Sunday, August 26, 2007

Laptop dead?

I was doing KDE programming on a 3 year old Celeron 2.2GHz laptop late Thursday night. I finished and turned it off -- nothing out of the ordinary.

The next evening I tried turning it on. The "on" light lit up and the fan started spinning. All was good until 5 seconds later: it just shut off - the light went off and the fan stopped. A few seconds later it turned on again. It kept looping in this cycle.

If anyone has an idea of what this is or whether this can be fixed, I'd be very grateful. I have lots of uncommitted code sitting there so if the laptop's dead, I'll have to move the hard disk to another (less powerful) laptop, at least to get my code off.

Nothing is displayed on the screen so it's not even getting to the POST tests. There's no beeping whatsoever. And there's no smoke :)

I opened up the laptop today hoping to find something loose or abnormal but I can't see anything wrong with it.

This laptop has had a habit of getting up to 90-91 (ninety to ninety-one) degrees celcius during compiles (before Linux shut it down), if I didn't prop it up to give it more ventilation, so maybe it finally fried?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your blog makes konqueror 3.5.4 segfault ... This is the only web page that does that with my konqui!

Anonymous said...

Konqueror 3.5.7 doesn't segfault here.

Kaze said...

I had a similar on/off cycle on a Toshiba laptop. I removed one of the two RAM modules, and the laptop started well.

I then swapped the two modules, and the PC went into its on/off cycle.

So the first RAM module I removed was clearly dead :(

Hope it'll help you

Med said...

I also had this kind of problem. It turned out that the motherboard was just dead. I hope for you that your problem is the one kaze described or you may have to buy a new laptop.

Ruurd said...

Battery can be a source of problems, remove it, then try rebooting it on wallcurrent only.

Jake said...

This sounds similar to something that happened to my Dell a few weeks ago. I sent it in to Dell and it came home working great with a new motherboard. Also, though I have not actually used one, you may be interested in this adapter for your hard drive.

aleander said...

Five seconds sound like standard amount of time for a hard-shutdown by button on laptops.

Hm. You have a stuck power button? :-)

Anonymous said...

Try removing the laptop battery for an extended period of time (a day or two). You can also try removing the BIOS battery and shortcutting the leads - this will reset temporary settings (ie. boot order, date and time, etc) but will NOT remove/hurt the bios itself.

Bart said...

I had the same a few days ago bu my PC is even older :P. It is just like you described. The only thing I did was take the power off (removing the plug), leave it 3 days without power and then just startup the engine.

Second time this works for me.

Anonymous said...

Reset the CMOS in the BIOS.

That should fix it.

Loye Young said...

Other possibilities, from prior personal experience with the same symptoms:

1 - The power supply brick is dying or otherwise broken. I have a laptop on which the wire that runs to the laptop from the brick came loose inside the brick. Consequently, the battery didn't recharge while it was plugged in, and the battery ran down while I was using it. Then when I tried to turn it on, it still didn't get any juice because the wire was broken, and it gave me the same symptoms as yours.

2 - The laptop perhaps went into sleep mode instead of Off when you turned it off last. I sometimes hit the wrong icon and put my laptop to sleep instead of turning it off. In sleep mode, the battery is still being used, though just a little. Eventually the battery runs completely down. Then when I try to fire it back up, no love. Solution, leave the laptop plugged in about 8 hours to recharge the battery.

3 - Especially in old computers, batteries will wear out to such a point they don't work at all and the computer won't run with that battery in. (This happened to me on an old Dell Inspiron.) Try taking the battery out completely and running the laptop using the wired power supply only. If the laptop fires up, a new battery will fix the problem.

The fact that Linux runs so well on older hardware is a double-edged sword: Many (most?) computers can still be very productive machines for many more years, but the bad part is that eventually, hardware on older machines breaks more often because . . . well, it's old.

Happy Trails,

Loye Young
Isaac & Young Computer Company
Laredo, Texas
http://www.iycc.biz

Clarence Dang said...

Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I will try them all out.

BTW, the laptop is connected to the wall and is never powered by battery -- I removed the battery years ago when the battery failed.

soreya said...

Konqueror 3.5.7 doesn't segfault here.

Cara Android said...

Hemm i think you should try to replace your laptop with the new one :P