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HP Laptop alternatively freezes, crashes, won't reboot


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#1 JadedGem

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 07:02 PM

HP dv6-2157us, Windows 7 64 bit, AMD Turion dual-core m520 2.30 Ghz, 4.00 gb Ram (3.75 gb usable)
Running Avast real-time, plus manual scans with Malwarebytes and Superantispyware


I am trying to fix a "broken" laptop that is no longer covered under warranty. The laptop was already "fixed" twice through warranty, and the 3rd time symptoms happened, the warranty company replaced it. The replacement laptop is "ok"; the specs are a little higher, but the keyboard etc is not as nice because they replaced based on price I paid rather than the value of the laptop (there was a really good promo on the laptop - it was abt $250 less than usual price). So now that there is no warranty, I hope to be able to fix my original laptop on my own.

Sorry this is so lengthy, but I wanted to make sure to get as much info as possible in my first post.

Laptop purchased around March 2010.
1. Laptop ran nice & cool for awhile, then after about 9 months of frequent use, it started getting too warm if it was on for more than a couple hours. Symptoms as far as freezing/crashing started around March 2011. The laptop would freeze, with the cap locks & num locks lights slowly flashing in unison. After reboot, all was fine. It would happen again after a few weeks; I just restarted and it worked fine again. Then it started happening more frequently, sometimes the display would show just vertical colored lines, sometimes screen would look pixilated (sometimes these strange displays were accompanied by a loud screeching noise) but always with the num lock/cap lock lights flashing & keys nonresponsive. A few times the BSOD appeared. I would usually restart after a little while & it would be fine (only option was hard boot - ctrl+alt+del would not work). When it got to a point where it would happen after it was on just a few minutes, I contacted the warranty company. They had me do mem check, system restore etc with no luck. So I sent in for repair. (Launch startup repair didn't work either - would crash).

Repair summary June 2011: "Replicated prob with 3 hour stress test. Restored HDA using OEM restore CD. Reseated cables and chips, reworked solder joints, cleaned out fan and/or heat sink." On calling them today (2/10/12) for clarification I was told there was corrupt data / drivers on HD and it seemed like it was caused by virus. (which I didn't expect since I had Avast and did run malwarebytes & superantispyware regularly)

2. Laptop worked beautifully, and ran nice & cool, for about 2 months, until the same sequence of symptoms began. This time I also noticed the battery would die in about 25 minutes, even after I drained it down & fully recharged. There was also a strange battery error message telling me to replace the battery, but that only happened once. After a couple weeks & problem becoming more frequent, I sent it back in for repair at the same shop.

Repair summary Sept 2011: "Problem was duplicated and repaired. Replaced fan & tested. Repaired/replaced defective LCD. Reseated cables and chips, reworked solder joints, cleaned out fan and/or heat sink. Replaced touchpad." On calling them today, they also mentioned they replaced the plastic palmrest.

The laptop worked well again, & cool, for a couple months (till about Nov 2011). This time, since the computer was repaired twice already, the warranty repair company replaced the laptop.


The laptop has been unplugged & stored for months now. Every so often I turn it on, but it freezes within maybe a few minutes or half hour. This morning I tried running the computer with the battery taken out, but it crashed again after about an hour (with no programs running, just sitting idle).
On talking to someone at the warranty repair shop today (not a tech person, but with access to the repair information), he suggested trying a full system recovery (also suggested that it's either software related or could be an issue with the motherboard). The laptop had already frozen up on me a couple times today, but it stayed on long enough to do the entire system recovery plus install Avast (& updates), update Windows (including a restart), and downloading & installing a few other programs we use (eg firefox, chrome, malwarebytes etc). As I started checking gmail, it froze again. I've had a couple BSODs today, which are logged so I can provide that info if needed.

Note that after the problems with overheating first began, every couple months I used a vacuum hose on the vents to try to clean out some dust. After the first few times it froze up, I also used Speedfan and the temps were usually shown as ok at about 39-40C, but it did sometimes show hot at 41-44C, and had a couple times gone up too high to around 50C. As a non-techie, one thing I noticed is it seems that something happens with the laptop to cause a problem (eg serious overheating), and then the damage is already done & it will keep crashing/freezing etc until repaired.

Also, fyi, we have other laptops in the home that don't have any of these problems so if it's a dust-causing-overheating issue this is the only laptop affected.

Any advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
If it's not too difficult to repair on my own (as in, opening up the laptop, which I have done with a desktop but never with a laptop) I may do that as well, considering right now it's barely usable at all.

My last resort would be to take it to a local repair shop, but even so I'd like to be able to give them some info to guide them so they can fix it more quickly (& hopefully at less cost to me :).

Thanks.

Edited by JadedGem, 11 February 2012 - 10:51 AM.


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#2 BillyJoBob

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 07:28 PM

I have those same exact symptoms but no repair work/replacement. If I understood you correctly, has happened to more than one laptop, were they all dv6's?

Thanks

BJB


#3 Sneakycyber

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 07:15 PM

These models are notorious for running hot. Generally they heat up and the bga on the graphics chip melts and the chip looses contact with the motherboard (that's over 400F depending on the solder type)You can have the board repaired, however if the bga re-work isn't done properly or with the correct solder the repair won't last long. The heat sink fan assembly needs to be completely dissasemled and cleaned. Dust builds up behind the heat exchanger and blocks the air flow out of the laptop. If you only use canned air the fan holds the dust in there. Good quality thermal paste in the correct amount, and copper shims (very carefully) used instead of thermal pads. Finally under clock the processor and make sure the power adapter isn't providing too much voltage or amperage
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#4 JadedGem

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 11:56 AM

UPDATE:

 

Well, after putting the laptop aside for a long time, I was determined to try out Sneakycyber's advice and attempt to fix this computer.  (the graphics chip was repaired previously under warranty, and I stopped using the laptop before the overheating got as bad this time, so I just need to do the shim/paste)

 

I purchased a .6mm copper shim for a dollar or so on ebay (someone recommended .5mm, but I ended up getting .6mm), plus some Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste for a few bucks.  I read and viewed everything I could about taking the laptop apart to add the shim and replace the paste, and within a few weeks I was finally ready to give it a go. 

 

And voila, the fix worked!  (Thanks, Sneakycyber!)  

It's been over a week now and it's been quite cool.  I monitor my temps with Speed Fan: Idle, temps are in the 30s, browsing the internet usually stays around mid 40s, watching videos the temps are usually mid to high 40s.  Temps can go up a few degrees when plugged in because the processor has to work harder. I'm using that laptop right now; I've had a few browser tabs open for awhile, have a Netflix movie on, and it's plugged in - temps are around 46-48.

 

I plan to buy a cooling pad (the Cooler Master Notepal X-Slim w/ a single 160mm fan) just to give that extra cooling if needed. 

(Note, there was almost no dust inside the computer, so it wasn't a dust issue at all)

 

 

 

Habits I have changed to help keep it cool (which is generally good for any laptop):

* I don't place the laptop on soft surfaces eg lap or bed.  I keep a board or hard book underneath..  

* when possible I move the laptop slightly to the side so the fan (located on the left side, rear) is off any surface, allowing better air flow. I've seen this alone drop the temp by 3-5 degrees C.

* I don't plug the laptop in unless the battery is low (under 50%) or I'll need a fully charged battery soon; whenever I can I allow the battery to get quite low before charging, occasionally completely dead. Similarly, I make sure the laptop is unplugged when off unless it needs charging, and then only plug it in for a short while.

* I  use high-quality anti-virus (eg free ones like Avast) with real-time protection. Also, I regularly scan with Superantispyware AND Malwarebytes - the latter two are free but have to be run manually (unless you pay for real-time protection, automatic scanning)

 

 

There are plenty of videos out there for cleaning out / accessing fans on the HP dv6 so I just followed one of them as I did the work. These HP models require you to take everything apart to access the fan/heat sink, all the way down to removing the motherboard! ugh.  This also makes it hard putting the laptop back together the right way.  That's why I filmed myself taking the laptop apart, which REALLY helped so I could go back and look at what I had done specifically.  It took me about 1.5 hours to take apart because I went slowly, kept pausing the video, going back a step etc.  (after a few times, it now takes me about 15 minutes to take apart)

 

Most important tip, besides filming:  Make sure to reconnect the fan to the motherboard (it's a small connector, easy to miss for non-techies like me), and ensure all other connections are reconnected.

The first 2 times I did not reconnect the fan - first time, I thought I didn't do the repair correctly bc the temps were skyrocketing within minutes, so I redid everything including the paste. Then the second time, I realized I didn't connect the fan, so I took pretty much everything apart again to plug the fan in. Then, I missed the mouse connector, the next time the keyboard.  So each time I put everything back together, and had to take almost everything apart again to fix the problem (well, the keyboard was the easiest, didn't have to undo much to get to that).  So it was a hassle, and time consuming (so many little screws!) but by the 3rd time taking apart I didn't have to consult any video, and can now take apart & put back together on my own.   :)

 

I hope this helps others.  For maybe $10 and a few hours of dedicated time, this might work for you.   :)


Edited by JadedGem, 25 October 2013 - 12:34 PM.


#5 Sneakycyber

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:26 PM

Missing the fan connector SUCKS, I have done it a few times my selft. Patients, Organization and pictures or in your case video helps when taking apart laptops and makes reassembly much easier. I use a screw tracking sheet, project boxes with several compartments for all the screws and my cellphone camera for cable routing. I have found using suran wrap around my index finger to apply the Arctic Silver to the CPU works the best. 


Edited by Sneakycyber, 02 November 2013 - 08:29 PM.

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