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 Fix my sodding laptop
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CavemanJoe
 Saturday, August 30 2008 @ 05:45 PM UTC (Read 6319 times)  
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See the latest MotD for details, and post your suggestions in here, if any. Frown


 
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Anonymous: HodgePodge
 Saturday, August 30 2008 @ 06:17 PM UTC  



Ouch. Been there and it's not a great place to be. The good news is that the hard drive is intact if you can boot at all. Just get a laptop drive enclosure and connect it via USB to another computer to get anything off it, including imaging it to your new computer, if you have to get a new one.

I use a set of diagnostic tools from Utra-X to do my hardware level tests. They are a bit pricy, though, but you can find a lot of free tools using BartPE, it just takes a little more time to assemble and find the ones that work best for you.

Good luck O improbable one.


 
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cowtessa
 Saturday, August 30 2008 @ 06:29 PM UTC  
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I honestly don't know what the failure is with the laptop right off hand. It sounds like you've checked most of the things that come to mind first, but you still might want to check things like the power supply, make sure that it's putting out the right voltage/amperage. You can pick up a decent little multimeter at Radio Shack for ~$20 or so. Probably one of the best purchases I ever made.

Other things to look into...Well...If you're comfortable with the hardware, you could try running it breadboarded (naked hardware on a static free surface). Find one of those cans of compressed air, turn it upside down so that you are spraying the liquid gas, which will cool down whatever you spray it on, then start to check components one at a time (ie. spray the processor just a bit so it cools down and see if it behaves better, try the CMOS and the video card, etc.).

Have you tried running it with all the components (CDROM, HDD, Floppy, etc) disconnected to see if that works? Remove the display and run it through an external display to make sure that its not something with the display or its power system.

Is the laptop under warranty still? Something tells me not, but it's always worth checking. There's also a possibility that its something up with the BIOS itself, and it might need to be flashed, but given the current state that its in, that might be difficult. The CMOS chips on those are usually soldered in and not easily swappable. If its not, it might be possible to swap the CMOS chip over to the other laptop to flash it...Open heart surgery is terribly fun!

How to swap a bios chip between systems...This is based on the assumption that both chips are reasonably easy to remove (socketed) and that they are pin compatible. Different manufacturers use different styles, so this may or may not work even then.
A) Download the updated version of the BIOS for the destination computer onto the working computer, but do not install!
2) Resetart the working system in a breadboard configuration. You'll need to be able to get at the CMOS chip while its running.
III) Make sure that everything in the BIOS that can be set to cached is. This will load everything into memory so that its not having to run from the chip.
d) Depending on flash method, you may either have to boot up to a command prompt or load into windows.
five) Once you have everything ready to go, very carefully remove the CMOS chip from the running computer and insert the bad CMOS chip (this is the fun part!)
seises) Shut down the system and reset the CMOS chips to where they were originally.
Congratulations! You've successfully turned a working computer into a semifunctional EPROM burner!

Options to recover data:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812119151 2.5" or 3.5" external hard drive enclosure to USB 2.0 $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Description=2.5+adapter&x=0&y=0 The search that I ran for adapters.

Replacement motherboard, $169, second day air for ~$23: http://laptopparts.vivotechnology.net/items/item.aspx?itemid=989253

And thats about all that I can say off hand without seeing the board in person. Just mention to it that somewhere Jessica has a soldering iron and is looking for it... I find that threat often works. It worked on two of the laptops at work after the third went under the iron.


 
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huehueteot
 Saturday, August 30 2008 @ 07:39 PM UTC  
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Joe:

There are several possibilities for extracting data from a hard drive from an old machine. Probably the best would be to get an external drive enclosure with a usb cable and hook it up to another machine that way. These are available in many forms and from many suppliers on the web. You will need to get one for laptop hds to get the cabling right and it will need to match the interface (ata, pata, sata) for your machine. This way it won't try to boot from the drive (presuming that usb boot option isn't set in the setups) but you will be able to get at the data.

As far as fixing the machine goes I am not a tech and I cant' really help you there. One thing that occurs to me is to check on line at the Toshiba web site and see if they have a repair manual for the machine in pdf that yo can download. They may also have troubleshooting guides that are accessible online that would help. They may even have support options that are cheap enough to work for you.

Anyway best of luck

Hugh G. "Sam" Ball
huehueteot@aol.com


 
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cowtessa
 Saturday, August 30 2008 @ 09:31 PM UTC  
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Oh yeah ^_^ One other thing that I was just thinking about...

If it boots up far enough to run diagnostics (it doesn't sound like it is, but I may be missing something) there is a free-ware bootable set of utilities and diagnostics you can run. It's a bootable ISO image dubbed UBCD, downloadable from their site. It's a conglomeration of RAM testers, HDD diagnostics, video card testers and so on. I don't know how much that will help, but maybe some of the advice in the previous post will. *shrugses and bounces off again*


 
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MikeyDaTroll
 Saturday, August 30 2008 @ 11:05 PM UTC  
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Joe,

While Cowtessa's suggestions are excellent (particularly regarding the Ultimate Boot CD), I'm thinking that starting a little smaller might be a good idea. Soldering irons are tricksy things. At least where I'm concerned. Wink

My first three rules of computer repair are as follows:

1. Check the cables.
B. Check the cables.
III. Check the cables.

In other words, make triple sure that everything is seated correctly. For example, from your description, it SEEMS like your Toshiba is getting power, but make very sure of that. Replacing a bad DC power cord is much cheaper and easier than most anything else you can do that will require shelling out cash.

Next, take a really good look at the fan and make sure it's spinning up. It's a frequent cause of laptop failure and I've pulled Improbable Island monster-sized dust bunnies outta those tiny little fans.

Lastly, www.cdw.com is a licensed Toshiba repair shop that I've used and they're very good and stupid inexpensive, depending on what hardware may need replacing.

Sorry for stating the obvious above, but you'd laugh in amazement at how often I've been very well paid by customers to show up and plug computers back into the wall.

Good luck!

Mikey


 
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Anonymous: John
 Saturday, August 30 2008 @ 11:28 PM UTC  



To extract the data from the hard drive should be no big issue. You just have to hook it up to a mini-ide/usb interface and copy the content. (Or mount it on another laptop with a live CD).

The hardware can have many errors. Basically it is hard to determine, if it is not something simple, and most of the time it is more expensive to repair then a new unit.

You have RSI. Are you typing much on the keyboard? Are you using the standard keyboard layout? I was worried abouth this myself, so I switched to the Dvorak layout. As a consequence I never got such a plesky thing. People who switched later also reported, that it would work better with their RSI, but I have no illusion that I will be ignored here anyway.

Hope you get the problem fixed. Anyway, I like the game.


 
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Anonymous: TemporalWolf
 Sunday, August 31 2008 @ 02:05 AM UTC  


The only thing that immediately jumps out at me:

You should reapply thermal paste EVERY time you break the bond. High end thermal paste cures and if you break the bond it loses a lot of efficency.

And, since high end thermal paste is like $8 for enough to cover atleast 20 processors, it's not gonna break the bank.

Your CPU overheating because of lack of proper thermal transfer would cause 5 minute overheats... also wouldn't build up noticable heat because it's not transferring, all stuck in the CPU.

Go buy some Arctic Silver 5 (my personal favorite). 3.5 grams is MORE than enough.

Remember when using thermal paste you want just enough to cover the whole plate and NO bubbles. Skim over an article on it if you have never done it before... it DOES help to pay attention to it.

Goodluck Smile

~Computer Tech


 
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Anonymous: TemporalWolf
 Sunday, August 31 2008 @ 02:12 AM UTC  


Quote by: TemporalWolf

The only thing that immediately jumps out at me:

You should reapply thermal paste EVERY time you break the bond. High end thermal paste cures and if you break the bond it loses a lot of efficency.

And, since high end thermal paste is like $8 for enough to cover atleast 20 processors, it's not gonna break the bank.

Your CPU overheating because of lack of proper thermal transfer would cause 5 minute overheats... also wouldn't build up noticable heat because it's not transferring, all stuck in the CPU.

Go buy some Arctic Silver 5 (my personal favorite). 3.5 grams is MORE than enough.

Remember when using thermal paste you want just enough to cover the whole plate and NO bubbles. Skim over an article on it if you have never done it before... it DOES help to pay attention to it.

Goodluck Smile

~Computer Tech



I forgot to mention:

If you can't get it, find a USB to universal drive adapter, like this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812232002
(I haven't used this exact one, but I have one VERY similar and it is absolutely amazing)

Cheaper and way more useful than an enclosure.

Hmm... since I normally fix computers for about $120 an hour and I spent ten minutes on this, does that means I kinda donated $20?
Haha, keep up the good work man. I like the game Big Grin

Any questions hit me up on AIM:
temporalwolf
or Improbable Island:
TemporalWolf


 
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Anonymous: TemporalWolf
 Sunday, August 31 2008 @ 02:14 AM UTC  


Quote by: TemporalWolf

Quote by: TemporalWolf

The only thing that immediately jumps out at me:

You should reapply thermal paste EVERY time you break the bond. High end thermal paste cures and if you break the bond it loses a lot of efficency.

And, since high end thermal paste is like $8 for enough to cover atleast 20 processors, it's not gonna break the bank.

Your CPU overheating because of lack of proper thermal transfer would cause 5 minute overheats... also wouldn't build up noticable heat because it's not transferring, all stuck in the CPU.

Go buy some Arctic Silver 5 (my personal favorite). 3.5 grams is MORE than enough.

Remember when using thermal paste you want just enough to cover the whole plate and NO bubbles. Skim over an article on it if you have never done it before... it DOES help to pay attention to it.

Goodluck Smile

~Computer Tech



I forgot to mention:

If you can't get it, find a USB to universal drive adapter, like this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812232002
(I haven't used this exact one, but I have one VERY similar and it is absolutely amazing)

Cheaper and way more useful than an enclosure.

Hmm... since I normally fix computers for about $120 an hour and I spent ten minutes on this, does that means I kinda donated $20?
Haha, keep up the good work man. I like the game Big Grin

Any questions hit me up on AIM:
temporalwolf
or Improbable Island:
TemporalWolf



Third thought: That one looks identical to the one I use at work. I may have to buy one for myself since they are on sale Big Grin


 
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CavemanJoe
 Sunday, August 31 2008 @ 05:30 AM UTC  
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Looks like the Island is full of techs. For a game run by a disgruntled ex-Government sysadmin turned freelance, it doesn't surprise me. Razz

Status update. Laptop reassembled, now it gives some sort of error code by flashing its power LED in a little sequence. NOT THE MOST HELPFUL ERROR MESSAGE EVER. But I'm guessing it means "Dan, disassemble me again and check the connections that you thought you'd quadruple-checked before."

Suspect at the moment is the cooling... plate, I guess, for the video board. The CPU seldom got overtemp enough to make the fan spin terribly fast (Toshiba software for dicking with power settings including fan speeds is very good), and I like to think that the fan would think to spin up a bit faster before the CPU burned out. :-/

Regarding UBCD - yes, can't recommend it enough, it's come in very handy in the past.

Regarding DVORAK - at my last job I had a keyboard with a DVORAK layout, 'cause I was trying to learn (well, I say I had a DVORAK keyboard, it was actually just a QWERTY keyboard with the keys popped off with a spoon and then stuck back on again in different places). Except when a call came in, and I'd have to type fast, I'd switch it to QWERTY using a little script that uses the Scroll Lock key ('cause seriously, who uses that?). So I had a keyboard where none of the keys were in the right place, and when you found the letter you wanted and pressed it, half the time a completely different letter would appear on the screen. Combined with the portrait-rotated CRT monitor on a stupidly high resolution, this meant that nobody ever tried to use my PC while I was smoking. Which was the plan all along.

Trying to get hold of a Tecra 9100 service manual, so I can see what the little power LED is complaining about.


 
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Anonymous: Fergel
 Monday, September 01 2008 @ 05:21 AM UTC  



Status update. Laptop reassembled, now it gives some sort of error code by flashing its power LED in a little sequence. NOT THE MOST HELPFUL ERROR MESSAGE EVER. But I'm guessing it means "Dan, disassemble me again and check the connections that you thought you'd quadruple-checked before."


Check The Manufacturer website for the manual.. they have a bit for decoding these.. Usually if a computer (or motherboard) is resorting to Non displayed error messages, it means somthing is keeping it from loading that far, to display even Basic messages.

and of course the internet will show you everything:
http://www.irisvista.com/tech/laptops/Toshiba9100/disassembly/tecra9100_1.htm

On/Off light blinks blue-orange-orange and computer doesn't turn on, after memory installed:
http://www.csd.toshiba.com/cgi-bin/tais/su/su_sc_dtlView.jsp?soid=2139800&BV_SessionID=@@@@1476001211.1220246080@@@@&BV_EngineID=ccciadefddkhidkcgfkceghdgngdgmm.0


ha, found the support page for your model (needed to look in the archived models):

http://www.csd.toshiba.com/cgi-bin/tais/su/su_sc_modelLanding.jsp?ProductMenu_0=Portables&ProductMenu_1=Tecra&model_find=9100&ProductMenu_2=160275&moid=160275&rpn=PT910U&smoid=true&ct=MH&ListType=Model&x=23&y=9


-Fergel


 
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Truly
 Monday, September 01 2008 @ 06:44 AM UTC  
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Did you try swearing and hitting it?


 
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Anonymous: Terlisimo
 Monday, September 01 2008 @ 01:21 PM UTC  


Toshiba laptops are usually sold with worldwide warranty (2 or 3 years I think) so basically you can buy a toshiba laptop anywhere in the world and drop it off at a local Toshiba reseller, they just punch in the S/N and see whether it's still under warranty. If it is, you'll get a free repair.

I once had a similar problem with a Toshiba laptop bought in Holland and it was repaired and returned to me within 2 days, no questions asked. They didn't even ask for a receipt.




 
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EvilSupahFly
 Tuesday, September 02 2008 @ 04:38 PM UTC  
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Did you do a RAM test to see if it's gone bad? I can't remember off hand where to find it, but you can download and burn a bootable ISO that tests the physical memory and I think it may test the video memory too.

If I find it I'll come back and post again.

Edit: This assumes of course that you can actually get it to boot normally.


"Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own set of laws." -- Douglas Adams, H2G2
 
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CavemanJoe
 Tuesday, September 02 2008 @ 04:57 PM UTC  
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Got a mate with some spare thermal paste. Guessing that the hexadecimal error code following my disassembly was just a duff connection (turned out it didn't have enough voltage to boot), so I'm gonna leave it in bits and swap the thermal paste out for new when I see him tonight.

Memory probably isn't the issue (have swapped and reseated both RAM modules only to have the same effect), but I'll certainly check it out - gonna burn a UBCD disc and let it do a proper burn-in if I ever get it to boot again. Frown


 
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Anonymous: VENTRIDER
 Wednesday, October 08 2008 @ 02:14 AM UTC  



TO ADMIN:

I am working on a Tecra 9100 freezing problem now. I found several links to what I think was the problem with this laptop. Links are;
http://episteme.arstechnica.com/groupee/forums/a/tpc/f/579009962631/m/121001123631
---
http://www.daniweb.com/forums/thread36465.html

There seems to be some problem with the motherboard positioning, stress, and I think
this may affect the connection between the motherboard and IO board. There was a Toshiba tech service bulletin issued that can be found in a search and is downloadable from Rapidshare. The bulletin is TCR312.pdf. I just downloaded yesterday 10-6-08. It is available. The procedure calls for clipping the main board alignment pins, and replacing some screws with a "floating screw". I have read a few threads where fellows have put
some locktite on the screws and only threaded the screws in halfway, allowing the motherboard to "float". The Toshiba floating screws may be hard to find or not available at all. I used the locktite / superglue on the threads to hold screws halfway.

I followed the procedure and put the machine back together. The machine ran all last night playing music with no lockup. I will be performing more testing to ensure success.


 
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