exploratory surgery

Last week, I started up my trusty Thinkpad T42 and got the dreaded “fan error” message. The laptop performs a fan diagnostic at boot time, and if the fan doesn’t pass muster, it beeps twice and shuts down. You can’t even get to BIOS. The standard solution is to simply replace the fan; my warranty service doesn’t expire until next year so it only took a single phone call and the part was on its way. I decided to ask for the part and attempt to repair it myself on the theory that this would be faster than asking for a mail-in box to send the laptop to them for service.

According to the parts sheet for the T4x series (MIGR-46474), the correct fan part type for my specific model (2373-M3U) was 26R7860. This morning, armed with some common sense and a few instructional videos, I took apart my Thinkpad for the first time. Here’s how it went:

So, in the end I had to put everything back and admit defeat. I have a box from IBM arriving tomorrow for me to ship the laptop back to them. I decided that I’d take out my hard drive before sending the thinkpad in, as I’ve wanted to upgrade for a while now. It was ridiculously easy to remove the hard drive. I ordered a new one, with twice the capacity of my old drive (160 GB) but a slower rotational speed (5200 rpm). The low power consumption is the main appeal over competing products from Seagate or Samsung. I’ll dump the old drive in an external case and migrate my data onto a fresh install of Windows XP.

I’m pretty happy about how easy it was to take my laptop apart and put it back together, wrong part follies and wasted time aside. Hopefully I’ll be back in action with a new fan, new drive, and clean OS fairly soon. It’s almost like getting a new one 🙂

1 thought on “exploratory surgery”

  1. Bummer about the wrong part — I always recommend old part in hand before ordering. Sounds like you enjoyed the experience though. It feels right when the manufacturer trusts you with the information to do your own repairs.

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