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How To Repair Dell Inspiron 15-3552 Laptop

By on April 25, 2018
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dell inspiron 15-3552 laptop repair

This is a Dell Inspiron 15-3552 laptop that belongs to my sister. She bought it pretty cheap on eBay. The original reason for this repair is that the Power-Adapter Port (hereafter referred to as its acronym, “PAP”) hold-down tab was broken and the PAP was flopping around inside of the laptop so that the battery could not be charged.

My sister ordered a new PAP from Amazon. I went ahead and took the laptop apart to check it out. This laptop does not have a cooling fan in it. A lady that I talked to that works for a computer parts supplier here in the USA told me that processors today can withstand more heat and a fan is sometimes not needed. I disagree with that premise – and we will see why later. Here are some photos:

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You can see in the above photos that the laptop doesn’t have a cooling fan. It has a black plastic spacer attached onto the heat-sink where a fan should go. The first thing I did was to inspect the thermal compound on the processor and heat-sink. It looked terrible as you can see! Someone else must have been into this laptop because I doubt that it came from the factory looking like that.

Anyway, I got them cleaned up and applied some fresh Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound. Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of them with fresh thermal compound.

After I replaced the heat-sink, I had to remove the Motherboard-(MB) to get to the connector for the PAP. I took the antenna cables loose from the Wireless Card-(WC) to remove the MB. As I was taking photos of the WC, I noticed to my horror that the connector posts on the WC broke off and remained inside the antenna cables connectors! I tried to dig the pieces out but it seemed like they were glued or melted into the antenna cables connectors!

That is why I think it is a bad idea to have a laptop that does not contain a cooling fan! Even though processors and IC’s may be able to operate under higher temperatures now better than before, the added heat is going to make plastic more brittle. Or maybe whoever had been into this laptop before did something?

So I started looking for parts. While I could get another WC pretty cheap, I could not find a back LCD cover for it, and it has the new antenna cables on it. This laptop uses number PK72X for the back LCD cover. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to try and see if soldering the antenna cables directly to the WC would work. I had my doubts, but decided to give it a shot.

Following are some photos of the old PAP and new PAP, along with my WC endeavor. You can see that the hold-down tab on the old PAP is broken with its tab still under the screw. I guess they were jamming the charge plug in too hard and broke the PAP loose from the hold-down tab. Or maybe the extra heat made it weak?  The new PAP has a longer cable so I taped the extra length of it down with some Kapton tape. The Kapton tape will be able to handle the higher operating temperatures of this fan-less laptop.

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In the previous photos above you can see how I soldered the antenna cables onto the WC, after some careful sanding of the surfaces. Then in the photo below you can see that I put hot glue over the solder connections and cables to help give them some strain relief. I should have put some shrink-wrap on the main cable where I cut the insulation back but the hot glue will probably do the job. I looked under the microscope and made sure there were no tiny stray jumpers touching anywhere that they were not supposed to touch.

As you can see in the last photo, it’s working! I charged the battery after putting everything back together. Then I started up the laptop, went to YouTube, and the laptop loaded and played a video. It’s working great! And the WC in the laptop is working downstairs (downstairs booster is off) while our WiFi router is upstairs!

Since I needed to download and play a video to verify that the WC is working, I went to MiracleMAX which is the channel of our good friend Mark Rabone. He frequently writes good repair articles for us to learn from. Check out his channel.

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My sister is very happy that she has her laptop back and even happier that she didn’t have to buy more parts for it. As for me, I will not remove tiny antenna cables from now on unless it is absolutely necessary, especially in a laptop that does not benefit from a cooling fan.

I have removed many tiny antenna cables before and this is the first time that I can remember having the connectors break off. It would help if manufacturers would start using good grade polymers also instead of plastic, especially on smaller parts like connectors.

This was another mess that I happily got out of, praise The Lord! But that is ok, it was another learning experience. That is one of the things that I love about electronics repair – I learn something new all the time!

I hope yall enjoyed this article. Keep having fun in Electronics Repair!

As Spock would say – Live long and prosper.

robert calk junior

Robert Calk is a hobbyist from the USA who loves Electronics, Leatherworking, and Watchmaking.

Please leave any comments you have below. Thanks.

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Please check out his previous repair article below:




  1. Michael Ripley

    April 25, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    Good job. Few minor points.

    It's commonly referred to as the 'power jack'.

    Unfortunately, that IS factory thermal compound.

    The modern (low power) processors can NOT tolerate heat any better than older chips, they just don't generate as much. There is NO excuse for designing these without fans. The cpu is basically a tablet cpu. Every component on laptop motherboard benifits from fan airflow.

    The reason for not including a fan is to save a few pennies but more importantly, TO REDUCE THE LIFE OF THE LAPTOO. Just over 1 year life would be ideal.

    • Robert Calk

      April 26, 2018 at 11:28 pm

      Thanks Michael,

      I checked back to some old photos and the thermal compound did look like that on my laptop CPU. Hard to believe factories would want to waste so much thermal compound.
      I pretty much figured the same things about why they would not include a fan in a laptop. The lady was probably feeding me the factory talking points...

  2. Parasuraman

    April 26, 2018 at 12:30 am

    Vow! Incredibly superb! Very determined and innovative tricks and tips! Many thanks for sharing!

    • Robert Calk

      April 26, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      Thanks Parasuraman. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Mihai

    April 26, 2018 at 1:01 am

    Hello Robert ! Good article, thanks for sharing !

    • Robert Calk

      April 26, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      You are very welcome my friend!

  4. Mark

    April 26, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Hey Robert,
    I can't believe they don't use a fan! You would have to agree that heat is one of the greatest enemies of electronics. Nice save with the antenna wire. We often have to be a little creative.
    Manufacturers will cut back on anything that will save them a buck, regardless of the long-term problems it may cause.
    Well done on another successful repair.
    Thanks for the plug on my YouTube channel!

    • Robert Calk

      April 26, 2018 at 11:47 pm

      You are welcome, Mark. Sorry that I forgot to include a link to your YT channel. I meant to do that and forgot to. I checked back to my copy to look and seen that I forgot, so it's my fault.
      Yep, some times we don't have the money, and we have to do what we have to do!
      Manufacturer's don't mind saving themselves money but they sure don't like us to save ourselves some money. They want us to buy their new parts, or throw it away and buy a new computer. here in the USA we are winning the war on our rights to repair our devices!

  5. Anthony

    April 26, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Well done Robert, your surgical techniques and skills have gotten you out of a jam once again !
    I salute your patience when dealing with these types of repairs and I'm glad it turned out
    especially as it is your sister's laptop. Thanks for sharing this article here !

    Kind Regards

    • Robert Calk

      April 26, 2018 at 11:54 pm

      Thanks Anthony. You are welcome. Those are some pretty small wires so it is like surgery! Even though I use a chill mat I would never buy a laptop that doesn't have a cooling fan.

  6. Suranga Electronics

    April 26, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Hello, Mr.Robert Calk
    Wow..Very Nice Lap Repair..!
    Good Article.

    • Robert Calk

      April 27, 2018 at 12:03 am

      Thanks Suranga. To be honest, I really didn't think it would work. I figured there would be too much RFI - but it works great. My sister and the kids haven't complained about anything so far.
      In a year or so I'll open up the laptop and see if the hot glue is causing any problems. I tried to clean out as much flux as I could without breaking the solder joints or the wiring.

  7. Waleed Rishmawi

    April 26, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    thanks for sharing Robert.

    • Robert Calk

      April 27, 2018 at 12:04 am

      You are welcome Waleed.

  8. Mason

    April 26, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    That is a great repair. Very interesting about the fan. I would never have guessed that. I work in Technology for a School district here in Texas. We are a certified Dell self repair station. We do our own warranty and non warranty repairs. We currently have about 1800 Dell Latitudes and they all have fans. We run on a 3 year lease with Dell.
    Thank you sharing your repair.

    • Robert Calk

      April 27, 2018 at 9:22 am

      Thanks Mason. I'm glad that you enjoyed my article.

  9. Albert

    April 26, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    Very good job Robert! They now probably stop using FANs also to get rid of the old BGA solder problems. Maybe a hotter processor at the same time keeps the solder underneath in better electric conducting condition? That is at least what they did when the Xbox suffered from BGA problems on the GPU and CPU. Simply let it run with a new cooler and new cooler paste without connected Fan for a minute or 10 to 20 to restore the solder connections by the generated heat. Then switch the Xbox off. Let it cool down, reconnect the Fan and the Xbox should be fixed again.

    • Robert Calk

      April 27, 2018 at 12:20 am

      Thanks Albert. You may be right but I'm not knowledgeable enough about computers to know.
      I did the Xbox upgrade to my Xbox and one of my sons Xbox. I rarely play video games but he does play sometimes and his Xbox is still playing great.

      • Albert

        May 5, 2018 at 8:54 am

        Understood Robert. I played a couple of games entirely to the end years ago myself. I loved Riddick for the Xbox360 that had the Xbox version included for free. Played it all to my surprise without getting stuck anywhere. And also Alan Wake. And Black was an insane game too! And Halo of course. But I also played the fantastic RPG/FPS SF game Deus Ex-Human Revolution until I sadly got stuck at the Picus Boss level. And I haven't played Xbox eversince. I bought an Xbox360 at the time a refund action was announced for new buyers. After sending in my request for the promised refund right at the same day of buying one, I was refused after three months of waiting and sending in my copy three times. The 40 Euro refund lost was for me reason to never buy a new Xbox again!

        • Robert Calk

          May 5, 2018 at 9:06 am

          I wonder what their problem was? I don't know anything about those games. I rarely play games. If I'm not working on something, then I'll be studying, reading, watching YouTube videos, or watching TV. Even when I'm watching TV I'm usually reading stuff on the internet.

  10. Henrique Jorge Guimarães Ulbrich

    April 27, 2018 at 12:27 am

    As far I am concerned, some processors can operate without forced cooling. However, they have their own protection features, and by this, normally the processing speed is going to be reduced as the temperature goes up. Supposedly, this is the working condition of the laptop of this article. The user becomes annoyed due to slow operation, without knowing what is happening. Reading this article, we know.

    • Robert Calk

      April 27, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Thanks Henrique. I really don't know what their reasoning behind the fanless laptop is. It sounds crazy to me. I know that I would never buy one.

  11. Yogesh Panchal

    May 7, 2018 at 12:13 am

    Good Job! sir,

    It looks like some one had already tempered the unit before.
    Most of the time "DIY" peoples without technical knowledge just messing up the things like these.As it is seen in your photos the Thermal compound is used in excessive manner.

    But that is not a problem for you; as you are expert! in Detailed Repair job.
    Thanks for sharing the article.

    • Robert Calk

      May 7, 2018 at 11:45 pm

      Thanks Yogesh. There is a good chance that the laptop was tampered with by someone. But I didn't think about soldering the antenna cables until I couldn't find a new back cover.

      • Yogesh Panchal

        May 9, 2018 at 12:29 am

        Are you looking for screen back cover?

        • Robert Calk Jr.

          May 11, 2018 at 9:37 pm

          Not now. lol

  12. Amir

    May 10, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Good work.

    • Robert Calk Jr.

      May 11, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      Thanks Amir. I appreciate your comment.

  13. Mohamed Nazeek

    July 21, 2020 at 1:39 am

    Good work
    i'm using Dell inspiron 3552(like yours).I can't use it for long time because it's getting very hot.
    There is any way to install a fan?

  14. Jose I. Samudio

    December 25, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    Hello, good evening, I have the same model of the Inspiron 15 laptop, which you mention in your repair, but the problem I have is that it does not load, I need the schematic diagram of that laptop, would you have it to facilitate me or some reference page Thank you very much in advance and greetings from Panama.


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