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 I just bricked my laptop, any suggestions?

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Pastor Frank
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The patient is a Dell Inspiron 1150, it was a junk laptop (that I got for free) without a HD that I used to run various Linux distros from a live CD or USB stick. I recently bought a small (60 Gb) HD and was going to install Linux Mint 8 on it. I installed the HD, and the Linux installation disk, and the process was going along smoothly. The installer then notified me that there was another partition on the HD. (They sold it as a new HD, but obviously it was not, I sent them a nasty letter)

I didn’t want to be responsible for anything on that other partition so I nuked the HD using DBAN http://www.dban.org/ I did a single pass wipe. It was running longer than I expected so I terminated the process. I tried to reboot, and it was DOA. I pulled the HD and it was hot as hell.

Here is the current status of my new door stop. It will power up for about 15 seconds and then powers down. There is no BIOS splash screen; in fact there is no video at all. The fan powers up and it and spins up the DVD drive, when I have a bootable CD in the tray.

I have removed everything, HD, RAM (2 512 sticks) and all external USB components, no change. I have tried every possible combination of configurations, just to get a splash screen and get into the BIOS to figure out what is going on, no joy. I have tried every possible combination of Ctrl+function keys to try to get into it, still, no joy. I hooked up a VGA monitor to it, no video.

My working theory is that I fried the processor, or there is some sort of overheating occurring. The CMOS must still be alive, thermal protection is a BIOS function, isn’t it? It also tries to go through a boot sequence. But after about 15 seconds it powers down. I’ve scoured the Interweb and have found no answers.

Am I missing something simple? The thing is a relic, so it’s no great loss, but I used it at the cabin to check in here, so I thought I would let the mind hive have a crack at it…

If I can’t revive it, I’ll probably just part it out.

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Klaasvaak
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

is it connected to the microwave?

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Technomancer
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Doesn't really take much to overheat a laptop. Not a lot of room for a good cooling system in those casings.
Is the fan turning ok? No dust in it, or dodgy bearings (would be a bit noisy if there was).
Is the battery ok too? If it's faulty, it might not be holding a charge and just losing power after a while.
If they're ok, I'd be thinking some sort of CPU/mainboard problem. It should at least be running from the BIOS, even if nothing is on the HD.

I don't suppose you know someone with a functional version of the same type of laptop who'll let you swap the CPUs over to check?

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Bankster
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
The patient is a Dell

Mmm-hmm.

Quote:
a junk laptop

Yes, you already said that. Very Happy


Quote:
thermal protection is a BIOS function, isn’t it?

It usually is, and as such it requires the CPU. If the fan changes speed and it tries to boot from DVD, the CPU is probably alive. Can you press Caps Lock about 5-10 seconds after turning the laptop on, and does the corresponding LED light up?
From over here it looks as if you might've fried the graphics chip (and possibly other stuff too).

Powering down after a short time usually hints at thermal problems. In that case you should still get a picture though.

I don't think removing the battery and let it sit for an hour will help, but it won't cost much either.

Was the HD too hot to touch?

Might you have damaged/unplugged something when you added/removed the HD?

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Pastor Frank
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:34 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Technomancer wrote:

Is the fan turning ok? No dust in it, or dodgy bearings


The fan is running fine and when I got it I tore it apart and blew out all the gunk.

Technomancer wrote:

Is the battery ok too?


The battery has long been DOA, I have been running it off the AC adapter and it is running at 19.3 VDC, well within the nominal range. (But I'm not testing it under load)

Bankster wrote:
If the fan changes speed and it tries to boot from DVD, the CPU is probably alive.


The fan speed does NOT change.

Bankster wrote:
Can you press Caps Lock about 5-10 seconds after turning the laptop on, and does the corresponding LED light up?


I can toggle the Num Lock, but not the Caps lock... strange but true.

Bankster wrote:

Was the HD too hot to touch?


It was crazy hot, but not too hot to touch.

Bankster wrote:

Might you have damaged/unplugged something when you added/removed the HD?


Replacing the HD was simple, I dont think I messed anything up there.

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jose_cuervo
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:41 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Wal-Mart

+Acer

+$348

= sorted

Very Happy

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Pastor Frank
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:53 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ That's the direction I'm headed. Laughing

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Haban1336
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:00 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Try connecting the laptop to external display, before finally trash it.

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Bankster
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:33 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
I can toggle the Num Lock, but not the Caps lock... strange but true.

Hmm, the toggling thinggie is done by the CPU, so it's actually still doing something.

If you can find a Linux live CD with a telnet/SSH server running by default, you could try booting from that CD, SSH'ing into the laptop and use it as a server or something.
Or send it to your favourite lad as a late Christmas present (I've heard Allst*r are very reliable)?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:09 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Haban1336 wrote:
Try connecting the laptop to external display, before finally trash it.


And if that works, try ripping off the plastic cover just above the keyboard. It should come off easily by using a small screwdriver on the right and then gently pull with the screen fully flat opened.
You will see the screen connector there, just remove it and reseat it properly. That usually fixes a bad connection on that connector. Dell's are notorious for this kind of behavior.

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windypops
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:20 am Reply with quoteBack to top

In my experience, once one thing goes on an old pc you can be sure everything else is just about to croak.

I've learned after many years of stripping down and rebuilding wayward computers, that if I can't sort out any given problem by turning the brutes off and on again, it's time for the recycle bin.

Happy shopping. Wink

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:03 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Just thought of something, though I don't know whether it'll work. You say you don't get anything on an external monitor. Have you tried the "toggle internal/external screen" key combo (probably fn + F8 )?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:06 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Me not being techie minded when I have a problem I go here - http://www.techspot.com/vb/ - and usually get a resolution. Sometimes I've no idea what they're on about but they usually solve my problem.
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Connie L. Gus
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:07 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Do you get a flash on the screen during the POST?

Did you toggle the display as Bankster pointed out? The actual key on your Dell is labeled. If that does not work, recycle the unit at a Goodwill.

If you do get something then its your inverter. Easy to check but remember its 750 volts or so.

http://www.fonerbooks.com/laptop_6.htm

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Pastor Frank
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for all the suggestions, I tried them all, and nothing is working. It is headed to the parts bin.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Pastor Frank wrote:
Thanks for all the suggestions, I tried them all, and nothing is working. It is headed to the parts bin.


Do the screen and keyboard still work?

I'm after a few laptop parts Wink

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Haban1336
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:56 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Technomancer, you know that laptop displays don't have standard connectors and are NOT compatible between brands or even models ?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:57 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Haban1336 wrote:
Technomancer, you know that laptop displays don't have standard connectors and are NOT compatible between brands or even models ?


Yep Smile

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Pastor Frank
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:07 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@Technomancer Sorry, I already promised it to a friend.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

jose_cuervo wrote:
Wal-Mart

+Acer

+$348

= sorted

Very Happy


I strongly recommend avoiding Acer. Of the three people I've known with Acers all of their hard drives have died within a couple of years.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

/\/\/\ I think you may be missing the point. A $348 price tag makes it essentially disposable. It's not a lifetime investment. It's even cheaper than most cell phones. I've never heard of anyone taking a cell phone in to be worked on, if it gives you any trouble, you heave it replaced under warranty or you simply buy a new one every year or so. Wink

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