Monday, October 10, 2011

Thinkpad too hot? Here's what to do

I've had a series of Thinkpad laptops over the years.  By the time I get them, they are always "surplus" machines, and I can still get my use out of them.  Usually, I get them at 3 years, and I can get at least another three out of them.

If the Thinkpads have a weak spot in them, they always run hot.   At least the ones I have had do.   When I got this, the first thing I did was to "flea dip" the machine.  It was filthy, and encrusted from the last owner's ... funk.  It also required that I blow out the fans to get the dust and grime out of them.

The problem was that getting to use the machine meant getting it hot.  After using the machine for about an hour, I'd look at my leg and realize that it's basically turned into something that resembled a lobster.

I've had this happen with each of the hand-me-down Thinkpads that I owned.

Luckily there is a solution.  Each time I get a new Thinkpad, I end up "testing" the same piece of software and it's called "TPFC".  ThinkPad Fan Control.

I had found this link for the software, and if that does not work, do a search for "Thinkpad Fan Control" and start reading.

The sensors and all the software heavy lifting work has been done for you.  This particular version I am running goes out and takes control of the fans under Windows from the hardware and will keep the speed up.

Sure it is noisier, but you won't end up with sweaty Lobster Legs.

There are other tricks but this is a good one if you're using a Thinkpad.

I found the full discussion for the software at this link.   One thing to concern yourself with is that it is also possible that it just won't work.   They try to keep this up to date, but it is somewhat "experimental".  The only thing I can say is that it "worked for me but it may not work for you".  Luckily Lenovo has kept the same hardware controllers that IBM had on the older models - however that is NOT a guarantee.

The software was a download, unzip and double click on the "setup.exe" file inside the zip.  There is a read me file in there too to help you figure out how to configure it, but I just set the thing to run at full on Manual which was how it was set up when I started it.

Once that is done, you will need to do two things.
1) go to the folder C:\tpfancontrol\ in explorer and run the link "Install Service".
2) TPFanControl from the start menu and drag and drop it into your start up folder.  Now it will run every time you start up the laptop.

You Mileage May Vary - but my legs are not red.

Good luck!  Hope it helps!

Oh one other thing that I found out - if you pop the DVD/CD drive out of the bay and run your machine, airflow is better and it will stay cooler without software.  That *may* be just enough.

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