Sony Vaio overheating: replacing or cleaning cooling fan
Problem: Sony Vaio laptop is overheating
Solution: Replacing or cleaning the dual cooling fan
When the fan in my Vaio PCG-K15 started to make nasty noises, getting very hot, and the laptop started to turn itself off frequently, I went to a local CompUSA store in the United States (from where I bought my laptop) for services. They charged me $168 and kept the computer for 5 weeks (initially promising to have it repaired in 2 weeks), after which I was asked to get my computer back, un-repaired. They could not order the parts, since a good number of CompUSA in the East coast was closing in that period of time. Not wandering why…
I made several phone calls, went to a few computer service companies, but all in vain. I was told that Sony laptops need to be shipped back to Sony since they are “difficult to open” or they are “not allowed to open Sony” and things of this nature… It meant for me to spend some $500 and several more weeks, which made little sense to me. Better to buy a new laptop.
So, I did quite a lot of Internet search in order to get (1) what is the real problem with my laptop and (2) how to disassemble it. I have determined that the problem of my laptop was in the cooling fan and I need to replace it.
I must recognize that I never opened a laptop before. But, after I did it, I found it all quite straightforward and not difficult at all. This is why I want to share this experience with other Sony Vaio laptop owners and provide you with basic instructions on how to
Laptop Disassembly steps
Warning: a mistake could result in expensive repair service. Therefore, be very careful. You do it on your own risk.
Equipment needed: 1 very small Phillips head screw driver; 1 small flat bladed standard screw driver.
Make sure you have your data backed up. Just in case.
Place the laptop on a clean table. Unplug the laptop from the AC adapter and take out the batteries.
On the under-side of the laptop, any screw with a little arrow by it needs to be removed, as shown in the picture (click on pictures to enlarge).
Open the laptop and tilt the display all the way back. Cover the display so you don't scratch or scuff it.
Remove the panel that has the speakers and power button on it. This panel is secured by 4 little latches that edge just over the top of the keyboard to lock it in place. See the photo below. Take flat head screw drive and push them back while gently lifting up the panel, then lift the two support arms that are on the display side. You can then carefully lay the panel on the display.
Now you need to remove the keyboard. There are 3 little screws securing the keyboard. Remove them. Lift the keyboard by the top where the “function” keys are and slide it out towards the top of the laptop. Lay the keyboard on the opposite side of the display.
Once you have opened your Vaio case you will see a large metal plate that covers the cooling fan. Unscrew screws as shown in the picture. Slightly lift the left side of the plate and gently move the plate to your left until it is removed.
And you will see the cooling fan now.
Cleaning: you can easily clean of any dust with a soft brush and gently vacuum out the heat sink but watch out for that static.
Replacing: you will need to remove the fan from its mounting plate; the image above shows the three screws which need to be removed to free the fan. Unscrew all 3 screws. The screws will not come out. Just unscrew them until the fan is free of the motherboard. Unplug the fan power leads from the motherboard by lifting connectors straight up. In case the processor stays attached to the fan, carefully remove it and place on the motherboard back. The processor has adhesive on it and can be carefully peeled back. Unlock and then lock back the processor after you fix it in place. See the other side (below) of the old fan after it is removed from the computer:
other side of the fan
after removing the fan
Assembling is the same process in reverse order.
Carefully position the fan back over the top of the processor. Tighten the 3 screws.
Plug the cooling fan power leads back into the motherboard.
Double check all of the fan screws. Double check that you plugged in the cooling fan power connectors.
Place the plate back into place. Then put back the keyboard and tighten down the 3 screws.
Place the Speaker Panel back into place.
Screw back all screws on the underside of the laptop.
That should be it! Hope this will help some fellow Sony Vaio users. Good luck!
Purchasing a new cooling fan. I ordered a cooling fan from a website that had fans I needed for $65 per unit (laptoprepairparts.com), although I think it was used, not new, the fan works just fine. They shipped it quickly for an additional $9 (S&H) - within the US. The site says that the “dual cooling fan assembly, 3-wires each” is good for a full range of Vaio laptops: (PCG-K12FP, PCG-K12P, PCG-K13, PCG-K13F, PCG-K13Q, PCG-K14, PCG-K15, PCG-K15F, PCG-K17, PCG-K20P, PCG-K23, PCG-K23F, PCG-K23Q, PCG-K24FP, PCG-K25, PCG-K25F, PCG-K27, VGN-K20P). The one that was bad in my computer had the following serial number: 90WFANJE21'04WK10 and the purchased fan has this number: 90WFANJE21'04WK11. Look around, you might find a better deal.