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Water-Damaged Laptop


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#1 EducatedGuess

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 01:50 PM

Hi, I have an older Dell Inspiron laptop with a water-damaged motherboard. The computer will not boot. I am looking at a used version of the same laptop on E-Bay without a screen (the screen on mine is still good). The listing for this laptop says it will "boot to Bios" and shows a picture of the laptop booting to an external monitor. Does this mean the motherboard and other internal components are likely good and operable in this unit? I would like buy this unit and add my screen to it. The listing comes from a reputable seller with 100% rating. Thanks in advance for your advice.

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#2 MrBruce1959

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:41 AM

Hello and welcome to Bleepingcomputer.

First I want to say, there is no way anyone can make a suggestion ,if we can not see what you are seeing on the e-bay web site.

However, based on what you are describing here, you are saying the seller has an image of this laptop powered up and connected to an external monitor.

Are they claiming the laptop screen of their laptop is damaged in anyway?

I am curious about your laptop, you say it sustained water damage, can you describe to me exactly what happened to this laptop?

Was a glass or water spilled into it?

Was it involved in a flood?

Was left out in the rain or left in a vehicle which took on some water?

Was the unit powered up when the damage took place?

Bruce.
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#3 EducatedGuess

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 12:28 PM

Bruce, thank you for replying. I was trying to keep the initial story short, but here goes.

The laptop on Ebay has had the original LCD monitor removed because it was broken. Seller has a 100% approval rating, and claims there is no other physical damage to the unit. It is just a box hooked to an external monitor, and shows a color picture of the Bios onscreen. It can probably be had for less than $50.00.

The story:
We bought this laptop brand new from Dell. It worked fine out of the box. Three weeks after delivery my daughter placed it on a sopping wet carpet overnight. The next morning it would not boot up. My theory (untested) is that the water seeped up through the bottom of the unit and fried the motherboard. I thought if I bought the identical model and cobbled together a working unit, it would be a lot cheaper than hiring a tech, etc. Otherwise, the laptop is a total loss.

These laptops sell used for under a $100 frequently on EBAY. My analysis was to buy one with a broken or missing LCD, since I know my screen works.

I do appreciate your response. Any other thoughts would be much appreciate. Am I on the right track? Is my reasoning sound?

Thank You Very Much,
Scott

#4 MrBruce1959

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 07:46 PM

Since I have been in the electronics repair field for many years, I can see your reasoning quite well.

If it is your desire to refurbish your laptop with the parts of another, you have my support.

I read your story regarding how your laptop became damaged.

I am sitting here trying to imagine what damage placing the laptop on a wet carpet can cause.

Unless the laptop was in an actual puddle of water an 1/2 inch deep, I would have to consider the possibility of humidity or water vapor rising into the unit to cause damage.

Have you made any attempts to diagnose the problem with the laptop?

Was there any signs of water dripping out of the laptop case?

Have you changed out the battery?

Have you checked to see if possible corrosion may have built up on the power jack?

I am basically just asking the above questions out of curiosity.

I have made many repairs on laptops, Play Station 2 and 3 gaming consoles and had to do circuit board repairs on microscopic pin-outs on chips, it's is quite a chore, but not impossible to do.

If I can do it so can you if you put your mind to it.

Go with this purchase and restore this laptop back to life, it will give you experience and bragging rights, as many people would be too paranoid to even attempt it.

I's really not that hard to do at all.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 21 February 2011 - 07:47 PM.

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#5 EducatedGuess

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:57 PM

Thanks, Bruce. I'm scratching my head over this one too. I took the unit apart and see no sign of rust or water damage, but that must have been what happened. I can't get a tech to look at it for under $50, so this seems like the most expeditious solution. Thanks for chiming in. I'll let you know how it works out. Best, Scott.

#6 MrBruce1959

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 10:15 PM

Okay Scott, please keep us informed and best of luck to you.

Bruce.
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