Faulty Laptop (water damage?)

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by Originality, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. Originality
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    Originality Chibi-neko

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    Just posting this to confirm my suspicions and gain any helpful advice.

    Got a laptop from a colleague that had been left by an open window. UK has had some fairly wet weather so inevitably some water got on the laptop. They tried using a hair dryer at the vents to remove any moisture, but it's developed a problem.

    When turning on the power, it gets past POST and at the point where it starts to load the OS, it suddenly cuts all power. This is roughly 5 or 6 seconds after initially turning it on. After that, no matter what you try, it won't turn on. No fans, no lights, nothing. Unplug and replug the charger, with or without the battery, nothing. After leaving it off the charger for a few hours, plugging it back in and it'll turn on, but a few seconds after it shuts down and the problem repeats.

    I think water damage, short circuit, etc.
    Any help?
     
  2. james50a

    james50a Advanced Member

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    simply put your screwed. Its nearly impossible to diagnose these types of problems due to the complexity of the parts. Then even if you find one faulty part it may also have fried another and the replacement costs keep going up. Best advice i can give is list it on ebay as is because the odds of an easy repair are not very good.
     
  3. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Even with a hairdryer for the average "until I am bored" length of time will likely not have got it all, to say nothing of the possibility of actually pushing water further in. You could pull it right apart (rarely a fun thing in laptop world), stick it with some rice/silica gel in a warm place and properly dry it. Having already powered it, and I presume left the battery in during the water phase, does not bode all that well mind you.

    Getting to post is odd but not unexpected. If it is a really nice laptop then maybe considering going further, if it is a £300 PC world special or old enough to be the same then I would not go beyond the pulling it apart and drying it phase. That said the RAM, maybe the hard drive and other bits might do to fund the start of the next laptop. Whether you try a motherboard replacement for it or not I leave to you to ponder.

    Mind you stick a voltmeter across the power lead and try another/a spare, I have seen this before with those on the way out. Laptops do not best survive a swim or a drink being spilled on them but water coming in from rain, especially if the laptop was closed, is a slightly different matter.
     
  4. Zetta_x

    Zetta_x The Insane Statistician

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    Are you sure it's not overheating?
     
  5. ferret7463

    ferret7463 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I think it's a short from all of the condensation. What i would do is open her all the way up an then set it on it's side up high near your heat source for the house. I would come back to it in couple of days.
     
  6. Sicklyboy

    Sicklyboy Resident Mechanical Keyboard Addict

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    I had thought overheating too until you said it stays off for a few hours... At that point, aside from something shorting or being otherwise damaged from the water, I'd almost (almost) be inclined to look for issues with caps.

    Tried the standard, remove all components except for what's absolutely necessary to power on? If you have it sit at the bios config for a while does it still power off?
     
  7. Originality
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    Originality Chibi-neko

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    Overheating doesn't happen in 6 seconds, and usually will still allow power on right after a shutdown. I also checked - cooling heat pipes are untouched so thermal layer should be intact.

    I did open it up to check for moisture and other signs of water damage. I found a minor circuit with obvious signs of corrosion on the controller chips (located beside the mCard slot with the WiFi) and a lot of heat damage around the HDD, but little else obvious. I didn't check beneath the keyboard, but I've already resigned myself from the damage I can see.

    As for the old remove the unnecessary parts technique... Laptops don't really apply. Works wonders for desktops, but for laptops you're more or less stuck with what it has.

    I'm sticking with backing up the data and salvaging the HDD. The DDR2 ram can also be recovered, but I don't know if SODIMMs are worth much.
     
  8. Zetta_x

    Zetta_x The Insane Statistician

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    I've only suggested overheating because I've had similar symptoms when the heatsink is completely ineffective (shuts down in 6 seconds and can't power on until cooled down(didn't realize you said this took a couple hours) ).

    I don't know motherboards at all but do you think there is some safety mechanism triggered by a short circuit why it won't power on for another couple hours?
     
  9. Originality
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    Originality Chibi-neko

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    There is a safety for preventing damage by short circuiting (thermal protections are temperature based and only read during/after post by bios - usually takes 20 seconds or more), but I don't know details. I'm pretty sure such flags are raised in BIOS and stored by CMOS (explains why it takes hours to get it to try powering on again).
     
  10. marcus134

    marcus134 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    that process can usually be sped up by removing the battery and holding the power button for 10 to 30 sec.

    It does work on laptop, aside from the pain of disassembling and reassembling the laptop, you need to have the right parts at hand, which can happen if you work at a place that does laptop recycling.

    I believe you got enough experience to now what are the culprits in this kind of situation.
    hdd, dvd, wifi and keyboard can be easily disconnected, ram should be easily swapped. cpu are hit or miss on accessibility and you need a good one on hand, the display connector should be near the hinge and can be hard to access.
     
  11. Celice

    Celice GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    I'd also try checking if you can get into the BIOS and seeing if the hardware shuts down after a few seconds there, rather than when trying to get into Windows.

    Not that this probably would help :<