computers

At Home, Fixing Things

I’m home! I got back the first week of May, and have been hanging out in Rochester since. It’s been nice and relaxing, but I’m moving back up to St. Paul on June 1st.

In my last week in Thailand, my laptop started refusing to boot up (FAN ERROR.), and a tiny crack appeared on my phone screen and gradually turned into a big crack, rendering it unable to pick up most touches and swipes. Evidently the computing gods were angry that I was leaving the Land of Australian Expats, but I figured I’d give a shot at fixing them since they’re both only a couple years old. I’m not sure what caused either of the problems.

The laptop (a 2013 ThinkPad X1 Carbon) would display the ThinkPad splash screen, then give a beep inform me that there was a FAN ERROR. I couldn’t get into BIOS. After a big of googling, it was pretty apparent that I’m not the first to run into this issue. Seems that it’s a normal thing among various 2008-2014 X and T series (at least) ThinkPads. Unfortunately the usual advice seemed to be either replace the fan or blow on the fan exhaust port to trick it into booting up, after which you’d have to monitor the system temperature (…). I tried the blowing thing and couldn’t get it to work.

I’d somewhat regretted getting an ultrabook for a while since it’s just short of impossible to replace most parts, and I was again cursing my judgment since I figured it’d be a mess if I tried to get the fan out of there. But I decided to open it up and take a look.

There were 7 Phillips head screws holding the case together, and you have to pull the keyboard side up, which threw me off for a minute. The fan is the circular thing underneath the copper-colored thing.

There were 7 Phillips head screws holding the case together, and you have to pull the keyboard side up, which threw me off for a minute. The fan is the circular thing underneath the copper-colored thing.

I manually spun the fan around a couple times and noticed that at a certain point in the rotation it seemed to get stuck on something. There was no way to look at what it was without removing the fan glue, but I manually spun it around a few more times, and blew compressed air around the whole board, which seemed to dislodge whatever the fan was stuck on.

After this the computer magically booted up again. Hopefully this will be helpful to a future googler who’s about to smash their ThinkPad over their head.


Replacing the screen on my phone (an LG G3) promises to be a bit more work. Luckily iFixit has an awesome guide for exactly this. I just need to get around to ordering the parts and tools.