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Laptop Repair


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#1 Winterland

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 06:25 AM

Morning everyone. I'm posting my experience here because I'm frustrated but not angry, so when ever I'm in a spot like that, I always find it best (and most productive) to seek out advice & impressions from folks that might see things from another perspective.

Took a friend's 18 month old laptop to our local repair shop to get looked at. It's an 18 month old HP that simply won't power up.

Before I took it in I tried all the basics (testing the power cord, removing battery, etc.) then searched BC, You Tube and even HP's trouble shooting sites.

I'm comfortable taking apart a desktop, but my experience with laptops is pretty limited so I though it best to take it to a shop.

Now, I understand once I enter the world of Retail nothing is going to be free, so I anticipated having to pay a bench test fee or a diagnostic charge to find out what exactly is wrong with the unit...however, that's when things began to get frustrating.

After a few days the tech called and said that he thought that power jack "might need to be replaced" but he couldn't guarantee that that would fix the problem.

Well, I thought, he is a computer tech, he does have the laptop taken apart, he should be able to see things that I couldn't and, ostensibly, he should be qualified to make a much more educated guess than I would, right? :whistle:

I said, "sure, let's try that".

A week later (he had to order the part) he called to tell me that installing the new power jack did not fix the issue. Then he went on to tell me that it "might be something to do with the motherboard" (something he neglected to tell me during the first couple of phone calls).

He did offer to pull the hard drive and get any files off of it that I might need... <_<

I'm going to pick up the laptop this week, for a charge of $100 +, with the same issue I had when I dropped it off.

Argggghhh.

So, my question is this: is that a reasonable experience for a computer repair shop? I'm okay (but frustrated) if it is, just want to know.

I was overwhelmed at the idea of trouble shooting a 'won't power up' issue with a laptop before all this, but for a $100 +, heck, I'd be more than willing to tackle it next time.

Any feedback, impressions, experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Not looking to flame anyone (hence, the lack of the shops name & location) but rather looking at what the rest of the world is doing outside of the Great Commonwealth of Virginia (insert salute here)

Onward,

Winterland

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#2 the_patriot11

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:33 AM

laptops are notoriously difficult to work on and diagnose, and a lot of PC shops use very inexperienced techs. To be honest with you, I rarely mess with them. If I get a laptop in from a customer thats still under warranty-I ship it back the manufacterer and let them worry about it. Other wise, I test the hardware I can fix easily-namely, the memory and the hard drive-and if its neither of those thigs (hardware wise, I will do anything software related to them) then I don't even mess with them. I advise the customer to either send it back to the manufacturer (they usually have a better chance of getting it fixed then anyone else) and pay the extra for it, or to simply purchase a new laptop. Sure, I can go through and replace a bad motherboard-but its often not worth it, because its next to impossible to find new motherboards for used laptops-your usually having to find a used one off of ebay, and who knows how long that will last, same with the screen. If you can for sure tell it was the power supply, well those are easy to replace-even new, but unless you got a volt tester or another laptop it works on, its often hard to tell whether it is the power supply or not.

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#3 ddeerrff

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 12:05 PM

The thing to remember is that a computer tech is NOT an electronics tech. Diagnosing and replacing a hard drive or fixing a software issue is totally different than diagnosing and replacing an Integrated Circuit. If it means heating up a soldering iron, it's outside the expertise of a normal computer tech. I'm surprised to hear your repair shop actually physically replaced the power jack - usually a bad power jack means the tech replaces the whole motherboard.

Oh, and determining if a power jack is bad is a really easy task.
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#4 Winterland

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 02:15 PM

Gentlemen, thanks for the feedback and insights.


It's been a learning experience for sure - and that's how I'm going to try to receive it - but also a frustrating one.


ddeerrff - thanks also for pointing out a difference I hadn't even considered (computer tech vs. electronics tech) as well as pointing out that diagnosing a bad power jack is an easy task.


As previously mentioned, I didn't quite know what to expect and now, at least, I have a stronger idea.


Education is expensive. :P


Onward,

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#5 Union_Thug

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 06:47 PM

>>>Education is expensive. :P<<<

You said a mouthful, my friend.

#6 bitesized1612

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 12:59 PM

My father's trained as an electronics and a computer tech too, I think. They are completely different disciplines and it's rare that you have someone who is trained and good/efficient at both. For example, trying to get my laptop fixed at my college could be a hassle beyond belief because they were only trained in computers; getting my laptop fixed at home was better but I would have to argue for a couple of hours with my father. But at least everything was fixed and stayed fixed for far longer than at school.

He whips put the soldering iron for laptops, tvs, toasters and frankensteins desktops for customers and for family. He's the first person I go to for any regular computer issues (OS, BIOS, you name it, mostly Windows). Going to a shop was completely alien to me growing up, because I could just go downstairs or send an email and bam! Problem (mostly) solved. The only thing is getting him to understand that I'm not a clueless customer or a little kid. I just don't have decades worth of tech knowledge to go on when certain issues crop up and it'd be great if he'd remember what he taught me so we can move on.

I think it's important to have an on-going conversation with whomever is doing anything to you computer, especially if you are clearly knowledgeable about the stated issue. Like with me and my dad, if we're not on the same page, nothing gets done but once we sort out what we know and what we don't know, it moves along at a clip. You both learn more if you can both sit there and poke at stuff but that may not be possible if you are paying for a service and you leave it overnight or something.


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#7 Winterland

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 05:27 AM

Union_Thug - always good to see you!


bitesized1612 - thanks for the insights and personal highlights about the distinct differences between computer tech / electronic tech. As I mentioned previously, it's not a distinction that I would have made before the laptop issue.

When it comes to desktops, I'm never uncomfortable popping the hood, taking a peek at what might be the problem and, if need be, swapping something out. But the innards of a laptop are a whole different arena.

The only time I popped the keyboard on a laptop (to see & get inside of it) was to help a friend get back a RedBox DVD she'd rented that wouldn't come out. I got the DVD but didn't go any further.

Also, your point about having a conversation with whoever happens to be working on your computer is spot on. Unfortunately so is your point about not being able to have that luxury when you're in a position (such as I was) where I had to drop it off and leave it for several days. I tried to ask all the right questions and also listen to what was being presented to me, but it was pretty frustrating.


UPDATE


I'm happy to report that when my wife went to go pick up & pay for the laptop, the very kind gentleman at the front desk made note of what had transpired and told her that he felt bad that the issue had not been fixed (due to what they suspect & told me was most likely a mobo issue) and only charged her for the power jack that they had replaced - $12.00 + some change. Yay!


I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone here at BC for stopping by and taking the time to school me on the differences and dynamics of laptops that I would not have otherwise been aware of.

bitesized1612, when you wrote, "You both learn more if you can both sit there and poke at stuff", I feel like that is exactly what BC affords me, and I'm grateful, grateful for all it.


Enjoy the day,

Winterland

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#8 rotor123

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 03:25 PM

1. HP, Dell and Lenovo have maintenance manuals available on their websites for most (all?) models.

2. many Toshiba and Lenovo models have cables running from the DC in Jack to the motherboard.

3. A Solder iron, Copper wick w/flux to remove the old solder, Adjustable soldering iron and patience can change most of the jacks. Some of the Dells are a pain. 9 different connections. I usually cut them in half carefully then break up the plastic parts so I can unsolder each point individually.

4. Once you have the Soldering Iron and Wick you are ready to change bad capacitors too.

5. Once you have access to the DC-In Jack before unsoldering it a Voltmeter to test will tell if it is bad or if it is the motherboard. Clip one lead to the grounds on the motherboard, then check the pins at the jack with the ac adapter plugged in.

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#9 technotimes4

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 11:28 AM

yes I completely understand what you are talking about. It is true that if a computer won't power up it is usaually the motherboard. Something in the motherboard is amiss. could be the capacitor or the (CPU) if the (CPU) is over heated the mother board won't power on. Most of the people at these so called computer stores have entry level knowledge they are not GURUS. but I am in school lerning about all of this now. Let me tell you this teacher is a GURU. He knows EVERYTHING. Problem is he likes to let beople try and figure it out on thier own first and then if you have a problem he is always there




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