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06-17-2012 03:19 PM
I am not a computer tech, but a civilian who would like to service his own HP laptop in order to save money on repairs.
I saw a refurb (dv6-6c35dx) on bestbuy that did have a service model, and I expect to be in the market for a new or refurb HP laptop in teh very near future.
(1) Are there certain product lines that do/don't have service manuals available?
(2) Also, are there certain product lines (for laptops) that would/would not be recommended for an amateur wanting to service his own laptop (I do have some experience doing this with laptops in the past)?
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06-17-2012 05:32 PM - edited 06-17-2012 05:37 PM
Service manuals are available for all HP laptops here. Current laptops are much harder to work on than say 5 years ago. They are much flimsier and there are a lot more internal components. It would be similar to somebody who had worked on cars in the '60s trying to work on a modern car. Having said that, many things are doable by a skilled first timer. Screen replacement is a good example. And in any event there is very little repair. It is mostly identification and replacement of defective components. Anything other than a complete motherboard replacement is doable for an "amateur", really, but the motherboard replacement is a common necessity. The other rough rule of thumb to keep in mind is that the ease of service is proportional to the thickness of the laptop. The large 17 inch desktop replacements have more room inside to work on them. Again, kind of like cars. And don't forget you have this Forum. We can usually help troubleshoot and identify the problem component; is it hardware or software, etc.
06-17-2012 05:38 PM
thanks Huffer (for both thread replies). If this makes any difference, the repair that I think I'll have to do the most is working with fans and clearing dust away from them.
I'm also looking at the 15.x inch laptops, which seem to be cheaper than 12 inch, never tried 17 inch, and I don't want a netbook that is 10 inches.
06-18-2012 07:48 AM
Clearing the dust is almost as bad as replacing the motherboard and in many cases actually requires removal of the motherboard. Some older HP models, almost all of them 17 inchers, had an access panel to the CPU and fan on the bottom. A few of them allow access to the fan and heatsink just under the keyboard. But most thave the fan and heatsink on the underside of the motherboard which means you have to take it out to get to the fan and heatsink area. If you keep it blown out you can forestall needing to do this, by the way. The best thing for you to do is narrow it down to 2 or 3 models and we can tell you preceisely how hard it will be to get to the fan/heatsink.
06-18-2012 08:57 AM
When you say " If you keep it blown out"--what do you mean by this? I have compressed air, but I'm not sure how I'd keep the dust out, apart from doing just waht you have said--taking the motherboard out.
At this point, I'm growing open to the netbooks (smaller models), anything that would allow me to easily service the laptop, although I recall your saying that the smaller the unit, the harder it is....
06-18-2012 02:57 PM - edited 06-18-2012 03:02 PM
Netbooks are the worst. They are very fragile. It is very easy to break the keyboard ribbon cable, for example. Athough they usually have passive cooling and do not need to have the cooling fan cleaned out. They also usually do not last long enough to need it even if they did. By blown out I just mean put a paperclip in there to keep the fan bearing from burning out by spinning out of control and blow the compressed air in there. Do it every 3-6 months and you can prevent a dust block from building up in there.
06-18-2012 03:14 PM
That sounds very simple. I'd love to do maintenance like that.
But that won't push dust further into the mobo/system? I mean, you have the vent, then the fan, and then the dust that accumulates on/around the fan.... and blowing compressed air into the innards of the laptop won't push it inward? Or is there something I'm not seeing?.....
06-18-2012 03:19 PM - edited 06-18-2012 03:22 PM
Well technically it would be best to use a vacuum cleaner with one of those concentrator attachments like you use to go between the sofa cushions. If some dust blows in further the cooling fan will pull it out when you release the paperclip and let the fan run again. The cooling fan compartment generally is a closed in box around the processor/heatsink when you look at it in 3 dimensions when the laptop is all assembled. Not much dust can get past there. The big dust buildup comes between the fan outlet and the exhaust port. I have disassembled laptops and found a square block of dust in there as thick as a yoga mat, allowing no air to get out. A program of just blowing out the fan grill area will prevent that. Laptops that have that kind of dust buildup generally just shut themselves off.