Fixing an overheating Inspiron 1300 laptop
We love the Dell Inspiron 1300 laptops here in our office - we have 3 of them.
Until recently they were Dell's lowest end laptop, and as I always preach - buy the cheapest laptop you can. They only last a year or two at most, and even the lowest end machines these days are more than powerful enough for what most people need.
Lately the oldest of our 3 laptops has been overheating. Having scalded my partners legs one too many times, it was finally clear that something was seriously wrong with his machine. This was confirmed with a M1004 error code (a Dell overheating code) that tells you to call their service centre.
My partner followed the instructions but was given poor advice. Dell told him it probably needed a new motherboard, but that it was out of warranty. Ka ching.
Dell Inspiron 1300 laptops are usually very easy to fix if they are overheating. I may add photos later but basically you remove the plate that is in the back left position of the laptop (on the underside), assuming you are looking at the laptop as if you were using it normally.
With the plate removed (one screw only), you will see a gold metal heatsink held down by 4 screws on springs. Undo the screws and use the plastic gripper to pull the heatsink straight up and off. Now remove any rectangular blocks of fluff that have built up in the space between where the heatsink was, and the fan that is next to it. Look at the heatsink and see if there's fluff stuck to it too.
Get rid of all the fluff and check there's no fluff on the fan itself. Blowing into the fan a few times should be sufficient to do this.
Replace everything and you're done. 5 mins, no motherboard replacement needed.
**UPDATED June 2009** - Due to the many thankful comments for this and my other popular posts - with people offering me their first born, a dozen cookies, among others (!), I've now added a donation page. If this article has helped you, help me!
Bonus tip.... If the battery on your Dell Inspiron 1300 laptop is not working well anymore, you can get a replacement battery from Dell that is reasonably priced. Make sure to get a 6 cell as the 4 cell are useless. Also, be aware of the improvements you can make to battery life by how you use it. It is generally better to let the battery discharge to around 40% capacity before recharging it, rather than frequent small discharges to say 90% capacity and then back again. Do a full discharge/recharge cycle every so often, to re-calibrate the battery meter in your computer. Also. Leaving a fully charged battery in your laptop while working off the mains supply for extended periods is bad. Consider removing the battery in this case - easy in the case of the Dell Inspiron. Basically fully charged laptop batteries degrade quickly when they are hot, Lithium Ion batteries like to be kept cool. If you need to store a Lithium Ion battery for an extended period of time, store it in the fridge at 40% capacity. For more info than you would probably want to know about batteries, visit the battery university.
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