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PM On The Dell Inspiron 17R 5720

By on January 18, 2017
microscope electronic troubleshooting









dell inspiron laptop repair

While learning how to use my new AmScope microscope, its camera and related software, I noticed that the fan in my Dell 17R Inspiron laptop was running too much.

It is 4 years old and time for some (PM) preventive maintenance. It also needs a new headphone jack. I bought a new jack several months ago for it. It’s been a good laptop so far.

dell laptop repair

dell laptop harddisk repair

Here are a few photos of the laptop and the 1TB hard drive. You can see my Staedtler eraser pen that I use to clean the ribbon cables with in the above photo. After I clean them with the eraser, I clean them with alcohol.

The laptop wasn’t very dirty. I try to keep the environment as clean as I can. I also use a lap base under the laptop that has 2 fans blowing onto the bottom of the laptop to help keep it cool.

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dell 17r 5720 inspiron laptop fix

how to fix dell inspiron laptop

The thermal grease wasn’t too hard but it was definitely in need of removal and replaced with some fresh grease. I used my Arctic Silver 5 thermal grease.

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fixing dell laptop 17r5720

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Now my new thermal grease is on and the heatsink ready to be remounted.

You can see in the photo above that I was sold the wrong headphone jack port. At least now I have had a good look at it and can try to find the correct one. The coin cell battery still had 3.267V, so I left it in. I may replace it with a new battery after I find the correct headphone jack, and replace it.

Putting the new thermal grease on the processor and heatsink was the most important thing. I’ll get back to learning how to use my new microscope camera/software and get going on the first Accutron article. It will be a busy week since my granddaughter will be born any day now. I can’t wait to see her beautiful face! I was hoping to include the headphone jack repair in this article. But that’s the way things work out sometimes. At least I hope the article inspires people to take preventive maintenance seriously. A little preventive maintenance now can save us a lot of money later!

Most people seem to think that PM only applies to our cars. Hopefully taking good care of my laptop will help it work great for many more years.

microscoppe electronic troubleshooting

Above is a photo of my new microscope. It isn’t the best microscope available, but is all I can afford right now. It is an AmScope SM-4TZZ-144S-3M. It has a 3MP camera and a 144 LED ring light. Right now I have it setup with the 2X Barlow lens so I can get the closest photo I can get of the Accutron 214 index wheel and tiny jewels. With the 0.5X Barlow lens I can get a pretty close look and still have about 6.5 inches of working distance. It seems to be adequate for my needs. I had to move my oscilloscope up a level to make room for it.

fix tiny things

Here is a close-up photo of the index wheel and jewels. You can see how dirty they are. This is the closest my microscope can get. I’ll get some better photos of them after I take the movement apart. It has a lot of glare from the light shining on the metal movement.

I hope you guys enjoyed the article and the sneak peek into the next one. Thanks and Happy New Year!

robert calk junior

Robert Calk Jr. is an electronics hobbyist from Texas, USA. He also has interests in leather working and horology.

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Please check out his previous repair article below:




  1. Roshan Pillai

    January 18, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    I noticed that you have stuck a dollar bill on the laptop screen. Any particular reason for this? And congratulations on being a grandfather, sending you my best wishes.


    • Robert Calk

      January 19, 2017 at 1:10 am

      Thanks Roshan. I have a grandson, and now I will have a granddaughter! I have the dollar bill covering the camera so my government can't look at me whenever they want.


    January 18, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Great! You are right; we need to do PM. But like a washerman, we do not get time to attend our own home appliances and devices!

    • Robert Calk

      January 19, 2017 at 1:24 am

      Thanks Parasuraman. I believe that we should set a good example to others by taking care of our own devices.

  3. Paris Azis

    January 18, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Hi Robert

    I agree that most of the people believe that preventive maintenance refers more or less to cars, the electronic equipment being excluded. And of course this is a wrong notion. In contrast to it, I would add to the preventive maintenance work the evaluation and/or recaping of all either degraded or cheap quality electrolytics of the equipment we intend to keep in top working condition and as long as it gets.
    Happy new year Robert. And (according to what I read) be a happy grandfather as well!

    • Robert Calk

      January 19, 2017 at 1:19 am

      Thanks Paris. Yes, you are right about replacing cheap E-caps with our PM's.

  4. Andre Gopee

    January 18, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Thanks Robert for the article, I bought one of those Microscope and I did not like the Camera so I bought the Autofocus AF100 from them and it worked fine except it did not come with a software and culd not take still photos nor video. I sent it bakn bought the HD200-VP and that works great. This microscope has help me alot and I can't imargin electronic work without it. Thanks againg for sharing.

    • Robert Calk

      January 22, 2017 at 2:16 am

      Thanks Andre. I wish I would have been able to get a better one but couldn't afford to right now. The more I play with the camera and learn how to use it, the better it seems to work. I don't know much about photography anyway, but I'm learning. But the microscope is much better than the camera shows. The view through the microscope itself is amazing.

  5. Robert Calk

    January 19, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Testing... For some reason I am unable to see the comments.

    • Robert Calk

      January 19, 2017 at 1:07 am

      Now I can see them - that is weird.

  6. Albert van Bemmelen

    January 19, 2017 at 1:57 am

    A happy new year to you too Robert and congratulations!
    About your Watch: If I'm not mistaken my friend the Watchmaker cleans old mechanical Watches from build-up grease and dirt with his Ultrasonic Cleaner. And afterwards he gives new special oil to the wheels and the diamond jewels in the Watch. And bad jewels and axes get replacements. But that is probably all I know about Watches.

    • Robert Calk

      January 22, 2017 at 2:23 am

      Thanks Albert. Yes, and watchmakers can make parts themselves when unable to find replacements. I only consider myself a student.

  7. Mihai

    January 19, 2017 at 2:18 am

    Thanks for sharing Mr. Robert !
    I'm waiting your next article.

    • Robert Calk

      January 22, 2017 at 2:30 am

      Thanks Mihai. Since my granddaughter is born and our presidential elections are over, I'll seriously begin moving on the next article in a day or so.

  8. Mark

    January 19, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Hey Robert, well done on the article.
    But I think the greatest accomplishment is becoming a father or grandfather - congratulations, I hope the birth and everything after goes well for you and your family!

    • Robert Calk

      January 22, 2017 at 2:35 am

      Thanks Mark. I agree that being a father and grandfather is the greatest accomplishment! Everything did go well and she is very healthy, praise The Lord - thanks.

  9. Yogesh Panchal

    January 19, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Robert Sir,
    Glad to see you with new article of PM , Good to keep the equipment up date by PM as often i also clean and calibrate the tools.congratulations! for New microscope why didn't you try USB portable Microscope i have heard that it gives aground 800X zooming and are very cheap in price you used Arctic Silver 5 thermal grease for CPU and graphic chip that also good one i am using "Noctua's NT-H1" that is also work well.
    thanks for sharing the article.

    • Robert Calk

      January 22, 2017 at 2:41 am

      Thanks Yogesh. I wanted a microscope with ordinary optics and a large working distance. I may get a USB portable microscope next. The Arctic Silver 5 seems to be pretty good. I haven't tried Noctua.

  10. Anthony

    January 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Hey, good on ya Robert for doing PM work....I admit that I only
    perform reactive maintenance as I abide by the ol saying...." If it
    ain't broke, don't fix it" though your reasoning may change my
    attitude on this subject. Looking forward to the next chapter of
    your repair on this equipment mate.

    • Robert Calk

      January 22, 2017 at 2:45 am

      Thanks Anthony. I agree with you, but PM is not fixing it, it's helps to keep the device from breaking prematurely. Heat is an enemy of processors, and fresh thermal grease helps keep it cool.

  11. U.Beia

    January 20, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Hi thanks for the post
    Congraturation for new born grandchild
    I have the same laptop like yours but mine when plug to the power wall the light in the power adapter turn off so I need to pull out from the wall and reconnect. It seemed to have some component short but what and how to fix if you do it.

    • Robert Calk

      January 22, 2017 at 2:49 am

      Thanks U.Beia. I haven't had any problems with my Dell charger. I hope you send in an article about yours when you repair it.

    • Robert Calk

      January 22, 2017 at 3:13 am

      Also, it may be your battery pack causing the charger to shut down.

  12. angelo

    January 20, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Congrats sir
    U gonna be a grand father soon
    May ur gd born safe n healthy...

    • Robert Calk

      January 22, 2017 at 2:50 am

      Thanks Angelo. She is healthy and doing great.

  13. Gerald Musy

    January 20, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Hi Robert, you are correct, PM is essential for everything. Regarding my laptop I tend to be a bit lazy. After watching a 35 min video on how to pull a Sony Vaio apart I postponed the operation but one day I will have to do it! One of the viewers wrote that we also need another video on how to put it back together 🙂 I tend to agree...
    Thanks for sharing. Cheers, GM

    • Robert Calk

      January 22, 2017 at 3:00 am

      Thanks Gerald. Lol! I have heard about the Sony Vaio. Just be careful and take plenty of photos. My Dell Inspiron was a piece of cake. It almost puts itself back together. My friend Michelle's HP Pavilion was much more difficult than my Dell. But delaying the PM will shorten the life of the processor IMHO. I hope you send in an article on the PM when you do it.

  14. Humberto

    January 23, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Hi Robert, first of all Congratulations for the grand daughter.

    PM should be taken into consideration in all electronic appliances.

    • Robert Calk

      January 25, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks, Humberto. You are correct.

  15. Ulises Aguilar Pazzani

    January 24, 2017 at 8:56 am

    MR Calk Jr , great inform are You a jeweler , You can see very close

    • Robert Calk

      January 25, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Ulises. I'm not a jeweler but I have to learn some about it since I'm learning horology.


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