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Heatsink fell off! What glue do I use to reattach?

By Sadgirl ยท 38 replies
Apr 11, 2007
  1. Hello!

    Yesterday I moved my computer to a different room and heard something sliding around inside. We took the cover off to find the motherboard heatsink had come off somehow. It has two arms on either side that are quite stiff and seem to be there to spring it back in place- there are four croquette like metal hoops on the four corners of the mount on the mother board. One of these had come off aswell and is currently residing in the hover bag. (we can get it out again if need be, didn't realise what it was before it was gone!)

    The heatsink has two adhesive strips along the sides as well as the remains of glue in the centre in a small square. I went into a shop and the techie bloke in there was totally useless (was going to charge me for his time searching the internet for the glue!!)

    Can anyone tell me what the glue is called and where I can get it from? I'm in Ireland/UK so a EU shop would be great. Do I need adhesive strips too?
    And how best to reattach said heatsink? Do I need to use the arms too or will it work well enough with just the glue?
    Any other tips please would be greatly appreciated, I'm new to this whole DIY PC malarky.

    Thank you :)
  2. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,008   +74

    there should be no glue mate... what you need is just a proper security for the heatsink so that it wont fell off. usually the "leg" is quite weak, plastic or carbon based material. u just need to snap in the "leg" and all will fit. however if yours is damaged, might think of getting new one.

    i think the middle one is not glue,,, its a cooling gel for your CPU.. :)
  3. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,610   +6

    That isn't likely 'glue' but a thermally conductive paste that is used to ensure a thermally efficient contact between your heatsink and the cpu.

    The hoops are retainers that MUST be used to hold the heatsink firmly in place against the cpu.

    If you tell us what make of computer and model and motherboard you have we might have someone who can guide you into reattaching it all.

  4. Sadgirl

    Sadgirl TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey great, thank you both!

    Ok the paste in the middle has totally dried up, looks like old yellow glue, so will I need to buy more of that or is that what it's supposed to look like? My PC is about 2-3 years old.

    It doesn't sound good then that the top corner retainer has come off- I'm thinking now that it's broken and that's what caused the problem in the first place. Is it difficult to fit new ones? The black plastic (rubber?) mount that the retainer hoop sits in on the motherboard has also come out you see, but thankfully there's no damage to the board itself. Will I need to take it into a shop for that or is the part easy and cheap to come by online?
    So many questions!

    I'll look at the motherboard and comp make when I get come from work tonight (in about 6 hours) and get back to you on that. In the meantime though, from what I've described do you think I need to order another heatsink and will it come with new retainer hoops?

    Thank you again nismo and CCT, you're both far more helpful and informative than thems in the shops! :)
  5. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,610   +6

    You must unplug the computer and make sure you touch a grounded item like metal radiator or the screw on an electrical box coverplate that is handy (not far away) so you don't have a static charge on you.

    To remove the old paste, use a lint free cloth/paper towel with a bit of good quality isopropal alchohol and take a little off at a time until no more will come away.

    Take care not to saturate the cloth/towel, just barely damp.

    As to replacing the hoops/heatsink - that depends on how old and popular the motherboard is/was. Many places sell replacements, even some manufacturers. That is why you need that info I asked about.
  6. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,050   +15

    Hasn't anyone removed NB heatsinks before? o.O

    Nvm. The yellow stuff is thermalpaste as mentioned, but its one thats thermally applied, ie: like hot glue. In fact, it probably IS glue. I've removed a good number of them myself, and its quite scary, as it requires brute force, and comes off very suddenly.

    There's also some strips, those are just to make sure that the heatsink doesn't make contact with other components on the board.

    The real thing attaching the heatsink to your motherboard is those retainer hoops, though the glue helps.

    The easiest thing for you to do now, assuming those retainer hoops have to be replaced, and irreparable, would be to get yourself a new northbridge heatsink. Those are relatively cheap, and come with their own retainer hoops. I've got no idea which shop in EU would hold them, but any large computer enthusiast shop should have them. List some online computer retailers here, and I'd find some for you.
  7. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,182

    There's also Arctic Silver thermal adhesive as a last solution. I haven't used it myself but I've always been happy with the other thermal products from Arctic Silver.
  8. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,610   +6

    In any event, you are gonna want to get the residue of that old paste or glue OFF of the onboard chip before you attach anything to it again or you will likely defeat the cooling you are trying to re-achieve.

    So, if paste, isopropyl like suggested.

    If glue, there are some products that will dissolve/soften them that you can (carefully) use.

  9. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,050   +15

    Use your fingernail and scratch it off. I've tried using isopropyl on that stuff: it either takes forever, or doesn't help.

    I think it doesn't help.

    Like Didou said, there's some nice adhesive thermalpastes by Arctic Silver, those are supposed to be good, but they're more well known for their Arctic Silver 5 and Arctic Silver Ceramique, both of which would not be suitable because of the lack of adhesive.
  10. Sadgirl

    Sadgirl TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ok, thanks guys for all your imput!
    To summarise-

    - Scratch off the residual glue from both plate on mother board and back of heatsink using my fingernail.

    - Buy a new adhesive glue from Artic Silver.

    - If the retainer hoops are buggered, buy a new Northbride heatsink as it comes with them. (how do you fit them? Is it very simple/come with instructions? Worried about reattaching the missing hoop. Can I move one of the unused hoops to save buying a new heatsink or would that be a really silly thing to do?)

    - Use the arms and the glue (as advised on packet) to reattach heatsink.

    Does this sound like the overall best plan of action?

    I had a look at my MB to get the spec, no sure if I got all the right info but this is what I could see;
    S88M M/B
    48.31 v02.011

    And as to the computer itself there was an Intel plaque that said
    FW82 801DB

    I'm sorry but I can't remember the processor speed etc of hand and I don't want to turn it on until it's fixed. I THINK, it's a 2.6 pentium (could be celeron?), 80gb HD, about 1000RAM...
  11. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,610   +6

  12. Sadgirl

    Sadgirl TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, that's the one!

    I found the following on UK shops.

    A silicone compound- would this do the job?

    and a few online shops I could order from;
    www.amazon.co.uk (obviously)
    and there's always www.ebay.co.uk

    These guys also had a paste thing on sale.

    If you did have a chance to look through that would be great, but don't worry if not, I can send them emails full of questions to find the right one :)
  13. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,050   +15

  14. sliderule101

    sliderule101 TS Rookie

    A thought - this same thing happens with certain Dell Computers, the problem maybe the chipset is overheating. If the heatsink you are referring to is in the ACER drawing is #18? You can try having someone resolder the wires to the board, but if it is a thermal problem it will come loose again.

    If that happens you really should look at getting a new motherboard. I have replaced about twenty of these in the last two years, on Dells and Acers.
  15. Sadgirl

    Sadgirl TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Crap, that doesn't sound good :( This is sounding like the exhaust on my car- by the time I've fixed one part of it, the other part needs replacing so I may as well get the whole thing done and save money and time on the labour charges.

    I had a quick search for motherboards, they're not too pricey AND they come with a heatsink already installed!! :)

    What make and spec would you recommend? I'd rather go for a mid-range to top one rather than cheapest, no mucking about.
  16. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,831   +8

    I don't think you need another mobo. Just use that thermal adhesive, or get the Zalman heatsink.
  17. sliderule101

    sliderule101 TS Rookie

    There are lots of good moderate price MOBO on the market. I like Gigabyte and ASUS, but that's a personal preference. make sure the motherboard has:

    1. PCI-Express 16x slot for video card.
    2. Ethernet connection that runs at 1Gb.
    3. Audio n most borads is good enough for most apps, unless your a gamer,
    video nut or music lover. Then you will need a card to suit taste.
    4. Get the newer chipsets if possible.
    5. And of course make sure the board supports the CPU.
    6. Has sufficient space for memory upgrade, and preferably DDR-2, unless your
    using the memory from the old board.
  18. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,050   +15

    replacing motherboards isn't the easiest thing in the world to do. I don't suggest it, but you might have to take out your motherboard to install the new heatsink (not likely). If you have to take it out, maybe a replacement is good.

    Just make sure you've got the right motherboard for your components, you don't want something that won't fit your current CPU, RAM, or optical drives (remember, some motherboards don't come with that ribbon cable we all love anymore).
  19. dcmeigs

    dcmeigs TS Rookie

    Good grief. Just go to an auto parts store and get some thermopaste compound or dielectric paste that is used to thermally bond ignition modules and reattach the darn thing. Any such paste will do a fine job.
  20. sliderule101

    sliderule101 TS Rookie

    There is a lot of good information so far, but I guessing your getting a little confused. So, try the thermal glue first, see if it works. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Look at the motherboard and make sure the connecting hooks are still there. With the Dells the solder would heat and the hooks came off the board, which did not allow the heatsink to latch with the clip.

    If you finally decide you need the new board, you haven't spent a large amount. I'm guessing a guessing a few Dollars or Euro's.

    Small steps first.
  21. Sadgirl

    Sadgirl TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, thanks everyone, particularly CCT and CMH you've both been a great help. :)

    DCMeigs- nice to meet you!!!!!!!!
  22. Tim Stevens

    Tim Stevens TS Rookie

    I have the same issue with my Dell 4600C. Do the posts holding down the heatsink to the motherboard complete a circuit to tell the computer that the heat sink is there? If so, just thermally glueing the heatsink won't help, right? Don't we need to solder in a new hold down? Or get another motherboard?
  23. MoMo1988

    MoMo1988 TS Rookie Posts: 75

    Just go buy a new one from a used computer parts store only like 2-3 bucks.
  24. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,610   +6

    The chipset 'arms' are, from what I read, part of a circuit to tell you the heatsink may be loose.

    If it is indeed unattached and one arm is broken/unsoldered, you can try a repair as noted above OR buy a 'new' mobo and hope for the best.

    This seems to be a common occurance with that mobo (never acknowledged by the seller btw - what's new!).

  25. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,050   +15

    If they may be part of a circuit to tell you the heatsink is loose, there should be an option on the motherboard BIOS to disable this check.

    Once that is done, glue away!

    Personally, I'd prefer something to physically attach it to the motherboard, because if it slips, its going to short something on your graphics card, or short some pins on the motherboard itself. And given that glue might soften when heated, it just might slip, so unless you know your glue well, I'd have something to hold it in place.
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