Author Topic: How do you troubleshhoot a laptop heatpipe problem?  (Read 2891 times)

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Offline ELye

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How do you troubleshhoot a laptop heatpipe problem?
« on: October 29, 2015, 12:01:29 am »
I have this Lenovo Edge Thinkpad. I stopped using thing on my lap when I bought a shallow aluminum tray. The kinh waiters carry drinks on. I place some small wooden blocks the size of potato wedges on the tray and the laptop on top of that. It works fine. I have some room for an external USB disk and a USB hub. The best thing is the lip of the tray defects the hot air upwards. Last week the laptop hung and refused to boot anything. A few weeks back it hung also but that was due to a bad spot on the paging space. This time it refused to boot my Spinrite 6.0 cdrom.  Just a blank screen. There was an option to repair windows boot problems and I let that have a go but I had no idea  what was going on as the screen stayed blank. ABout 20 mins later I tried booting again and FreeDOS came up and spinrite started. I ran spinrite on the biggest partition and about 10 percent in, the screen froze. I had never seen that before. So I do what I usually do ----- check the check the cooling fan/filter. The fan was turning and the hot air was coming out from the exhaust but when I felt the bottom of the laptop, it was hot - - - hot enough that I could not keep my hand pressed against the surface indefinitely. I opened the panel and discovered a flattened {like a flattened drinking straw} copper heat pipe joining the cpu to the heatsink fan combo. The cpu end is hot but an inch along the heat pipe the temperature has dropped considerably. I left the plate off and it has been running fine ever since. So my question is how do you trouble shoot such a situation. I am pretty sure the bottom of the laptop was never this hot before.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: How do you troubleshhoot a laptop heatpipe problem?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2015, 03:33:20 pm »
So your heatpipe has cracked and lost the gas filling. Time to get another one from eBay or another donor broken laptop of the identical model. They are not really repairable with the tools most people have.
 

Offline mikerj

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Re: How do you troubleshhoot a laptop heatpipe problem?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2015, 09:21:04 pm »
So your heatpipe has cracked and lost the gas filling.

I thought they used some kind of alcohol for the phase change fluid?
 

Offline samnmax

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Re: How do you troubleshhoot a laptop heatpipe problem?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2015, 10:41:32 pm »
I thought they used some kind of alcohol for the phase change fluid?

From Wikipedia: "The working fluid mass is chosen so that the heat pipe contains both vapor and liquid over the operating temperature range." I guess they use low pressure so that part of the alcohol is in gas phase.
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: How do you troubleshhoot a laptop heatpipe problem?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2015, 12:17:00 am »
They are usually filled with water or alcohol, then got air pumped out to promote working fluid from evaporating then condensing on the other side, thus transferring heat.
 

Offline Shock

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Re: How do you troubleshhoot a laptop heatpipe problem?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2015, 12:53:23 pm »
Dry or old thermal compound on the cpu/gpu can also cause overheating.
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Offline ez24

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Re: How do you troubleshhoot a laptop heatpipe problem?
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2015, 02:17:26 pm »
Mine get hot from blocked vents with dust.  When this happens, I inhale a lung full and blow as hard as I can on the vent the heat come out of.  This clears out the intakes.  Of course it would be better to take apart and use compressed air.
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Online coppice

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Re: How do you troubleshhoot a laptop heatpipe problem?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2015, 02:22:36 pm »
Mine get hot from blocked vents with dust.  When this happens, I inhale a lung full and blow as hard as I can on the vent the heat come out of.  This clears out the intakes.  Of course it would be better to take apart and use compressed air.
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That's the usual reason for a notebook to overheat. A vacuum cleaner often works from the outside of the case, but as you said its often necessary to take the cover off. If the atmosphere in your area is at all greasy, you almost certainly need to take the cover off as the dust binds into a goo.
 

Offline crispy_tofu

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Re: How do you troubleshhoot a laptop heatpipe problem?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2015, 02:26:24 pm »
Dry or old thermal compound on the cpu/gpu can also cause overheating.

^this. This is more for desktops, but also check if the heatsink(s) are seated properly.  :-+
 

Offline taco

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Re: How do you troubleshhoot a laptop heatpipe problem?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2015, 02:34:42 pm »
I vote for lint in the vent exhausts. You can backblow these to partially clear them, but disassembly and thorough cleaning is usually the ticket. Best of luck..
 

Offline Stonent

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Re: How do you troubleshhoot a laptop heatpipe problem?
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2015, 02:41:34 pm »
Install some temperature monitoring software on the laptop. Processors typically are rated up to 100C. So if it is approaching that readily, you may have a problem.

I believe FurMark has temperature sensing in it.  Just install that and it will ramp up the heat in your system and you can see if you're exceeding the thermal spec of the monitored components.

http://www.ozone3d.net/benchmarks/fur/
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