Asus Slate EP121/B121 disassemble and BIOS replacement

Recently, I upgraded my Asus Slate EP121 to the latest 704 BIOS version, through the inbuilt BIOS flash utility and unfortunately I bricked it (failed to power on or boot).

It was out of warranty, and even if it was in warranty, a failed BIOS upgrade is not covered. A bit of googling revealed that it was a fairly common occurrence, which then led me to Joe Kabalan from Advanced Quality Systems LLC who was able to provide a replacement BIOS for $20 plus $6 postage to Australia.

To replace the BIOS chip of the EP121 or any surface mount device (SMD) I recommend the following tools;

  • rework station or heat gun ($50 from eBay)
  • tweezers (few dollars from eBay)
  • solder paste
  • solder flux
  • thermal compound is needed specifically for the Asus Slate

Solder, flux, tweezers and thermal paste

Start by removing the back cover of the unit, start at the USB ports and slowly unclip the clips by sliding a credit card between the back cover and unit.There is a ribbon cable connecting the thermal sensor to the back cover, carefully dislodge the cable from the socket.

Remove the back cover starting at USB ports

Near the HDMI port you will notice the BIOS chip tucked away under the metal frame. Convenient.

The BIOS chip tucked away under the metal frame

Remove the battery by removing the four screws and disconnecting the cable.

Remove the battery

Remove the fans and heat pipe. Remove all screws surrounding the metal frame to detach it from the main unit.

Remove the fans and heat pipe

Turn the removed frame and motherboard over and remove all screws holding the motherboard to it.

The removed motherboard metal frame
Remove the screws holding the motherboard to metal frame

Once the frame is removed you can access the BIOS chip.

The free motherboard
Close-up of BIOS chip with frame removed

Replace the hinges and LCD screen on an ASUS F3J laptop

Today I will be walking you through a laptop hinge replacement on an ASUS F3J laptop. As usual I purchased the replacement hinges from eBay for $11 including shipping to Australia. You can only buy a pair of left and right hinges, so you can choose to replace both.

The standard ASUS F3J replacement hinges

I also purchased a pair of plastic hinge covers from eBay for a relatively expensive $14 including shipping to Australia, I could have probably saved some money and used my existing ones with a bit of glue since the clips had broken.

First a photo of the damaged hinge, you can see the right hinge sheared off completely which is quite dangerous as the associate cables should easily be damaged further. Further, you will notice that there is no plastic hinge cover. The left hinge was fine and still holding the screen in place, but I suspected it may have been weakened by the rotational torque so replaced it as well.

The severed right hinge on the laptop

Replacing the hinges are fairly straight forward, first remove two sets of screws on the back of the back of the laptop as per the photo below.

Remove the two screws from the back rear of the laptop

Turn the laptop upside down and remove a screw holding the left hinge in place from the bottom.

Turn the laptop back to its normal position and open the screen to an obtuse angle exposing the plastic hinge covers. Remove these by slightly compressing them and pulling on the back side first.

Once these are removed the hinges are visible. This was already the case for my broken right hinge.

Remove the two screws holding the hinges to the laptop, once removed you should be able to remove the LCD screen from the laptops base completely, be careful though as the data cables would still be connected. You can easily disconnect these cables, this frees the LCD screen a little more except for a single pair of wires which doesn’t seem to look like it was easy to disconnect.

Disconnect the hinge and the cable plug

Now with the screen removed from the base, remove the eight rubber screw caps exposing the screws. With a Philips screwdriver remove the eight screws.

Remove the eight screw caps and screws around the LCD bezel

With the eight screws remove the surrounding plastic bezel can be removed exposing the LCD screen.

From here remove another set of four screws holding the LCD screen assembly on the plastic backing.

Remove the four screws holding the LCD to the plastic housing

Finally, remove four small screws from either side of the LCD screen.

Remove the four screws on each side of the LCD holding the hinges

You should now have the two hinges removed. This is the same procedure if you want to replace the LCD screen. Install the new hinges by following the above instructions in reverse.

The replaced broken right hinge

To reinstall those rubber screw caps a drop of glue may be required to hold them in place.

Once the hinges are installed, installed the plastic hinge covers and you’re done.

Pop the plastic cover on to cover the hinges

Replace noisy ASUS F3J laptop CPU fan

Here is a quick post on how to replace a noisy CPU fan on an ASUS F3J series laptops, the replacement is so easy that it really doesn’t need a how to guide.

I purchased the new fan on eBay (as usual) for $7.70 including postage.

The new ASUS F3J fan purchased from eBay for 7.70

Remove the following seven screws as circled, the circled blue screw is a unique extra long screw.

The back of the ASUS F3J laptop

The exposed old existing fan, to remove unscrew three screws.

The existing fan, remove the three screws

The air-hole when the old fan is removed.

The old fan removed

Finally, the new fan inserted and screwed into place.

The brand new fan inserted in the ASUS F3J