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#1 millipede

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:58 AM

I seem to find all the interesting computers lately. I'm working on a laptop for someone and I debated on starting a topic earlier, a guessing game. Guess the cause...
I was told that if you bumped it, the thing would just shut off. I'm not 100% certain yet, but I think it has to do with the battery. That was the only thing I could find that I could see damage to. Yet, they told me if you just unplugged it or something, it would more or less fade out and not just go out. Just the same, I'm leaning towards the battery but I'll have to test my theory... eventually. Why the battery? There's a little damage where it connects. It also doesn't hold a charge from what I can tell.
I can see a small crack on the case near where the power plugs in. My guess is this things has been dropped...
Oh yeah... it's a gateway w340ua. Vista... 1gb ram. If I thought they had any money I'd say "Just buy a new one".
The non-hardware issues alone were, well not horrible but odd. Some rootkits on there. The date was set to 2003 which I discovered caused windows update to not work at all. After I removed a few things, and then changed the time, it worked. Had to to SP 1, then SP2. Oh my it was out of date. So was Norton of course.
Anyway... after I had it running better I decided to finally see if I could hunt down the power issue. SO, I disassembled the entire thing... all the way to taking the motherboard out just to look for damage or loose wires or, who knows. Didn't find anything other than the crack in the case and minor damage to the plastic where the battery connects.
So, I put it back together again and turned it on.
And of course, now the display wont come on. :/ I am certain I put EVERYTHING back where it went. I KNOW I reconnected the display cable. Ugh... Don't know what went wrong with all that but it looks like I'll be spending some time tomorrow taking it all apart again. It's too late at night to mess with it any more today.

I'm not sure I'm asking a question or not. I know I connected that display. I connected every last thing. I was very careful about that. Everything looked good...
But what do I do if I take it apart again, check and recheck everything, and the display still doesn't work?
Ever mess something up and then have to tell someone? I don't really think I did anything wrong. I'll find out for sure tomorrow... but, I THINK whatever did go wrong was waiting to happen anyway. Not too long ago I busted a little plastic piece from a speaker connector while disassembling... That was partly my fault in that I pulled on the wires instead of the plastic. But it shattered in such a way, the wires came right out of it, that I know that piece had to be pretty weak/cheap. Anyway, that was cheap enough, I had no problem saying "hey, I broke this, I'm buying a new one". But what if this display doesn't work after I open it back up tomorrow?
Anyway... I'm just praying I wont have to face that. I'm praying it's just something loose. I don't think it is... but I'm praying. :)

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#2 millipede

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:00 PM

Any thoughts on what could have happened? I have it opened up again today, everything is connected. I can't figure out why/how the screen worked before I disassembled it and doesn't work now. Everything was where it should be.
Any words of advice on what to say when(or if) I have to call them and say "your screen doesn't work anymore..."?
Has nobody else ever had something like this happen?

Edit: Help... I'm really stressing here. What am I going to do? Part of me feels like, it wasn't structurally sound to begin with... but, the screen worked when I got it and doesn't now. So, I likely will be held responsible for that. Ack...
Side note, I'm not sure that even the external display is working. I'm going to have to find a different cable and try connecting to my tv or something but, I have this feeling that isn't working... and, that connection is on the opposite side of the laptop from where the display actually connects to the motherboard. :/

Edit 2: Odd, at the top of the screen, under the bezel... top left, next to where there SHOULD be screws(no screws at the top) there's a small magnet. Fits right in a spot like it belongs there. Looks like it's supposed to help hold it in place? Weird.
Still can't find anything that would explain to me why this thing isn't working.

Edited by millipede, 03 February 2013 - 01:02 PM.


#3 rotor123

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:49 PM

I'm not going to be a big help to you I'm afraid.

A couple of points. The speaker connector on a laptop will break 95% of the time if you pull on the wires to unplug it. I always used long tweezers on each side where there is usually a plastic tab to help wiggle the plug free.

The magnet is there to work the magnetic switch that puts the laptop to sleep when you close the screen. The magnet is in the screen and the switch should be in the base unit below where the magnet can work it.

If the plastic is broken around the DC in Jack hole in the case. Use a really strong Magnifying glass and a bright light and look for cracked solder joints where the dc in jack mounts to the motherboard. Use a voltmeter very carefully to make sure the power is getting to the motherboard from the ac adapter. Be very careful it is easy to short something out and burn up a component or blow a fuse.

Another problem is that the newer motherboards have brittle solder and flexing the board can cause problems.

Good Luck
Roger

Edited by rotor123, 04 February 2013 - 10:53 PM.

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#4 millipede

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:16 AM

Thanks.
I'm not sure I'm able to inspect it that closely... don't have a decent magnifying glass or voltmeter... I will take another look at it though.
One of my biggest frustrations is just not knowing. I can't say to them "The motherboard is bad, it needs a new one" or anything like that as I don't know 100% for sure of anything. My guess is that something somewhere on the board just wasn't right to begin with... and my checking it out caused to happen what was going to happen anyway. I'd even bet money that I didn't do anything wrong. I'm just nervous about how accepting the owner will be when I tell them what's going on so far. I'm hoping they have enough money to buy a new computer as I personally wouldn't sink much into this one. It's a Gateway MT3422, 1gb of memory I think... Vista.
hmm... I'm not sure what I'm more scared of doing tomorrow... calling this lady to tell her that her laptop is in worse shape than when I received it, and there's not much I can do... or, another laptop I'm looking at for someone... Working on it OUTSIDE... thankfully there will be good weather. where the power plugs in got pushed back into the laptop... When I got it I noticed it smelled HORRIBLE of smoke. I thought, to be safe I'll put it in a plastic bag til I can look at it. Preparing to disassemble, opened the ram cover and found one dead roach... that was enough, back in the bag. Blech... Not sure if anything is alive in there but blech...
Anyway... I'll make that call tomorrow and see what happens. :/

#5 rotor123

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:26 PM

If you plan to work on laptops you will need a really strong magnifying glass and a voltmeter to measure the AC adapter output and do continuity checks and more.

If it smells of smoke, not a good sign. Pushed in DC in Jack can be really bad or not so bad, Many Newer Toshiba laptops have a cable from the dc in jack to the motherboard. Some Lenovo laptops too.If the jack is/was soldered to the motherboard and was powered up and dropped on the AC adapter plug pushing it and the DC in Jack into the laptop, Then the DC volts could have gone anywhere and burned up anything.

If you suspect a drop, look carefully at the screen for any signs of a crack. Normally a crack will show as a darker line or blot in the screen. It can be hard to see if the laptop doesn't power up.
Also if there was a impact when the laptop was running suspect that the hard drive is damaged too.

Personally I return anything I see evidence of a roach infestation.

Good Luck
Roger

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#6 millipede

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:13 PM

I never really intended to work on quite that kind of hardware. My plan was to help a few people with viruses, updates, and hardware replacements(memory, hdd's, that sort of thing). But you never do know what you'll get into. I'll have to do a little searching to see how much a voltmeter costs and think about whether or not I want to mess with such things. A magnifying glass shouldn't cost much and would come in handy for plenty of things.

The laptop with the roach... I played with it outside today... was in the low 60's so it was nice. It was DIRTY in there, evidence of bugs... but, I saw no other dead ones and no live roaches so it's not as bad as it could have been. Still grosses me out to just think about it. It happens to be a toshiba with that wire. Second one I've had to fix that had the plastic that holds the connection in place break. But, no damage to anything important. Just the connection pushed in. Have it secured but because some of the outer plastic above the plug is broken, if they're not careful there's a good chance they could do more damage. This thing looks like a decent laptop except that it hasn't been cared for very well. A few pieces of plastic broken here and there... a few case screws missing because the plastic inside they screwed into broke. Teenage girl using it... Everything is out of date and a million apps running that shouldn't be and/or shouldn't even be there. As usual.
Oh... when I said it smelled like smoke... I meant cigarette smoke... HORRIBLY. Has me wondering about the guy's grandkids that stay with him and their exposure to that stuff. Blech.

#7 rotor123

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:50 PM

What I would do with the power wire is at the dc in jack end, Put it in place. Then just in case it ever needs future replacement I would use Hot Melt glue to secure it. Build up all around the sides and back. I build the back up so that the glue has something there for strength to resist the pressure when the AC adapter is plugged in. Do not get any build up on the top of the jack as the case sits tight against it's top.

The Toshiba recommended repair for that problem was replace the base unit and the DC in Wire assembly. Unfortunately the extension on the warranty for that problem has run out. I did a fair number of those under that warranty. They had a batch of models that had the wire pushes in problem. They even extended teh warranty for a while but that has run out now.

In the past I have used Epoxy to repair where the screws are if the parts are still there.

Do not forget to use IsoPropyl Alcohol the 93% or higher to clean the heat sink as that should cut the cigarette residue on it.
Yes, I've had computers come in that smell so strongly of cigarette smoke that I put them as far away as I could. One thing that smokers do not realize is that it also shortens the life on some of the parts of the computer.

I would expect a inexpensive digital Voltmeter to be reasonable.
I just searched in Google using the phrase "Digital Voltmeter ebay" and "Digital Voltmeter amazon"and found plenty at a real reasonable price. Approx $10 - $12
They will measure DC volts, AC volts, Current flow and resistance. Always turn off when not in use to save the battery and make sure you have the proper type of measurement selected before connecting.

Good Luck
Roger

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#8 millipede

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:35 PM

Back to this gateway...  I'm going to check Lowes and/or Walmart today to see what they have for voltmeters.  If I do pick one up, I need advice on what to do with it after that. ha. 
Basically, that laptop, there is definitely at least some power to it.  The fan powers on.  The blue lights at the front come on.  It does something.  The fan is on the opposite side from the power plugin...  it's not far from the connection for the display. 
I'd appreciate any advice in this area.  I talked with the girl that owns it and mentioned I might not be able to fix it.  I also told her that if it was me and I had the money, I'd just get a new one as it's older, Vista, and I'm just not sure yet about parts and what they'd cost.    She said she can't afford a new one so, I've got to keep on seeing what I can do...  Hmm... 
If I get to a point where I KNOW I can't fix it, and replacement parts are looking too high, I might have to offer her a slightly older laptop to use/have.  I've got a Dell Inspiron with no hdd at the moment.  It works well, originally came with XP but was Vista capable...  not that I could put vista on it since it didn't come with it...  but, worse case scenario I might be able to do something with it.  But of course the battery doesn't work so it's not much of a laptop.....  then again, I don't think this lady's battery worked so well either.  We'll see what happens I guess.
Any tips on troubleshooting with or without the voltmeter?  Thanks.

Side note:  Forum software get updated today?  I couldn't access it earlier and it looks different a little now.



#9 millipede

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:53 PM

Wow, the forum software definitely changed...  I was just going to edit my last post but that's not an option now... :/
oh well......
I just got a message from the owner to say
 

Now that I thought about it .. my computer screen display stopped
working another time for about 2 months and then I just turned it on one
day and it was back

ha...  Well, that still doesn't help me determine the exact cause but it reassures me that this was a condition the laptop already had.  makes me feel a bit better about it.



#10 rotor123

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:00 PM

If that post was before the change then I wouldn't expect that you could edit it. However if You are not seeing a Edit button on new posts?? Some of the new buttons are grayed out until you mouse over them too.

 

Edit should be next to the report button.

 

Good Luck

Roger


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#11 millipede

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:46 AM

seems I have seen the edit buttons at some point, and other times I don't.  Right now, I don't see them anywyere.  Oh well. 

Back to the topic.  I forgot to look for a magnifying glass while I was out the other day.  Will try to remember when I go into town later...  But, I did pick up a $10 multimeter.  Starting to wonder why I did as I really don't have any idea what to do with it now.  I am trying to find SIMPLE and useful info and so far, it isn't too helpful.  The only simple things I've seen so far are how to test your adapter.  Most of the stuff for the motherboard, they're talking to people that already know a lot about that stuff. 
Any chance you could tell me what and how to test for this problem?  Or, could you point me to a site that has some basics on the subject?

 

Edit:  I'm thinking you can only edit a post now BEFORE someone replies to it. 
Anyway...

Your first comment about a voltmeter was to check and make sure power was getting to the motherboard.  The power plugs in on the rear right side...  the blue lights in the front come on, and the fan on the left side comes on.  I'd say the motherboard IS receiving power.
So, I don't know if there was further testing you even had in mind for the motherboard. 
Since I do know power makes it across, and I cannot get any display to work so far, my guess is still that something is wrong with the motherboard.  I Guess one could test whether power is making it to either of the display options...  but I don't have a clue how, or if that's even worth the trouble at this point.
Anyway... 

 

Edit 2:  I'd like to stress one thing about this problem...
I just hooked it up to my own personal monitor and still no display.  Since the onboard display connection and the external monitor connection are on opposite sides of the motherboard......  AND, power IS getting to all sorts of other areas of the motherboard.  My best guess is that the onboard graphics, whatever part on the motherboard that contorls ANY display output, likely is what is not working.    I'm going to google to see exactly which spot on the motherboard controls that, though I believe it's under a lot of tape/plastic stuff that covers certain areas... and then look for physical damage.
But at this point, I'm really thinking a new motherboard is the only real solution.  So, I'll be looking at prices for those today as well.
(Edit 4: Was wrong, found NVidia chip out in the open.  Looked around, find nothing obvious...)

 

Edit 5: (how many times can I edit this, HA)
I was just checking ebay...  Found lots of replacement motherboards that are NOT working, and just a couple that might be.  Out of all the ones that are not working, at least half of them said there's no display.  Hmmm... must be a common problem with that motherboard.  sad.png
Edit 6: Looking at pictures, it seems there's two Nvidia chips on the board... one being under the fan where I cannot see it.  Not that it matters much, I'm not exactly equipped and able to repair such things...  replacing is one thing...  repairing is something else.


Edited by millipede, 11 February 2013 - 12:15 PM.


#12 rotor123

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:45 PM

You will find a voltmeter is a handy tool. FOr checking Laptop and desktop power supplies for example.

 

Could the Gateway fall into one of the models affected here?

Summarizing the Nvidia problems with laptop chips overheating

August 19, 2008

 

Last month Nvidia disclosed that due to a manufacturing flaw, some of
their laptop computer graphics processors and chipsets are overheating
and failing. This is a brief summary of the story for those that missed
it.

 

 

The day after the announcement, Humphrey Cheung at tgdaily noted that "significant quantities" of Nvidia chips are overheating and failing.


Two ways that failures manifest themselves are not being able to start the computer and, of course, a blank screen.

 

My take on when they say, Might be working or do not say either way is avoid them.

You can get the model off the NVidia chip and see if it falls into the ones that had manufacturing defects.

 

Good Luck

Roger


Edited by rotor123, 11 February 2013 - 12:46 PM.

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#13 millipede

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 01:46 PM

I can't get that page to load at the moment, but will check again later...   (I was thinking that this issue was caused by damage from dropping(which, she has done) but where the display has gone out before, and come back on later, I suppose it could simply be an Nvidia defect...)  (can't seem to get on Cnet at all at the moment, I've been having trouble with certain websites the past day)
I told this lady how much it would cost to get a replacement motherboard.  I told her I also have a slightly older laptop laying around that does work...  only problem with it is, no hdd...  oh, battery is dead too... but, it works.
I told her she could have it but I'd have to do a lot of file moving, etc.  BUT, it originally came with XP... is vista comaptible...  I am guessing I cannot use the Key# on her laptop to try and put vista on this spare Dell I have? 
I've found legit downloads for vista and windows 7 through Dell's forums or somewhere but, I can't find any legit downloads for XP.  It's windows xp media center edition 2005 that orginally came on the dell I have.  Dell inspiron e1505...
Would be so nice if I could just pop the hdd out of hers and shove it in the Dell...  :/  Oh well. 
She can't afford a new OS... so if I can't find a download for XP, she may end up stuck with Ubuntu...  and, I'm just not sure what she'll think of that.  I've tried it and don't mind it so much... but, I haven't tried it extensively so I don't know all of its limitations. 



#14 rotor123

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:38 PM

You might want to check into why that page doesn't load both links, the one above the quote and the one in the quote work for me.

 

Good Luck

Roger


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#15 millipede

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:38 PM

I did have something running that was preventing a few pages from loading for me.  Duh...  I forgot.  ha.

I didn't find any gateways on that particular list, but did find it elsewhere that it was quite common... the nvidia chip got overheated, etc.  This is a page from the UK but, it has that model on the list.
http://conceptex.co.uk/site/index.php/home-services/laptop-repair-fix/laptop-nvidia-graphics-board-repair/

It really stinks that it isn't like a desktop where I could just pop in a video card and call it good.  Oh well.  Any possible ways to fix this motherboard are going to involve work I've never done before, don't have the tools for, and still cost $ for parts.  So......  I think I'll focus on getting the Dell running for her since all it's lacking is the hard drive...  The OS is the only problem to figure out and that's a lot easier than messing with that motherboard.






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