Thursday, May 24

Toshiba Laptop Overheating Issues

Toshiba Satellite A70In my last post, the one with the picture of the guy pulling his hair out, I briefly mentioned my recent computer woes. Let me see if I can summarize events without getting very technical.

I was really happy with my laptop, for quite a while, especially since it has really convenient wireless connectivity. I should be able to work from anywhere, and most importantly, from the local coffee shops that have hotspots and so forth. Life was good!

However, this model (the Toshiba Satellite laptop) developed an overheating problem. It was painful. I'd be working away, tappity tappity, and then the darned thing would declare an emergency and shut down immediately. No closing of files and no warning given. After a while it simply shut off immediately as soon as I turned it on... yay.

To make a long story short, skipping past the computer woes that eventually befell my previously trusty old and clunky desktop, I suddenly needed to get the laptop working again! In desperation I turned it on, after a month or two of disuse, and it kept working for a while before overheating. Whoa, an advancement!

Desperate to get it working, I fiddled with a few switches and things, plopped the battery out, and even considered getting a screwdriver and opening up the case. In a stroke of luck, I decided to blow into the cooling fan area. Would you believe a small cloud of dust blew out the other end?

So, here's the cheapest laptop repair tip you'll ever get. If your laptop shuts down due to overheating, blow out all the dust you can. Basically, keep blowing through the fan input and output areas until you no longer get visible dust ejected. The darn thing has been working fine since. No new parts. No service technicians. This is a lot cheaper than bringing it in for official services at the local geek depot.

See you at the coffee shop! ;)

Frugal Guy said...
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10 comments:

Tracy said...

Maybe you could look into adding some heat sink material, perhaps a sheet of 1/2" (or so) thick aluminum, to the bottom of the laptop. Of course, you would need to figure a way of thermally connecting this to the existing processor heat sink.

Frugal Guy said...

Tracy, that might be a good idea, but I think it is beyond my ability. I'll stick to blowing the dust out as opposed to making modificaions... ;)

Denny said...

Hi,

My Toshiba laptop ran into the same problem last year. I did a search and found out it is a common problem for toshiba satellites. What I end up doing was taking apart the computer and clean up the heat sink.

Here's one link that helped out:

http://www.laptoprepair101.com/laptop/2006/01/04/toshiba-laptop-overheating/

Btw, I believe their was a class action suit against toshiba. Here is the link:

http://www.a70m30xsettlement.com/

Hope that helps!

Frugal Guy said...

Denny, thanks for the note and the links!

Anonymous said...

Mine overheats a lot. It has gotten to the point where I can't just sit it on a table, ohhh no. I have to get a tray from the toaster oven and sit it on that. Also, be VERY careful with your charger. I will be sending my Toshiba off for the second time to fix the area where you plug in the actual charger. Just an FYI for you, since last time I got an estimation of it taking a month to recievemy computer back.

Frugal Guy said...

Anon, I feel your pain... :)

I have a "monitor shelf" that lets a keyboard slide under it. I find that if the laptop is on that it isn't sitting close enough to the table to suck up settling dust.

I imagine it's doing the same thing as your toaster oven tray (that's classic by the way).

And, yep, of course, the plugin area is pretty finicky. I haven't had to do repairs, but I often leave it plugged in and in the same location, so it probably just hasn't seen as much use.

However, every time I do plug it back in, it feels... searching for words... fragile, perhaps. It's just hard to tell if it's connecting right or jamming and twisting. What an incredible design feature!

Paul said...

I had the same problem with my Toshiba A105 laptop. Instead of just blowing air into the vents, I decided to completely take it apart.

I found a sheet of dust/lint covering the length of the heatsink. It was like a smaller version of the lint sheet you pull off your clothes dryer lint trap. :O

Frugal Guy said...

Paul,

You are braver than me!

Anonymous said...

what did you use to blow air into it? Are the compressed air cans for cleaning the keyboard good enough?
thanks
jeff

Frugal Guy said...

Jeff,

I'm pretty sure those would be great. I didn't have one on hand so I just turned it upside down and took a deep breath.

The canned air would probably have more force and clear out more dust.