound card i installed dont fully function with drivers installed and the internal card fan also dont seem to run must be missing a step. as I could sure use the extra main fan for my W500 TPs when docked

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