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Laptop Is A Paperweight...


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#1 Jeremiah

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 02:59 PM

Okay, I just spent the last 15 minutes typing out a long post and lost it when I clicked spell check. |(*,)
I don't feel like typing it all out again, so here's the shorthand version...

Gateway Laptop: Screen went black and heatsink fans stopped while surfing. Power did not turn off. System did not reboot. No further disk access noises upon key touches. Held down power button to turn off immediately. Waited for cool down. Turned back on - Still black screen. Tested external monitor - Still no video. Held down power button to turn off. Removed grill from bottom and disassembled heatsink fans. Cleared out dust/debris from off heatsink fins behind fans. Rebooted system with successful Gateway boot screen. Fans stopped running and screen went black again right about when Windows load screen should have appeared.

Called Gateway: Big Joke

Visited CompUSA: They test and say the motherboard is gone.

Jeremiah Completely Disassembles: Absolutely NO sign of carbon charring anywhere. Board "looks" fine. Pulled processor - It "looks" fine. Found some more packed on dust. Brushed/blew dust to remove and reassembled. Turned on laptop. Heard DVD drive access noise as well as heatsink fans. Gateway load screen appears and freezes on screen for one full minute. Hold down power button to turn system off.

I have tried everything I know to do here including testing the hard drive in another machine (it's fine... actually put it into a portable drive enclosure and plugged it into a desktop - all files intact) to removing all drives and non-essential hardware and the results are the same. Sometimes I get nothing but a black screen. Other times I get a load screen and then the system stops and screen goes black. Then, at other times, the load screen appears and then a freeze occurs.

Has anyone here ever heard of a case where a motherboard was "fried" and yet there was not one mark on it or even any carbon smell? Even the teeth of the processor were flawless. There was even still good thermal past between it and the heatsink. I just don't get it. I can buy a new MOBO right now for $300 (no processor!), but if that's not the problem I'm just throwing good money after bad. Any ideas? :huh:

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#2 Larry $

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 07:30 PM

Melody had a laptop built for her by a local computer store this past spring. The motherboard fried last month. The geeks at the store who built it couldn't fix it and it's been back at the motherboard OEM for over a month now.

Keep it as a paperweight.
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#3 ricfirefighter

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 08:42 AM

Jer let me know what you deside the retailer i work for has dell and compaqs and i can get them for myself at cost just drop me a pm

#4 Jeremiah

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 08:51 AM

Thank you so much for the offer, Ric... But, the answer to prayer came today in the form of an Acer Aspire Notebook.

Yes, it's the one Wal-Mart had on sale for $348 today only. I've never even considered purchasing anything computer-related from Wally World before... But, at that price and coming with Vista (which is what ~$200 or so to get by itself) I snagged it without thinking twice.

I'm actually using the notebook right now and I am shocked at how nice it is for what it cost. The only thing that really concerned me was the Celeron M processor. But, I've been purposely multitasking to see if I can bog it down and so far it's taking what I dish out. (We'll see what happens when I load PhotoShop. :D )

============

By the way, the Gateway notebook... I sat it, minus the battery, in the freezer for 10 minutes. I was able to get it to launch Windows before it froze up again. So, my thinking is that everything is fine except the board is indeed in trouble because all of the fans function. Who knows?! Not my problem anymore... :D :D :D

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#5 Leo

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 02:32 PM

Acer makes GOOD laptops. There are based in Canada.

Apparently Canada has a pretty darn good pool of hardware guys because ATI is based there as well and anyone who ignores ATI as THE graphics powerhouse hasn't been paying attention. Nvidia makes good stuff but for the most application compatibility ATI still leads the way.

You won't be disappointed with that ACER I'm confident of that.

Question:

Will the laptop work without the battery installed and just plugged in? I know it's not an option on some laptops and on these kind they will not work period with a bad battery, doesn't matter if you are plugged in or not. Get the battery checked out. What you're describing sounds more to me like a battery issue than a Motherboard issue. When something burns out electronically it lets out some smoke. So you practically 100% of the time can find evidence of this. You description of the issue leads me to look at the battery first and the booting hard drive second. Try a bootable cd rom or usb drive. If that works the hard drive is suspect.
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#6 Jeremiah

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 03:15 PM

Hey Leo... Yes, you could run the Gateway without a battery. In fact, that was the first thing I tried. :(

I've also considered the hard drive... I put it into a portable enclosure and have had it plugged into the new lappy dragging files off of it this afternoon. So, it's not toast. But, I'm not booting from it. So, who knows for sure? I have considered taking the one out of the new notebook and trying it in the Gateway or vice versa. We'll see.

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#7 Leo

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 03:36 PM

I have considered taking the one out of the new notebook and trying it in the Gateway or vice versa. We'll see.


ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO THAT!!

Vista will not take kindly to the new computer environment and that trial might toast the new HD as well. Plus the legal counter in the Vista software of 3 upgrades will be degraded to ONE even if it does succeed.

I've seen harddrives that only had the boot sector damaged. You could still snag files off them exactly like you are doing but the boot sector is toast never to be revived. One of the spare parts I don't have is an extra Laptop Hard drive or I'd send you one.

If you got it successfully piggy backed. After you get everything you want off it. Format it, reinstall it and try a clean install of windows.
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#8 Jeremiah

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 03:58 PM

I had a desktop with a damaged boot sector. I was actually able to repair it because I could still at least access a command line. This thing just sits there and does nothing half the time you turn it on. I dunno... It certainly acts like the one fried board I've seen before. But, I can't figure out why, on rare occasion, it will at least try to boot. That doesn't sound like MOBO... at least not a toasted one. :huh:

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#9 Leo

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 05:05 PM

Electrical stuff either works or it don't. Every seen a burnt out light bulb work a few more times before it completely dies?

Hard drives have a couple mechanical parts that are pretty sensitive. The read arm and the platters can be damaged if the actually touch. A piece of grit in there will cause incredible goofiness.

Sounds like drive and smells like it to me. Though I might be wrong I can't see it after all.
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#10 Jeremiah

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 09:10 PM

My toasted MOBO experience consisted of a board with an actual burn mark right on it. The computer would start, but throw a blue screen error before doing anything. This notebook doesn't even so much as do that, however. You get one of two actions... Nothing but a black screen with no fans turning or disk access noises OR fans turning with disk access and a boot with varying degrees of success. (None have gone all the way to the desktop... only as far as to the Windows XP load screen before the fans shut off and the screen goes black.)

It acts like classic overheating to me. Unfortunately, every fan in the thing works and the heatsinks are well seated and should be doing their jobs. I have no experience with how a system senses heat, but it makes me wonder if a heat sensor isn't malfunctioning. Outside of that I have no more good ideas and even the ones suggested have turned up nothing. (Reformatted the HDD today, for example. :( ) I am considering letting the big shot IT guy from the hospital my mother works at look at it because he will roll up his sleeves and get in there, but will not charge a dime except for any replacement parts needed if he can fix it.

At this point, I am still blown away by the performance of this Acer. It isn't much to look at and I miss the 17" widescreen and full keyboard. But, it actually scores better than the broken notebook ever did on all the performance tests I've run and with half the weight, noise and heat! (Oh, and I hate to admit it but I am enjoying Vista other than the annoying way it asks me if I'm sure I meant to do that any time I click on anything that an inexperienced user may be able to screw up their system by clicking on.) If the Gateway could be repaired at a reasonable price I think I would give it to my sister.

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#11 Leo

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 11:03 AM

If you can't even get a bootable disk to show some life, that still doesn't necessarily mean the MOBO is toast.

I hate to ask this now because I honestly should have before now. Sorry, I just had one of those DUH! moments.

Have you checked the CMOS battery? You know that little coin battery that goes in the motherboard. If it's older than four years it could have simply croaked. That could also cause what you are describing.
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#12 Jeremiah

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 08:29 PM

Nope! I thought about it... I looked at it. But, there is wiring (it looks like soldered) right on the battery and then the whole thing is shrink wrapped over and plugs into the MOBO. (Instead of the battery just sitting in a holder on the MOBO like on a desktop.) The cheapest I saw one online for was $20 and most wanted $29. It didn't look like something I felt comfortable in rigging up myself, so I just kind of said, "Well, that ain't it." :rolleyes:

You're right though that really should have been the first thing I did. Honestly, I've never had one go bad. Even the old Compaq Presario I gave my mother is ten years old or so and still doing it's thing. So, I didn't lend much credence to it. We'll see.

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#13 Leo

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 09:06 PM

Frankly, it's been quite awhile since I had one go bad since I started upgrading motherboards in my desktop every couple years.

That's not an option in a Laptop. Usually it's a replacement only deal and good luck finding one for a Dell/Gate :rolleyes: (BTW, I'll say again, I like ACER)

But I have had them go bad and on anything over 4yrs old it's suspect.

If you can put a voltmeter on that thing that may save you the buy and try step.

Edited by Leo, 04 November 2007 - 09:11 PM.

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