NUC Disassembly/Reassembly

One of the most frequent requests I get is for help taking apart a NUC to clean, repair, or replace the fan. As the only piece of the NUC with moving parts, it’s usually the one that needs attention before any other.

Here is the process I use for disassembling and removing the fan. In this video I’m demonstrating on a NUC6CAYH model. The TPS (technical product specifications) for this particular model can be found here.

USE THIS METHOD AT YOUR OWN RISK! AS FAR AS I KNOW, REMOVING/REPLACING THE FAN WILL STILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY!

The process can vary slightly between models, and between NUC generations, so what you see here may or may not be helpful for other models. Enjoy!

29 thoughts on “NUC Disassembly/Reassembly

  1. People would probably like to see this done with one of the tougher to disassemble NUCs, like NUC7i7BNH, which has the dual microphones.

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    1. I haven’t taken that model apart yet, and I wouldn’t want to steer you in the wrong direction, as the fan used changes between models. I’ll reach out to the NUC team and see if they can tell me.

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  2. Is it at all possible to mod this to with a third-party fan such as a Noctua (for example) which may run quieter and perform better? I’ve just bought an 8th gen i5 model and really looking forward to getting it / setting it up. No big deal if it’s not possible, just curious. Thanks.

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  3. I’d say it’s possible, depending on how far you’re willing to go. But I’m not sure you’d be able to do it without major modifications to the case. Anything like that would definitely void your warranty. Also, I know Gorite experimented with a fan in a detachable lid. I never tried one, and I don’t see it on their site, so they may have abandoned it. But it would be worth shooting them an email to ask.

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    1. The NUC designs are based on the concept of air being pulled into the case, flowing over the bottom surface of the board (cooling it and the SODIMMs and M.2 devices attached to it), around the edges of the board, over the top surface of the board and into the blower. The blower then pushes the air through the tunnel and across the heatsink (attached to the processor, chipset (if not SOC) and VR components) and then out of the chassis.

      If you were to replace the blower with a fan blowing downward, you would need a different heatsink design to properly cool the processor (etc.) and a change in the chassis design (removing upper outlets) so that air would be forced to go around the edges of the board and over the bottom surface of the board before being exhausted. This is not easily accomplished and I am not surprised that GORITE gave up.

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      1. Thanks for the additional info N. Scott Pearson. It does sound like more trouble than it’s worth!

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    1. Rats, looks like it fell into the Youtube black hole. Unfortunately I no longer have a copy of the video. I’m happy to help if I can though. Are you trying to take yours apart?

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      1. Yes, Techster, I’m trying to get at the fan in my NUC6CAY. I have removed all screws I can find…the 4 for the rubber feet, the two black ones holding the motherboard down, and the four screws under the black plastic top of the NUC. But I can’t figure out how to get the MB out, as its various IO connectors are locked under the inner, aluminum ‘sleeve-like’ lining. I spent an hour on it before giving up in bewilderment.

        Hints?

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      2. Ah yes, I think I see. Let’s start with the screws. After getting the four in the rubber feet unscrewed and removing the bottom plate, the only ones you need to worry about are the two holding the motherboard down (black). No need to remove the ones under the lid. Once the two black screws are out, it’s a matter of pulling the board out. It comes out backside (rear I/O) first. The case and “sleeve” will flex just a little and its enough to get the board out. What I do is grab the sides of the ethernet connector on the board with one hand, flex the side of the case with the rear I/O openings a little with my other hand and pull up. That should be enough for it to come loose. Be gentle and patient and it will come out. Once you’ve done it, it’s much easier to do it again. These days I pop them out without thinking. Once the board is out, just flip it over and you’ll see the fan. Let me know if this helps. I haven’t made any videos in a while but I can record myself pulling a board out if needed.

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  4. “Did you have any luck?”

    Weird…I left a full post about how I failed at a second attempt…dunno why it got lost.

    Ya, no luck. I spent another hour trying to get at the fan, and have concluded that the only way in is to break the case. I pulled up on all four sides of the board, giving extra attention to lifting the Ether plug, but the side of the board with the power button is stuck fast in the housing. It’s almost as if that side of the board is glued in.

    I have an external fan blowing onto the box now, getting the CPU down to 35° instead of 50+. It will do for now. I do intend to break it apart sometime and just 3D print a new case.

    Thanks!

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      1. Was your original video for a CAYS? If so, then your text description you’ve already provided couldn’t be simpler to follow…it just does not work for my CAYS. And I’m probably the only person on the planet that cares, so while I appreciate your intent to do another video, please don’t do it for me… I’m happy to break mine open when I get some time.

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      2. Thanks for the video link…I had already watched it and stalled at the part where he removes the screws holding the VGA port plate in…no such screws exist on mine. But the VGA port itself has two hex nuts holding it to the housing and I did remove those. And he then pryed (sp?) the housing away from the shielding on the power button panel side to free the various buttons on the panel and I tried that myself, to the point where I could feel the housing about to snap from the flexing…still, that side of the MB would not budge up even a micrometer.

        It’s very perplexing…

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      3. Curiously, perhaps: The box says it’s a NUC6CAYS, but inside there are two stickers on the MB that say it’s a NUC6CAYB. B, not S. Probably meaningless.

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      4. That’s normal. The S stands for system. The B stands for board. You can buy the boards without a case. When you buy the system they just install a board into a case.

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      5. Ah, OK. Learn something new every day.

        Thanks for all the help, but I am going to abandon any hope of removing the MB without destroying the case. I just have to find some time to design and print a case so it’s ready to go for demolition day. Credit to NUC creator for making such an unrepairable little box. 😊

        Thanks again!

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      6. It’s odd that you’re having so much trouble with it. The only issue I’ve had in the past in getting boards out is that sometimes the tolerances are tight so you have to flex and wiggle things a bit. But I’ve never had one put up such a fight! It could very well be that this particular model is just a tighter fit than others. Not sure where you’re located, but I’m guessing it’s nowhere near the Sacramento area. If you were, I’d say bring it over and we’d sort it out together. I do have a CAYS but it’s not here with me. When I get over there I’ll try removing the board and see if it’s like yours.

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