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Bringing a Toshiba Laptop back from the dead.


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#1 Crazy49er

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 09:00 PM

Hi, I have ye ole Toshiba 17" laptop. ( Satellite P25-S520 P/N PSP20U-3F68ZV ) There is no beating around the bush about it, It's old and its a clunker. I suspect it even weights a pound for every inch of screen size but it has windows XP, it may be worth fixing. I guess that is what I'm here posting this thread to determine and get a second/third opinion on.

I recently acquired this laptop from a family member who didn't take good care of the thing. It has been taken numbers times for repairs and by the third time I suspect she just didn't want to deal with it anymore. I've done a quick diagnostic with my minor skills and this is so far what I've concluded.

Laptop Boots up to BIOS, then displays an error, unable to locate or connect to PCI Realtech Ethernet adapter. (I'm guessing Geek Squad changed the boot order the last time it was serviced and never switched it back) However the biggest issue that I found was shortly there after the computer would shut itself off. I figured it may/may not be a virus issue or something hard ware related. So I decided to check the hardware first. Sure enough one of the fans had been knocked loose on the bottom and there was a large crack formed on the outside plastic right up to where the fans interact with the heat sink. I removed the panel with my toolkit and guess what? 3 of the 4 screws holding the heat sink down onto the motherboard had completely broken off/out of their mounts leaving holes in the motherboard. This in turn had dried out the compound that was no longer transferring heat to the heat sink/fans.

$11.99 for new compound, and I tapped the heat sink back into place carefully just to see if it would fix the issue temporarily. It did, now the laptop will stay on for several hours at a time. The problem is put off for now but I was wondering if there is a substance I can use to "glue" the mounts for the heatsink back into the board that would both hold and be resistant to heat/electricity. I know I can't use superglue because of the heat, Someone mentioned a special epoxy to me once but said it was different or better for electronics then the epoxy sold at hardware stores. Does anyone know of such a cridder?

Once the laptop was functional (hah!) I played around with the BIOS settings and tried to set the correct boot sequence. No good on that front. Apparently the laptop doesn't even see the Hard Drive as being installed. Which therefore is something I had to check on. I took the HardDrive out of the laptop and with my trusty IDE/SATA - USB cord I plugged it into my Windows 7 desktop. Trouble is the HDD did not automatically show a new drive letter in My Computer. So I dove into the Disk Management window and after some time it did show the 80gig toshiba IDE drive as being visible, you could see the make/information about the drive itself. However it showed the drive as being 80gig ~ 74.55gb "Unallocated" space. I assume I should take that into account and assume the HDD is bad if both computers can't make heads or tails of it. I heard it trying to spool and make noise but most of all it would do is click click (stop), click click click (stop).

So my newbie diagnostics at this time are that the Heat Sink needs to be re-attached to the laptop's motherboard. And that I may need a new Hard Drive for the unit. Any other ideas I may not have tried? And I'll be quite honest, Is this damn thing even worth the hassle of fixing the heatsink, finding a $60-80 IDE 2.5 drive, re-installing XP home, and then lugging it around? Honestly I'm unsure.

Any Thoughts?

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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 09:19 PM

In all honesty it would make a good project for yourself if you have the extra cash, but I would salvage of it what you can and trash the rest.

#3 Crazy49er

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 07:46 PM

I have access to PC Doctor 7.5 at work I've had to learn on my own, I guess I'll take the laptop in and use it under a "Training Exercise" excuse. May as well get hard data back on the rest of the laptop and see if its just the HDD. If it were any older I wouldn't give it the time of day. But an Intel P4 3.0ghz is still worthy of running music/office.

#4 Crazy49er

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 07:01 PM

The continuation:

So PC doctor checks out, all scans PASS on the laptop except the ones for the Hard Drive. All / most fail. I picked up a new 250gb IDE HDD 2.5" and Ive installed it into the unit. However now I'm getting back to the original problem of the laptop calling for the PCI Realtek Ethernet adapter.

Intel UNDI, PXE-2.0 (build 082)
Copyright © 1997-2000 Intel Corporation

For Realtek RTL8139(X)/8130/810X PCI Fast Ethernet Controler x2.13 (020326)
PXE-E61: Media Test Failure, check cable
PXE-MOF: Exiting PXE ROM


If I plug in a cat-crossover cable to my desktop, it begins to recognize the MAC address and searches for the DHCP in vain.


I first tried simply F12 and booting from the CD/DVD however now it just simply kicks back over to the Ethernet automatically.

I then tried F2 and checking BIOS, the new WD hard drive shows up PhoenixBIOS v1.70, Boot order is HDD, CD/DVD, Removable disc (are none, no floppies), Network .. I even told it to disable the network function. Exit, save changes.... much to my dismay "For Realtek .........PCI Ethernet Controller...." BLAST!

Ideas?

#5 cryptodan

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 07:04 PM

Whats the boot order for the boot devices?

#6 Crazy49er

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 07:16 PM

Hard Drive
CD/DVD
Removable Disc
Network

I've even tried moving the CD/DVD up as primary but still no change.

#7 cryptodan

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 07:19 PM

There could be an issue with the chipset or the hard drive port. It has enough information to detect the drive, but not boot from it. I think the motherboard is shot.

#8 Crazy49er

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 07:22 PM

would there be a way of booting it with the ethernet like its looking for via a 2nd computer?

I read of a similar situation on another toshiba laptop on another forum, they mentioned that the CMOS battery could be bad on the laptop. This one is from 2002, I'm sure the CMOS battery has had enough time to go bad but I've only replaced them in Desktops, would it behoove me to go digging around in the laptop to replace it?

Edited by Crazy49er, 13 November 2010 - 07:26 PM.


#9 cryptodan

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 07:29 PM

Does the time and date stay each and everytime you boot up the computer?

Do you get any Check Sum errors?

#10 Crazy49er

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Posted 13 November 2010 - 07:35 PM

Does the time and date stay each and everytime you boot up the computer?

Do you get any Check Sum errors?


Whelp, so much or an easy fix... Shows the correct date 11/13/2010 and the time has moved ahead an hour since I started working on it... an hour ago. I wish all my batteries had an 8-9 year lifespan.

#11 Sneakycyber

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 03:15 PM

As per your question on what type of epoxy or glue to use. You just need to make sure its not electrically conductive (depending on where your gluing I can't picture it) Arctic Silver makes a thermal epoxy which is ceramic based and is not conductive.
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#12 Crazy49er

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 07:56 PM

As per your question on what type of epoxy or glue to use. You just need to make sure its not electrically conductive (depending on where your gluing I can't picture it) Arctic Silver makes a thermal epoxy which is ceramic based and is not conductive.


Yep! I found some on Newegg.com, I hadn't purchased it yet because I was hoping I'd be able to get the laptop working... I haven't given up hope yet but It does have me in a bit of a rut.




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