Unlike the boat pictured above, your computer/laptop may not be beyond economical repair. I was reminded this week that the solution to a problem is often simpler than it may at first seem. Although, that simple solution isn’t always as obvious as it might be.
I was called by a customer who had a laptop with an apparently dead screen. It was quite an old laptop that hadn’t been used for some time. The last time it was booted it worked fine but now, although the lights were coming on and the fan was running, nothing at all was being displayed on the screen. This makes the diagnosis rather tricky, so I decided to return the machine to my workshop for further investigation.
The customer’s initial assumption was that the screen was faulty and was concerned that with a laptop of this age, may not be economical to repair. I wanted to test this theory further. I connected the laptop to an external monitor but unfortunately, the result was the same – lights, fan and no screen action. So, possibly not a faulty screen, but no nearer to a solution. Maybe the graphics card/motherboard? Without any kind of screen output there really is only guesswork.
However, after some research, I discovered that this particular range of laptops suffers from an unusual problem. If the CMOS battery dies, they won’t boot and display the other symptoms we were experiencing. The battery is usually just a simple button battery mounted on the motherboard. Its purpose is to maintain things like date and time when a machine is powered off. Under normal circumstances a computer or laptop will still boot with a flat CMOS battery, they just won’t maintain the correct time and date. Not the case for these laptops and this machine, being several years old, was a prime candidate for a flat CMOS battery.
The decision was taken to go ahead and replace the battery. This meant stripping the machine down to the motherboard in order to access it. Once dismantled I tested the battery with a multi-meter, it showed just 0.4 volts (should be 3 volts!). So, a new battery was installed and the laptop tested … there was the screen! The laptop was still in bits and had no hard drive so didn’t boot up at this stage. But after rebuilding and reinstalling the hard drive the laptop booted up just fine.
The customer was delighted to have his laptop back for the price of a small battery and a very competitive labour charge!
About The Author
I am the founder of MicroGenic and have spent over a decade providing IT support. If you have a computer or laptop that you’re concerned may be beyond economical repair, don’t give up just yet. Call me or email me for a chat, I’m always happy to have a look on a no fix, no fee basis.
Contact me for more information – 07762 164962, firstname.lastname@example.org or book an appointment online.