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So I cut a hole in my modem.

  1. May 25, 2010 #1
    I use a DSL modem from At&t and it has provided me with so much joy I can barely contain myself. :rolleyes:

    Over the last six months or so and I have noticed that despite my paying for 3mb down I usually got .9 to 1.5 on average, but after several days it would slowly dwindle until it finally reached about .2mb and I would reset the modem. This would start the whole process over again.

    Every time I reset the modem, I would notice that it was incredibly hot. Finally I got fed up and I decided to take it apart and attempt to improve its airflow if I could. Taking it apart was not hard at all, and I found that it worked fine when put together without its case.

    I went to RadioShack and bought a heat sink and attached it to the most important looking chip on the board. I then cut a hole through the case above the chip, which permitted the heat sink to sit in fresh air.
    Once I put it all back together, I plugged it back in and ran it for a few hours. I tested the speed and I was getting a solid 3.5 mb down without any variation. After a week I have still not reset the modem and I am still getting 3.5 mb down. When you touch the heat sink it is very, very hot. I have considered attaching a small fan, but at the moment their appears to be no need.

    I make this post because I had done a little research into this before I made this attempt, and I found mixed feeling about how effective this might be. I can say that from my experiment, that adding a heat sink to improve the cooling of your modem may be a good idea if you are getting sub-par service and you find your modem is excessively hot to the touch. :approve:
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2010 #2
    Sending it back as defective is out of the question?
  4. May 25, 2010 #3
    I'm fairly sure the design is the problem, they simply don't design the modem to dissipate the amount of heat that it puts off. This isn't the first modem that I have noticed getting hot. My neighbors modem of the same model is the same way. The modem is out of warranty and a new one from AT&T is about 25 dollars, so I thought I would go out on a limb and try a different solution.

    So far I am pleased with the results. A less radical solution would have been to get heat sinks that were small enough to not need a hole in the case. As I was doing this somewhat on the spur of the moment, I didn't want to hunt for a better heat sink. This was more of an experiment than anything. I am just very pleased with the results. I had intended only to avoid having to cycle the router as often as I was, and now I haven't had to do it since I have made the modification. The increased speeds are a bonus I had not expected. Honestly the modem had never been running this fast. I think that it would just get too hot and end up failing.

    If had been a more expensive dsl modem, such as the wireless model, I probably would have pestered them until they sent me a replacement unit.
    Last edited: May 25, 2010
  5. May 26, 2010 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Clever sig!
  6. May 26, 2010 #5
    Thank you
  7. May 27, 2010 #6
    Welcome to the world of cheaper electronics needing proper heat-dissipation not built-in for long term use.
  8. May 27, 2010 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    OTOH, I have a DSL modem from Verizon that's been working just fine for about 4 1/2 years. When it's in use it is warm to the touch, but not hot. I think the brand is Westell.
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