Netgear wireless router repair

My wifi internet connection has been slowly deteriorating. I originally thought it was my trusty old IBM T42 going out, but when I got my Alienware M15x it was still bad with that machine. I’ve had a few problems with this router: it sometimes refuses to allow wireless connections to access the gateway. If you log in to the router’s interface over wifi via it’s IP and clear the log, it will then allow wifi access to the gateway. I set up the router to automatically email the log to an email address when the log is full. That worked for most of the time, but occasionally you still have to log in and do it manually.

Recently though the connection speed over wifi plummeted. I was going to buy a new wireless AP, but I’m pretty cashed at the moment so I took the router apart to see if I could buy some time.

Wifi router with heatsinks

You could pretty clearly see that the microprocessor has overheated. The conformal coating is brown on the bottom side of the PCB. I used an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of the chip, it was running at about 74°C. The ethernet switch controller IC had a similar temperature, but it’s a larger leaded package whereas the CPU looks like a BGA package. I had some memory heatsinks that I cut to fit the two chips, and with that and some thermal paste I had heatsinks for the two heaters in my router case. They are low profile enough that the case will still go on.

My router works like it should again: reports an average of 18Mbps download speed. The heatsinks keep both ICs at about 49°C now. Guess I won’t need that new AP for a while.

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Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 Electronics

4 Comments to Netgear wireless router repair

  • Tesla says:

    When you attach heatsinks to chips on boards that were never designed to have heatsinks (but should have been) … how to you attach them? Is there a type of glue that also transfers heat like a conventional silicone based thermal compound?

    I’ve noticed this trend also in routers, switches, audio amps … lots of stuff. In the quest to keep everything small, cute, and quiet … that heatsinks and fans are not part of the design. Putting “Form over Function” will get you every time.

  • imsolidstate says:

    I just used thermal compound between the chip and heatsink, and then used a few dabs of hot glue to hold the heatsink in place. There are thermally conductive glues though.

  • ThunderDan74 says:

    You are the man and my hero. I’m also an avionics tech in the USAF, AFSC-2A071B (please don’t hold the USAF against me) and planning on getting me degree in electrical engineering, once I get back from Korea.

    I really dig how you can apply your tallent to more than one area and your ability to document what you are doing.

  • Maus1992 says:

    Am o problema foarte mare..
    am achzitionat un rooer trendnet.. la inceput cand intram sa bag parola si usherul
    admin a mers..
    apoi am schimbat eu usherul si parola .. dar acum spune ca nu sunt corespunzatoare am incercat toate variantele si nici una nu este buna
    mentionez ca usheru si parola le am notate nu aveam cum sa le gresesc..
    Ati putea reseta roterul din afara acestuia?
    daca puteti spuneti’mi si care este pretul dvs.

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