Sunday, March 18th 2007

Laptop overheating and sudden shutdown (HP Pavilion ZD7000)
posted @ 9:06 am in [ Technology ]

My HP Pavilion ZD7000 CTO laptop has been a great work horse since I first got it about 2 years ago when we were setting up Skywire properly.

Basically, having the power of a desktop in a laptop body is fantastic and the machine can cope quite happily with the work we need to do in our agency day to day – programming, graphics, ftp everything seems to run just fine which is great.

Now obviously there is one big disadvantage of putting a desktop PC, including desktop specification Pentium 4 processor, into a laptop is that it is going to generate a lot of heat. A huge amount of heat in fact.

This is normally fine, as the bods at HP that designed the machine have included 2 fairly huge fans in the bottom, and a series of heat sinks to draw away the heat from the processor and to pass it out through the sides of the laptop case into the normal world to be cooled down again.

However… what they didn’t really do very well is stop the intakes in the bottom of the machine where the fans suck in the cool air they need to keep the laptop happy from sucking in with it dust and general rubbish that gets into the air in a normal, un-airconditioned office.

So, what happens is over time the fans grab this dust, spin it around at high speed and then try and throw it out again through the heat sinks, where obviously it gets stuck and begins to accumulate.

Fine you think – that’s a bit annoying but I guess I can live with it.

Well unluckly no! The specification on the machine is so high that basically the processor can run really hot if you start doing CPU intensive applications such as PhotoShop and if it can’t keep itself cool, then the emergency break comes in and the machine shuts down. Straight away. No warning. Really annoying.

So it’s time to start cleaning your machine.

Phase One: Remove the fans

So I started by removing the cover to the fans (8/9 small screws easily undone with a watch maker’s screwdriver) and then the fans themselves (3 screws a piece) and pulling out the clumps of dust I found in there. You would have thought this was where most of the dust was however on re-assembly the machine still kept shutting down, so onto phase two.

Phase Two: Cleaning the heat sinks themselves.

Luckily HP have allowed relatively easy access to the heat sinks – there are 7 screws that hold a silver metal plate that can be removed after the fans (I had to use some pliers with the screw driver to open these as they were very tight) and this is where everything gets interesting….

3 Responses to “Laptop overheating and sudden shutdown (HP Pavilion ZD7000)”

  1. TF Says:

    Did this stop permanent damage ?
    What did you see when you took of the second cover ?

  2. Laptop issues and Weddings prevented me from posting :( | Shabbir's Blog Says:

    […] – all having an identical problem.  An example of folks having this problem can be found at Skywire – Alex Judd’s Blog.  […]

  3. Eileen Says:

    Today I took my HP zv5000 Laptop apart and found the overheating problem – it was not the battery. The inside of the fan unit was clogged on the inside of the fins. From the outside everything looked clean but the inside was clogged with a solid sheet of lint on the inside edge of the fins. You were exactly right on the problem. I’m running cool now. Sure wish I hadn’t wasted that $30 on a cooling pad!

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