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Notebook will not start


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#1 Rigger100472

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 05:41 AM

My friend has an acer aspire one notebook with windows XP. The problem is that when he presses the power button nothing happens, and I mean Nothing except the power light illuminates. There's no writing, no bios page, no hard drive working light, nothing. I suspect he has fried his motherboard and this isn't a software or boot problem at all, but can anyone confirm my suspicions before he buys a replacement. Or maybe suggest a way of confirming this. Thanks for your help.

Edited by hamluis, 04 February 2011 - 08:59 AM.
Moved to Internal Hardware from XP forum.


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#2 dc3

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 10:58 AM

What leads you to believe that this problem is related to the motherboard?

Before I looked at the motherboard I would want to check out a couple of other things.

Does the fan spin up inside the case?

When you start the computer and the power light comes on can you open the optical drive's tray?

If you have a flash drive that normally illuminates when it's plugged in, does it now light up?

I would invest in a cheap external hdd case and try the hdd with another computer to be sure that it isn't dead. You can get them for as little as ten or fifteen dollars online.

I would want to a DC Voltmeter and see if the proper voltage is getting to the motherboard, hdd, and any other peripheral device.

Have you looked at the motherboard for indications of over heating, burn marks, lifted traces?

Is there any odor of hot or burn electronics?

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#3 bonzo905

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 11:25 AM

Hi. There should be some type of light that turns on when the power supply is plugged in, just to inidcate a charging status. Is that still working?

#4 Rigger100472

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 10:36 AM

To answer arachibutyrophobia first. (try that after a beer or three), We are both currently in the middle east and resources are limited, (getting to the internet is hard enough, so now you will understand some of the odd things I've already tried.

Ok when you press the power button the only thing that happens is the power light comes on. The fan doesn't start and there are no other signs of activity. The fan doesn't start.

It is a web book so there is no optical tray.

I tried my flashdrive in a USB port and there is no light ( it usuall glows orange and pulses even if it's been ejected.)

He has an external HDD and this does not work either. Buth of these indicate the USB ports aren't working but I thought that was the case if windows wasn't booted fully anyway.

Now for the extreme bit. I took his webbook to pieces and swapped his power distributer jobby and internal HDD into MY laptop. It all worked fine but still HIS fan didn't fire up when attached to MY motherboard.

The things we try just to get on facebook.

I had a very good look at his motherboard but it all looks OK no signs of any heat damage at all.
Would a faulty fan result in the board not switching itself on??

He can still charge his battery with the external plug but as to the light I will ask when I get back.

Thanks for your help guys.

#5 dc3

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 11:20 AM

A word of warning, you shouldn't take a hdd with a Windows operating system install on it and install it in another computer. The following is an excerpt from a Intel article which describes in detail what happens

If a hard drive is moved to a new computer, the registry entries and drivers for the mass storage controller hardware on the new motherboard are not installed in Windows for the new computer you may not be able to start Windows. This is documented in Microsoft's knowledge base article. This is true even if you move the hard drive to a motherboard with the same chipset, as different hardware revisions can cause this issue as well.

Additionally, moving a hard drive to a new motherboard may not exhibit any errors until you install new IDE drivers. This is because each chipset uses a different Plug-n-Play (PNP) ID to identify it. If you move your motherboard, your registry will have multiple PNP IDs (for the old hardware as well as the new hardware). If there are multiple entries in the registry, Windows cannot determine which hardware to initialize and therefore fails with a STOP error."

We are now at the point that it would help to know the model of this Aspire. Please include this in your next post.

I'm a little bit confused here, what fan did you install in your computer along with his hdd? There are usually only one fan on the heat sink on the CPU, and in some laptops a second case fan.

My first concern regarding the proper voltage is still my main concern. I don't suppose you have a VOM and know how to use it?

When you took his computer apart was it clean inside, no dust accumulated in the heat sink of the CPU? Overheating can cause a computer to shut down. There is a thermal sensor for the CPU that is monitored. This can regulate the RPM of the fan mounted on the heat sink on the CPU, it can also shut down the computer if it exceeds the thermal limit set by the factory. It is very unusual, but the computer without a fan in a very warm environment can reach that threshold quickly enough that it will not turn on.

Edited by dc3, 05 February 2011 - 11:21 AM.

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#6 bonzo905

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 12:46 PM

I've never heard of a faulty fan causing a motherboard not to turn on, but it can turn it off. Sometime around the Pentium2 days the CPU fans turned into the 3-wire (and now 4-wire) type. The third wire is a feedback signal to tell the motherboard that the fan is running. It wouldn't apply here as the computer would have to turn on first, see the fan wasn't running, then shut off. This would all happen during the BIOS boot stage.

#7 Rigger100472

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 09:52 AM

Thanks for the Heads up about the HDD,

To answer your questions

It is an Acer Aspire One Netbook.

The fan I tested was the one from his webbook, and slaved into the terminal for the fan on my laptop. We have since found that the fan is working and so can be ruled out. There is only one fan on his netbook to try.

As for voltage, I can get hold of a VOM but where do I need to test and what results should I get?

When I took his webbook apart there was a little dust in the fan and in a duct from the fan to the outlet vents but nothing which would stop the fan, the motherboard, HDD, under the keyboard were clean, not spotless but clean enough not to be of concern.

To answer an older question, the battery still charges and the charge light illuminates.

#8 Jesse8931

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 10:00 AM

I have had alot of those netbooks in my shop with the same issue.

How I was able to fix them is take it all apart and repaste the cpu and it fixes them.

I have fixed about 20 that way

#9 dc3

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 11:24 AM

Jesse8931 wrote...

How I was able to fix them is take it all apart and repaste the cpu and it fixes them.


What you are finding is that the thermal compound between the heat sink and the CPU has failed or was inadequate?


Bonzo905 wrote...

The third wire is a feedback signal to tell the motherboard that the fan is running.


The third wire is the "sense" wire which monitors the fan RPM. The speed of the fan is controlled by the voltage.

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#10 Rigger100472

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 09:51 AM

to Jesse8931

what do you mean repaste? Is there some resin or glue I need to do this? Can it be done easily or will it need to be done by someone with a bit of experience in this sort of thing?

#11 Bill253

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 02:56 PM

I can't help with the repair particulars, but here's a definition from Wikipedia.

'Thermal grease (also called thermal gel, thermal compound, thermal paste, heat paste, heat sink paste, heat transfer compound, or heat sink compound) is a fluid substance, originally with properties akin to grease, which increases the thermal conductivity of a thermal interface by compensating for the irregular surfaces of the components. In electronics, it is often used to aid a component's thermal dissipation via a heat sink.'

In instances such as this it's used between the CPU and heat sink/cpu cooling fan.




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