Dell Studio 17 Laptop Overheating Problem Solved

by Harlan Yee on March 9th, 2011

Dell Laptops

My Dell Studio 17 laptop isn’t that old… At least it doesn’t seem like it. But there have been a few things about it that have made me question this purchase. The first is that the LCD hinge on the right side of the laptop is cracked and loose now. I can’t close it because it looks like the screen is going to fall off if I do. The second is the poor speaker quality for which I found a great solution. Read about it at this post: Logitech z305 Laptop Speaker-Full Review.

Dell Laptops

Finally, I was noticing that my laptop was getting REALLY hot to the touch and the computer always seemed to be working overtime with the fan noise getting louder and working all the time. Then the laptop kept shutting down. Apparently I had a laptop overheating problem. It wasn’t until just recently I started to investigate this further that I realized there was hardly any air coming out from the exhaust vent at the back of the laptop. The little air that was getting out was very hot.

Dell Laptops

As I was using the laptop, the area where my hands would rest below the keyboard was super hot. So was the area near the speakers and media buttons. It was almost too hot to keep my hands on there for very long.

Same thing underneath the laptop. The same corresponding areas under the laptop were even hotter when I felt it each time the laptop shut down. I did some searching and found that this could possibly be a simple air-flow problem. The solution I used can easily be applied to any brand laptop, not just Dells.

Dell Laptops

A little disclaimer on this next part: This may not be best way to clean dirt/lint out of your laptop! Anyways, the first thing I did was set my laptop on the edge of a table with the back of it facing the edge. I then blew 3 or 4 quick bursts of air into the exhaust port. Luckily I moved my head away fast because each time I did it, the amount of dust that flew out looked like smoke coming out of the laptop. The last time I did it, there was no more dust.

Within a minute or two, the hot areas of the laptop were just slightly warm to the touch, exactly what I’d expect to feel. Now I can barely hear the laptop running. Air was now coming out of the rear port.

Dell Laptops

I then thought I really should’ve opened up the laptop to clean the blockage so I removed the 8 screws holding the bottom panel on. The battery can stay attached, no need to remove it.

Dell Laptops

I used a micro-screwdriver to undo the screws.

Dell Laptops

I gently lifted up the panel and got my first look inside.

Dell Laptops

Here’s a birds-eye view of the inside of my laptop.

Dell Laptops

Don’t worry about losing the screws, they’re held in by retaining rings so they won’t fall out. You can already see the fuzzies stuck to the panel.

Dell Laptops

There were still globs of lint inside but not as much as I expected.

Dell Laptops

The majority of it was at the exhaust port. I’m wondering what this part would’ve looked like if I hadn’t blown air into it first?

Dell Laptops

I took my Dyson vacuum with brush attachment and started to lightly vacuum out the inside of the laptop.

Dell LaptopsDell Laptops

Here we see the before and after of the fan blades.

Dell LaptopsDell Laptops

This is what the rear port now looks like.

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This is the bottom cover before and after.

After the vacuuming was done, I simply replaced the bottom cover and tightened the screws.

My Dell Studio 1735 now runs cool and quiet. No more shut downs! Now this is just how I solved my particular laptop overheating problem. There are lots of things that can cause an overheating problem:

  • Software
  • Viruses
  • Poor Laptop Design
  • Environment
  • Malfunctioning Fans
  • Air Flow Restrictions
  • And More

You’ll have to investigate on your own to solve your own laptop overheating problem but I think checking for any air-flow blockages would be a good first step. If you’ve checked for software causes, blockage, etc and your laptop still gets too hot, you could use a laptop cooling pad. It’s a simple device you put under your laptop that has one or more fans to help dissipate heat away from your laptop. They’re lightweight and usually run by USB power so it can move with you as you move your laptop around.

Here’s a small list of laptop cooling pads I compiled that come in a variety of sizes to accomodate any size laptop:

Cooler Master Notepal U2 Notebook Cooler with Two Fans

Features:

Logitech Notebook Cooling Pad

Features:

  • Comes in 3 colors: green, grey, dusty rose
  • Can be used on desk or lap
  • USB powered
  • Low power consumption [see images and full specs...]

Belkin F5L001-BLK Laptop Cooling Pad

Features:

  • Fits conveniently in laptop bag
  • Wave design enhances cooling capabilities
  • USB powered
  • Storage compartment for USB cable when not in use [see images and full specs...]

Thermaltake Massive23 LX Laptop Notebook Cooler

Features:

  • Oversized 230mm ultra-quiet fan with blue LEDs
  • Built-in fan On/Off switch and LED light On/Off switch
  • Handles allow the unit to be easily carried anywhere
  • Hidden storage space enables cable storage
  • Gold plated USB plug [see images and full specs...]

Cooler Master Notepal X2 Notebook Cooler

Features:

  • Silent 140 mm fan
  • Fan speed control
  • Two different height settings for improved comfort
  • Accomodates up to 17-Inch notebooks [see images and full specs...]

 

These are just a few of the laptop cooling pads available. Here are more laptop cooling pads if you want to try them for your laptop overheating problem. Laptop cooling pads are not a solution for bigger problems that might permanently damage your laptop so do your research and try cleaning out the intake and exhaust areas of your laptop first.

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