Laptop resections and beeswax confections

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon, filled with anxiety.

I took apart a long used, hard traveled, aging but still useful mini-laptop and replaced its cooling fan.

For quite a while I have been unable to use this little box without a cooling pad, which is inconvenient and not as helpful as it could be.

There was nothing else to be done.

So, I found the part on e-bay, had it sent and.. today.. went to work!

And without a net, for the most part.

It was like Chinese puzzle box.  I went very deliberately, checking myself along the way, so that I could reassemble properly.

I found had to lift up the mother-board to get at the anchor screws for the fan, which was a pain.

This little bugger slowed me down. 

I spent a long time trying to get the little brown fastening clip back on.

In the end, success!

I turned on.  It booted up.  The screen worked.

The OS loaded.  All the ports worked.

The key board and touchpad worked.

I could hear the fan. 

So, I have revived for greater use a very small travel laptop, which could serve as a backup or auxiliary.

Meanwhile, to aid me in my resection, I finally lit two beeswax candles I was give a long time ago.

On some trip or other… not sure where… I was given two homemade beeswax candles.

The are curious affairs.   They seem to be sheets of wax that were rolled around a wick.

They are odd, to be sure, but they smell grand. 

They got a little crunched in my travels, but I straightened them out.

They lend that wonderful and unmistakable beeswax smell to the whole place.

I have some beeswax candles for the chapel, for Requiem Masses, but none for the house.

Whoever you are who gave these to me… thanks!

And now to extract a couple electronic components from the incredibly complicated stack of stuff, and do some rearranging.

This is always a harrowing adventure, since many of these things are daisy-chained together and hooked in to the Sabine network.

I have to pull a couple things out and then reorganize the whole mass of scary boxes.

You can’t believe the whole web of wires.

And then I write 1000 words for The Catholic Herald.

And then a workout and alien slaying with the XBOX.

And then some time in the chapel.

And then to bed.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. An American Mother says:

    Father, I don’t know anything about computers (my husband is an IT guy, I just scream for help) but I can help you on the origin of the candles.

    The candles are made of pre-pressed comb foundation for beekeepers. The foundation is formed with little hexagons in it to help the bee-ladies get started building their comb. It is made without bracing wires for “cut comb honey” – the kind where there are chunks of comb in the jar. If you’re going to remove the honey with a rotating extractor and reuse the comb, the foundation comes with little wires in it to strengthen it. The bee-ladies don’t seem to care.

    To make these candles, you simply take a sheet of foundation, place a wick in the middle, and roll it up as tightly as you can. It helps if it’s a hot day! All the beekeeping supply houses sell sheets of foundation in between sheets of paper, in boxes of 50 or 100.

  2. You didn’t, by chance, make sure there was the right amount of thermal paste between the processor and heat sink, did you? It seems that a lot of devices were assembled with too much thermal paste, which defeats the purpose (since the heat then settles in the gobs of paste that ooze out when the heat sink is secured).

    I have to fix that problem with one of my work systems that keeps overheating.

    Good job on the repair, Father.

  3. kenoshacath says:

    I’m very impressed with your laptop resection. It looks like the ‘surgery’ was successful!

  4. trad catholic mom says:

    They sell sheets of beeswax to make those ( by just rolling them up with a wick inside) at most craft stores.

  5. orthros says:


    You may not remember, but you gave a talk at St. Mary’s in Kalamazoo about 2 summers ago. Jeff Tucker was also there, as the primary teacher of a Chant seminar.

    I handed you those two candles… I was tickled pink to see them now after all this time! My boys Paul & Caleb “made” them (rolled them up from sheets, putting the wicks in, as others have mentioned), intending to sell them as a little side business.

    In fact, if they had a wrapper, it should have said “Lumen Christi Candle Company”.

    We have a LOT of these candles left over. They are 100% beeswax, so if you would like some more, please respond and I’ll send a care package to you.

    ps. If anyone is interested as to where we bought them, it was through the website

  6. Father, I got a headache just reading about your “surgery” on your mini-laptop. It always astounds me when I see how really stupid I am about these things…like the car; know where to put in the gas, check the oil. Maybe, change a tire. The rest? Forget about it!
    If I even attempted to do what you did, parts would probably be lost or put in the wrong place and that would be that. I’m more of an artist than an engineer. I’m in awe of people who know how to take things apart and put them back together without having something left over!

  7. Impressive work Father! Taking a laptop apart is a scary work – good on you for getting it done.

    – Fr. Maurer

  8. seanl says:

    I’ve been watching my roommates preform open-heart surgery on one of their laptops (hard drive has failed) but the replacement they got hasn’t been cooperating. Glad to hear yours went well!

  9. idatom says:

    Fr. Z. & Friends,

    Many motors can be brought back to life with a drop or two of oil. Those very small motors in our computers have only one bearing, it’s under that round paper label. When it becomes dry the fan motor will stop. Peal off the label or open a hole in the center with a small jeweler’s screw diver to expose the bearing and shaft. I don’t use WD-40 because it wont last, try light weight automotive motor oil.

    You can use this Old Indian trick also on other two bearing motors like fans, kitchen mixers, and LP turntables etc. They all have felt wicks at their bearings which need to be saturated with oil. Today you must take the motor apart to expose them. In the old days, 40’s & 50’s, there were holes or oil caps on each end to lube them . Even the starter motor and generator on your car’s engine had oil caps.

    Keep the faith
    Tom Lanter

  10. al007italia says:

    Blast from the past. i remember making beeswax candles like that back in the 60s. The wax was dyed a variety of colors. Loved the smell. It is “grand” as you say.

  11. ghlad says:

    Your day sounds pretty good, Fr. Z! Maybe I missed a post previously – but which XBox game are you slaying aliens in?

  12. Joan M says:

    Tom Lanter said “I don’t use WD-40 because it wont last, try light weight automotive motor oil.”

    How about singer Sewing Machine oil? I can never find mine, because my son usually has appropriated it for various lubrication jobs!!

  13. ckdexterhaven says:

    Fr. Z, did you see this article in the Wall Street Journal? Tinkering makes a comeback

    It’s all about how tinkering is a unique American tradition. But now, it’s gone high tech (it doesn’t specifically mention priests fixing their own computers, but it could have!). So there ya go…..

  14. Jack Hughes says:

    I didn’t realise that you were so technically minded Father :)

  15. Kimberly says:

    After I saw your pictures, my brain went into overload, my ears started smoking and my vision went soft. Do you have any extra parts?

  16. irishgirl says:

    I don’t know squat about laptop computer ‘innards’ and how they work-and I’m using one to submit this comment-but those candles look really cool!

  17. coeyannie says:

    Show off!!!

  18. tecumseh says:

    Well done Fr Z. If this machine ever gives problems I’m inspired to give it a go. As for the beeswax candles I must know the aroma, but how do you bring a smell to mind..? Must get some tomorrow.

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