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Gateway NV53 - Black Screen and Various Issues. Completely stuck.


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#1 Gwydion Black

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 10:09 PM

So I am working on a client laptop, a Gateway NV53 model MS2285. Came to me with boot issues, specifically booting to a black screen on power up, no post, no nothing, and it only did it sporadically.

 

Well, I did find multiple sources for this issue online, but ultimately it came down to a motherboard issue with the onboard graphics. I ordered in a new motherboard and battery (as it needed one), got it installed and back together and everything worked fine.

 

Got the computer back a week later with a new issue. It would crash to a black screen at random intervals during video playback. No rhyme or reason about it. I observed it was getting hot so I assumed a heating issue as it was getting extremely hot. I ended up RMAing the motherboard and getting a new one. With the new one I was still getting the issue though it was not getting nearly as hot as before.

 

After troubleshooting with SpeedFan and the crash, I found the system to be running slightly hot, but there was no baseline for a temperature crash. The temps during the crash never went above 70C and it sometimes occured far lower than that.

 

Event log gave little to no information and there were no dumps for the issue. The only thing that seems to be common with the crash was an event Ati2mtag before the crash, but it seems the event logs continue even after the screen crashes up til I do a hard shut down. I reinstalled drivers and messed with settings to no avail.

 

I tried new memory modules to no avail as well as a barebones start, still had the issue. I then got it running, ran Windows updates to install new video driver, and the system went black during the Installing updates part of the reinstall, first time the crash occured without video playback.

 

I wanted to rule out the HDD, and a bad install, so I tried a new HDD and a reinstall. Got into Windows and within a few minutes had the crash. Hard reset and got to boot options and keyboard would not respond and Windows did not successfully load. Hard reset and the system hits a black screen again - no post, no nothing. All the way back to ground zero.

 

I've tried to power cycle the laptop, barebones start, and a plethora of other combinations and I'm at the end of my rope. No matter what I do, old HDD or new, old memory or new, power cord or battery, just a black screen on start.

 

Is this laptop just that screwed up or is there something I'm missing in all of this? Desperately in need of direction.



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#2 MrBruce1959

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 12:57 AM

Hello Gwydion Black, sounds to me like you have your hands full with this laptop.

I have a few quick questions to ask you in hopes of having a better idea of what we're working with here.

Have you been using the same AC to DC power supply on this laptop during each of the repairs? If so, is there any way you can test the output voltages to confirm they are within the recommended specifications? Over voltage can cause issues like this, specially overheated circuits. Under voltage can also produce an unstable computer system causing system freeze ups and shutdowns.

Can you verify that all cooling fans are functioning properly and spinning at the required RPMs?

Are the heat sinks (specially the CPU one) properly installed and was heat sink compound used between the CPU header and heat sink?

Have you made sure that nothing is shorting out to another metallic contact that could be causing the over heating and shutdown? Please double check that all insulators are in place that prevent such contact.

That is just a few situations that can cause issues such as yours, but what we really need to look at here is what hardware have you reused in each of the scenarios here, that could be the root cause of this recurring problem.

Bruce.

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#3 Gwydion Black

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 09:11 AM

I have been using the same power supply and I don't have the equipment to test it. However, I have tried it on battery power alone and it still produces the same results.

 

The original heatsink and fan seem to be running up to snuff. In the first motherboard replacement I used cheap thermal paste, but I reseated and reinstalled the new one with Arctic Silver. The fan is running and changing speeds, but I'm not sure if it is at the RPM it should be and I'm not sure how to test it. SpeedFan does not recognize the fan to show specs on it for some reason, but it is clearly functioning.

 

The metal contact situation is certainly a possibility, but if there is some insulator missing that is causing a short, it was missing before it came to me and I'm not sure how to tell what it is. I've disassembled and reassembled three times now and I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary, but perhaps if I knew what to look for it could be easier to notice.

 

Thanks a lot for the input, Bruce.



#4 MrBruce1959

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 12:11 PM

Okay, let's try this. Boot up the laptop and before the system boots to the hard drive, repeatedly press the F2 key. If you were successful, you should have entered the BIOS setup screen.

If you were able to enter the BIOS screen, allow the laptop to sit in this state for a while and see if any issues arise. Try to allow as much time as you'd normally would before the system would eventually crash or over heat and shut down.

If it runs endlessly in this state, you might try looking for an option in the BIOS menu that states something along the lines of set up system defaults or fail safe defaults. The wording here can be worded differently based on who the BIOS string was written by, but the key word here is default settings. If you chose that option and save that setting and reboot, you may eliminate the initial problem. It's worth a try.

Let me know what happened when you booted into the BIOS setup utility and how long the system stayed running in that state.

Bruce.

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#5 MrBruce1959

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 12:37 PM

Oh I had one last thought, you did apply thermal grease to both the CPU and GPU correct? Because both processors require a very small dab of thermal grease to allow adequate heat transfer.

Bruce.

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#6 Gwydion Black

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 12:30 PM

Well at the time I cannot even get to the bios. The laptop boots with a black screen, no splash, no post. I am going to try an external monitor next to see if that works.

 

I did not apply thermal grease to the GPU and now I have realized my folly. I simply assumed that the thermal pad was on in the latest install and didn't even take notice if it actually was or not.

 

At this point I am wondering if I fried the GPU on this motherboard now.

 

I'm going out of town until late this weekend, so I will get to it then and followup with my results.



#7 MrBruce1959

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 09:16 AM

:thumbup2:

 

Bruce.


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#8 Gwydion Black

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 10:56 AM

OK so I know it has taken a long time to reply to this but I wanted to give an update and not be one of those guys who never gave the solution.

 

I ended up getting a new motherboard once again and this time observed the GPU. I am fully confident that Gateway never even had a thermal pad on the original motherboard GPU based on observation of that and the heatsink. I installed the new motherboard and everything booted fine, thankfully. I returned the finished product to the customer after thorough testing.

 

Fastforward to two months later and the customer calls telling me about a keyboard issue. She keeps getting the "No keyboard, press F1 to continue" on boot and some blue screen issues, nothing as major as before. Weird part is that you can press F1 on the keyboard and it goes by, but no keyboard present in Windows. So I get the laptop and reseat the keyboard ribbon cable to attempt to fix that issue and turn it on.

 

Black screen.

 

I reboot a couple times, still black screen. I try a hard reset, still nothing. I try testing each memory stick in turn, in each slot, nothing. I tried reseating the power button cord, nothing. Finally, I try connecting it to HDMI to see if there is any external video, and I get nothing. Same thing as before. No post, no beeps, no keyboard response, no external video.

 

This is now the third motherboard that this issue as occured on and now, truly, I am at a loss. In my years as technician I have never encountered an IT problem as frustrating as this Gateway NV53 and at this point in time the only known fix I have is to replace the motherboard yet again, hope it doesn't happen again, but I don't think I am going to suggest a fix to the customer unless there is some magic I can figure out online for this dilemma.

 

Once again, if anyone knows where to begin, I would sure like to know. Thanks a lot.



#9 JohnC_21

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 11:15 AM

You have probably already seen this from Googling but if not there are a few good bits of info. Googling NV53 blank screen shows a host of issues with this computer.



#10 Gwydion Black

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 12:14 PM

To which none of the solutions I have found while Googling have aided me. So far it seems that the go to method of repair is wrapping your laptop in a hot towel and allowing it to fry itself fixed. Doesn't sound very legit from a technician standpoint to me and runs various other risks of damaging parts as well.

 

So my attempt is to find if anyone has encountered the issue and found a way to fix it permanently.






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