Review of Its Bihn Repaired:
I needed a cooling fan replacement on a ThinkPad T420S. This particular ThinkPad was a top-of-the-line version with its own video card and advanced fast processor. The cooling fan on the ThinkPad had been failing on occasion for several years and and finally it was giving signs of extreme aging and failure.
Mr. Bihn Vu is a one-man repair operation which he operates either from his home or by visiting and making computer repairs at homes. When I brought the ThinkPad into Its Bihn Repaired, I expected to have the fan replaced, as it was giving off a grinding sound that suggested that the rotating mechanism was in the process of suffering a major failure.
Mr. Vu disassembled the computer and examined the fan. He found that the fan was a different variant from other fans will be had worked on, so he could not try a proven solution of popping a cap at the top of the fan spindle. The solution he was thinking of was simply popping the cap and putting some 10W-30 motor oil into the spindle. His past experience allowed him to routinely solve this problem by this clever mechanism.
Since it was clear that a new fan would be needed to replace the old fan, he asked me if I would be comfortable with him attempting to drill through the top of the fan at the spindle location to see if he could find a way of inserting the motor oil into this model of fan. I had observed him take the machine apart with very great skill and competence, so I agreed to his suggestion figuring that the worst thing that would happen is the repair would not work. To my amazement, and I think to Mr. Vus amazement as well, his attempt to fix the fan worked. Once he had very carefully drilled a hole, at each point being very careful to remove debris as the hole was being drilled, he took a needle and used it to drip small amounts of oil into the fan spindle. Not only did the fan work after this repair, but it is essentially completely silent, solving a noise problem that many owners of the T420S complain about on Lenovo blogs. It is now obvious that this persistent and annoying problem could simply be solved by Lenovo by making sure that the fans they put in their laptop computers have a proper dose of oil before they are installed.
I am on the faculty of MIT and I am very lucky to work with young people who are highly talented. I was immensely impressed by Mr. Vus ingenuity, confidence, and his fastidiousness as he worked on my machine. Every piece of tape, covering, seal, and screw were placed as exactly as he found them. He wiped down all the relevant surfaces with alcohol to assure no contamination, and he never appeared as if he did not know exactly what he was doing. As a person who has himself on occasion worked on potentially sensitive pieces of equipment, I know that minor oversights can cause unexpected performance problems. It was quite clear to me that Mr. Vu knows this as well
The machine booted flawlessly after he finished, and the only way I am assured that the fan is now working is by placing my hand next to the fan vent to assure myself that the fan is spinning quietly rather than not working. Although at some level this repair was not demanding, I am certain that if I had taken the machine to another vendor, they would have replaced the fan and it would have cost me well over $200 for a positive but pedestrian result. Mr. Vus solution and ingenuity cost only $65, and I am now satisfied that I know someone I can completely trust with any laptop repair that I need. I recommend Mr. Vu highly.
Theodore A. Postol