a day to remember

This morning I decided that it was finally time to clean the cooling fins and intake grids on my laptop. No biggie; I've done it before. In order to do the job properly, I need to remove the CPU heat sink.

With the heat sink in hand I noticed something unusual. The CPU was attached firmly to the heat sink. This did not happen before, of which I am certain: last time, I was dismayed to discover that there was an inadequate quantity of thermal grease on the top of the CPU. The special thermal grease helps transfer as much heat as possible to the heat sink.

After everything was clean and carefully reassembled, I booted up - or at least tried to. No video and the keyboard was unresponsive (neither the Caps Lock nor Num Lock lights activated as expected when the keys were depressed). I went through the disassembly/reassembly process several times, taking a break between each. No joy.

Finally I simply walked away and went to the grocery store. Upon my return I began the same process again. This time I paid close attention to the motherboard after removing the heat sink, using a bright halogen light and magnifying glass.

I should mention that this particular CPU is in a PGA (pin grid array) package. This time I noticed a screw at the edge of the PGA socket, marked "lock" and "unlock". The screw was set to "lock". Duh. I turned it to "unlock" and replaced the assembly. There was a satisfying click as I seated the PGA (woo-hoo!) and then I turned the screw to "lock".

Replaced the internal cover and keyboard. Successful boot!

You would think that after over twenty years working with electronics at work and at home (I've been repairing and building computers for that long) a lock/unlock mechanism for a PGA would have occurred to me.

Just glad to have my baby back.

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