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  1. Using a metal spudger, gently pry the cover off the bottom of the device. Using a metal spudger, gently pry the cover off the bottom of the device.
    • Using a metal spudger, gently pry the cover off the bottom of the device.

    The black cover is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and is held in with pressure points. Might be good to use two spudgers or thin, flat screwdriver tips.

    John Vitali - Replica

    When putting the cover back on after completing the fan replacement, be sure you put the side with the cutout on the same side of the Airport that has the LAN and power connectors. The black cover can only go back on in one correct position. Look at the inside bottom of the black cover and you’ll see one side is configured differently. Place that different side to align with the LAN and power holes of the Airport unit, then push it down gently into place.

    John Vitali - Replica

    Not found anything “gentle” works here! Can’t manage this without damage personally (gentle guy).

    Martin - Replica

    I was able to compete this step with a butter knife and much gentle prying. The scariest part is slipping the butter knife in.

    James - Replica

  2. Four black internal wires, three thin and one thick, are connected to the logic board: three by small end clips and one by a larger end clip. Handle the clips gently; they break easily. To detach the small clips from the connectors, place the flat end of the plastic spudger underneath the clip and gently lever it away from the center of the device.
    • Four black internal wires, three thin and one thick, are connected to the logic board: three by small end clips and one by a larger end clip. Handle the clips gently; they break easily.

    • To detach the small clips from the connectors, place the flat end of the plastic spudger underneath the clip and gently lever it away from the center of the device.

    • To detach the large clip from its connector, place the flat end of the spudger on the clip and lever it upward out of the connector.

    In later versions of A1521 you will find Step 2 unnecessary because the wires are already underneath the top plate and the connectors do not need to be unplugged. Also, don’t forget about the tiny reset button and LED status light that should be loosened before removing the unit from its case.

    Lawrence Krupp - Replica

    I thought all the AirPorts I have seen in the videos (and here) were opened prior to filming so I assumed I must unplug all three of them, and broke the three-wire connector of the indicator light : ) trying not to worry about it, but I would not really need to unplug that one throughout the process (at all) because the fan is running over the other (four-wire) small connector in the first place

    Sansal -

    I accidentally broke the clip on the 3 wire connection. Is there a supplier / part number in order to get a replacement? (Not the receiving clip on the circuit board, but the clip that the 3 wires press into.)

    Mark Thornburgh - Replica

    Hello Mark, I broke mine too - the connector. The three wire connection cable goes to the green/yellow status led. If you can’t live without it like I could not :) than you can use some superglue (gel!) and try to reassemble the connector back with much patience and steady hand. Wait at least 2 hours to dry out completely!! I used Loctite super attach gel. It worked for me. Two wires were lose and one was still on the connector. Next time I open my unit I will not touch this connector but instead rather remove the LED from housing and let it stay connected to the board.

    Janez Ford -

    Hey Mark - I broke mine too : ) the small(est) connector that should have remained as an integral part of the broad actually broke/come off with the cable despite the fact that I was literally trying hard to be very careful, and pulling that particular three-wire small clip (outwards) from the connector (placing the flat end of the spudger underneath the clip, and gently levering it away from the center of the device) as instructed) unfortunately was not enough. I am writing to let everyone here know that this is not of a big deal as it was the least important connector among the three:

    Now that my Airport extreme runs indicator-free; but the good thing is I can learn everything over the app on iPhone and/or MacBook - tying not to worry about it.

    Hope this helps in a particular way as intended: the reader feels a bit better, and knows that he/she is not alone : )

    Lesson to learn: read the comments as well - if I had read this, perhaps (just perhaps) I could have been more (?) careful with the 3-wire one

    Sansal -

    I’m very skilled at this sort of thing having done dozens of iPhones, iPads and many many computers. I also knew about the small clips needing to be popped off away from the board and the large one sliding up across the board. Despite that, the reset connector on the board broke off into two pieces. I write this to let people know I believe it is a fault of the connector design. Perhaps when the plastic hasn’t been heated through many years of use, it might work better. But in my case, I used a microscope to piece back the connector and re-solder it. It was NOT easy. As I was using a microscope I could see the condition of the connector. Honestly, they are so small that it is pushing the limits of that kind of connector. The plastic piece molding was very rough. As in, I don’t know why they use such poor quality connectors. If I were to do this again, I would cut the wires in a good spot and solder them back when done. At least for the small connectors. But after cleaning/oiling fan, it works great!

    Jeremy Williams -

    I inadvertently broke the 3 wire clip (wire end - not circuit board end) - is there a supplier / part number for a replacement clip?

    Mark Thornburgh - Replica

    The large clip is lifted out of it’s holder by lifting the clip up toward the top of the device, like upward toward the sky. Don’t lift it from the very bottom because it’s in a little holding case. The small clips are different. They lift outward away from the circuit board. Just put a flat screwdriver blade behind the wire just above the clip and lift it off - not upward - but in the opposite direction of the circuit board.

    John Vitali - Replica

    %#*@, I also broke the 3 wire clip - I read the instructions and all the comments, and thought I was good at this…really tricky. If you want to keep your status lights on beware!!!

    areineck - Replica

    I found it easier to remove only the big clip(careful! nearly half of it remain on the keyboard ) I succeeded best in lifting the tiny litte “noses(<1mm!) first left an right alternating then the plug comes out slowly (little bitt left .. little bit right)

    2Then to remove the circuit plug of the housing:

    After this its easy to take the black metal plate out by sliding it out under the crossing cables.

    3removing the Resetbutton from the housing: no need to remove the plug from the “mainboard”

    4 removing the control light from the housing: no need to remove the plug from the “mainboard”

    otto - Replica

    I want to substitute that it isn't even necessary to remove the big connector from the logic board so it is not necessary to remove any connectors to take the airport extreme out of the housing. You just have to remove the (power plug) the control light and the reset button out of the house in keeping them connected with the logic board.

    otto -

    Where is the mention of the difficulty in removing and replacing the reset button connection? Mine got ruined in the process. I was also unable to reattach one of the connections for the hard drive so it no longer functions. I would not recommend this repair unless you are experienced or are willing to lose functionality.

    Karl Grass - Replica

    as i wrote it is not necessary at all to remove the reset button connection. neither the connection of the control lights. U just take them out of the housing and they kepp connected to the mainboard. So its also posssible to try the AEBS or Time capsule without the housing.

    otto -

    This is a poor piece of work sorry. Much more detail needed. Sloppy. Gives fixit a bad name. I would have been better working it out myself… I’m second time in, having done a fair amount of damage by following these instructions the first time…

    Martin - Replica

    My metal plate covered all the wires, so I had to remove it before disconnecting the cables.

    As a number of people have pointed out. The connectors are not the same, so their removal methods are different.

    With the unit upside down, and the bottom removed.

    1) Remove the hardest to reach LED connector, by placing a spudger against the circuit board, and gently easing the cable out perpendicular to the surface of the circuit board.

    2) Remove the fan connector (as it was covered by the LED cable) using the same technique.

    3) The BIG connector pulls vertically up, parallel to the circuitboard. Be gentle, these are delicate.

    Luke West - Replica

    I’m very skilled at this sort of thing having done dozens of iPhones, iPads etc. I also knew about the small clips needing to be popped off away from the board and the large one sliding up across the board. Despite that, the reset connector on the board broke off into two pieces.

    I write this to let people know that I believe it is a fault of the connector design. Perhaps when the plastic hasn’t been heated through many years of use, it might work better. But in my case, I used a microscope to piece back the connector and re-solder it. It was NOT easy. As I was using a microscope I could see the condition of the connector. Honestly, they are so small that it is pushing the limits of that kind of connector. The plastic piece’s molding was very rough. As in, I don’t know why they use such poor quality connectors.

    If I were to do this again, I would cut the wires in a good spot and solder them back when done. At least for the small connectors. Happy to say that after cleaning/oiling fan axle, it works great!

    Jeremy Williams - Replica

    No need to remove any cables!

    I have the version that has all the cables under the metal plate.

    Just to make sure that I didn’t break any cables I didn’t disconnect any.

    Carefully remove the reset button and the LED-light from the case. The reset button slides from one side out, its self explanatory. The LED-light is glued to the case and can carefully be removed.

    To put back together, just be sure that the reset button is pushed down so it will fit in the “track” before using force to slide it in.

    The LED is just to carefully line up(one side is not rounded) and push back.

    Sorry for my English, not my native language. Hope you understand.

    Martin Westerstrand - Replica

    I used a toothpick to gently pry out the small connectors, starting behind the wires. For the big connector, I used a jeweller’s screwdriver the gently pry at the edges.

    James - Replica

  3. Using two fingers, pinch the power supply wire and gently lift it upward. Move it away from the metal plate. Next, unscrew the four 3.3mm T8 Torx screws and remove the metal plate. The metal plate fits snugly into the gap. To reassemble the device, push the rounded edge of the plate into the gap first. This will wedge the gap open so that you can fit the rest of the plate into its proper place.
    • Using two fingers, pinch the power supply wire and gently lift it upward. Move it away from the metal plate.

    • Next, unscrew the four 3.3mm T8 Torx screws and remove the metal plate.

    • The metal plate fits snugly into the gap. To reassemble the device, push the rounded edge of the plate into the gap first. This will wedge the gap open so that you can fit the rest of the plate into its proper place.

    When putting the metal plate back on, be sure all wiring does not get pinched. The wires sit in little cutouts so they don’t get pinched.

    John Vitali - Replica

    You need to remove the hard drive by pulling it up, before you can remove the chassis.

    Peter Carrie - Replica

    In case it is a time capsule; this is a guide for the airportExtreme; Again in want to emphasize that there is no need to take out any of these fragile connectors out of the mainboard; U just take out the contol light, the resetbutton an the Power plug out of the housing, keeping them connected with “mainboard” of the router; so there is no risk to break any connectors. If you just clean the fan and oil the axis, the whole inner thing stays as it is an is even functional without the housing; one could even put it into another housing. No risk to ruin anything..

    otto -

  4. Remove the T8 Torx screwdriver head and replace it with the 60 mm extension; then, add the T9 Torx head.
    • Remove the T8 Torx screwdriver head and replace it with the 60 mm extension; then, add the T9 Torx head.

    • Loosen, but do not remove the two screws at the bottom of the 1.2-inch wide gap in the middle of the internal structure.

    • These screws are spring-loaded and will stay in the device, even when loosened; however, it is still possible for them to be fully removed. Be careful to only partially loosen them.

    The two screws at the bottom were T8 in mine; I had no T9 screws in my Airport Extreme.

    MontanaSteve - Replica

    Mine were T8 as well. I had to loosen these screws until the springs popped up before I could pry the internal structure out.

    Guriqbal Basi - Replica

    I had the latte version of this Airport Extreme (with the connector cables assembled underneath the top four-screw cover), and I was able to loosen them with the T8 Torx head - I used it throuout the way

    Sansal - Replica

    I forgot to retighten them when I reassembled the thing. Hope nothing bad happens, as I’m not inclined to take it apart again just to tighten these screws.

    Richard Bussiere - Replica

  5. Using only your fingers, gently compress the internal structure and pull evenly upward to remove it from the white case. When you put the internal structure back into the case, gently compress it, and lower it most of the way into the case. Stop lowering it when the top port has just entered the case. Now push the two sides of the internal structure outward against the sides of the case.
    • Using only your fingers, gently compress the internal structure and pull evenly upward to remove it from the white case.

    • When you put the internal structure back into the case, gently compress it, and lower it most of the way into the case. Stop lowering it when the top port has just entered the case. Now push the two sides of the internal structure outward against the sides of the case.

    • Finish lowering the internal structure the rest of the way into the case. The ports should be lined up with the openings in the case and should be flush against the sides of the case.

    When pulling the internal structure out, carefully flex or tape the wires/connector for the LED light and reset button safely out of the way. Very easy to damage them at this stage.

    plevin - Replica

    The sockets for the RJ45 (ethernet) ports are locked into the case, fit the internal structure by 1-2mm, then you can compress the two halves together to enable removal of the body.

    As plevin says, take care not to damage the cables to the reset switch, and the cable to the status LED

    Luke West - Replica

    As “You cannot edit comments after five minutes have passed.”, I have a typo in my instructions, it should have said “…lift the internal…”

    Luke West - Replica

Conclusione

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

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I'm seeing a large cavity in the center. Is that for a drive? Can you add an internal drive to make the AirPort Extreme function like the Time capsule?

Lance Baker - Replica

In the airport time capsule the hard drive would be in this cavity but in the airport extreme, there is missing hardware and the logic board does not look like it has a port for the sata cable the time capsule would have for the hard drive.

Josh akana -

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