Learn to Clean Up the Gunk Inside Your Computer by Muhammad Amir Ayub

Damn was the last month Pediatric Anesthesia posting tiring. Blogging and studying were pushed to the wayside, and free time was focused more on lifting along with the typical "work brought home" stuff.

After learning and bought the needed equipment to open up the difficult to repair Apple products (specifically my Airport Extreme), I decided to do something that I've not done in a while: clean up the insides of my MacBook Pro. There was good reason to do so: the laptop's fan never seemed to slow down and even ran when trying to put the computer to sleep, some keyboard combo's weren't working well, and there were sometimes random shutdowns/screwed up screen displays (I guess the VRAM got corrupted by heat). And my laptops tended to have only a 5 year lifespan on average, mostly by ruining the logic board (motherboard in the Apple realm), which is not great for the wallet.


The 2012 Unibody Retina MacBook Pro has 2 rear fans, and this picture focuses on the left-sided one. This was after 5 minutes of dusting with dry tissue paper. I followed up by using a pick to pullout the gunk stuck at the gills of the rear vent (where air flows out from the fans). Then I used a dry air duster to just blow out the whole area that wasn't grossly dusted off by dusting with tissue.

Now the fans turn on really fast only when it needs to (I use iStat Menus to manually change the settings to go full blast with the fans whenever any component goes beyond 60 degrees Celcius). Some video work that could take 6 hours now only takes 4 (as the CPU/GPU is less throttled), sleep/wake works as intended, and my Spotlight keyboard shortcut now works normally. 

Just as you service your car, I guess you also need to service your "fanned" electronic machines once in a while.

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My First Successful Hardware Repair of An Apple Device by Muhammad Amir Ayub

My Apple AirPort Extreme + Time Capsule Wi-Fi Base Station started giving overheating warnings the other day (forgot to take screenshots of the AirPort Utility app indicating the overheating warnings), and after some searching on iFixit and another search for tools, I tried to fix the problem (with an opportunity to get the kids away from the screens).

The Hotak 32 Piece Mobile Phone Repair Tools Set (minus the extension bar, missing)

The Hotak 32 Piece Mobile Phone Repair Tools Set (minus the extension bar, missing)

The Torx 8 and 10 driver heads, along with the prying bars and extension bars were essential

The Torx 8 and 10 driver heads, along with the prying bars and extension bars were essential

True enough, the problem was that the fan has become stuck, and I proceeded to add some lubricating oil to the fan mechanism. I also noted a huge amount of dust near the vents and overall insides. Other than nicking the base here and there from prying open the casing I managed to fix it (along with the LED indicator which probably didn’t work because of the dust inside). Hopefully it’ll add a few more years to a device that has been reliable enough for at least the past maybe 6 years I guess, making it a reliable simple automatic backup option for my family’s laptops and an archiver of the contents of my late father’s black plastic MacBook (which in general still works). 

If you own a fanned electronic device, knowing how to open and fix dust and air-fow related issues is probably a good skill to have to add years to a device from preventing overheating issues.

And true to their reputation, Apple devices are truly difficult to repair. I had to dismantle almost the whole device to gain access to the fan.