|"....the soldering on one of those metal strips broke, so the metal strip could move freely..."|
may be directly related to...
"....one of the various black, processor-type things - a small one - severly overheated...."
They are on opposite sides of the mobo, but I know what you mean. As a matter of fact, sometimes when I had the battery (which is no good) connected, the AC adapter plug would get very hot itself. Could be related...
I don't know what you mean by "... processor-type things...".
You know, the flat square black things of various sizes that are placed all over the motherboard. They look like a processor, except they have no heatsink (except for integrated GPUs) or fan, and most are smaller than a processor. The northbridge and southbridge are usually the biggest ones, and the USB and sound chipsets are the smallest.
If "It's just a melted ball of ceramic and metal..." how do you know what it was?
The outside of it was spared from melting, and it was a square shape.
...check the current mboard voltages in your bios settings
Nothing in the BIOS at all, just pages to change very basic settings. Unless there is some key combo you're supposed to press to access hidden pages for more advanced features.
Do you use all the functions of the laptop? Are there some ports or slots you don't use?
I've never used the 56k modem, parallel port, serial port, or port replicator, but I don't care if those work or not, anyway.
Your ATX mboard is always powered in some places even when it's not running, as long as the mboard battery is installed. You would need to remove the mboard battery as well.
The surface of the laptop by the melted part and the AC adapter plug never got hot unless it was trying to charge to battery, and in very rare cases when the battery was out. I don't bother putting the battery in anymore, though, and it doesn't get hot anymore, so it's probably safe.
"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving may not be for you."
-Our tour guide at Fenway Park in Boston, MA.