Overcoming Fear: Dissasembling a Netbook

CAM01148Five years old and my Asus Eee 900 fan was telling me in no subtle way that it was about to die. Based on previous experience, I thought that a drop of general purpose lubricant in the fan’s bearing would breath new life into it so I went to fetch my screwdrivers and started disassembling the little machine.

It took about 2 minutes for me to realise that I might have been a bit hasty. I got a creeping feeling that getting to the fan would not be all that easy. I checked online, found a few DIY Asus Eee disassembly videos and grew more and more worried and frustrated as it dawned on me that not only is replacing the fan not trivial, it required nothing less than opening the bottom panel, removing the hard disk drive, the keyboard, the top panel, the motherboard and detaching the screen.

The thing is, in such a small device, everything is tightly packed and unlike anything else I’ve ever seen in the PC era: paper-thin narrow connectors, all of them really short, tricky to remove and put back in, tightly-fitted plastic pieces and the like. As icing on the cake, once I finally reached the fan after about 90 minutes of careful dissection, I concluded that I couldn’t disassemble its chassis to lubricate it, went on line, ordered a new fan for 5-6 Euro, waited a week for it to arrive from France and then finally put everything back together.

The test boot (before the chassis was closed and screwed in again) was exciting but it went fine: there were no left over parts and the machine was purring nicely, so I could screw everything back in place. It took about 2-3 hours, which is roughly what would have taken me to drop it off and pick it up from a repair shop (not to mention worrying about your data when the machine goes into the shop…), but more valuable than the 30-50 Euro the shop would have charged for the repair is the satisfaction of doing something you didn’t know you could do, with your own hands and doing it right.


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