Introduction

Replacing the fan on the AirPort Extreme A1521 requires a fair amount of disassembly; note that there are many small screws to keep track of. The fan keeps the device from overheating while in use.

Using a metal spudger, gently pry the cover off the bottom of the device. Using a metal spudger, gently pry the cover off the bottom of the device.
  • Using a metal spudger, gently pry the cover off the bottom of the device.

Add Comment

Four black internal wires, three thin and one thick, are connected to the logic board: three by small end clips and one by a larger end clip. Handle the clips gently; they break easily. To detach the small clips from the connectors, place the flat end of the plastic spudger underneath the clip and gently lever it away from the center of the device.
  • Four black internal wires, three thin and one thick, are connected to the logic board: three by small end clips and one by a larger end clip. Handle the clips gently; they break easily.

  • To detach the small clips from the connectors, place the flat end of the plastic spudger underneath the clip and gently lever it away from the center of the device.

  • To detach the large clip from its connector, place the flat end of the spudger on the clip and lever it upward out of the connector.

Add Comment

Using two fingers, pinch the power supply wire and gently lift it upward. Move it away from the metal plate. Next, unscrew the four 3.3mm T8 Torx screws and remove the metal plate. The metal plate fits snugly into the gap. To reassemble the device, push the rounded edge of the plate into the gap first. This will wedge the gap open so that you can fit the rest of the plate into its proper place.
  • Using two fingers, pinch the power supply wire and gently lift it upward. Move it away from the metal plate.

  • Next, unscrew the four 3.3mm T8 Torx screws and remove the metal plate.

  • The metal plate fits snugly into the gap. To reassemble the device, push the rounded edge of the plate into the gap first. This will wedge the gap open so that you can fit the rest of the plate into its proper place.

Add Comment

Remove the T8 Torx screwdriver head and replace it with the 60 mm extension; then, add the T9 Torx head.
  • Remove the T8 Torx screwdriver head and replace it with the 60 mm extension; then, add the T9 Torx head.

  • Loosen, but do not remove the two screws at the bottom of the 1.2-inch wide gap in the middle of the internal structure.

  • These screws are spring-loaded and will stay in the device, even when loosened; however, it is still possible for them to be fully removed. Be careful to only partially loosen them.

Add Comment

Using only your fingers, gently compress the internal structure and pull evenly upward to remove it from the white case. When you put the internal structure back into the case, gently compress it, and lower it most of the way into the case. Stop lowering it when the top port has just entered the case. Now push the two sides of the internal structure outward against the sides of the case.
  • Using only your fingers, gently compress the internal structure and pull evenly upward to remove it from the white case.

  • When you put the internal structure back into the case, gently compress it, and lower it most of the way into the case. Stop lowering it when the top port has just entered the case. Now push the two sides of the internal structure outward against the sides of the case.

  • Finish lowering the internal structure the rest of the way into the case. The ports should be lined up with the openings in the case and should be flush against the sides of the case.

Add Comment

Rotate the internal structure so that the white ports are facing away from you.
  • Rotate the internal structure so that the white ports are facing away from you.

  • Three 8.2mm T8 Torx screws connect the fan to the internal structure. Unscrew all three.

  • Don’t lose the rubber grommets underneath the screws. These prevent you from damaging the device while dismantling it.

Add Comment

Remove the fan from the device. Remove the fan gently; it fits snugly and could damage the device if pulled roughly.
  • Remove the fan from the device.

  • Remove the fan gently; it fits snugly and could damage the device if pulled roughly.

Add Comment

Conclusion

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

6 other people completed this guide.

Rachel Kangas

Member since: 10/20/2013

340 Reputation

1 Guide authored

Team

Cal Poly, Team 4-26, Amido Fall 2013 Member of Cal Poly, Team 4-26, Amido Fall 2013

CPSU-AMIDO-F13S4G26

5 Members

6 Guides authored

One Comment

Thanks for the guide. My 4-year old A1521 gave me a flash warning light. I fired up the utility app and it said the device was overheating. I put my ear against it and couldn’t hear any noise. I opened it up as shown here, removed the outer casing and powered it up, confirming the cooling fan was not spinning. I found quite a bit of resistance when I turned the fan by my finger. I had some 0W-40 fully synthetic motor oil laying around. I opened the fan up just by pulling the fan blade unit up and lubricated the shaft with the motor oil. And it worked out beautifully. The fan spins quietly and I get my green light back.

I should say the most tricky part was the step 1. I used a dinner table knife to open the base. Later in the process I did break a fan shroud clip. But the fan was hold tightly together with the screws in the end so it didn’t do any actual damage. It wasn’t a particular hot day, but without the fan the device did become warm and the internet speed was noticeably slowed down.

motofan1 - Reply

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 24

Past 7 Days: 160

Past 30 Days: 741

All Time: 2,399