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Monday, January 24, 2011

Macbook fan mod

   I bought a 13'' white Macbook in the summer of 2008.  I didn't know much about Apple computers when I bought it, and that's kinda why I bought it.  It worked just fine, but after about a year of using it, I noticed it started to get laggy.  I also started noticing that it got hot underneath.  This got even worse when I was booted up into my Windows partition.  I found a program called smc fan control that let me adjust the fan speed manually, and that helped a lot, but only for a time.  
   I searched my problem, and although I found that a lot of people were having the same problem, various fan control applications were the only solutions I really found.
   I also read that Apple computers had the Macbook designed by an architect instead of an engineer.  WTF?  Architecture is definitely a respectable profession, but honestly, what do they know about designing a computer that an electrical or mech E dont?  The Macbook was designed (I'm confident) without considering the effects of heat.  The best that they came up with was that air could be taken in from the little teeny tiny gaps in between the keyboard keys.  That is ridiculous.
   I eventually had to take an aluminum ruler and set it underneath with a cup of ice on the end as a heat sink when I was using more CPU intensive programs.

   Over the summer I took off the top case and keyboard assembly to see how much dust and lint had gotten caught up in the fan, ad it was quite a bit.  I took a picture of it, but ant seem to find it now.  What I found looked like small a triangle of dryer lint clogged up in the cooling fins where air is suppose to exit the machine.  I cleaned it out and noticed a great improvement, but it still wasn't as good as I wanted it to be.

   I recently got a job that requires me to do a lot of Matlab coding.  I knew that my macbook probably couldn't do it unless I did something drastic.  My idea was to cut out a chunk of the case under the fan.  It was a good idea, but would have look ugly.  I looked up some kind of cool circular design (as the fan is circular) but didn't find anything that was either a viable option or liked.  I waited a while and let my subconscious mull it over.  It turned out to be a great success.  What I came up with made the conscious part of my brain feel embarrassed because I am a nuclear engineering student - I decided to do the radioactive trefoil.

   I use a guide from ifixit to take the fan assembly out and went from there.  The pictures are pretty straight forward.

I was temped to just leave at that.  It kinda looks like some sort of creepy skull.

I had filed it down.

Don't look too closely at it or you will see how crappy it is.  Something about it looks lopsided, but whatever, its underneath.

   I went to a hardware store and bout a screen door patching kit.  The little pieces of screen patch in it turned out to be the perfect size.  I secured it with a little hot glue and put the fan back on and re assembled the whole thing.

   Since then, by temperature has gone from the mid 60's C, to mid 30's C when using it.