T901 Disassembly Guide

Discussion in 'Fujitsu' started by Selofain, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Selofain

    Selofain Professional Lurker

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    The goal of this disassembly guide is to get to the CPU, either to replace or repaste it. Display panel disassembly is not covered here.

    Be aware that I am not responsible for anything you choose to do to your T901. Do this at your own risk, as it will void your warranty.

    [HR][/HR]
    I've been meaning to repaste my CPU for months, but the lack of a service manual (curse you Fujitsu!) and lack of time meant that I didn't get around to it until now. Disassembled, repasted, and took many pictures which are posted in the guide below.

    The disassembly is pretty easy. The hardest part are the screws. No joke, there are a bunch of screws that are very difficult to get out and nearly as difficult to get back in (yes, in!). This makes it really easy to effectively strip the screws. Given their regularity, I have to believe that this is a deliberate design choice by Fujitsu. I wonder if they tell service providers to replace the screws after every disassembly or if they give them secret awesome tools for to avoid stripping and for easy unscrewing. Whoever thought up deliberately difficult screws needs to be shot. And dropped in acid. Before being shot again.

    My particular model is the Fujitsu T901 with Nvidia and is WWAN ready. I don't know if all T901 units are WWAN ready or not- if yours isn't, there will be some minor differences (no WWAN antennas/sim slot). For models without Nvidia. there shouldn't be any difference.

    April 26 Edit: So I got me some nice precision screwdrivers and did another disassembly (air bubbles in my thermal paste, bah). I noted some minor errors (why unscrew more than you have to?) and added some information regarding CPU removal and thermal pads at the bottom.

    [HR][/HR]
    Tools required:

    - Phillips screwdriver #0
    - Thin, plastic straight edge, like old gift card or guitar pick
    - Something to deal with hex screws (like small pliers or 5mm (3/16") nut driver)
    Optional: tiny flathead screwdriver or pick with a curved tip

    Notes: A screwdriver with a magnetic tip would be extremely helpful with disassembly. There are a lot of recessed screws. You also need to make sure that your screwdriver is one that you can apply a lot of torque to. That cheap set you got from Radio Shack is NOT going to cut it, believe me.

    Set-up:

    I recommend some method of isolating and labeling your screws. I generally use a sheet of paper, tape, and a pencil to tape down and label (sometimes with a diagram) all my screws.

    For this disassembly, I was actually using small Altoids boxes and bookmark post-its. If you're not a lazy Altoids addict like me, go with the paper and tape.

    [HR][/HR]
    - FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS AS WRITTEN, PICTURES ARE FOR REFERENCE ONLY. I took pictures as I figured out the disassembly, so the pictures won't accurately reflect the disassembly instructions.
    - The screws I mention and circle are meant to be removed, if it's not clear. It's repetitive to repeat that for nearly every step.
    - Clickable pictures lead to a full-sized version. If it's not clickable, there's no larger version.
    - I do apologize for the quality of the pictures. Lighting wasn't ideal for pictures and I happened to be working on a black tabletop. I did my best to edit the pictures for clarity. If there are any pictures I could edit to make even more clear, let me know which and how and I'll do my best.

    1. Get out your T901.

    [​IMG]

    - Unplug everything- power, usb drives, etc.
    - Remove anything you can without having to resort to screws. Battery (ESPECIALLY THIS), pen, expresscard slot holder, dust filter, whatever's in your ODD slot, sim card, SD card, etc.
    - Make sure your sim card lock is set to unlock. It's under a cover next to the Kensington lock, on the side with front panel buttons.



    2. Back panels

    [​IMG]

    - The hard drive cover only has one screw (labeled HD).
    - The RAM cover only has two screws (r1 and r2).
    - 1-10 are screws for the panel that hides the fan, wifi, and WWAN.
    - All these covers should easily lift away, though the fan cover will have a single clip near the recessed bump. Make sure to push it back in during reassembly.



    3. Hard drive

    [​IMG]

    - Push the hard drive to the left, then lift.



    4. Ram, fan screws

    [​IMG]

    - The fan has two screws holding it down (circles 1 and 2).
    - It's not entirely necessary to remove the RAM, but I recommend it, as it's one less thing to work around.



    5. Fan, wifi

    [​IMG]

    - The wifi card has two antennas, gray and black. Detach them by lifting them up. There's also a screw (that you can sorta see in circle 1). Undo the screw, and the card should pop up. Just take it out then.
    - Unplug the fan. Try not to yank by the wires.



    6. WWAN/USB board

    [​IMG]

    - Lift up the black tape to free the WWAN antennas. Leave the tape on the board.
    - There are two screws (at 1 and 2).
    - For the plug at 3, this is where a pick with a curved tip would come in handy. Normally, one would use fingernails to lift up the edges, but there's not enough room for that. I used a tiny flathead screwdriver to work one edge at a time. You could probably grip all the cables and pull, but I don't really recommend that.



    7. Top hinge screws

    [​IMG]

    - Next to the rotate lights are screw covers. Use a small flathead or toothpick to get them out. There's a screw underneath each.



    8. Rear hinge cover

    [​IMG]

    - This is where the plastic straight edge comes in. A guitar pick would work better, but all I had were old gift cards. BE VERY CAREFUL AND GENTLE. The clips are very easy to snap off. I broke one my first time. It's not a big deal if you do break one, as long as there are clips to secure the cover when you put it back on. The clips are located roughly where the circles are.
    - Note: for reassembly, it's easier to put this back on before the front hinge cover. There will be a plastic film that goes over the cables.


    9. Front hinge cover

    [​IMG]

    - The front cover with the rotate lights only has two clips, one on each side. It's easy enough to remove.



    10. Rotate board

    [​IMG]

    - 1 and 2 are plugs that need unplugging. 3 is the screw that holds the board down. I unscrewed it before unplugging it. You may find it easier to do it the other way around.



    11. Keyboard and touchpad

    [​IMG]

    - The keyboard lifts away easily enough with a little bit of jiggling. Don't just yank it out though, since it's still attached via a ribbon cable. There are two blacks tabs, one on each side of the connection. Push those tabs out and slide the ribbon cable out.
    - 2 is the touchpad ribbon connection. The tabs are brown. Same procedure.



    12. Bluetooth board

    [​IMG]

    - The bluetooth board is taped down, so you can't remove it. But you do need to unplug it. Hook a fingernail on each side and pull.



    13. LCD cables

    [​IMG]

    - Back underneath the computer, there are two LCD cables you need to unplug. Same deal as the WWAN plug.



    14. Hinge screws

    [​IMG]

    - There are four screws still on the hinge- two in front and two on the back. Make sure that your display panel doesn't just fall over when the last screw comes out.



    15. Separation of display panel

    [​IMG]

    - With the display panel on the bottom, carefully lift the other half away. You'll have to fiddle with the cables and antennas to get them through the hole.

    Here they are in two pieces!
    [​IMG]



    16. Back panel screws

    [​IMG]

    - These screws suck. They're hard to get and get back in. There are 12 total. It turns out that screws 2 and 3 can be left alone. Screw 12 is smaller than the others, so take note. Take your time with these screws. Take no chances with stripping. This is the most difficult part, though there will be one of two others that are nearly as bad.



    17. Motherboard screws

    [​IMG]

    - 5-8 are easy enough. 1-4 are under a plastic cover. Carefully peel back the cover, as there is a middle sticky layer attaching it to the motherboard. 1 is one of those hard screws. 3 may be a bit tricky to get back in, as there's not a lot of room for it. I used a thinner screwdriver to screw it back in.



    18. Palmrest

    [​IMG]

    - Most of the palmrest will just lift away. There are a few clips around the corner with the pen garage. Just jiggle at those (maybe with the plastic edge), and remember to clip them shut when reassembling.

    Here's the motherboard and the underside of the palmrest.
    [​IMG]



    19. LED board and other motherboard screws

    [​IMG]

    - First off, there will be some metal thingy under screw 3. Observe the position of this thing, because I totally did not see it until it kind of flew out when I removed the LED board. So I have no idea how it's supposed to be positioned. Otherwise, screws in 1-3. (Take care, these are hard to get in and out.)
    - 4 is the ribbon connector for the LED board. Push the side tabs out and slide out.
    - 5 is a screw on the motherboard which may or may not be difficult. I don't remember.
    - 6 and 7 are the hex screws next to the VGA. I used a pair of pliers to loosen them, then used my fingers the rest of the way.
    - Note: for reassembly, make sure the wireless switch is lined up (and plugged in! I forgot on my first reassembly :( ), or else it won't work.



    20. DC power connector

    [​IMG]

    - Carefully lift up the motherboard. It'll still be connected via the DC power in. You should be able to lay the motherboard flat upside-down while still connected. The plug is black. Push it out by the side tabs.



    21. Heatsink

    [​IMG]

    - Alright, down to the heatsink! The four screws are easy enough, once you get past the high initial resistance.



    25. Profit!

    [​IMG]

    And there you have it, a clean CPU and heatsink! The Nvidia uses a thermal pad, which caught me off guard, as I didn't have a replacement. I reused the old one, and the temps seem fine, not that I tax it too often anyway.

    To remove the CPU, use a 3.5mm flathead to turn the lock. The CPU lifts away easily. Relocking will take a little more force.

    The thermal pad is super thin. I'm pretty sure it's only .5mm thick, and it was squashed. You might be able to get away with using thick paste. I'll replace mine some day- I tore it a bit.

    I also noted that the Nvidia and CPU are on the same heatsink, and that the Nvidia cooling takes precedence over CPU cooling by virtue of being closer to the fan. I had some nebulous future plan of maybe swapping a quad core in there if my T901 ever felt slow, but I'm not sure if I'll be doing that now.

    There really isn't room for a real dGPU in this thing without sacrificing the modular bay, which is too bad (I'm totally in love with the modular bay). Still, the option is there, if Fujitsu ever wants to take that step. (Or go bigger, I'd go for that.)

    For reassembly, follow the directions in reverse, and remember to plug everything back in. If there's anything that's unclear, please let me know! I'll edit this post to fix it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  2. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Nice! Did you get your temps down when you repasted? If so, by how much on average under load and idle?
    Curious to know how much difference it can make. If I could get 10 degrees cooler, I could get way more performance out of the iGPU in my system... Although I would take it in to a professional while I'm still under warranty to do it. Just wondering if you think it's worth it.
     
  3. monkey13

    monkey13 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks, Selofain, for this nice and detailed disassembly guide!
    Please pin this thread just like the other disassembly guides, because they are our only help with Fujitsu's tablets. I don't think Fujitsu would be impressed by any petition to publish their service manuals...
     
  4. Selofain

    Selofain Professional Lurker

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    My idle temps haven't really changed, though I think that's more due to the fact that I have lots of background processes going. My load temps have dropped at least 5 degrees, maybe more like 7 in some cases (I never logged hard numbers). I used Artic Silver 5, so I expect it'll probably improve a couple more degrees after it's finished burning in.

    You'll definitely want to repaste at some point. Factory paste is pretty much universally terrible.
     
  5. Mak

    Mak Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Selofain, thank you for a good review!
    I have a question about WWAN antenna: you said yours was pre-installed (you have WWAN ready system).
    Is it easy to disassemble it?
    What do you think, is it possible to install separately purchased antenna (it is a lot for sale at ebay and aliexpress) into NON-WWAN T901 system?
     
  6. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    thankyou. That's excellent to hear! 7 degrees is a BIG difference. I'm gonna have mine repasted when my current contract is over then.
     
  7. Selofain

    Selofain Professional Lurker

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    I'm not sure, but I do know that it would involve disassembling the display panel. The wires go to a flip-out antenna at the top of the display, which may or may not be present on non-WWAN systems. I think you would also have to replace the board if there's no slot for a sim card or WWAN card, since that board is used for the USB port as well. You'd also have to look at if the sim card slot is simply missing or sealed shut.

    If the flip-out antenna is there, I'd say your chances are pretty good. I don't know enough to say otherwise.
     
  8. Mak

    Mak Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Selofain,
    Thanks for reply. So I think getting NON-WWAN system and upgrade it with $20 antenna and WWAN card is a bad idea :)
    The question was because if you want to have WWAN-READY T902 (similar situation for T901) - it will be about $400 extra to custom configure (compared to newegg offerings for pre-buit systems for example)

    one more question - can processor in T901 be upgraded to other Sandy Bridge chip? I've read that in T902 it is soldered to motherboard
     
  9. Selofain

    Selofain Professional Lurker

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    No, Intel processors can't be upgraded outside of their generation. You could stick a Sandy Bridge quad core in there, but this post over at NBR says that there may be issues with cooling and long-term performance.

    A lot of T901's were preconfigured to be WWAN-ready, it could be that whatever model you're looking at is. For example, the two T901 that Fujitsu has up at their official ebay store are both WWAN-ready and seem to be preconfigured models.
     
  10. rcxAsh

    rcxAsh Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Wow thanks for taking the time to put together this guide, Selofain!
     
  11. SuperFlyBoy

    SuperFlyBoy Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Any possibility/attempt to see if an mSATA SSD supported by the T901?
     
  12. Selofain

    Selofain Professional Lurker

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    I did some research into that a while ago to see if I could put my empty ports to use. Short answer is no, since the T901 was never offered with mSATA.

    Basically, while it would fit physically in the mPCIe slot, there's no SATA controller onboard to interpret signals. You could get a mPCIe SSD (or an expresscard SSD!), but those are ridiculously expensive.

    Still, I haven't actually tried it. Maybe, miracle of miracles, it would work. And that'd be awesome. But everything I've found points to no.
     
  13. SuperFlyBoy

    SuperFlyBoy Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Oh well - Fujitsu never bothered to offer this as a pure storage solution, so even on the T902, one would not be fully supported there...

    I prefer the larger screen of the T901 and I gather the T902 would be sharing CPU RAM for the Intel GPU, thus reducing available RAM on the T902 as compared to the T901...
     
  14. nema.arpit

    nema.arpit Pen Pal - Newbie

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    While mSATA itself is probably not possible, an mPCIe based SSD can be installed if the wwan port is truly mPCIe, and not just an mPCIe lookalike USB.
    See here:
    Netbook SSD | Super Talent Technology - SSD | Solid State Drives
    The CoreStore MV claims to have the mPCIe interface, not SATA or IDE and should work in mPCIe ports.
    Booting from it would be another battle.
     
  15. LROBBINS

    LROBBINS Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for the useful guide. One recommendation though - buy a set of 1st class micro screwdrivers! Although I much prefer the torx head screws used by HP and Lenovo (at least on business-class models), I have yet to strip a Fujitsu Phillips screw using quality drivers, but had damaged many with el-cheapos before I wised up. Also, you might add a small, but strong, magnet and a pair of fine, curved forceps to your kit. Put the magnet along the screwdriver shaft and it becomes a screw holder, and the forceps can help you get screws into places that are not a straight shot.
    Ciao,
    Lenny
     
  16. SuperFlyBoy

    SuperFlyBoy Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Any suggestions for these? (Brands/websites to purchase?)

    @Selofain:

    What would be the procedure for just removing the keyboard?

    Since I think I am going to use this one as my primary laptop, I think that I will be changing the white keyboard to a black one...
     
  17. Selofain

    Selofain Professional Lurker

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    SuperFlyBoy: For just the keyboard, you should be able to do it in steps 7-11 (ignore step 10). Also, I think the black keyboard isn't antimicrobial, for whatever it's worth.

    LROBBINS: Neat suggestion with the microscrewdrivers! Looks like just the thing I've been looking for to replace my el cheapo screwdrivers.
     
  18. LROBBINS

    LROBBINS Pen Pal - Newbie

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    SuperFlyBoy,

    Depends where you live. Look at what electronics supply houses carry. RS (= Allied in the U.S.) stocks over 200 screwdriver sets. I don't recall which brand I have, but if you look through the descriptions you will surely find a set with the sizes you need. I'd look for hardened tips, long shafts, and a swivel button at the handle end. Phillips tips accurately cut to the phillips profile is really more important than being hardened or non-slip, but there's no way to judge that by eye or by what the manufacturers say. Sure feels different though when you put it into a screw head. Stuff house branded as RS is often pretty good, and priced to sell, but there are lots of others. Figure on spending from E30 to E60 for good quality though.
    Ciao,
    Lenny
     
  19. piwebs

    piwebs Pen Pal - Newbie

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    On reassembly, my webcam isn't working, but everything else seems fine. Any hints as to where I missed a connection?
     
  20. Selofain

    Selofain Professional Lurker

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    Make sure it's not a driver error first. It should be one of the myriad of cables coming from the display- try reseating all of those to make sure it's not a loose connection. I've never taken my display apart, so I don't really know which cable corresponds to which feature. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.
     
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