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A couple of problematic laptops

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have a couple of laptops I am working on that I am stumped with.

First one is an older AMD-based Compaq. It gets no power whatsoever. I tested the power adapter it came with with my multimeter, and no juice. I bought a new power adapter, juice! But I plug it in, and still no love on the laptop. It's just dead dead. I've thought about opening it up, but this sounds like a motherboard issue, so I'm not sure what I could even do if I opened it up. The power plug does not feel loose/broken. Is there anything else to try/test on this besides just replacing the motherboard?

Second one BSODs all the time. It was packaged with Windows Vista, so that's what I'm trying to reinstall on it, but it'll BSOD before it gets through the whole installation. I tried Hiron's Boot CD, booting into MiniXP, but that BSODs as well, eventually. It gives the 0xD1 BSOD, which is usually related to hardware/drivers. I've done a long memtest, and it came out clean. I also ran prime95 (via Hiron's Boot CD) for a couple of days straight, and it was still running when I came back to it. I tested the GPU memory as well with a different app. Tested the HDD for errors as well, no issues. I'm not sure what else I can test to figure out what the problem is... any ideas?
post #2 of 5
hello,

I'm sorry for your loss, your first laptop is as you say : " dead dead". I woul'd try messing with the power circuitry and a mobo replacement is to expensive to be worth it generaly.

As for the second one, have you tried checking the hard drive ? or maybe just replace it and see if it still bsods. If you checked everything else that's where i'd look.
deus ex machina
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deus ex machina
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kamimaru View Post

hello,

I'm sorry for your loss, your first laptop is as you say : " dead dead". I woul'd try messing with the power circuitry and a mobo replacement is to expensive to be worth it generaly.

As for the second one, have you tried checking the hard drive ? or maybe just replace it and see if it still bsods. If you checked everything else that's where i'd look.
I did run some sort of disk health + disk check utility (can't remember what, but it was on the Hiron's disk). I'd replace it if I had a spare I could put in for the time being... but I don't. :\

IIRC though, the MiniXP is all run out of RAM though, right? It doesn't copy anything to the HDD, so the HDD should be completely unused at that point, and thus not be the source of any BSODs.
post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtSpike View Post

IIRC though, the MiniXP is all run out of RAM though, right? It doesn't copy anything to the HDD, so the HDD should be completely unused at that point, and thus not be the source of any BSODs.

theoricaly but what if it has to swap some ram on the disk ? Even with enough ram there's always a small portion of the disk reserved to that usage
deus ex machina
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deus ex machina
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post #5 of 5
Service techs will keep one known good working part on their bench so they can swap anything out and test if that's the problem.

Pull every part you can (wi-fi, all RAM but one stick, the HDD, modem, etc) and run the MicroXP in that condition. If it runs clean for some hours then start adding back in the missing parts or transfer them to a bench machine and see if the problem follows the parts. (Guess you don't have bench machines to try this on. It really speeds things up)

See if you can reproduce the problem with vibration or jolts to the machine. Check the heat sensor output and see if the chip set and HDD are staying under 50C and 35C.

Sometimes using a directional blow drier to selectively heat the machine will isolate the problem component. That was an old technique in the '90's. Not sure it's of any use now. Still, chipset, RAM and CPU/GPU casings can get microfractures and be bothered by humidity. Bad solder connections can be bothered by vibration, rapid temperature changes or humidity also.

Dust is a laptop killer and it doesn't take much of it to severely reduce cooling efficiency.

Just pulling the laptop apart, cleaning and reseating the devices may resolve the problem.

It seems that problem is usually driver related so it could be an odd situation where it's a rare WiFi card that has a poorly written driver in common circulation. Search the web for typical problems related to that model laptop.


Hope you figure out the issue. I hate intermittent problems.
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