Replacing the power supply on the AirPort Extreme A1521 takes a few steps. Once you get to the second to last step you need to be careful and not touch the black cylinders. They are capacitors and could give you a shock.

  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.

    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 - Antwoord

    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 - Antwoord

  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.
    • 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 - Antwoord

    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 - Antwoord

    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 -

    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 - Antwoord

    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 - Antwoord

    %#*@, 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 - Antwoord

    • 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 - Antwoord

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

    Peter Carrie - Antwoord

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    • 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.

    Voeg opmerking toe

    • 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.

    Voeg opmerking toe

    • Rotate the internal structure so that the white ports are facing away from you.

    • Three 8.2mm T8 Torx screws connect the fan to the internal structure. Unscrew all three.

    • Don’t lose the rubber grommets underneath the screws. These prevent you from damaging the device while dismantling it.

    When removing the fan, begin by lifting the side with only one screw because the other side has the wiring tucked under a rubber piece that’s bendable. Push the rubber piece to the side to get the wire out from under it so you can completely remove the fan.

    John Vitali - Antwoord

    • Remove the fan from the device.

    • Remove the fan gently; it fits snugly and could damage the device if pulled roughly.

    I opened my unit to expect it before I buy the new fan because I found fan failure in debug log of my airport utility instead of overheat which was presented right after login into airport utility. The fan costs about 23$ on ebay - not cheap at all!! Turns out the fan is OK but it just needed a bit of oil because it could barely spin (with my hand! on it's own id did not turn at all). I opened the fan casing - be careful no to break the plastic clips and pulled the fan straight up from the mechanism. What can go wrong, if its broken its broken, right? :) … I put a very small amount of oil on the shaft itself (not in the mechanism!!!) and pushed it back to into the mechanism. Then I tried to turn the fan a bit both ways with my hand and with each turn it had less resistance. When I plugged the disassembled unit into power (I really really really do not recommend that!!!) the fan started to turn on its own. The unit is now fully assembled and works for the past 2 days without overheat warning. Hope this helps!

    Janez Ford - Antwoord

    I found a fan on eBay that was shipped from China. The OEM manufacturer of the original fan in my Airport Extreme is SUNON, the same brand I found on eBay.

    John Vitali - Antwoord

    • Remove the four 10.35 mm Torx T8 screws on the black plastic shell.

    Voeg opmerking toe

    • The power supply should come right off.

    • Make sure you don't touch the black cylinder on the power supply. It can shock you and cause injury.

    Voeg opmerking toe


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

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When removing the fan pay attention to the cable. It is glued down with sticky tape and is routed beneath the rubber seal that mates against the case. You may want to remove the power supply cover first since the cable for the fan is routed beneath its cover. But once the power supply fasteners are removed the power supply is dangling from its cables so be careful to relieve the strain.

paulkrupa - Antwoord

Splendid! It worked! I'm so happy. The old fan did really have some slackness and the new one makes no sound. Thanks for describing how to change the fan.

cuthbert awesome - Antwoord

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