How to Open an HP Laptop & Replace the Fan
By Ezekiel James
Every laptop comes built with a dedicated cooling fan. Hewlett-Packard (HP) laptops are no different. The cooling fan's purpose is to regulate the temperature of the CPU, or processor chip. If the fan goes bad, the CPU will overheat causing severe damage to the motherboard and any hardware devices nearby. This is why it is important to regularly clean your CPU fan. An excessive build-up of dust and debris will eventually cause your CPU fan to stop working.
Shut down your laptop, and disconnect all power sources from the laptop. Close the LCD screen, and place the laptop face down.
Remove the Phillips-head screws securing the hard drive cover in the bottom right corner of the laptop. Remove the cover from the laptop. Remove any Phillips-head screws securing the hard drive to its compartment. Slide the hard drive to the right, and then remove the hard drive from the laptop.
Locate the large RAM and wireless card cover in the center of the laptop. Remove its retaining Phillips-head screws. Remove the cover from the laptop. Spread the retaining latches on each side of the RAM module. Tilt the module at an angle and slide it out of the RAM compartment. Repeat this step for every module removed.
Disconnect the two antenna cables from the wireless card. Remove the two Phillips-head screws securing the wireless card to the motherboard. Remove the wireless card from the laptop. Remove the small CMOS battery from its compartment.
Locate the CD/DVD drive to the left of the RAM compartment. Remove the drive's single retaining Phillips-head screw from the upper left corner of the RAM compartment. Grasp the face of the drive, and slide it out of its compartment. Remove all remaining Phillips-head screws from the laptop's bottom casing. There may be as many as 30 screws depending on the laptop model.
Flip the laptop over, and then pull open the LCD screen. Insert a flat-head screwdriver beneath the right side of the keyboard bezel strip situated above the keyboard. Pry up the bezel strip, but don't remove it completely. It has two cables attached to it that need to be disconnected later. Place the bezel face down over the laptop's work surface so it is not obstructing your access to the keyboard.
Remove any Phillips-head screws securing the keyboard in place, if necessary. Grasp the top edge of the keyboard. Lift the keyboard out of its compartment, and place it face down over the trackpad. Disconnect the keyboard's ribbon cable from the motherboard. Remove the keyboard from the laptop.
Locate the black ribbon cables coming out of the left side of the bezel strip. Disconnect them from the motherboard. Remove the bezel strip from the laptop.
Locate and disconnect the LCD video cable coming out of the left side of the LCD screen. Remove the Phillips-head screws from each LCD hinge, and then remove the LCD panel from the laptop.
Locate the touchpad cable above the touchpad area. Disconnect the cable from the motherboard. Remove all remaining Phillips-head screws from the laptop's upper casing. Insert a guitar pick into the gap along the outside edge of the laptop separating the top and bottom casing. Pry up the top casing with the guitar pick. Remove the top casing from the laptop.
Disconnect all cables attached to the motherboard. Remove the Phillips-head screws securing the motherboard to the laptop's bottom casing. Lift the motherboard slowly out of the laptop base, while inspecting the bottom side of the motherboard for any attached cables. Disconnect any remaining cables attached to the bottom side of the motherboard.
Lift the motherboard out of the laptop, and flip it over. Place the motherboard on a soft, clean surface. Locate the cooling fan assembly. Remove the retaining Phillips-head screws. Disconnect the fan's power cable from the motherboard. Remove the fan from the motherboard.
Reverse this entire procedure to install the replacement fan.
- Use an antistatic wrist strap to prevent electrical damage to your laptop caused by static electricity.
Ezekiel James began as a music writer in 2003. Since then, James has served as a writer for several music, technology and design publications. His work has been published on eHow, TechAxcess.com and in print for the "The Potrero View" and "Punk Planet." James is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Portland State University.