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My HP Laptop Crashed & Now Won't Boot up!


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#1 Ro_Laren

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 04:38 PM

I was on the internet on my HP laptop (HP dv4-1540us) and it all of a sudden crashed.  Now, the computer will not restart and none of the LED lights are glowing (even where the adapter connects to the laptop).  Well, actually the lightning bolt light at the bottom left hand corner of the screen blinks white when I press down on the power button.

 

Here is a recent history of my laptop:

  • The last month or so the laptop made random electronic sounding noises (it was not the fan).
  • On May 19 / 20 I had a problem: either the adaptor stopped working or the computer would no longer get a charge from the adapter.  The LED light near the adaptor wasn't glowing and I eventually had to turn of the computer because it was out of juice and I didn't want it to crash.  I kept repositioning the adapter in the laptop, but couldn't get it to work.  But then, somehow it started to charge and after letting it charge overnight I turned it on.  When I started the computer, I tried to ran HP diagnostics on the computer.  It didn't mention any specific problem.  Also, it said that my battery was in good health / was functioning properly.  Again, that only May 19 / 20.  In hindsight, I wish I would have backed up my files right away after that happened.

I tried to do a Google search to try to see how to fix my computer.  I performed a hard reset per the instructions on HP's web-site, but this did not fix my computer.

 

Do you think this is a motherboard issue or do I just need a new adapter?  I'd hate to waste money on an adapter and then learn that the problem was the motherboard.  I hope that I can recover all of my data!  By the way, I bought my laptop in 2008 or 2009 (probably the latter year) and bought my current battery in December 2012 or the beginning on 2013.  Also, I have Windows 7 on my laptop.


Edited by Ro_Laren, 02 June 2015 - 04:41 PM.


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#2 ranchhand_

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 05:03 PM

 

Now, the computer will not restart and none of the LED lights are glowing (even where the adapter connects to the laptop).

Is it safe to say that the computer is totally dark and unresponsive, and nothing works?

 

 

I hope that I can recover all of my data!

Even if your computer circuitry failed, the hard drive may still be good. The HDD (Hard Disk Drive) can be removed, slaved to another computer and possibly the data can be retrieved if the drive itself has not mechanically failed and/or the operating system was corrupted due to a sudden electrical fault.


Edited by ranchhand_, 02 June 2015 - 05:13 PM.

Help Requests: If there is no reply after 3 days I remove the thread from my answer list. For further help PM me.


#3 Ro_Laren

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 05:10 PM

 

 

Now, the computer will not restart and none of the LED lights are glowing (even where the adapter connects to the laptop).

Is it safe to say that the computer is totally dark and unresponsive, and nothing works?

 

 

That is correct.  My screen is totally black.  When I hit the power button, the laptop does not turn on.  The laptop is not making any noises.  None of the LED lights work with one exception: when I hold down on the power button the lightning bolt light at the bottom left of the laptop blinks. 



#4 Ro_Laren

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 06:24 PM

Weird.... I just plugged in my laptop and the LED near the adapter is lit. Also, the light in front of the lightning bolt is a solid white. What does this all mean? Does it help anyone diagnose the problem with my laptop?

I think that right now I'm going to let my laptop sit there for a couple hours (with the charger adapter plugged in) and then see if it will turn on.



#5 MrBruce1959

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 06:31 PM

Hello, for more clarity, does the power adapter have any type of power LED on it?

Have you checked the wiring to the adapter to make sure none of the wires are broken? Stress can cause those sensitive wires to break inside the protective coating. Best way to test it is with a VOM meter set to DC volts range.

The laptop may have a broken circuit on the power adapter port circuit board, that the power supply plugs into on the side of the laptop.

This is difficult to repair if you do not have experience in electronics repair.

If the battery is not charging and power is not making it into the laptop, the power adapter, or power adapter port on the laptop is the suspect.

If you have a test meter that checks DC volts, you can use such to determine if your power adapter is at fault here.

If it checks out as okay, then the power adapter port on the laptop is the next suspect to blame.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 02 June 2015 - 06:31 PM.

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#6 Ro_Laren

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 10:35 PM

Thank you so much for your help Bruce!!!!!!!!! :) 
 
Are you asking if the power adapter has a light on it?  If so, there is not a light directly on the power adapter.  However, there is a LED light next to where the power adapter plugs into the laptop and it is now lit as seen in this photo (it wasn't lit at the time of my original post).  The wires on my power adapter are not frayed or broken.  However, the power adapter isn't very snugly fit into the laptop: it moves around a little unlike the power adapter on the laptop that I am using right now.  But, I don't know that that is the problem as the LED light next to it is on. 
 
You mentioned that I should use a VOM meter to test the DC volts range of the power adapter.  I was unsure how to do that, so I found this YouTube video.  Is this the correct method?  First, he tested the wire that goes from the wall outlet to the "power brick."  How do I know what volts that portion of my cord should be?  Second, he tested the cord that goes from the power brick to the laptop.  Here is a photo of the writing on my power brick.  It says 18.5V next to the output... does that mean that if I test the voltage of this part that it needs to come to be around 18.5V? 
 
Is the "power adapter port circuit board" the same thing as an "AC power jack?"  I looked up this item on the HP Part Surfer site.  If I was looking at the correct item, it is part number 486836-001 and called a " DC input jack power interface cable", but HP no longer sells the item.  I was hoping to get an OEM part, but it looks like I'll have to buy a third party replica.  Can you recommend any reputable sellers, such as one on Amazon? 
 
By the way, this YouTube video shows a repairman replacing the power adapter port circuit board / AC power jack on a laptop that looks practically identical to mine.  Does it look like he replaced it properly?  It looks like it will probably take me an hour to take my HP apart and then put it back together again, lol.  When  he first started taking the laptop apart, he used his VOM meter to directly test the existing power adapter port circuit board / AC power jack while it was still installed in the laptop.  What voltage reading should the VOM meter say if my existing power adapter port circuit board / AC power jack is working properly?  Also, the repairman uses a "spudger", which I am guessing is non-metallic and perhaps even made of nylon.  Do you think that I need to buy one of these if I replace the power adapter port circuit board / AC power jack in my laptop? 
 
Hmmm... the lightning bolt at the bottom left hand side of my HP laptop is no longer lit as seen in this photo.  So, it went from only blinking when I pressed the power button, to finally lighting when I plugged in my power adapter again and the LED light next to where the power adapter plugs into the laptop started working, to it not working  once again.  But, I don't want to turn on my laptop right now to see what happens to this lightning bolt light or the rest of my laptop.  I'll try to turn it on tomorrow.


Edited by hamluis, 09 June 2015 - 11:16 AM.


#7 MrBruce1959

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 11:47 PM

Hello, congratulations on the research you have done, and thanks for providing as much information as you have provided me.

Those videos are pretty good, I did not see any emphasis put into which settings the VOM meter is supposed to be set to.

Testing the power cord from the AC outlet should be in the AC volts range and extreme caution should be used not to touch those probes when testing AC house wall outlet current. Depending on what country you live in, the United States and Canada use 110 Volts, some European countries use 240 volts.

The highest range selected on the meter's selector dial should be higher than your wall outlet's power rating. If your outlet has 118 to 120 volts and your meter says 0 -- 200 Volts, choose that range. Using the wrong setting can damage your meter.

For DC volts, your adapter, is designed to lower 118 to 120 Volts AC to 18.5 Volts DC (USA). That is what it is designed for, to lower the voltage from 120 Volts AC to 18.5 Volts DC.

To test the adapter output's rating and to test if the adapter is working and power is getting into the laptop, you would look for the DC volts range on the meter, then pick the dial's highest setting above 18.5 Volts. If your meter has DC volts 0 -- 50 Volts, that range is safe to use, But make sure the highest range on that dial is more than 18.5 volts or again you can damage the meter.

Some smart multi-meters are auto range types, they only require you to choose the AC or DC setting on the dial.

Since your adapter has an output of 18.5 Volts DC, your meter if it is digital should read about 18.5 volts.

Be extremely careful when testing the voltage on the inside of the laptop like it shows how to do in one of those videos. Accidentally touching those red and black probes together while power is going into the laptop could cause a short and a chain reaction short to happen inside the laptop that could burn out sensitive components!

The key is NOT to let those two probes touch while testing the live circuit.

If your laptop's power plug socket is damaged and providing intermittent power to your laptop, you'll know. The key is to have a helper with you. You put the probes, red probe on red wire, black probe on black wire and have someone mess with the power jack, by jiggling it a bit.

If the meter jumps back and forth from no reading to 18.5 Volts DC, you know your power jack is bad and needs to be replaced. If you test the male plug on the DC side of the power adapter and the meter jumps when you mess with the wire going into that plug, you know the power adapter's DC side male plug is bad and the adapter needs a new plug. Those can be cut off and replaced pretty cheaply without requiring a whole new adapter.

When in doubt, not sure? Please ask before performing an unfamiliar task and I'll try to help you though it.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 02 June 2015 - 11:52 PM.

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#8 ranchhand_

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 07:44 AM

 

However, the power adapter isn't very snugly fit into the laptop: it moves around a little

 

Chances are most likely that the female jack on your laptop that the power adapter barrel plug inserts into for a charge has cracked insulation or wires; when wiggled it makes and breaks contact, thus the "on & off" that you are experiencing. Chances are that others have had the same problem and there are 3rd party replacements out there.

Go on Youtube, and do a search for your model HP, and include something like "replace power adapter socket" or some such. You may find a hit that has your laptop with a "how to" video. For a new plug try searching Amazon, and then Ebay, I have picked these up to repair various units. The difficult part is accessing the socket on your laptop; some are fairly easy, others you must take the unit apart to get at it.


Edited by ranchhand_, 03 June 2015 - 07:44 AM.

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#9 Ro_Laren

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 07:20 PM

So, I was able to turn on my computer today and save all of my important files to an external hard drive.  I still have my laptop on.  The LED light near where you plug your adapter to the laptop is lit.  Also, 2 out of the 3 LED lights at the bottom left hand corner of my laptop are lit: the lightning bolt light is not lit.

 

I talked to my father and learned that he has a VOM Meter.  He brought it over to me and it is a 1986 Micronata Multitester that was manufactured for Radio Shack (see pic here).  Lol!  Do you think that I can trust it and use it to test the voltage of my adapter cord and the AC power jack?  Or will it fry the cord and system if I use this ancient VOM Meter?  I might go to Wal-Mart and buy a cheap VOM Meter.  Do you think that this or this will work?



#10 Ro_Laren

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 09:05 AM

Do you think that the VOM Meter that I have will work?  It is from 1986: almost 30 years old!  I don't want to use it if there is a chance that it is so old that it will likely fry my computer.

 

Vom_zps9urqewwi.jpg


Edited by Ro_Laren, 04 June 2015 - 08:59 PM.


#11 Ro_Laren

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 09:01 PM

Does anyone know anything about using old VOM Meters on electronics (i.e. laptops)?  Is it safe?


Edited by Ro_Laren, 04 June 2015 - 09:01 PM.


#12 MrBruce1959

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 12:23 PM

Hello, please forgive my not responding to you right away.
 
That meter is an older analog meter which uses a magnetic needle to display the reading. It is safe to use, but a bit more difficult to read compared to a digital LCD one.
 
The good point is, the needle is easier to see a visual response on compared to some digital ones.
 
The same rules apply here for a analog meter as a digital one, the RED probe is the POSITIVE probe and the BLACK is the NEGATIVE probe.
 
The configuration of those probes is mostly important when testing DC voltages. The scale on that meter tests both DC amperage (DC A) and DC Volts (DC V). The dial setting for DC power tests should be set to DC V. It appears your meter has a 50 VOLT setting, put the meter dial on the number 50, that's two clicks counter-clock-wise from OFF.
 
Now in the lower left corner of your meter are two holes marked - COM and + V  The BLACK probe goes into the - Com and the RED goes into the +V
 
Now, have someone help you conduct the next test. If you have opened your laptop to expose the connector that power jack connects to the internal circuit board, per that video you posted Here's the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKs5Gtwzoso you can test the RED wire and BLACK wire like that video shows.
 
Here is a picture for clarity connector.png

You want to be careful not to allow those two probes to touch while doing this test, because I will be asking you to test a live DC circuit. If those two probes touch, you could cause a dead short and fry a component associated with your laptop.

While the laptop is powered by the AC power adapter, place the RED probe on the RED wire as per my photo above (Note the white connector with the RED, WHITE, BLACK, YELLOW wires going to it) and the BLACK probe on the BLACK wire. The meter's needle should move across the scale in the area of 18.5 volts. Analog meters are a bit difficult to read because each range has it's own scale across the meter's range. The black numbers can be either AC or DC reading numbers, where as AC on the scale is marked by RED lines across the scale. Confused? Don't be, I'll explain.

Look at the black numbers in the lower area of your meter, look for the range scale that goes from 0 to 50, that is the second scale range from the bottom. Notice it goes from 0 across to 50. That is the range you'll be looking at.

Now in that scale you'll see the number 20, that is the area that the needle should rest in when testing that circuit, that is 20 volts DC and your power adapter puts out roughly 18.5 Volts DC. So, that meter should be close to that area, if not a bit below that number. If it is way below that number like let's say 10, that is not good, it would mean your adapter is below it's power range. I doubt that will be the case though.

Now while the probes are on those wires, have an assistant mess around with the power plug and see if the needle responses when the plug is touched. If it does, it means one of two things, one the laptop power jack is defective or two, the adapter's power plug is bad.

To determine if it is the power plug and not the laptop's jack, you can test the adapter's plug by placing the two probes on the power plug while it is NOT plugged into the laptop. It is okay for the adapter to be plugged into the AC outlet and powered up though.

Keeping the meter in the same range, you would place the RED probe into the CENTER hole of the plug, and the BLACK probe on the outer exposed metal ring. Again DO NOT LET THOSE PROBES TOUCH EACH OTHER!! The meter should respond and a reading close to 20 should be read. Now, move the wire just before it enters the plug, if the meter drops to zero and goes back to 20 again, you have a broken wire just before it enters the plug. This is caused by stress being put on the power plug when it is plugged in and unplugged.

There is a way to repair this problem very cheaply compared to replacing the laptop's power jack.

Please let me know what these two tests have proven and I'll advise you from there.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me first

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 05 June 2015 - 12:33 PM.

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#13 Ro_Laren

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 05:01 PM

Thank you so much for your help!  I've been really slammed at work and haven't had enough time to deal with anything outside of work (like my computer).  As soon as I have some free time, I'll use my multimeter and test my laptop.  I'll let you know the results of the Multimeter test! 


Edited by Ro_Laren, 08 June 2015 - 05:02 PM.


#14 MrBruce1959

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 05:51 PM

:thumbup2:

 

Take your time. We'll be here waiting for you when you return.

 

Bruce.


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