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Malfunctioning Speaker (Noise) after Water Spill & Recovery


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#1 User_007

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 11:12 PM

One of the speakers (left) on my VAIO laptop makes a distorted buzzing/crackling noise instead of a sound. This started after a water spill and a subsequent disassembly (to dry up) and reassembly of the laptop. Importantly, I couldn't find screw-holes for two unique non-cover screws. Everything else works perfectly so far. 
Is it water damage, a result of the extra screws mystery, or perhaps a result of misplacing something else, or damaging/forgetting to plug in a connection during reassembly?

Water leak and recovery Details:

I spilled about half a glass of water, some of which probably leaked inside through the keyboard. I rushed to grab some napkins--instead of shutting down immediately. The laptop had shut down by itself 1 minute later. I pushed the power button back on, but immediately changed my mind and shut it right back off (while it was trying to boot) after 5 seconds. Following advice on many other forums, I partially disassembled the laptop and let it dry for about two and a half days. Items removed were: battery, RAM, HDD, BD-ROM, bottom cover, top speakers/media cover, plastic keyboard cover (the keyboard itself was moved out, but not disconnected). I could hardly see any moisture inside. Don't remember any on the motherboard or other circuit boards. Regardless, the components were let to dry for 2.5 days. Not sure if it was a good idea, but at one point, I pointed a blow-drier for a few minutes on all components. After I reassembled everything, I had 2 screws left-over from something inside. I remember not being able to find matching screw-holes for those two, despite looking for very long). The computer booted up and has been working perfectly (except for the left speaker). 

Laptop and System:
Sony VAIO VGN-FW290F
Windows 10 Pro

Realtek High Definition Audio is usually the default sound driver.

(Recent changes: Right before the leak I had installed Sid Meier's Civilization III. Also, I've connected two new hard drives (one before the leak, on after) via USB port.)
 

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#2 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 06:24 PM

This is a guess, but an educated one.

 

The water probably got to your left hand speaker and damaged the cone or, it may have just softened the speaker cone material and it got damaged when you removed it to dry it. I certainly see no problem in using a hair dryer for a few minutes on any of the components unless you had it on maximum and held it very close to the speakers (it is always best to use a dryer on a lower heat setting and never too close to the components).

 

From your statement that the laptop is now running perfectly apart from this speaker problem what you do next depends on how important audio is to you from this laptop.

 

You could just mute the speakers.

You could use headphones.

You could go back in and disconnect the left hand speaker and essentially listen in mono.

You could try to source a replacement speaker, possibly from a scrapped Vaio

 

As for the two screws, I wouldn't worry unduly about them and installing that game and using the external speakers would not have had any effect on your speakers.

 

Chris Cosgrove


I am going to be away until about the 22nd October. Time on-line will be reduced and my internet access may be limited. PMs may not be replied to as quickly as normal !


#3 User_007

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 06:40 PM

This is a guess, but an educated one.

 

The water probably got to your left hand speaker and damaged the cone or, it may have just softened the speaker cone material and it got damaged when you removed it to dry it. I certainly see no problem in using a hair dryer for a few minutes on any of the components unless you had it on maximum and held it very close to the speakers (it is always best to use a dryer on a lower heat setting and never too close to the components).

 

From your statement that the laptop is now running perfectly apart from this speaker problem what you do next depends on how important audio is to you from this laptop.

 

You could just mute the speakers.

You could use headphones.

You could go back in and disconnect the left hand speaker and essentially listen in mono.

You could try to source a replacement speaker, possibly from a scrapped Vaio

 

As for the two screws, I wouldn't worry unduly about them and installing that game and using the external speakers would not have had any effect on your speakers.

 

Chris Cosgrove

Thanks for your reply, Chris!

I did use the blow-drier at a high setting at close range, slowly moving the air flow, probably for 0.5-1 minute (but never more than 5-10 seconds on a specific spot). Could that cause this particular damage?
By the way, I did not unscrew (to the best of my memory) or remove the speakers themselves, if that makes any difference. They were exposed, though, since the top media cover was removed.

Also, I'm wondering whether there is a way to test this, or any other damage theory for sure, without having to take the computer in to a repair shop.


Edited by User_007, 13 June 2017 - 06:43 PM.


#4 User_007

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 03:16 AM

For anyone else with a similar problem--one temporary fix I came up with was just to pan the balance fully to the right. No need to go back in and disconnect anything (which would result, I'd think, in half-stereo, instead of mono). 
Here's how:

  1. Right-click on the sound icon in the taskbar.
  2. Click on playback devices.
  3. Click on the levels tab. For me, it was the second one from the left.
  4. Click on the balance button
  5. Set the level for the damaged speaker to 0.

Still, I'd love to hear from anyone who has ideas regarding what the issue might be, how to possibly diagnose it at home, and, if there is a potential fix other than a replacement.

Cheers!


Edited by User_007, 14 June 2017 - 03:16 AM.





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