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Compaq laptop Black screen / Won't boot

July 12, 2010 at 12:20:07
Specs: Windows Vista Home Basic

Hello everyone, I have recently taken on a small project for a friend to fix a Compaq Presario CQ60-218EM.

There isn't too much I can explain about it, when the power button is pushed, it turns on, the hard drive doesn't sound like its booting anything, the backlight doesn't turn on. The LED's are lighting up fine, I've tried a Hard Reset, plugging it into an external monitor via HDMI, I also assumed it could have been a full OS crash before hand, so I created a Vista Recovery Disc and tried to use that, DVD Drive picked it up and was trying to read it but no further activity happened.

I originally assumed it was a RAM error / issue as I was told the RAM had been replaced after burning out previously. RAM was tested in a different laptop and was fully functional. I'm out of ideas.

My brain is fried with trying to figure out what else could possibly be wrong with it. If someone could please help it would be very appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
FeenuX


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#1
July 12, 2010 at 12:58:26

Most more recent laptop will not boot at all, or will not fully boot, if they are connected only to the AC adapter - the main battery must be installed, and it must be capable of being charged up at least a minimal amount.
How old is the main battery ?
.....

There may be nothing wrong except you're getting no video on the built in display - that's common after a laptop has been used a lot..
Laptop hard drives make very little noise. If the hard disk activity led lights up and blinks while booting, there's probably nothing wrong with the hard drive or the ram. (If the user has to logon to Windows, it will stop blinking shortly after it gets to that point.)

Laptop no video (or video problems), and battery, AC adapter, power jack T shooting.

See response 1:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

DO NOT plug in or unplug a monitor's video cable into / from a video port while the computer is running. Doing so can damage the monitor's circuits and/or the video adapter's circuits.

Some laptops will display on an external monitor without you having to do anything.

If you get no video on an external monitor, some laptops have a key combo that you must press to toggle the display to external video only / sometimes both / built in display video only - see the Owner's or User's manual for the model.

Similar may apply to HDMI output - you may need to press some key combo to toggle it on.

.......

"I was told the RAM had been replaced after burning out previously"

What event happened just before he or she assumed the ram had "burnt out" ?.

Ram that was working fine previously doesn't "burn out" unless some damaging event happened to the ram or to the computer, and even if it did, it's extremely unlikely more than one module would go "bad" at the same time.

"damaging event" = e.g.
- someone plugged in or unplugged the ram without removing both the AC adapter's connection and the main battery first
- the laptop was exposed to a power surge or spike when it was plugged into the AC adapter
- someone dropped the laptop, or spilled liquid on it. It doesn't matter whether it was running at the time, it could still have been damaged, if the main battery was installed at the time - ATX mboards are always powered in some places. In that case, something else other than the ram is likely to be damaged.

- if any ram module was plugged in backwards (it won't go all the way into the slot but still connects to the contacts quite well) and someone then attempted to boot the computer, both the backwards ram module and the ram slots circuits of the slot it is in are fried instantly, and neither can ever be used again. That may also damage the mboard otherwise. If you see any evidence of damaged contacts, black carbon deposits when you use a magnifier to examine the ram slot, someone did that. If you clean up any bridged contacts, carbon deposits, the mboard MAY work with ram in the good slot.

"RAM was tested in a different laptop and was fully functional."

Ram working in a different computer shows there's nothing wrong with it, but that doesn't necessarily indicate it will work in the subject persons particular model.
It has to be compatible with his particular model.

Has this replacement ram EVER worked in the subject computer ?

It is easy to test for incompatible ram that has caused your mboard to fail to boot.

Make sure you have a speaker or speakers or the equivalent connected to the mboard so you can hear mboard beeps (see your mboard manual if you need to).
Remove the AC power to the case/power supply.
Remove all the ram.
Restore AC power.
Try to boot.
If nothing else is wrong, you will get no video but you will hear a pattern of beeps that indicate no ram is installed, or a ram problem.
E.g. for an Award bios or a bios based on one, that's often a beep of about a half second, silence for a half second, a beep of about a half second, silence for a half second, continuously.

If you don't get any beeps, something else is wrong.
.....



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#2
July 12, 2010 at 14:11:47

Very informative reply, thank you very much for getting back to me so quickly too.

The RAM HAS worked in the subject laptop for 3 months or so, I was told the reason it had to be replaced was because they watched movies in bed alot, I presume the airflow was blocked alot over the accumulative time they did that, causing the RAM needing to be replaced, all I know is thats what was the problem originally.

A few days ago they tried to turn on the computer and got a black screen with no backlight display at all. Same problems I had explained above.

The HD LED has very limited activity to what it should have when trying to boot up an OS anyway. I know HD's are quiet but you can still feel them when they start up etc and I couldn't feel too much activity going on.. My brain is starting to hurt, Laptops are not my strong suit.

Any more help would be brilliant.

Thanks in advance,
FeenuX


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#3
July 12, 2010 at 18:51:55

"I was told the reason it had to be replaced was because they watched movies in bed alot, I presume the airflow was blocked alot over the accumulative time they did that, causing the RAM needing to be replaced,..."

Yes, the airflow needed to cool the laptop interior could certainly have been obstructed when they did that (all they had to do is place something flat and relatively rigid underneath it), but the ram would be one of the last things to be damaged by heat. A friend of mine had a desktop computer that had a power supply the fan had seized on - it had gotten VERY hot inside the computer case for who knows how long (no case fan, tiny cpu fan). After I replaced the AT power supply (it was producing no +5v), I found the floppy drive, CD-Rom drive, video card, and dial-up modem card were damaged, presumably from the case interior getting way too hot, but the same hard drive and ram worked fine in the same mboard with the same cpu.
They certainly could have damaged the cpu by doing that, especially if the laptop shut itself off from the cpu getting too hot .

It's a lot more likely the ram developed a poor connection than there was anything wrong with it. If they still have it , it MAY work fine in the other computer.

A common thing that can happen with ram, even ram that worked fine previously, is the ram has, or has developed, a poor connection in it's slot(s).
This usually happens a long time after the ram was installed, but it can happen with new ram, or after moving the computer case from one place to another, and I've had even new modules that needed to have their contacts cleaned.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:
http://www.computing.net/hardware/w...

For a laptop, or netbook, you must remove both its main battery and AC adapter before you do that.

For a brand name computer, see the Owner's or User's manual if you need to - how to remove or replace the ram is usually in that - it may already be in your installed programs. If you can't get into Windows, it may be on a disk that came with the computer, or you can go online and look at it or download it - it's in the downloads for your specific model.
.....

"The HD LED has very limited activity to what it should have when trying to boot up an OS anyway."

OK, then the hard drive is working. If it's working, the ram MAY be okay, or it may have a poor connection.

"(If the user has to logon to Windows, it will stop blinking shortly after it gets to that point.)"

You need to

- try the no ram installed test - see above. You'll get no video but you should hear out of the ordinary beeps. If you don't, there is something else serious wrong.

-- if you do get beeps, try re-seating the ram (remove the AC adapter connection and the main battery when you do that).

- if you still get no video, try connecting a monitor to the video port - see the above info - you may need to press some specific key combo.


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#4
September 22, 2010 at 07:09:58

tried all the answers that are relevant but to no avail i'm afraid ?what next?

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