In this guide I’ll be cleaning the cooling module in an Acer Aspire 3620 laptop. Most likely my instructions will work for some other Acer Aspire models. Fell free to leave a comment and mention the laptop model if it works for you.
This particular laptop was shutting down by itself while running some intensive applications. I found that the cooling module (heat sink and fan) is completely clogged with dust and needs a good cleaning. Unfortunately, in this model the cooling module is buried deep inside the laptop and it’s necessary to take the whole thing apart in order to access it. OK, let’s start.
If you search by the laptop model and part name, most likely you’ll find it. For example, if you need a new keyboard, search for Aspire 3620 keyboard.
First of all turn off the laptop, unplug the power adapter and remove the battery. Remove the hard drive and memory covers from the bottom.
Remove four screws securing the hard drive assembly. After that slide the hard drive to the left and disconnect it from the motherboard. Now you can remove the hard drive assembly from the laptop.
If you are replacing the hard drive, you’ll have to remove the mounting bracket from the old one and install it on a new hard drive.
Remove both memory modules.
Disconnect two antenna wires from the wireless card (two yellow circles) and remove the wireless card same way you remove the memory module.
Remove one screw securing the CD/DVD drive. Push the drive from the laptop with a screwdriver. Pull the drive from the laptop.
Remove all screws from the bottom of the laptop. Disconnect the cooling fan cable from the motherboard.
Carefully start removing the keyboard bezel as it shown on the picture below. Be careful, the bezel has a circuit board which is connected to the motherboard.
Place the keyboard bezel so you can access the screw securing the keyboard. Remove that screw. Do not forget, the keyboard bezel is still attached to the motherboard.
Lift up the keyboard and place it upside down on the palm rest. Before you can remove the keyboard, you have to disconnect it from the motherboard.
On the picture below you see the keyboard cable connected to the motherboard. In order to unlock the connector, move the brown part about 2-3 millimeters towards the palm rest. Do not disconnect the brown locking tab from the connector, it must stay attached to the base.
On the picture below you can see the same connector in the unlocked state. Now you can pull the cable and remove the keyboard.
By the way, if you are only removing or replacing the keyboard, you can follow steps 6-8. You don’t have to remove anything from the bottom.
Now you can disconnect the cable connecting the keyboard bezel to the motherboard and remove the bezel. This cable belongs to the power button board which is attached to the bottom part of the bezel.
Pull the wireless antenna cables through the opening in the laptop. Disconnect the video cable from the motherboard. Remove two screws securing the display panel.
Now you can remove the display panel assembly. In the next post I will explain how to remove the LCD screen and inverter board.
Disconnect two white cables from the motherboard same way you disconnected the keyboard cable.
Start separating the top cover assembly from the laptop base.
and remove the top cover assembly.
Remove five screws securing the laptop motherboard. Disconnect the speaker cable from the motherboard.
Start removing the motherboard from the left side as it shown on the picture below.
The motherboard has been removed.
On the next picture you see the bottom part of the motherboard.
The cooling fan is attached to the base assembly and can be easily removed and replaced now.
Now I’m going to remove the heat sink.
Remove five screws securing the heat sink and carefully lift it up.
As you see, the heat sink is completely clogged with dust. I’m going to use compressed air to clean it.
You’ll find some gray (or other color) stuff on the top of the processor, it’s thermal grease which helps to conduct heat from the processor to heat sink. If thermal grease looks dry, you’ll have to replace it with new grease. Otherwise, you can reuse old grease, just spread it evenly on the top of the processor and install the heat sink back in place.