Ever had an encounter with a Laptop Overheating and Shutting itself down? I personally have had this experience more than once and I can admit it is pretty annoying. In this article, we will together unmask the mystery behind overheating laptops, what causes the laptop to overheat and how the overheating causes automatic shut downs.
Some of the common symptoms to look out for includes the following:
- Laptop fan is always running at high speeds
- The Laptop is extremely hot in the base or bottom area.
- Laptop shuts down on its on when doing nothing
- Laptop shuts down during game plays.
- The laptop fan makes a lot of noise.
The cooling Mechanism of a Laptop?
We all know that a laptop computer produces heat in its normal operations just like any other electrical component. The laptop therefore, has a cooling mechanism. Before I jump right into what causes a laptop computer to overheat, let me explain the cooling process.
Heat produced by the CPU, and from the graphics chip, is channeled away from the processors through a copper metal strips. On the other end of the copper heatsink, there are metal fins laid side-by-side through which the heat is led out. This metal fins provide very large surface area for heat loss. The fan then collects air from the outside environment through the various openings at the bottom of the laptop. The air is blown on the metal strip collecting the heat and channeling the heat out of the computer via the metal fins.
What causes a laptop to overheat?
A small number of overheating problems in laptop computers are caused by hardware fault in the cooling system of the computer. The fan can have a mechanical failure causing it to spin too slow or not spin at all, or a motherboard electrical fault that could hinder the cooling process by not instructing the fan to spin at the right speeds cool the laptop. In this scenario, a technician could come in handy.
However, a majority of the overheating problems are caused by blockage of air channels. In this case, the fun is working fine but the air channels are obstructed. The hot air is unable to get out of the laptop and hence the heat builds up making the laptop to overheat. The most likely cause of air flow blockage is build up of dust materials in front of the metal fins or rather the metal heatsink grill. It is common knowledge that as the fan collects cool air from the environment, dust particles may find their way into the computer through the vents at the bottom of the laptop. Some of these particles stick in between the grills causing obstruction.
Laptop Overheating and Shutting itself down.
How does overheating cause automatic shutdown of computers? I will answer this by expounding more on how the computer reacts to heat build up. When the fins are partially blocked, the amount of hot air leaving the computer becomes lesser as more dust builds up.
A laptop has temperature sensors and they hence detect that the internal temperature is getting too hot. The sensors then cause the fans to spin faster, hence the noise, in bid to try force the hot air out through the now narrow metal grills. This can work for a while but after with time, the blockage may become too thick. At this point, the fan will be spinning at the maximum speeds possible but still unable to stabilize the internal temperature of the laptop.
The laptop temperature sensors will realize this excessive heat build up and will instruct the laptop to power off as a final safety or fail-safe protection measure. The notion behind this is that if the computer is no longer running, the CPU is no longer producing more and more heat, the existing internal heat will therefore gradually ooze out on through the vents and the laptop will cool off and hopefully, avoid serious damage.
How to fix Laptop Overheating.
Considering laptop overheating caused by dust build-up, here is how to fix the issue. Actually, it is pretty much easy. You need to get rid of the dust to clear the fins so that the air flow is not blocked.
To do this, you can use a blow dryer to blow the dust off the metal grills. Simply take the dryer, power it on, and put the setting to the lowest temperature and alternate between high and low speed. Blow into the vents at the bottom of the laptop especially the one leading up to the metal heat sink. I assure you this will fix Laptop Overheating and Shutting itself down problem 8 out of 10 times.
For extreme cases, where the dust is too sticky to come out, you may be required to unscrew the laptop, get it open and give it a good wipe. As a safety precaution, consider doing this clean up once in a while and you will not have your Laptop Overheating and Shutting itself down.