Spending more time at home the last few months has made me acutely aware of many things I previously shrugged off after a long day at the office. One of which is: holy shit my PlayStation 4 sounds like a goddamn jet engine.
I knew I had to fix my PS4's unbearable roaring fan while playing through 100 hours of Final Fantasy VII Remake. I knew I couldn’t keep ignoring my 7-year-old console’s cry for help by cranking up the volume on my soundbar, but I needed a way to open the case. So I scoured the web and after what seemed like hours of searching finally ordered the 126-piece Hautton Precision Screwdriver Set to save my baby.
For $26.99, the screwdriver set comes with virtually everything you’d find in iFixit’s Pro Tech Toolkit, but with more screwdriver bits. Anyone who’s ever opened any electronics will recommend iFixit’s tools (I’ve used them before and they’re very high-quality), but Hautton’s works just the same and costs $43 less. You could get a new game (or three) with the money you save.
In a perfect world, companies would only use Philips- or flat-head screwdrivers — tools everyone already has a home (or you could pick up at the dollar store). But because companies actually don’t want people opening up their devices (you’re forced to agree to void your warranty if you do), they use proprietary screws like Torx or tri-wing to deter them from doing so. This is also a way for companies to charge for repairs and servicing.
Thanks to these unfavorable terms (honestly, everyone should open up their gadgets to learn how they work), we need special toolkits with the appropriate screwdriver bits to pry different gadgets open. I really like Hautton’s because it comes with 111 different types and sizes of bits — it’s unlikely it doesn’t have one you’ll need — and several pry tools like plastic crowbars, picks, a tweezer, a suction cup, and SIM card pin ejector. All of these parts come organized in a neat little “Oxford bag” (is that what this kind of three-fold bag is called?).
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So back to my ailing PS4. With the T9 screwdriver bit and a Philips-head, the console was open in a few minutes and seven years of dust and filth laid bare to hit me with an asthma attack. The Hautton toolkit helped get the console open, but I still needed to shoot the vents, fan, and heatsink with compressed air.
Unfortunately, because my PS4 sat vertically out in the open (I didn't hide mine in a media cabinet) for so many years, the fan did accumulate quite a bit of oily gunk likely from moisture or other dissipated vapors. An hour of patience using rubbing isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs to manually wipe off the fan’s blades and my PS4 no longer sounds like it’s about to take off from the airport.
My PS4 no longer sounds like it’s in agony when I load up games or Blu-rays and I got these sweet macro shots of the console during the cleanup process.
Things didn’t stop there for me. I’ve been opening and cleaning all my gadgets. I’ve busted open almost all of my Nintendo devices including the Game Boy which all use a special tri-wing or triangle screwdriver bit that thankfully is included in this toolkit. I’ve used the pry tools to safely remove an expanded battery from an old Samsung phone (not a Note 7 hehe) and to disassemble a Dyson fan to clean its impeller.
I’ve replaced the dead coin batteries inside of old Game Boy cartridges so that they can save games again. I’ve opened so many things and resuscitated them and made them good as new with this toolset that, frankly, I regret not buying it sooner.
Let the suckers pay extra for the brand name. I’m satisfied with Hautton’s toolkit and you’ll probably be too. It's 2020, you've got nowhere to go. Give your gadgets some maintenance love. It's the least you can do for their service.